Muswell Hill Synagogue
Shabbat Vayera 22/23 October 5.38pm 6.39pm


  • New Year, New things

    Dear all,

    Firsts over the chagim

    As Autumn starts to firmly settle in and we say goodbye to Summer, it feels like a time to look back over the Chagim and the experience we had this year as we work out how to re-welcome members back once again. This year, we have experienced a few firsts. On Succot, I was delighted when Rabbi David invited the women to join the procession around the Bimah (the hakkafot) with the Lulav and Etrog. Over the years, I have seen progression in how women have been involved at Succot and Simchat Torah. I remember clearly as a new member around 20 years ago, the women dancing upstairs in the room behind the ladies… read more
  • A new year message from the chair

    Dear Members, I wanted to write to wish you all a very happy New Year and Shana Tova. It was lovely to see so many people over Rosh Hashanah. I was in Shul on the first morning and it certainly felt a lot more normal than last Rosh Hashanah. To be able to sit with family, in a Shul that was fuller than it has been for the past 18 months, even if we did have to wear masks, to be able to sing again and to enjoy the traditional songs of Rosh Hashanah all felt wonderful. I know masks are not universally popular,  but I am grateful for your understanding. All of the Honorary Officer team and the Shul… read more
  • What Happens when Shabbat is the Day before Pesach?

    This year, Pesach is different from most years – as the day before Pesach is a Shabbat! The last time this happened was 2008, so this is the first time it has happened while I have been your Rabbi! The next time it will occur is 2025, and then after that 2045! This occurrence throws up some important questions which I will answer below.     Q: What happens to searching for the Chametz?   A: This year it will be done on Thursday evening, 2 nights before Pesach  Explanation: Part of the fulfillment of Pesach is to rid our houses of Chametz. After cleaning chametz away we then, usually on the night before Pesach, search for the Chametz. This year however, read more
  • Pesach 5781

    Some short thoughts from Rabbi David on preparing for Pesach… read more
  • Edie Friedman – Notes on the killing of George Floyd

    • During the surreal and scary times we are now living through, I have been thinking about the simple act of breathing and how it has taken on a disturbing dual significance. 
    • On the one hand we have seen the tireless efforts of NHS staff, many of whom come from immigrant and minority communities, to restore breathing to Covid-19 patients, 
    • … while on the other hand we witness the horrific events in the US where white police officers, not for the first time, have killed a black man by denying him the ability to breathe 
    • We know that Covid-19 has disproportionately affected minority communities in both the UK and the US. In fact, members of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
    read more
  • Pesach Thoughts

    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.

    Dear members, 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