July/August Review - West London Synagogue


July/August Review - West London Synagogue
July/August 2014 | Tammuz/Av/Elul 5774
West London Synagogue
‫ק"ק שער ציון‬
Celebrating 174 Years of Reform Judaism in Central London
This month we celebrated Shavuot, marking the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, so why were three
hundred people using voting tablets in the middle of the night in West London Synagogue’s
And why were there rose petals on the floor?
Find out on page 3.
On 4 August we commemorate the centenary
of the beginning of the First World War.
It was a time of heroism and also of tragedy.
Many great writers left us their poems and songs to remind us of the Great War.
Jewish people fought on both sides in the conflict.
Page 2
European Days of
Jewish Culture
Page 3
Page 4
Jeffrey Siegel
The Queens
Birthday Honours
Page 5
Vision 180
Pages 6 & 7
A Fond Farewell to
two stalwarts of
Page 8
Travel Together
We will be memorialising this event by an Edwardian Tea from
4.30-6.30pm (please book your place at £5 a head, or reserve a table
as spaces are limited. Contact [email protected]).
Afterwards, members and friends will go from our
Samson Family Concourse into the synagogue itself for an Interfaith Service
of memory and hope that will start at 7.15pm and end by 8.30pm.
Page 9
Recipes from
Hilary Schuman
Pages 10-12
Save the Date: Sunday 14th - 21st September 2014
The rise in the number of people
searching for their roots has risen
phenomenally in the last two to three
decades. Perhaps this has been
spurred by the aftermath of the
Second World War, during which so
many people were uprooted, whilst
others were brutally murdered simply
because of their faith. So much has
been lost, communities decimated, and
buildings just left to disintegrate, that
we have now become more aware than
ever of the importance of preserving
our heritage, our very identity. We
want to know where our families lived,
what they did, the synagogues they
used to attend, and whether any traces
of their settlement are left.
and Oxford. Trade brought Jews to the
West Country and to Kent in the 18th
century and, from the middle of the
19th Century, waves of persecution
oversees brought Jews to the larger
English cities and to some more
remote areas, as well as to Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
What is extraordinary is how these
refugees overcame the enormous
challenges confronting them, and rose
to make a significant contribution to
society in so many diverse fields such
as the arts, sciences, politics, business
and philanthropy.
A seismic shift in the Jewish population
on the Continent has left Jewish
footprints all over Europe. But
buildings, which, in many cases, have
been carefully restored, often by the
local municipality or the State, bear
witness to a former life and. Today,
second and third generation
descendants of those who fled from the
pogroms in Russia and Poland or from
the Holocaust, make pilgrimages to
the towns and villages from where
their ancestors escaped.
Historically: The first Jews in Britain
were merchants brought over by
William the Conqueror, who traded,
lent money to the barony and the
Crown, which protected them. But their
fortunes changed and by 1189-90
there were riots and bloodshed, the
Jews were subject to severe taxation
and, following restriction of their rights
in 1269, they were expelled in 1290.
Few Jews were left until a Dutch Rabbi,
Manesseh Ben Israel, was invited in
1656 to come to England to negotiate
with Cromwell for the re-admission of
the Jews.
Rabbi Manesseh was only partly
successful, but a new Marrano Group
(Sephardim) was formed which
achieved official recognition in 1664
and was strengthened by the influx of
Jews from Central and Eastern Europe,
(Ashkenazim) who established the first
synagogue in London in 1690 and
thence spread to the rest of the
country. (Bevis Marks, the oldest
existing synagogue in the UK, from
which the Sephardi founders of West
London Synagogue seceded in 1840,
was established in 1701).
The paths of Jewish migration are still
to be found all over the country, for
example, through the medieval
settlements in London, Lincoln, Bury
St. Edmunds, Norwich, Northampton
Modern times: Launched in 1996 by
the B’nai B’rith Lodge in Strasbourg,
the European Days of Jewish Culture
and Heritage were created in order to
welcome people into our synagogues
and communal buildings, to explain
Judaism, encouraging mutual
understanding and goodwill. Gathering
momentum, Jewish Heritage Days
spread rapidly across Europe and are
now being celebrated in 31 countries,
with the opening of synagogues and
Jewish heritage sites (some not
normally accessible to the public)
museums and art galleries.
Events are held all over the country
and Blue Badge guides lead walks and
heritage trails tracing the everyday life
of Jews, from their early settlement to
their subsequent integration as British
Jews. In this country we are also linked
with the National Heritage Open Days,
a partnership among the National
Trust, the Civic Voice and The
Heritage Alliance.
Ever since the inception of Heritage
Days, West London Synagogue has
opened its doors and has also hosted
concerts in the Sanctuary, a
memorable experience. The success of
these special events has led to the
creation of the European Route of
Jewish Heritage, awarded the status of
Major Cultural Route of the Council of
Europe, one of only seven such Routes.
An exciting choice of events this year
has been arranged throughout the
country, including our own prestige
B’nai B’rith evening based on this
year’s theme ‘Women in Judaism’, to
be held at the Jewish Museum in
London on Thursday 18th September. A
high profile
panel of distinguished
Jewish women, chaired by Rabbi Julia
Neuberger, will include Baroness Ruth
Deech, academic, lawyer and
bioethicist, Baroness Helene Hayman,
first Lord Speaker of the House of
Lords, Julia Hobsbawm, coach
businesswoman and commentator, and
Dame Helen Hyde, headmistress of
Watford Grammar School for Girls. The
audience will be able to view the
current exhibition at the Museum on
the renowned graphic designer Abram
Games, and refreshments will be
served. Other venues are inviting
prominent women speakers from their
community to talk about the
importance of Judaism in their lives,
while several are mounting exhibitions
on the role of Jewish women throughout the ages.
The Jewish Heritage Days brochure
giving full details of all events and
booking facilities will be available from
the end of June, and can be obtained
by phoning 020 7446 8660 or 01923
776669 by emailing
[email protected] or by
going to our website www.bbuk.org
Valerie Bello
West London Synagogue will be
open during Jewish Heritage Days
on Sunday 21st September,
between 2.45pm and 5.15pm.
Shavuot 2014
The Balloon Debate
Is murder really so abhorrent? Or does
your mind leap at the thrill of a tale of
gore and a grisly ending? That’s what
Susannah Alexander tried to convince
us of at Rabbi Julia’s Shavuot Ten
Commandment Balloon Debate. No,
Susannah hadn’t gone on the
rampage. She was simply explaining
why commandment 6, “you shall not
murder”, needed to be kept in the
Given the choice, which of the Ten
Commandments would you keep in
and which could you merrily ditch? In
this time-pressured, character-limited
age, could you whittle them down so
that the essentials would fit in a tweet?
Perhaps on an I-Pad tablet rather than
the old-fashioned stone?
Surely, David Moss contended, it’s
commandment 9, “you shall not bear
false witness against your neighbour”,
which wraps it all up? Your relationship
with your neighbour is crucial, he told
us. No doubt his local house prices
dived, as he recounted the outlandish
admonitions he makes over his garden
At voting time, there was a sea of
waving tablets to support Mark Fox’s
case that commandment 1, “I am the
Lord your God”, was the most
Valerie Bello’s defence of remembering
the Sabbath came a close second. This
commandment is essential to Jewish
identity, she reasoned. The Sabbath is
a day of understanding human physical
needs, even if that means an afternoon
without football.
mere second (and I mean time, not
place). One, two. That was it. Were
there looks of shame among the
audience? Or furtive glances at the two
who voted in favour, from the rest
whose (arguable) lack of integrity was
Thanks to Rabbi Julia, and to speakers
Valerie Bello, Terry Etherton, Mark Fox,
Peter Leaver, David Moss, Roy
Ackermann, Susannah Alexander,
Robert Cohen, Frankie Gruzd and
Karen Newman. It was a wonderful,
passionate debate which got everyone
charged for a night of study. As
appealing as a pick and mix Covenant
might be, I suspect we’ll need the full
works for some time yet.
Liz Mendes da’Costa
From September this year, Liz Mendes
da’Costa will be taking over as Editor
of the Review.
We are planning an introductory
‘conversation’ for the next Review
between the outgoing and incoming
editor. If you have any questions for
either Jill Todd or Liz Mendes
Da’Costa, please send them to:
[email protected]
Bravissima Maya!
Exodus Ch.24 v.9-11: Then Moses,
Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy
elders of Israel ascended, and they saw
the God of Israel: under His feet there
was the likeness of a pavement of
sapphires, like the very sky for purity.
Yet he did not raise His hand against
the leaders of the Israelites: they
beheld God, and they ate and they
Terry Etherton’s 10th commandment,
“you shall not covet”, got to stay in the
basket at number 3. The saints and
would-be-saints among us took the
easy way out. According to his logical
reduction of the commandments to a
few universal principles, just adhering
to commandment 10 was a sure fire
way also to get 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 in the
So what happened to honouring your
father and mother? Well, as Karen
Newman admitted, it can be a bit of a
task. Despite her best efforts, those
tabloid-reading, stubborn oldies, the
perfect manifestation of one’s own
worst qualities, just didn’t get the vote.
The biggest shock of the night?
Counting those in favour of keeping
Frankie Gruzd’s commandment 7, “you
shall not commit adultery”, took a
At its last ‘appearance’ before being
refurbished, the Stern Hall played host
to a sell-out crowd of more than 100
for our post-service Shavuot dinner on
Tuesday 3rd June. The centerpiece,
after the food and wine natch, was a
one-woman performance by our
talented and versatile community
musician Maya Levy, entitled Take Two
Tablets. Maya’s boundless artistry took
us on a hilarious journey of discovery,
revealing the ‘truth’ behind the story of
Moses’ receiving the tablets, throwing
new light on this important ancient
story, and helping to bring the festival
alive for the audience. For me, the
comedy highlight of the performance
was Maya with Moses ‘selfie’ – one of
the many beautiful illustrations by Kate
Bellamy which accompanied the show.
Incidentally, Maya has just won an Arts
Council England "Grant for the Arts", to
create and perform a new one-woman
show about the 19th century American
reporter and daredevil, Nellie Bly. It will
be premiered at West London
Synagogue on 13th November, with
additional performances on 18th and
20th November, and at JW3 on 1st and
2nd March 2015.
Jim Fletcher, Senior Warden
At it’s height there were over 300
people celebrating Shavuot during the
night, and a further 150 adults and
children the following morning for the
11am service in the Sanctuary.
According to Sephardic tradition, to
celebrate the season when flowers are
in bloom, many synagogues are
decorated with rose petals. Some of
our young from Beginnings and
ShabbaTots began the service by
dancing on a sprinkling of roses petals,
so releasing the scent as we began this
final part of this important festival.
To end the service Rabbi Julia
introduced us to Rabbi Sybil Sheridan
who will be joining us to fill the gap left
by Rabbi Benji, and while Rabbi David
is on sabbatical. Rabbi Sybil gave the
final blessing, reminding us once again,
that we had been standing together
(metaphorically) at the foot of Mount
Sinai to receive the Ten
Commandments. As we constantly
relive our heritage and traditions, her
words were a profound and salient
reminder of what and who we are.
Did the Cat catch the Mouse?
It takes a real virtuoso to entice
around 130 people into our
magnificent Sanctuary at the end of
a sunny Sunday afternoon, but
Jeffrey Siegel did just that, giving a
stunning performance of “Keyboard
Conversations” organised by Janet
Lasky, Julian Markson and our
irrepressibly energetic Senior
Warden, Jim Fletcher.
Jeffrey has played with some of the
greatest orchestras in the world, so
we were particularly thrilled that he
designed a special programme of
music for West London Synagogue,
concentrating on just a few great
Jewish composers.
The difference with this recital, was
that Jeffrey gave a short contextual
history before each piece, pointing
out significant passages before
playing them, so encouraging a
much more educated appreciation
and a deeper understanding.
Felix Mendelssohn composed the
Rondo Capriccioso when he was just
15 years old, and Jeffrey prefaced it
pointing out the phrasing and variety
we should listen out for, as he did
before each of the six virtuoso
He introduced us to pieces by Darius
Milhaud who was born in Provence
and could trace his Jewish lineage
back over 1,000 years, and to Franz
Reizenstein, whose piano piece The
Legend was written in 1956.
Reizenstein’s son was in the
audience. As the early evening
settled in, we enjoyed a charming
homage by Leonard Bernstein to his
wife, written for her 52nd birthday
and their 26th wedding anniversary.
But, did the cat catch the mouse?
His penultimate choice was Aaron
Copland’s “The Cat and the Mouse”,
a wonderful exploration of the
piano’s and the pianist’s range which
clearly identified both the cat and the
mouse. Jeffrey asked us to listen
carefully to the enigmatic ending and
to vote on which animal won. Most of
us thought the mouse ran free, but
we were wrong.
The inspiring West
London Synagogue
member, Ruth, Lady
Morris of Kenwood, a
lawyer, who, among
many other pursuits,
is President of the
youth movement Habonim, has been
awarded a CBE for her service to the
As a grand finale Jeffrey stunned us
with his virtuosity as he appeared to
convert the piano into a full
orchestra, in playing Gershwin’s own
piano version of Rhapsody in Blue.
It was met by long applause and a
standing ovation.
If you missed this wonderful hour of
music, fear not, for Jeffrey Siegel has
promised to return to WLS next year,
and we look forward to greeting him
Jill Todd
Copland based his work on a fable by
Jean de la Fontaine. The cat is old
and the mouse young and frisky.
The cat does indeed catch the mouse
but the mouse impressively argues
Queens Birthday Honours
West London Synagogue sends
‘Mazel Tov to some of those
honoured in the latest Queen’s
Birthday list.
his case for survival. The cat
hesitates – then devours him
anyway! Siegel told us “it’s a
demonstration – of optimistic youth
– but old age is merciless”.
work in promoting
and technological cooperation
Israel and the UK, in
the search for mutual
between the two nations.
And actor Daniel Day
services to drama.
The WLS Theatre Group continues
to thrive, but I now need to
update all the records. So, I am
creating a completely new mailing
list. If you were on the old list,
could you please send your details
again – and to my new e-mail
address below.
To receive theatre group
information and news of events,
and all updates to our calendar,
you need to be on the new mailing
list. Please send all details to:
[email protected]
Matthew Gould, the first Jew to serve
as the UK ambassador to Israel, has
been honoured with the CMG in the
Order of St Michael and St George.
Matthew has been praised for his
Vision 180
We welcome all opinions and points
of view. Here Luke McGrellis
celebrates our great achievements,
while pushing for wider recognition
from the wider community
progressive Jewish community in the
UK going forward, and to use Rabbi
Julia's term to be a "beacon" within
and outside the community.
If we are to thrive and ultimately
grow as a community, particularly
within wider trends, we have to be
better at publicising what we do, and
reaching out to, and connecting and
partnering more successfully with,
the wider Jewish and non-Jewish
Something to shout about…
We are too much of a best-kept
secret at West London Synagogue,
and I feel our lack of regular
presence in the Jewish media and
the wider community in particular
reflects this.
It might be understandable if we
weren't such a large, vibrant
community ourselves with so many
great events regularly taking place.
These range from Rabbinic team’s
variety of services, to Kolnoa, great
concerts, and the drop-in Centre to
adult education, alongside a
burgeoning religion school; and all in
our fantastic location. There is so
much happening, but I fear that too
few people are aware of what goes
on in our synagogue. This is
particularly problematic if we are to
be at the heart of representing the
Some of the things I think we need
to address are:
Become significantly better at
engaging with the wider Jewish and
non-Jewish press - and whatever
other means of communication are
significant and useful to us - social
media etc.
Where possible become a first port of
call for the media on Jewish matters,
or where a Jewish perspective may
be sought. Form new and refreshed
partnerships with organisations like
JW3 and Ivy House.
Improve internal communications so
that the whole community is
connected and motivated by what's
happening. To what extent are we
really reaching the membership right
now? Hoping people pick up a leaflet
is not enough.
Better promotion of the services via
our webcam to the wider
community. It's a fantastic facility.
Connect with younger cultural Jews
who may not be particularly
interested in attending traditional
services, but still want a connection
to Judaism.
One of the areas we focused on at
the Vision Group 180 presentation
forum on January 19th was on our
current Communications and PR
situation, and what will best serve
us, and our position within the wider
Jewish and non-Jewish communities,
so that we continue to be at the
heart of things, and a place which
attracts visitors and new members.
In the light of this, I should love to
set up an initial meeting for anyone
who feels passionate about this
matter, whether they are
experienced or not, as it would be
great to hear people’s thoughts and
views so that we might create
consensus, purpose, and actions.
Luke McGrellis
If you are as proud, as I am, of what we are
achieving right now and want to contact me,
to get involved, or just offer some good
ideas, please send me an email:
[email protected]
High Holy Days at WLS
Saturday 20 September
Erev Rosh Hashanah
Wednesday 24 September
First Day Rosh Hashanah
Thursday 25 September
Second Day Rosh Hashanah
Friday 26 September
Kol Nidre
Friday 3 October
Yom Kippur
Saturday 4 October
Erev Sukkot
Wednesday 8 October
Thursday 9 October
Erev Simchat Torah
Wednesday 15 October
Simchat Torah
Thursday 16 October
For information and assistance contact:
HHD Ticket Office, 33 Seymour Place, London, W1H 5AU
Tel: 020 7535 0282 Email: [email protected]
Fond farewell to two stalwarts
Sue Hammerson, a formidable and
generous woman
Sue Hammerson died recently a
couple of months short of her 100th
birthday. Her parents were both born
in Holland, but met and married in
the UK. Their youngest child, Sarah,
was born on 11th August, 1914.
Sarah was always known as Sue,
and she and the only other surviving
child, Maurice, remained very close
all their lives. At 19, Sue met Lew
Hammerson, and they were married
on 6th March 1938. Their three
children, David, Patricia and Peter
were born three, five and seven
years later respectively.
She was a devoted and loving wife
and mother but sadly, after 20
blissfully happy years together her
beloved Lew died in 1958 at the very
young age of 42. After the immense
shock of losing her husband so
young, and having to reorganise her
life as a single parent with three
teenage children, she threw herself
into her future life through what was
to be an endless drive to look after
people less fortunate than herself.
Just a year after Lew’s death, with
huge strength of purpose, she
started to raise funds for the Old
People's Home to be built in his
memory, Hammerson House.
1961, the foundation stone was laid
by the then Lord Mayor of London,
Sir Bernard Waley-Cohen. The Home
opened its doors in July 1962 and
welcomed its first resident straight
Sue stayed closely involved. She
organised legendary fundraising
dinners for the home. She visited,
she checked, she kept a keen eye on
things. She was enormously
hospitable as well being deeply
generous. She hosted her now
legendary and fabulous barbecue
parties at her home in Lancaster
House for 1,200 people. She gave
generously to charities, and almost
never refused a request for a
donation, large or small. She was the
Treasurer and a President of Queen
Mary's London Needlework Guild,
and used to have tea twice a year
with Her Majesty the Queen Mother.
She and Lew were significant
Ravenswood, Jewish Care, and of
course Nightingale House. She was
also a generous benefactor to the
Royal Academy of Arts, the National
Theatre, Glyndebourne, the ENO, the
Barbican Arts Centre, the Royal
Opera House, the Royal Albert Hall,
and a number of educational and
medical research establishments and
Sue was awarded the OBE in the
Queen's Birthday Honours List in
1981 for her services to charity, and
in 2009 the CBE in the New Year's
Honours List for her services to the
Arts. In 1982 she was also the proud
recipient of the Freedom of the City
of London, and she became an
Officer of the Order of St. John. She
raised and donated a substantial
amount of money for the Duke of
Edinburgh's Award Scheme, and, in
recognition of all she’d done, the
Duke of Edinburgh invited her to the
Palace to present the Awards with
him. She was a member of the
Gardeners' Livery Company, and the
United Wards Club, as well as an
Honorary Member of the Estates
Golfing Society, which Lew had
founded just before he died. Hers was an immensely full, active
and generous life, making a huge
difference to countless people,
benefitting innumerable institutions,
both great and small, Jewish and
non-Jewish. But the special loves of
her life, beyond family and friends,
were music and the fine arts.
For over 40 years she attended the
opera at Verona. She was always
dressed immaculately, sometimes
despite 40 degrees of searing heat,
in a long gown and beautiful
jewels. She travelled extensively to
all corners of the world and would
never refuse an invitation to a party,
whether it were a family wedding in
New Zealand, or a Bar Mitzvah in Los
For her 90th birthday, she took the
family, and a dozen of her closest
friends to Lake Garda, for an
unforgettable seven-day party at
which she danced until well past
When her surviving brother Maurice’s
wife died, he went to live in
Hammerson House where Sue went,
in her wheelchair, every Sunday, to
have lunch with him. She loved her
family, and they loved her, and she
was devoted to her wonderful
companion, Zelia, who was with her
for 33 years.
Sue’s warmth and the charm of her
smile were infectious and never left
her. She never had a bad word to
say about anybody and she was an
inspiration to all who came into
contact with her. Her enormous
contribution to society, and to the
Jewish community in particular, will
be a lasting legacy.
She will be deeply missed by her
family and friends. But she has
without doubt left this world a better
place than when she came into it.
She will be remembered for her
righteous deeds - her works are her
memorial. May she rest in peace.
Patricia Beecham
of West London Synagogue
Monty Moss, named after his great
uncle who died at Passchendaele,
was educated at Selwyn House, St.
Andrews, Eastbourne and Harrow.
He studied Philosophy and
Economics at New College, Oxford
and served in the KRRC before
joining his father, Harry, at Moss
Bros. in 1947.
Monty would be booked several
years in advance for delivering his
amusing after-dinner talk on ‘150
years of Moss Bros.’ throughout the
country, especially because Jane
limited this to one evening a week...!
When his voice became less strong,
he still was highly in demand, and
both she and their son, David,
helped out on occasion. Monty was
an active member of the Federation
of Merchant Taylors, both nationally
and internationally, and he served a
year as the World President. He and
Jane travelled widely with the World
Federation enjoying special
adventures together. He was proud
of his young and beautiful wife whom
he adored and who supported him
devotedly right up to the end, when
he became utterly dependent upon
her. They were a wonderful couple.
His training included making a suit
by hand. He worked his way up
through the ranks to become joint
MD and then President. Debbie
Hewitt, the current Moss Bros
chairman, wrote, “… his values and
integrity, service and concern for
people have touched every aspect of
the Moss Bros. business.”
When Moss Bros. acquired Cecil Gee
in 1988 at the start of what would
become a successful decade in the
company’s history, Monty, President
at the time, was especially skilled at
blending the more retail-focused Gee
family with the more serviceorientated, traditional Mosses.
Rowland Gee, the MD through those
years, wrote, “He was loved by the
staff because he listened, cared and
was there for them. He represented
a culture and behaviour that so few
today can possibly ever experience.”
Monty was deeply committed to the
business, and worked a five-and-ahalf day week (no Sunday opening in
those days, which he campaigned to
prevent), and then on Saturday
afternoons he supported the Moss
Bros. football team in winter and
played cricket with them in the
summer. He visited sick members of
staff in hospital and personally
supported bereaved families too.
Even after his retirement he kept up
communication with other retired
employees and when he could not
write himself, his wife, Jane, did so
for him.
Extraordinarily, Monty Moss was as
consistent in his private life as he
was in public. Those of us who knew
him all knew the same person; a
genuinely kind, courteous and
considerate man, who never spoke ill
of anyone. He had a great sense of
occasion, and of course, always
dressed with style. He was well
known for his hats, and his
wonderful smile, and the twinkle in
his blue eyes charmed many....! He
loved classical music and opera. He
was a fine calligrapher, witty and
always good with words. He played
many sports, including fives for
Great Britain v Nigeria (away) in
1965, and was President of the Old
Harrovian Eton Fives Association for
many years.
Central to his spiritual life was
Monty’s active fourth generation
membership of the first reform
synagogue in the UK, the West
London Synagogue of British Jews.
He felt completely comfortable with
being both British and Jewish and
instilled this into each of his three
children all of whom became B’nai
Mitzvah at WLS and celebrated their
marriages there. Subsequently all
nine of his grandchildren have
become B’nai Mitzvah at WLS too.
He was a WLS Warden (1950 – 53)
and took part in the daily evening
prayer rota, was an excellent tour
guide and became a vice-president
and finally, a life member of the
Senate of Elders. As a lay reader, he
possessed a distinctive verbal
delivery, and his strong voice was a
highlight of the High Holy Day
services, and even when, in later
years, he had to be helped up the
steps to the Bimah, his voice never
failed. That his seat now is empty,
and his voice silent, is poignant. He
will be missed by the whole
As his son, Andrew said in his
eulogy, “Whether we remember him
as Mr Monty, Uncle Monty, Gov’nor,
Le Mont, Pa, Grandpa, Monty Moss,
Montague or plain Monty, we shall
cherish our memories of him.” As the
end was near, David asked what his
epitaph might be. Monty thought for
a while, and his response typified his
modesty and thoughtfulness. Not for
him was some grand statement of
worth or achievement but simply, “I
was blessed with a wonderful wife....
please look after her.”
Monty is survived by his wife Jane,
his children Joanna, a GP, Andrew,
an accountant, and David, a retailer,
and by his 9 grandchildren Jonathan,
Benjamin, and Hannah, Samuel and
Jacob and Harry, Katie, Laura and
Travel together in 2014
months we shall be offering various
opportunities for Jewish travel. There
is a planned trip to Auschwitz and
Krakow in Spring 2015 and a
forthcoming seminar in Israel (more
information to follow in the Review
around the High Holy days).
It is often said that "travel broadens
the mind". Jewishly speaking, our
travel often involves visiting
abandoned or dwindling synagogues,
dilapidated cemeteries, and those
heart-wrenching sites of former
atrocities. All of this worldly
wandering and wondering is part of
'what we do'. We revisit the places of
the past, perhaps to acknowledge
not just what we have lost, or are
still losing, but also to remind
ourselves of how lucky we are to be
a part of such a continuous and rich
What so often strikes me about
Jewish travel is the unexpected
richness of our diversity - from
Sephardic food, to Yemenite prayers,
to Yiddish culture, to Ashkenazi
cantorial music; to Ladino festival
celebrations; to Indian Torah tropes.
What I also find fascinating is the
way that in different parts of the
world, similar, yet significantly
simultaneously. For example, around
the same decade in 1830s Germany,
America’s and Britain’s radical
breakaway expressions of Judaism
were beginning to emerge. The
proponents, often independent of
each other, may well not have seen
themselves as mavericks, but rather
as pioneers, trying to marry together
the best of Judaism with the enlightened secular cultures around them.
The historical birth of Reform
Judaism occurred for different
reasons in different continents;
however it's very emergence
changed the Jewish world forever,
for the better!
Until then, may your travels this
summer be as culturally enriching as
possible. Should you happen to find
yourself with a couple of hours going
spare, in a place with some Jewish
history, go on, take the detour, it will
be worth it.
Bon voyage!
Rabbi David
The immediate date for your diaries
is Friday 24th October to Sunday
2nd November, when I shall be
leading another WLS America trip.
This starts with an action-packed
Shabbat in Washington DC, and ends
with a celebratory Shabbat in the
equally magnificent Boston (stopping
at some wonderful places along the
way, including two nights in New
York). The trip is designed to explore
some fascinating cities, to map the
history of the Union of Reform
Judaism in the USA (contrasting with
the emergence of British and
European Progressive Judaism), to
visit some cutting edge synagogues
and institutions, to laugh, learn,
question, contemplate and, of
course, to eat! Our journey to the
New World is open to all members,
and there are just 18 places
available (all will need to be self
funded), so to register your interest
please drop me a quick email
([email protected]).
On Saturday 12 July, former West
Synagogue Rabbi, Jackie Tabick,
will be our Guest Preacher.
Jackie is currently the first female
Convenor of the Beth Din.
Good as new, and fully serviced
Shoprider S 888NR mobility
scooter For sale and in need of a
good home.
Price £250 or nearest offer
Travel can, indeed, broaden our
minds and our ability to empathise,
experience, educate and evolve. For
these reasons, in the coming 18
If you are interested, please call
07702 152 969
Recipes from Hilary Schuman
Now Sarit Packer and Itamar
Srulovich, the husband and wife
team who own Honey & Co., have
written a cookbook full of recipes
which capture the wonderful Middle
Eastern food they serve.
They give recipes, descriptions of
how they met in Israel, where they
have cooked in London and for
wh om ; and the wo n derf u l
photographs feature the food parts
of their restaurant, and pictures of
the people working there.
Below are adaptations of a couple of
recipes we have enjoyed ourselves
at home - Cauliflower 'Shawarma’,
and Honey Parfait - and for the hot
summer, we may have Jasmine and
Green Melon Iced Tea.
Not a real Shawarma, no lamb, no
fat but a great favourite in the
restaurant. Serves two as a main
 1 medium-sized cauliflower
including leaves
 2 tbsp olive oil
 3 tbsp baharat spice mix [you can
buy this already made-up]
 1 tsp sea salt
For the caramelized Onions:
 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
 1 tbsp olive oil
 ½ tsp salt
 1 tsp sugar
For the Tahini dressing:
 1 lemon
 125g tahini paste
 A pinch of salt
 100-130 ml water
For the garnish:
 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
 Crackers or crispy pitta shards
 Preheat oven to 200/180 °C –
Gas 6
 Place the whole cauliflower in an
ovenproof saucepan. Fill with
enough water to cover stem and
leaves. Drizzle some oil and
sprinkle with the spices and salt.
This will form a crust. Cover
tightly and roast for 1 – 1½ hours
until soft.
 Put onions and salt into a pan and
fry until starting to go soft and
golden. Add sugar and continue
until onions are caramelized and
brown. Remove from heat.
 Mix the tahini paste with the juice
of half a lemon and the salt. Add
the water and mix well, adding
more water if needed, slowly,
until the paste has a creamy
 Lift out the cauliflower and cut
into thick slices including stem
and leaves. Put onto two plates,
squeeze over more lemon juice
and top with onions and tahini
paste. Garnish with pine nuts and
sumac, if you wish. Serve with
the bread
Honey Parfait
makes 4-8 popsicles
These were first made for a birthday
party at the restaurant. In the
cookbook the occasion is told in
some detail. “The sight of 25 lawyers
licking these parfaits and grinning
like kids was truly magical” – you will
have to buy the book to read the
3 egg yolks
80g best quality honey
200ml double cream
 Whisk the yolks until they foam
up. Heat the honey in a small pan
(or 2-3 minutes in a microwave).
Very carefully pour the hot honey
into the yolks and continue to
whisk until the mix is fluffy and
 Lightly whip the cream to ‘soft
ribbon’ stage. Fold in the honey
-egg mixture and use to fill
moulds. Place a lolly stick in the
centre of each one and freeze for
at least 4 hours – or until you are
ready to be a child again! They
can stay in the freezer for up to a
Jasmine and green
melon iced tea
The book tells us: “Bushes of sweet
jasmine grow everywhere in Jerusalem, its delicate white flowers scenting the streets on hot summer
 1.5 litres of water
 2 jasmine green tea bags
 ½ Galia melon – peeled and
 200g sugar syrup
 4-6 sprigs of lemon thyme or
verbena to serve
 Optional: 2 shots of melon liqueur
or vodka!
 Boil the water and add the tea
bags. Take off the heat and leave
for 15 minutes.
 Blitz melon and sugar syrup in the
blender until smooth. Remove tea
bags from water and mix in the
sweetened melon purée. Put in a
jug and chill for an hour, then
serve with masses of ice.
 You can decorate each glass with
lemon thyme or verbena, and add
the alcohol if you wish.
It doesn’t keep well, but is perfect for
a hot summer’s day.
Hilary Schuman
Honey & Co
Published by Saltyard Books,
photography copyright Patricia Niven
020 7723 4404
Nathalie Scaianski
dial 020 7535 0…
Finance and
Executive Director
Simon Myers
Financial Controller
Shelley Kiersen
Venue Bookings
Kathryn Forro
Davina Carter
Clare Allen
Susie Fraser
Youth to YAD Events
Sarah Nathanson
Youth to YAD Manager
Ben Jardine
Projects Facilitator
Laura Solomons
Rabbinic and
Ritual Services
Senior Rabbi
Rabbi Julia
Principal Rabbi
Rabbi Helen
Rabbi David
Rabbi Benji
PA to Rabbi Julia
Paola Churchill
PA to Rabbi Helen
Ruth Leveson
PA to Rabbis David &
Maruim Koonsombat
Ritual Co-ordinator
Micky Nathanson
Asst. to Jo Michaels
Linda Bookman
Social Care
Jo Michaels
Jill Todd
[email protected]
JULY 2014
Tue 1
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Cost £7.50, includes: welcome tea, coffee and
biscuits; “What the Papers Say”; a hot threecourse lunch followed by tea, coffee and
chocolates. Contact Selina on 07810 153592 or
Elaine on 07850 645573
Wed 2
6.30pm: Jprep
8.30pm: From the Red Sea to the Dead Sea
– Adult Ed
In 1947 a Bedouin shepherd found some
extraordinary scrolls by accident in a cave near the
ruins of a place called Qumran.
Those scrolls have changed the face of bible study
and the understanding of the people of the Second
Temple period. Known as the Dead Sea Scrolls,
they were attributed to a celibate group who lived
near the Dead Sea. This group was referred to by
the Roman historian Pliny as well as by the Jewish
writers Philo and Josephus. Of the graves
excavated, the vast majority were of men and so
this seemed to confirm that this group was indeed
part of the ancient Essenes.
The scroll story became more and more complex
and they were not all freely available until 1991
when the site was taken over by the Israel
Antiquities Authority.
All these precious documents are now available
online and have been the source of much interest
in the scholarly and wider world, not least because
some of the communities also contained women
and children.
Their philosophy was rather different from other
groups in Second Temple Judaism who gave rise to
Judaism as we know it today. So, come and learn
more with me and with our member Anthony
Feather who has made this his special study for
many years and has a book out on the Copper
Fri 4
12.00 noon: Kneading the Kings
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
7.15pm: Shabbat Shira
Sat 5
9.30am: Torah Bagel Breakfast
10.30am: ShabbaTots Service
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Sun 6
3.00pm: Contact the Elderly Tea Party
Life fills us with stories. Stories fill us with life.
In collaboration with the charity Contact the Elderly, our WLS community is holding monthly Tea
Parties for senior members who are isolated or
lonely. The parties have proved a success, and
more of our elderly members enjoy these pleasant
get-togethers for an afternoon tea, as do all others
attending them - our dedicated team of volunteer
drivers, the hosts and the Rabbis.
Please note: We are particularly looking now for
volunteer-drivers to join our team. If you have a
car and can volunteer one Sunday afternoon per
month for an enjoyable and rewarding activity,
please do contact me. If you would like to take part
in these parties, as a guest, a host or a volunteer,
please contact Tirza Waisel at
[email protected] or call 020 7535 0278.
Mon 7
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
2.30pm: Carers’ Support Group
There are many among us who are taking care of a
family member, a neighbour or a friend who is
unwell. We do not always see ourselves as ‘carers’;
we say “I’m her sister”, “I’m her husband”, “his
daughter” – “of course I take care of him/her when
they are unwell.”
Yet, sometimes the caring role is overwhelming,
isolating and hard, even if it is difficult to admit this
to ourselves and to others. More often than not it
takes its toll on us if we don’t get the right support.
Most important of all is the support we can give
each other in the community, by providing advice,
information and a space to socialise and interact
with others who are often struggling with the same
kind of issues and who understand the challenges
we face. The sharing of experiences with others
may strengthen our ability to cope and does make
a real difference. We now have a Carers’ Support
Group at WLS.
Tue 8
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Wed 9
6.30pm: Jprep
8.30pm: From the Red Sea to the Dead Sea
– Adult Ed
See Wed 2 for more details
Fri 11
10.30am: ShabbaTots Café
12.00 noon: Kneading the Kings
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
Sat 12
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
With guest preacher Rabbi Jackie Tabick
Mon 14
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
The portion of the week means so much more if
you have studied it before. Join Rabbi Helen
Freeman in the Stourcliffe Mezzanine and bring
along a light non-meat lunch. Look forward to
seeing you there.
7.00pm: Bereavement Support Group
Have you suffered the loss of a partner, relative or
friend? Would you welcome the opportunity to
meet others in a similar position to yourself? WLS
is starting a group to meet the needs of people like
you to meet once a month. The direction the group
takes will be determined by the group itself.
The group will be facilitated by Jo Michaels and
Rabbi Helen Freeman.
Tue 15
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
7.00pm: Bereavement Visitors Group
West London Synagogue rightly claims to serve its
membership in many aspects of their lives, from
birth through each of life's cycles. To do so, it relies
on its members who contribute in so many ways.
Helping others is probably the most rewarding of
all activities. Perhaps the most neglected are those
who suffer the loss of a loved one. Maybe a parent,
a relative, even a child. Or a close colleague or
special friend. We at WLS have our own
'Bereavement Visitors Group' but it is tiny in
comparison with the numbers which it might be
supporting. We are each unique in the way that we
may 'accept' bereavement and only a proportion of
us want to experience the help which may come
from a trained Bereavement Visitor. People from all
Fri 18
12.00 noon: Kneading the Kings
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
7.15pm: Shabbat Shira
Sat 19
10.30am: ShabbaTots Service
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Sun 20
1.30pm: WLS Drop-In Centre
There are many ways to support our Drop-In
Centre, from donating nappies, basmati rice and
clothing (in good, wearable condition), to pitching
in at the centre on the third Sunday of each month.
Keep in mind that all of our volunteers were once
first-time volunteers, so inexperience need not be
an impediment to your participation! We are there
to support each other as much as to assist the
mothers, fathers and children who come for our
Mon 21
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
Tue 22
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
7.00pm: Cancer Support Group
This is a support group for people who have had or
currently have cancer. There is no age limit and it
is open for both male and female attendees. WLS is
a safe environment to come to in which to share
issues in confidence with people who understand
what you are going through. Each meeting is
facilitated by Jo Michaels and Rabbi David Mitchell.
Unfortunately this is not a carers’ group.
Thu 24
7.30pm: Open Arts Café
Exciting performances of new work by Britain’s upand-coming young (20s/30s) musicians, theatre
performers, puppeteers, visual artists and dancers.
Fun, intimate and inventive, Open Arts Café is a
brilliant night out. Wine and nibbles available. For
more information, email [email protected]
Fri 25
10.30am: ShabbaTots Café
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
Sat 26
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Mon 28
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
Tue 29
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Fri 1
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
Sat 2
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Mon 4
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
A Time to Mourn and a Time to Sing
On 4 August we commemorate the centenary of
the beginning of the First World War.
It was a time of heroism and also of tragedy. Many
great writers left us their poems and songs to
remind us of the Great War. Jewish people fought
on both sides in the conflict.
We shall be memorialising this event by an
Edwardian Tea from 4.30-6.30pm (please book
your place at £5 a head, or reserve a table since
spaces are limited. Contact
[email protected]).
Afterwards, members and friends will go from our
Samson Family Concourse into the synagogue itself for an interfaith service of memory and hope
which will start at 7.15pm and end by 8.30pm.
Tue 5
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Fri 8
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
Sat 9
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Mon 11
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
2.30pm: Carers’ Support Group
See Mon 7 July for more details
Tue 12
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Fri 15
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
walks of life may become trained visitors. The more
such visitors we have the better service we can
Sat 16
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Mon 18
12.30pm: Parashat Hashavuah
Tue 19
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Fri 22
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
Sat 23
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Tue 26
10.30am: Berkeley Lunch Club
Fri 29
6.00pm: Erev Shabbat Service
Sat 30
11.00am: Shabbat Morning Service
Sun 31
1.30pm: WLS Drop-In Centre
There are many ways to support our Drop-In Centre, from donating nappies, basmati rice and clothing (in good, wearable condition), to pitching in at
the centre on the third Sunday of each month.
Keep in mind that all of our volunteers were once
first-time volunteers, so inexperience need not be
an impediment to your participation! We are there
to support each other as much as to assist the
mothers, fathers and children who come for our
June Social &
Personal News
New Members:
B’nei Mitzvah:
Advertising in
the WLS Review
The WLS Review is
mailed to around
families around
London and the
Home Counties.
To find out about
our advertising
rates, please
[email protected]

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