Muswell Hill Synagogue
Vaera 24/25 January 2020 4.20pm 5.28pm

Blog

  • 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
  • The Pesach Hagada – Telling the story as yourself

    The Pesach Seder is often a long evening, and to remain aware and connected to it is hard. But after the meal, I am often ‘awakened’ by the paragraph we say before we open the door for Elijah. We all stand up and say ‘Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you’. Hard words indeed and words that many will feel uncomfortable to say. We probably mutter them in the Hebrew and not in their English – but we are meant to understand what we are saying. I would argue that as with other sections of the Hagada that we read, these words have a context. In other words, the Hagada is an accumulation of different… read more
  • Back to University!

    Twenty years ago, I left the LSE having studied a BSc and MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics. Little did I know then that twenty years later I would  be passing LSE again regularly – to attend its rival, King’s College. I have been studying for an MA in Conflict Resolution in Divided Societies now for 2 terms of a 2 year course. It really has been an eye opening experience. A great group of students, a great group of teachers in the Middle East Studies Department and so fascinating courses. I have been a Hamas delegate in a mock Israel/Palestine negotiation, preparing now to be a UN mediator in a Syrian civil war mock negotiation, have studied conflicts that… read more
  • Parashat Noach – What’s in a nation?

    Click here for a downloadable version of the Parasha Blog. If one takes a look at the list of nations that today makes up the United Nations, and compares this with the list of nations that the Torah list as developing from Noah – one will find very little similarity at all. Maybe one or two are recognisable names – China, Greece and a nation known as Ashkenaz, the name later given by Jewish sources to the German lands. But not many more are recognisable. The only similarity maybe this – the very existence of the concept of a nation.
    We take the idea of a nation for granted. It is a given facet of existence that people are part… read more
  • Rabbi David’s Parasha: Bereishit and The Birth of Identity

    Last Shabbat was the first parasha, the first portion of the new cycle of Torah reading. We read the Creation story, and traversed ten generations, up until the birth of Noah and G-d’s apparent regret as to the corrupt state of the world that He had created. In Shul, I spoke about the beginnings of identity. Adam HaRishon, or the first ‘Adam’ was the first human being who was filled with the spirit of God. In other words he may not have been the first anthropologically categorised homo sapiens, but he was the first individual developed enough to have a conversation with God. And this is not all. Adam also understands that he is different. He is different from the… read more
  • Rabbi David’s Sermons

    Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur were special in Muswell Hill Synagogue – true communal prayer gatherings. We were together as a community, and decorum on Yom Kippur was agreed by many to have been the best for many years. I was proud to be leading such a community. Here are three of the sermons that I made over the Yamim Noraim: First Day Rosh Hashana Sermon:  What are we really in control of? Second Day Rosh Hashana Sermon: The Middle Way Kol Nidrei Sermon: A New Zionism Please do click on the links, print them off and read them – either if you were able to hear them, or not. I really did appreciate the many comments on all these… read more
  • Rabbi David’s Tweets from Israel

    Rabbi David was part of a mission of nearly 50 Rabbis organised by the Office of the Chief Rabbi. He will soon be writing up this fascinating tour which took in multiple perspectives. His sermon last Shabbat looked at the differing narratives that exist within Israeli society and how our narrative competes with that of the Palestinian people. For now, here are a thread of tweets that Rabbi David tweeted while in Israel. Can you recognise the Rabbi whose back we see while he is davening on the balcony of the Hebrew University Shul? read more
  • Rabbi David’s Jewish News Op-Ed

    William Beveridge, later Lord Beveridge was a British economist who was born in 1879 and passed away in 1963. He put together a report on the state of the welfare system and on systems of social insurance in Britain, which is still today known as a watershed moment in the economic and political system in this country. It is the report which led to the setting up of the National Health Service here. Many say that it is the Beveridge report, completed in 1942 which brought about the fall of Winston Churchill in the elections of 1946. Churchill delayed acting on the report; the Labour party voted overwhelmingly in 1943 to move towards legislation. And the rest is history. Not… read more
  • A guest blog from Karen Ackerman: Upstairs/Downstairs

    Thank you to Rabbi David for letting me take over his blog this week to write about the panel I spoke on last night for US women at St John’s Wood Shul. The event was part of a series, Women, The Rabbi and The Law and followed on from previous discussions about women in leadership, girls and Batmitvah and women and Megillah readings. This time the panel consisted of myself, Rabbi Birnbaum from Hadley Wood, Rabbi Roselaar from Alei Tzion and Jazqui Zinkin from Golders Green synagogue chaired by Simon Hockhauser. Rabbi Roselaar kicked us off and it was wonderful to hear both him and Rabbi Birnbaum talk about how important it is for them that women are treated equally… read more