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

Blog

  • Rosh Hashana sermon Day 1

    You must excuse me on this special day, when we crown G-d as King, in mentioning a sketch from Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’. But it will set the scene for my sermons on Rosh Hashana and at Kol Nidrei. Each one of these sermons will be part of a whole, with different facets of a single, critical theme. If you remember, when Brian is heralded as the Messiah he runs from this mob chasing him to the desert. When he returns home, he still cannot shake off the large group of followers he has. And so he addresses them in the most serious part of the film…if there is a serious part. But he fails in persuading them that… read more
  • Rosh Hashana sermon day 2

    Yesterday, through the greatness of Monty Python I talked about the pendulum swinging between individualism and collectivism. If it swings too far towards individualism, then people forget their roles as part of a society or of a community. They forget their sense of duty to society and they forget the effects on others their actions have. If the pendulum swings too much towards collectivism, then people act on a sense of duty, possibly out of fear, and do not express themselves enough. It is a balance between satisfying our duty and expressing ourselves that we desire. And I think we have taken steps towards this. Let me explain. Many members of the United Synagogue, especially my generation, were not content… read more
  • Rosh Hashanah message

    Well I can say that I have broken a record – by having been here for 5 years I have now been here for a little more than my previous community of
    Kingston…and I think our community has undergone some really positive changes. A thriving Cheder, Trips to Poland, Yom HaShoah, Tisha B’Av
    programme, a great new website…and now I get a bright new office! This year I would like to refocus on Adult Education, so look out for some plans, projects and programmes to grow our communal learning. Rosh Hashanah I really look forward to seeing and greeting as many of you as possible in Shul over Rosh Hashanah. Let us make this together an uplifting and wholly communal… read more
  • A guest post – by Elisheva Mason

    Reflections of a modern Orthodox Jewish woman, Rebbetzin and a bit of Feminist Growing up in Poland, I didn’t know how orthodox life really looked like. I didn’t know that there were different ways to express oneself within the orthodox world. When my family started going to shul, we were surrounded by a minyan of men – all Holocaust survivors in their 70’s and 80’s – ‘the last Jews of Poland’. I remember them all very fondly – remembering their davening by heart, singing the tunes of the pre- was Chassidic Poland, still wanting to celebrate the festivals. None of them were religious and they were slightly sceptical about the new generation of young religious people like myself. My first… read more
  • The Dignity of Difference

    So yes, you will have noticed that the title of my piece this Rosh Hashanah is using the title of one of the most well known books that was written by Chief Rabbi Sacks in 2001. And there is good reason for this too. Rabbi Sacks really had a positive influence on the way I think as a religious Jew – and this book, and even more specifically Chapter 3 were of massive importance. The words that Rabbi Sacks wrote were to be honest liberating. Our specific mission was to be different, and to teach all other people about the dignity of being different. Our religious reality was not one that was an exclusive one – one was not only… read more
  • Kol Nidrei Sermon 5773

    I would like to open my sermon tonight by asking for forgiveness from those amongst you who may feel wronged by me. There may be different reasons for this feeling, but I respect its possibility and am sorry for any mistakes I may have made – I am who I am and am aware that not everyone is able to tolerate every style of Rabbi. I will say extremely clearly however that in all I do, I have the interests of our community in my mind always – a community that I have so much good feeling and respect for. A community that I have celebrated with and a community that I have mourned deeply with. A community that challenges… read more
  • Rosh Hashana Sermon Day 2 5773

    I would like to tell you all about a love of mine. A love maybe not as strong as that for my wife, my children, my parents. But a love that is strong nevertheless. It is a love that can give me immense joy, it is a love that can give me sadness and mourning. It is a love that can give me longing. It is the love for the Land of Israel. I lived there for seven years, was married there, studied there. I had the merit to visit many of the holy places of the land of Israel. And I along with Elisheva suffered also for the death of those who lived in the Land. It is a… read more
  • Rosh Hashana Sermon Day 1 5773

    The vulnerability of life and how we deal with it – do we actually feel the vulnerability or do we shield ourselves from this – if we shield ourselves from this what consequences do that have for us – if we do not shield ourselves how does that make us feel – how can we deal with those feelings and if we do deal with them where do we end up. The effect of the ego on all this – humility. I want to take you all back to 2000. I had just finished praying the evening service at the end of the second day of Rosh Hashana in my yeshiva. My yeshiva was in a town called Efrat, in… read more
  • What is Tashlich

    Why do we say Tashlich on Rosh Hashana? A video for the United Synagogue’s You tube channel about Tashlich.… read more