Muswell Hill Synagogue
Ki Tissa 1/2 March 5.26pm 6.29pm

Blog

  • Teshuva, Psychotherapy and Mental Health

    Rabbi David’s sermon Rosh Hashana Day 1 – 5778

    When I was at University at the LSE, I undertook a process of becoming more religiously observant. I didn’t want to change in a radical way, more part of an organic process. I had been a good boy really as a child. I had been very actively Jewish. And then I went to yeshiva to study in 1993 where I saw many people whose shifts to religiosity were so quick and so sudden. I spent a number of years learning in yeshivot, and I remember the pressured atmosphere at this time of year. The word Ellul, the month leading up to Rosh Hashana, would already beckon in a period of worry… read more
  • Jonathan Arkush at Shabbat on the Hill

    Last Shabbat we were joined in Shul by Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. After the service Jonathan provided an overview of the role of the Board in the context of the wider community and an update of what it has been up to over recent months.   Jonathan described how the Board had been set up in 1760 as a vehicle for Jewish representation in the UK. As an elected body it is embedded in the democratic fabric of the country, with close links to politicians and to Whitehall. Indeed, Jonathan suggested that the Board may have a higher profile outside the community than within it.  Jonathan extolled the vibrancy of the Jewish community here… read more
  • Meet the new Chair

    Dear Friends, Now that Rabbi Mason has upgraded and is using video to share his thoughts with the community, he has agreed that the board can use the blog on the shul website to share news and updates with the community. I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you a little more about me and my hopes for the next year. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Karen Ackerman, I have been a member at Muswell Hill Shul for about 15 years when we moved to this area. I am married to Warren Taylor, and we have three children , Nathan, who is 17 today (happy birthday), Noa who is 14 and Aron who… read more
  • Compassion and Violence – Sermon, Miketz

    We are experiencing a wide array of conflicts in our world at the present, and as a result our tendency often is to simplify how we relate to these conflicts. People and groups either stack up on the side of good or evil. We call people terrorists without any other finesse of understanding. We generalise, stereotype. It makes things a whole lot easier for us. But of course life is a lot more complicated. Often what is difficult to grasp is that people who are capable of acts of terror, can also be capable of acts of decency. In my MA I have studies organisations such as Hamas, or Hizbullah, who on the one hand commit often to acts of… read more
  • Rabbi David in Ukraine – Jewish Responsibility

    I wrote last week after the first day of a quite emotional trip to Zaporozhye in eastern Ukraine, an hour’s drive from Dnepropetrovsk. As I mentioned, on the first day we visited two homes, supported by the World Jewish Relief’s Home Repairs scheme, which does what it says on the tin. The great thing about this help is that it fills a real need for the many Jews who live in Zaporozhye and in other parts of Ukraine. WJR, and the Joint consider carefully how money that is raised can be used, in ways that maintain the dignity of the recipients of this money. And that is something that is so important to me as a Rabbi and religious Jew.… read more
  • Trip to Ukraine – Day 1

    United Synagogue Rabbinic Trip to Ukraine – led by World Jewish Relief
    Day 1 – November 30th 2015
    A number of months ago, I felt that a story that was subsiding from media coverage was the conflict between Russian backed military groups, and Ukrainian military in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine. I was having a conversation with Richard Verber of World Jewish Relief about our Shul’s twinning with Rovno and the Warm Home project there, when I asked about whether we could put together a Rabbinic trip to Ukraine to see how the conflict is affecting the lives of Jews who live there. And so here I am. I am staying in Zaporizhia with six of my Rabbinic colleagues, a town one… read more
  • Kol Nidrei – How Hard it Can be to Forgive

    Click here for a downloadable version of the sermon Nadine Collier lost her mother Ethel Lance this June in the killings in Charleston. Along with other representatives and relatives of those who were killed, she did something that many of us would find difficult. She forgave the killer. Here are her words which could be heard in court by the killer himself, Dylan Roof: “I forgive you. You took something really precious away from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. It hurts me, it hurts a lot of people but God forgives you and I forgive you.” Here… read more
  • Rosh Hashana Day 2 Sermon – On Being a Stranger

    When I was in my first year of University, back in 1991, I soon became Chair of my Jewish society. It wasn’t exactly a big task to become chair. Only one other Jewish student wanted the position – and we shared it for the year. I had a great year. Lots of speakers. Lots of student politics. Lots of angering the Socialist workers students. I had followed Dave Rich, who is a member of our Shul, who helped me and advised me greatly. Dave even worked a way that we could jointly propose a motion to our union together with the Palestine Society, which supported the Madrid Peace conference. The motion was not earth shattering – but proposing a motion… read more
  • Rosh Hashana Day 1 Sermon – Believing in Humanity

    I have to tell you all that I have had a most gratifying year. Obviously at the top of the list was seeing our oldest daughter Hodaya reach Batmitzvah a few days ago. A moving, emotional and exhilarating family experience and I am sure you will all agree that Hodaya did so well! Another gratifying experience high up the list is the studying of a Masters degree in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies. Although I must say that I have read, researched and studied a lot more about conflict than about its resolution. It could be quite demoralising at times to learn about how many deep conflicts exist and how difficult it is to solve them. In fact many conflicts… read more
  • ‘Remembering’ the Holocaust

    Let us be clear at the outset – remembering the Holocaust is hard. The passing of time is often cruel, as it turns and transforms memories of the actual, into remembrance. Actual memories are fading and are affected by the subjective mindsets of the individuals who share these memories. Those who survived the Holocaust are passing on from this world; and those survivors that are still with us talk of their own perspective shone on the memories of those dark times. But, as the writer Marc Auge writes, ‘Memories are like plants; there are those that need to be quickly eliminated in order to help the others burgeon, transform, flower’ . In other words, it is not simple to learn… read more