Some thoughts from Rabbi David on Pesach… read more
Our EcoSynagogue Talks
On Shabbat 8th February after Ben Blume’s Auf Ruf there was a very special Eco-on-the-Hill. This was an appropriate time to reflect on how we are stewarding our environment from a Jewish perspective as Monday 9th February was Tu b’Shevat, the New Year for trees. It was also the second anniversary of EcoSynagogue, which we joined last year to guide us to improve our environmental practices. Rabbi David introduced the occasion by putting it into a Jewish context – that looking after our planet is a fundamental Jewish responsibility. I gave an update on what we have been doing at MHS. Then Micah Swimer spoke movingly about his concerns and wide-ranging independent, school and family actions as a younger member… read more
A wonderful afternoon with our oldest member and a reassurance about waste.
We’ve just spent the most wonderful afternoon enjoying tea, home made cake and scones with some of our senior members including our very oldest member 101 year old David Carroll.
It was a lovely afternoon made possible by our wonderful Community Events Liaison Beth Franks and our incredibly caring welfare coordinator Beverly as well as a team of volunteer bakers, drivers and those who came to chat to and serve the guests – a great team in all.
David was delighted to visit the seat he aways sat in, in front of our current warden Neil Cohen who went to visit it with him.
And everyone enjoyed the entertainment.
I also wanted to take the opportunity to reassure… read more
Rosh Hashana Day 1 Sermon – The Importance of Crying
I remember well Rosh Hashana in my days at Yeshiva. They were stressful and nervous occasions. Of course it was a chag. But up at about 6.30am to pray – and for someone who finds getting up earlier difficult it was torture – and then finished by well after 1pm. The pressure of thinking about God as judge and how I personally had acted over the last year. My first yeshiva was one where many who learned there had become religious. I suppose I was trying to hold on to a sense of being normal and anchored – but many pupils were going on journeys. And I remember one or two guys who I knew, crying at some point over… read more
Rabbi David’s Rosh Hashana Day 2 Sermon – Do we take too much space?
In the heady days at the end of the Soviet Union, the thinker Francis Fukuyama spoke out, and wrote his now famous work about ‘The End of History’. In it he tempted the thinking that politics was evolving towards the existence and sustaining of Liberal Democracy, where freedom and rights would be central. This year, in his book ‘Identity’ he has updated his thinking and emphasised what he wrote in his 1991 work was actually a challenge to Liberal democracy – and that challenge was the issue of recognition. And recognition he now writes is connected firmly to identity. In today’s reality, people of identity, of whatever identity, want to be recognised at least as much as other identities that… read more
Our new eco policy
There is a momentum in our society to consider the affect of our consumption and lifestyle on the environment which includes Religious communities and can be seen with the impact the Church of England has had on its communities. The concept of looking after our world is rooted in the story of the Creation of the World itself. When Adam is created, we are told that ‘God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to guard it’ (Genesis, 13,15). Here we are told about two roles for humanity. We are not forbidden to work the land, to bring forth from the land benefits for humankind. But at the same time, we must… read more
What do the Chair and the Board actually do?
As we approach this year’s AGM on May 19th, I thought it may be helpful to tell you how the board is made up and what it actually does in the hope that new people may be interested in joining the board or the executive at some point in the future.
Firstly, we no longer have a Board of Management of the synagogue. The US bye laws have changed and it is now known as the Synagogue Council. We have 6 male and 6 female members of the Synagogue Council although we have this year co-opted more members to join as we were lucky enough to have more people who want to be involved and the US bye laws allow… read more
Muswell Hill Berlin Trip 2019
Below, I am publishing my Facebook diary for our wonderful Synagogue Berlin trip – look out for any announcements of future trips!
Day 1 of our Community trip to Berlin with Aubrey Hersh. First stop the Berlin Wall Museum. I am used to taking tours to Poland, where we see and memorialize where the Nazi exterminations mostly took place. But the orchestration happened here in Berlin. The walls I see in Poland are ghetto walls, to imprison a marked out population. Here, the wall was built by East German authorities to prevent its population from joining their brethren in West German effectively dividing between people of pretty much one ethnic group. We saw a stretch where 2 walls were laid,… read more
Torn from home
Rabbi David’s address at the London School of Economics Faith Centre for Holocaust Memorial Day.
I often visit Poland. It is actually where my in-laws live and I have often taken groups there from the Synagogues I have lead. Poland is a country with a small number of non Poles, of minorities and its government presently as we know has a very nationalist view of politics. But before the second world war, there were over 3 and a half million Jewish people in Poland. There are now maybe 10,000 although probably less than that. A large number of those were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Of those that stayed, most fled Soviet communist purges in 1956 and 1968. And so what… read more
Stephanie Brodkin’s d’var Torah
Stephanie gave this d’var Torah on Shabbat 9th June 2018
As I walked up here today many of you, I’m sure, were making assumptions about me, based perhaps on my age, what I look like and the fact that I’m a girl. We all do it – all the time.
Sometimes assumptions make us seem foolish. If Kaiser Wilhelm were around today he would surely regret the moment in 1864 when he grandly announced in reference to the train: “No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour, when he can ride his horse there in one day for free.” Although sometimes I do think my dad is close to agreeing with him.
Or… read more