Muswell Hill Synagogue
Metzora + HaGadol 19/20 April 7.49pm 8.56pm


  • Charity at the home of the Spurs!

    Yes, you all know I support Arsenal. But this morning I stepped into the world of Tottenham. From Ardiles to Villa, from Greaves to Lineker and from Ginola to Bale – I saw them all, as well as one or two trophies and a great tour of the White Hart Lane Stadium. The breakfast was sponsored by Tottenham Hotspurs themselves, the Mayor of Haringey hosted and about 30 people came with their ticket price all going to the Mayor’s charity this year, helping disadvantaged and disabled children in the Borough of Haringey. As on of the attendees, a Jew from Stamford Hill tweeted – charity brings people together. So this was a great experience for the last day of Channuka… read more
  • The Emblem of the State of Israel

    Do you know what the Emblem of the State of Israel is? We all know the flag – but are we aware of the Emblem? It actually has a strong Channuka connection. It is the Menorah, the seven branched candelabra that stood in the Temple and was lit by the Cohanim there. In 1948, not long after the founding of the State of Israel, a committee was set up to decide on an Emblem. The majority suggestion was the Menorah, and here is the final decision in 1949 as to the Emblem, still in use today: The Emblem was of course based on the Menorah in the Tabernacle and Temple. But although we knew that it had seven branches, three… read more
  • I Love Learning Talmud!

    Learning Talmud. It is a challenge – but it is one of the most rewarding and exciting things one can do as a Jew. To learn the whole Talmud a page a day would take one about seven and a half years to finish and you would only be touching the tip of the iceberg in everything being covered. Some brief basics. The Talmud is the name we give to  a book at whose core are two texts. Firstly a Code of Law known as the Mishna which was redacted in about the year 200 CE by a Rabbi in Israel known as Judah the Prince. He saw dangers to the unity of the Jewish people under Roman rule and… read more
  • Our Civic Shabbat

    This morning saw our second annual Civic Shabbat in the presence of a number of local dignitaries from the political world and from the religious world. The Mayor Cllr Sheila Peacock spoke superbly at the end of the service about the importance of Holocaust education in Haringey Borough and mentioned also how great it was that she could appoint me as her Chaplain. This was the first Jewish chaplain to the Mayor since 1965. We hosted our local MP Lynne Featherstone, the Deputy Lieutenant Rosemary Warne and our GLA Rep Joanne McCartney. It was great also to host the leader of the Bravanese community as well as a number of Christian leaders. The service went very well and the guests… read more
  • The Alte Heim – Our Trip to Lithuania and Latvia

    It is a week now since our Synagogue trip to Vilnius, Kaunas and Riga, three places that had such a rich Jewish story and that were so savagely cut down during the Holocaust. I had taken a number of trips to Poland, and so I basically wanted a change. I wanted to learn another great legendary Jewish story and also see how Jewish communities fared today in the Baltic States. We were lucky to have two super guides, Regina in Lithuania, and Ilye in Riga who is Director of the Jewish Museum. Our trips, as I always like them to be, were split between learning about the past Jewish life, experiencing the present Jewish existence and learning about the experiences… read more
  • What about Batmitzvah Girls? – United Synagogue Women

    This week I was asked to be on a panel at a seminar run by United Synagogue women, on the issue of girls and Batmitzvah. This was a fascinating evening and a challenging one as well, with the panel consisting of Rebbetzin Rachie Binstock from St Johns Wood Synagogue, Nicky Goldman and Sandy Littman. Rebbetzin Binstock talked about her many years of experience teaching girls batmitzvah and also about her relatively new programme allowing women who never had a batmitzvah when they were 12 years old, to celebrate this rite of passage at an older age and to go on a learning course before the event itself. I have to say I was quite inspired to hear how successful this… read more
  • Don’t forget Shmini Atzeret

    What exactly is Shmini Atzeret? It is hard for many of us to actually work out its identity. We sit in the Succah on Shmini Atzeret – but we do not say a blessing on it. We say the blessing of Shechechiyanu at kiddush signifying a new festival, and yet the day seems to be a continuation of Succot. Will the real Shmini Atzeret please stand up! Well let’s set the record straight – according to the Talmud, and according really to how one reads the Torah in a number of places, Shmini Atzeret is a separate festival called by that name. So when we add the special additional bit to our silent prayer on a festival, we add for… read more
  • From Yom Kippur to Succot

    We had a wonderful Yom Kippur in Muswell Hill, and there was so much great feedback from members as to how meaningful the prayers were in our Synagogue. Neilah was an inspiring experience and the feeling of a community together at such an important time was uplifting. It was a time also that I could communicate ideas to you all that are close to my heart. From Jewish identity to understanding modesty; from the breakdown of the family to lessons learned from the Yom Kippur War. Here are my sermons for you to have another look at. Please do email me any comments you have. My sermons do aim to inspire; but they even more aim to provoke conversation, discussion… read more
  • Happy Yom Kippur!

    Now you may be asking – do we really consider Yom Kippur a happy day! We fast on Yom Kippur. We dress in white on Yom Kippur with one idea behind this custom being to remind us of death and sober us up to correcting our ways. We mention on Yom Kippur the destruction of the Temple, the 9th of Av and many martyrs who were killed by the Roman leadership over Judea early in the Common Era. So there is plenty to be serious about. But the Talmud is clear – there are two days that are considered joyous beyond any others. And one of them is Yom Kippur would you believe! Yom Kippur is the day when G-d’s… read more
  • 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