1 Magazine of the New West End Synagogue Pesach 5773 / 2013


1 Magazine of the New West End Synagogue Pesach 5773 / 2013
Magazine of the New West End Synagogue
5773 / 2013
Welcome to Mosaic
Pesach 5773 / 2013
Staff & Contacts
03 Message from the Editor
Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler
04 Chief Rabbi’s Pesach Message
05 Message from Rabbi Shisler
06 United Synagogue’s
Chief Executive’s Message
08 Social and Personal
10 ‘From the Wardens’ Box’
11 Message from the Financial Representative
12 Finding My Way to the New West End
14 The Magic Circle Christmas Show 2012
16 Purim 2013
18 Passover Customs
20 Pesach Guide 5773/2013
22 Pesach Recipes from Around the World
24 US Futures Helping the Next Generation
26 US Women –
Time for change or changing times
Laurence Lando
Martin Lewin
Financial Representative
Harry Sieratzki
Board of Management
Lynn Brown
Rachel Magrill
Toni Nagel
Angela Skry
Trevor Toube
Jeff Hammerschlag
Jonathan Matheson
Michael Sharron
Michael Talalay
Bencie Woll
Representative at the Board of Deputies
Dori Schmetterling
Under 35 Representative at the Board of Deputies
Josh Morris
Michael Wahnon
Eli Ballon
Office hours
Monday to Thursday 8am – 4pm
Friday 8am – 12 noon
Sunday 10am – 12 noon
Telephone 020 7229 2631
Fax 020 7229 2355
Email [email protected]
Website www.newwestend.org.uk
Designed and Produced by
Creative Interpartners, London
Message from
the Editor
Eli Ballon
Pesach 2013
The Pesach seder revolves around
one simple phrase. ‘Start with the
negative, and conclude with the
positive.’ The Talmud records two
views as to how this should be done,
both of which are implemented in
our hagadah. One view focuses on
physical salvation and says, ‘We
were once slaves to Pharaoh in
Egypt...but G-d set us free.’ The
second view focuses on spiritual
ascent. ‘Our family before Avraham
were idol worshipers...but now G-d
has brought us close to Him through
Torah.’ In these two ways the hagadah
reminds us of who we once were so
that we can properly celebrate who
we are today.
The New West End has many of its
own customs and traditions, from the
clothes that the Synagogue’s leaders
wear to various musical and liturgical
specifics. Also, within our individual
families we have our own customs
and traditions. There are the ones
most of us are familiar with – eating
hard boiled eggs at the Seder and
the tune for Mah Nishtanah – and
there are also ones that we are not
likely to know as well, some of which
you will see in this issue of Mosaic.
of the seder. We strive to remember
where we come from, both physically
and spiritually, in order to fully
appreciate who we are today.
Although the analogy is meant to
explain the Pesach seder, it also
serves as an important lesson for
life. Often people experience good
Whether our traditions are the ones
that 99% of people follow or are ones fortune and go ‘from rags to riches,’
that only our particular family follows, only to forget how it used to be. In
it is important to try and stick to them. most cases they mean no harm. They
just get used to the good fortune.
The Dubno Maggid (Rabbi Jacob
This year, as we celebrate our
ben Wolf Kranz, 1740 – 1804)
Seder, whether it is at the shul’s
describes the structure of the
communal one on the first night,
hagadah by way of analogy. He
or our family one, try and remember
describes a man who was once very
it’s not just celebrating the people
poor and then experienced good
we are with today, but experiencing
fortune and became a wealthy man.
and remembering where we come
Once a year he would take out the
from in both a physical as well as a
rags that he wore in his poverty and
religious sense.
would wear them to remind himself
and his family how it used to be. This,
the Dubno Maggid says, is the point
Together with my
wife Shana, we
wish you a Chag
Kasher V’Sameach
– a happy and
Kosher Pesach.
Chief Rabbi’s
Pesach Message 5773
Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks
Pesach 5773
The Seder opens with a strange
declaration: ‘This is the bread
of affliction our ancestors ate in
the land of Egypt. Let all who are
hungry come and eat.’ What kind
of generosity is it to invite strangers
to eat the bread of affliction?
In my Haggadah I offered a radical
interpretation. We find that in the
course of the seder two conflicting
interpretations are given of matzah.
At the beginning, it is called the
bread of affliction, the food of
slaves. Later, however, we speak of
it as the bread of freedom that our
ancestors ate as they were leaving
Egypt in such a hurry that there was
no time for the dough to rise.
How does affliction turn into
freedom? When we share our bread
with others. I learned this from the
harrowing account of the last days of
the Second World War by one of the
survivors of Auschwitz, Primo Levi.
Levi writes in If This is a Man, that
the hardest time was the ten days
between the evacuation of the camp
by the Nazis and the arrival of the
Russian army.
The only people left in the camp
were prisoners deemed too ill to
take part in the ‘death march’ as
the Germans left. It was bitterly
cold, mid-January. There was no
electricity, no heat, and no meals.
Levi and a friend were digging
desperately in the frozen earth,
trying to find vegetables, when they
were observed by a fellow prisoner
who invited them to share the food
he had found.
At that moment, writes Levi, we
ceased being prisoners and became
free human beings again. As long
as the Nazis were in power, it was
suicidal to share your food with a
fellow prisoner. You would starve.
This first act of generosity, of
empathy and altruism, was the sign
that the survivors had recovered
their humanity. When we share our
bread with others, it ceases to be
the bread of affliction and becomes
the bread of freedom.
We are, thankfully, a very long way
from that particular Egypt, but the
principle remains. There are Jews
and non-Jews today who live in
poverty, in Britain, in Israel and
elsewhere. Let us do what we can
to help them. In the last month of
his life Moses warned the Israelites
– children of the people he had
led to freedom – that the biggest
challenge they would face would
be not poverty but affluence, not
affliction but freedom.
When we are affluent we tend
to forget about others. Affluent
societies throughout history have
tended to become self-centred and
individualistic. People lose the sense
of solidarity they had when they
and their friends and neighbours
were poor. The Jewish answer to this
has always been tzedakah, giving
to others, and hachnassat orchim,
hospitality to others.
So, before Pesach, the custom was to
give ma’ot chittim, money to those who
lacked it, so that they could buy the
requisites for the Seder meal. I can still
remember from my childhood how my
late grandmother, who ran the Frumkin’s
wine shop in London’s Commercial
Road, would give away free bottles of
wine to all needy Jews in the East End
so that they and their families would
have their four cups for Seder night.
Please this year make sure that you
give tzedakah to those in need. The
move from affliction to freedom begins
in the act of sharing our blessings with
those who have less than us.
This is the last year that I will write
a Pesach message as Chief Rabbi.
The words I most want to say are
simple thanks for the privilege of
serving this great community these
past twenty-two years. In that time
Jewish life has been renewed in ways
none of us thought possible. There
are more Jewish schools, more Jewish
learning, more cultural activities and
outstanding welfare facilities than
have ever existed in British Jewry
since the return of Jewish life in 1656.
As I wish my distinguished successor,
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, every
blessing, I want to thank you for all
you have done to bring about this
renaissance. May our children and
grandchildren go further still, and
may our re-invigorated community
bring blessings to all its members and
nachat ruach, delight, to Heaven itself.
Wishing you all a
chag kasher vesameach.
305 Ballards Lane London N12 8GB
Telephone 020 8343 6301
Fax 020 8343 6310
Email [email protected]
Website www.chiefrabbi.org
Rabbi Shisler’s
Pesach Message
Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler
Pesach 5773
Pesach is all about miracles. Pharaoh,
the human king with pretensions of
being a god, enslaved the Hebrews,
and they watched as the one true
G-d brought upon him and his nation
ten miraculous plagues. As a result
he eventually allowed the slaves
to leave Egypt. The Israelites then
witnessed even more miracles as they
made their way in the desert. They
enjoyed the manna, the quails, the
well of water that travelled with them,
the pillars of cloud and fire that led
them by day and by night, and the
splitting of the Red Sea.
All of these astonishing events
made their impact upon the Jewish
People throughout the ages and yet,
as miraculous as they were, they pale
into insignificance when compared
with the greatest of all miracles,
and it’s one that we’re privileged to
witness ourselves.
In the Seder service we say
‘…shelo echad bilvad amad aleinu
‘…not only one nation has tried to
destroy us…
but the Holy One, blessed be He,
saved us from their hands.’
The fact that we continue to exist as
a people is surely the greatest
miracle that G-d ever wrought for us.
The number of young people who
were brought up in non-observant,
or loosely observant homes and
who have gone on to become fully
Torah observant is quite remarkable.
And one of the greatest side-effects
of this is the number of families
who have raised their levels of
observance because of the influence
of their children.
We think of the mighty empires of
Rome and of Greece that have long
ceased to exist, even though they
were once flourishing and powerful
nations. We think of all those nations of
the world that tried to exterminate us –
so many of them vanished into oblivion
We must not delude ourselves into
centuries ago. And yet, we, the
thinking that Judaism can survive
smallest of all peoples, are still here.
without Torah. Throughout our
long history the single thing that
And yet, this is only part of the
has ensured our continuation as a
miracle, because, not only are we still
people, the only thing that has bound
here, but we’re thriving in ways that we us together wherever we lived in the
never have in the whole of our history. world, is that attachment to Mitzvot.
When Jews give up observing the
Although we lose many to
laws of Kashrut, and ignore Shabbat
intermarriage and assimilation, the
and the festivals, they soon stop
fact is that there are more men and
circumcising their baby boys and
women engaged in Jewish learning
relating in any way to Judaism. When
than at any time in our history. There a person’s Judaism revolves entirely
are more Jews keeping Mitzvot than
around chicken soup and matzo balls,
ever before. The number of Jews
it soon becomes as cold as the
committed to our heritage and our
left-over soup that’s put in the fridge.
people has never been as high as it is
today. And we’re the generation that At our Seder services this year let us
has the privilege to see this and, if we all reflect on the miracle that is the
Jewish People, thank G-d for our
want to, be part of it.
survival, and commit ourselves to
doing what we can to ensure that
this miracle will remain in the world
into the future.
Anne and I wish you all a
Chag Kasher V’sameiach.
Fresh Faces,
Fresh Places
Jeremy Jacobs
Chief Executive of the
United Synagogue
All our work at The US, be it in communities or at
the centre, underpins our mission to provide our
members with an authentic and inclusive brand of
modern Orthodox Judaism through living, learning
and caring. All of us
work hard to ensure
our members are
engaged and excited
by their Judaism, and
there is always plenty
going on both within
your own community
and across the United
Synagogue that you
can get involved in.
With the impending retirement of Chief Rabbi,
Lord Sacks, the US are organising a very special
evening to show our thanks and appreciation
for his inspirational leadership. On 21st May
2013, members of the
community are invited
to attend this event
which will feature an ‘In
Conversation with The
Chief’ and choral tributes
by many of our schools,
performing together with
the Shabbaton Choir.
We are already seeing
the benefits of these
appointments, with
many new programmes
and initiatives receiving
positive feedback from
the communities.
Of course, many
people followed with
great interest the lead
up to the announcement of the next Chief Rabbi.
Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis is an exceptional man, and
a highly qualified and worthy choice and I look
forward to working closely with him when he
takes up his post in September.
Locally, we were delighted
to welcome new Rabbis
and Rabbinical couples
and those communities
that became full member
synagogues. We are already seeing the benefits of
these appointments, with many new programmes
and initiatives receiving positive feedback from the
communities. For example the initiatives we are
doing to promote Young US, aimed at the 21 – 35
One of the great strengths of
our communities is that we
take pride in looking after our
members’ needs. At this time
of year we need to think about
those members who see Pesach
not as a time of celebration but
of dread. Unfortunately these
members struggle to afford
essential items for Pesach.
year olds, have been exceptionally well received
with literally hundreds of young people attending
events at a number of communities. There has also
been the landmark announcement that women are
now able to stand for the highest positions of lay
leadership at their respective communities.
you to all of those who have already donated and our
amazing US Community Cares volunteers who have
delivered, in confidence, these highly appreciated
packages. This is what it means to be a community
and I am so proud to be part of an organisation
where its members look out for each other.
That being said, our shuls and communities could
not possibly function without the incredible teams
of full-time staff, volunteers and lay leaders who all
work to provide a great community atmosphere,
offering social and educational events for their
members. I would like thank them for their tireless
work and dedication to their communities.
Thanks also to the sterling work of the KLBD, there
are a huge number of approved food items for
Pesach, and their new Pesach website has made
understanding the process of preparing for Pesach
that much simpler.
One of the great strengths of our communities is
that we take pride in looking after our members’
needs. At this time of year we need to think about
those members who see Pesach not as a time
of celebration but of dread. Unfortunately these
members struggle to afford essential items for
Pesach. Our US Chesed Pesach appeal raises
money for Pesach food packages, purchased for
those in need in our community. A huge thank
Post Pesach, the Tribe team focus their attention
on providing our children and teenagers with a
summer they will never forget. Tribe Israel Tour is
now in its third year and for the younger ones we
have Tribe Summer Camps and Schemes based in
the UK and Europe. Our Tribe summer programmes
are a great way to keep your kids entertained in a
fun, safe, Jewish environment, and give you a bit of
a breather for a couple of weeks.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a
Chag Sameach.
If you have any questions, comments
or would like to get in touch with
me, you can either
e-mail me at [email protected]
or you can
Tweet me @jeremy_s_jacobs
Social &
We offer a very warm welcome
to the following new Members
of the Synagogue:
Mr Tom and Mrs Elizabeth Cohen
Miss Miriam Sharman
Ms Elise Horowitz
Mr Andrew and Mrs Sivan Frank
Mazeltov to all who were married at the New
West End over the last few months:
Miss Louisa Knapp and Mr Jeremy Stuber
Miss Isabel Janner and Mr Jonathan Gruder
Dr Lara Jacobs and Mr. Tom Huberman
Miss Emma Barnett and Mr Jeremy Weil
Miss Gina Unterhalter and Mr Darren Elton
Miss Rachel Garfield and Mr Oliver Newman
Miss Laura Hinden and Mr Joshua Prince
Miss Emma Collins and Mr Jamie Gross
Miss Carly Gray and Mr Richard Stanton
Miss Karen Gilbert and Mr Curtis Ross
Miss Emma Viner and Mr Jonathan Goldstone
Miss Emma Stephany and Mr Sam Ross
Miss Laura Susman and Mr Ryan Musikant
Miss Hayley Cohen and Mr Simon Edel
Miss Hayley Raphael and Mr Oliver Samuel
Mazel Tov to:
Maxine and Michael Margolis on their son’s wedding
Leonard Snapper on his 90th birthday
Ann and Howard Richenberg on the birth of their first grandson
Tony Cohen on his 60th birthday
Caryl and John Harris on the birth of a granddaughter
Melissa and Charles Bodie on the birth of a daughter
Sherrie and Anthony Bodie on the birth of a granddaughter
Marilyn and Michael Harris on the birth of a grandson
Marcella Spelman on the birth of a great grandson
Roy Levin on his 80th birthday
Perry Goodman on his 80th birthday
Hilary and David Slovick on the birth of their first grandson
Max Davis on his Bar Mitzvah, to his parents Sandra and
Jeremy Davis, and his grandparents Linda and Martin Lewin
Karen and David Alberts on the birth of a daughter
Jacquie and Stuart Katz on the birth of a granddaughter
Lori and Zak Mockton the recent birth of a baby boy
Vicky and Glenn Portnoy on the birth of a daughter
Lynn Brown on the birth of a granddaughter
Stephanie and Peter Featherman on the birth of a granddaughter
Ingrid and Bobby Silver on their 20th wedding anniversary
Michelle Hammerschlag and Jonathan Singer on their wedding
Pamela and Jeff Hammerschlag on their daughter’s wedding
Mrs Sylvia Pomper on her 100th birthday
The Board of Management along with
the members, as well as visitors to the
NWES, wish to thank all those who
have sponsored Kiddushim over recent
months. The Kiddushim provide a time
to make new friends and catch up with
old ones. We would like to thank you all!
We regret to announce the following deaths:
Mrs Jane Hodes
Mr David Howard
Mr Lionel Manuel
Mrs Paula Valentine
Mr Michael Winner
We extend our condolences to:
Mrs Lisa Calton on the passing of her father
Mrs Esther Fieldgrass on the passing of her father
Dr Cyril Hodes on the passing of his wife
Mrs Miriam Howard on the loss of her husband
Mrs Sylvia Pomper on the loss of her brother
‫המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים‬
May the Almighty comfort you among the other
mourners of Zion and Jerusalem
We Will Remember Them
We have introduced the practice
of reciting Memorial Prayers to
recognise the generosity of those
who have left legacies to the
Synagogue in their Wills, and
who will be permanently
acknowledged in our Yizkor Book.
We are extremely grateful to
those congregants who have
made bequests, which enable us
to maintain and preserve our
beautiful Synagogue together
with its activities.
If you would like to make provision in
your Will for the future benefit of the
Synagogue please contact the office.
Telephone 020 7229 2631
Email [email protected]
Website www.newwestend.org.uk
‘From the Wardens’ Box’
Laurence J Lando
‫מה נשתנה‬
So why start with the phrase that we all know
marks the start of The Seder service? Well I
suppose it could be that my contribution, on
behalf of your Wardens, comes in the Pesach
Mosaic magazine. It also is a difference, in that
this year’s missive is written by a Warden and
not the Chairman of the Board of Management.
For me and my family The Seder, like a Shabbat,
makes all the difference. We gather as a family
and share the traditions that go back thousands
of years. We also recognise that Jews from around
the Globe are also joining together to recite and
learn how we came
out of Egypt and
became free men
and women. In a
democracy we often
take this freedom
for granted, but
we are told to tell
our children and
grandchildren that
it is what Hashem
did for me, not some
nameless ancestor,
which makes this story
of our heritage so
of a Chairman and Vice-Chairman. I returned to
the box at the invitation of the Executive and the
Board of Management, on the retirement of the
incumbent Warden. I came back to the Box with
pleasure and with thanks to the Board for their
faith in my ability to do the job. I was delighted
with the warm response from the Community on
my return.
So I come to our
beautiful Synagogue
and its illustrious
history and tradition
that make it so important for all of us, the current
Community, today. We benefit from the work and
investment that founded the Synagogue, and the
time and efforts spent by so many people to bring
new life back into the shul, when it looked like it
may lose its reason to exist, its stuff of life – the
people and families who now come to consider The
New West End Synagogue, their spiritual home.
I must also mention
our Financial
Representative, Harry
Sieratzki. Whilst
he fights his FR corner with fervour, his only
concern is for the benefit of our Synagogue, and
its Congregation. Over the recent years he has
managed our shul financial affairs with growing
aplomb and his warm nature makes it so difficult
to disagree with his conclusions. After four years
he leaves the finances of the NWES in fine fettle,
with the thanks of the entire Community.
Please excuse the approach that I have taken to
this missive from ‘The Box’. It has been a rather
different and in some ways a difficult year for
your Wardens as we have missed the assistance
Returning to the Box, I have been reminded what
a super job is done by our Beadle, Eli Ballon. He
remains a source of advice and the work he does
to facilitate our religious services is such that all
A great deal of gratitude should be shown to our
senior Warden, Martin Lewin. Unless you have
seen and spent time with a Warden, you would
find the amount of
work quite daunting.
Martin has brought
me up to speed on
the issues that have
to be addressed,
and as a team we
work seamlessly. I am
constantly impressed
by his depth of
knowledge and ability
to listen to my point
of view when we
have one of our many
discussions concerning
Community affairs.
In a democracy we often
take this freedom for
granted, but we are told
to tell our children and
grandchildren that it is
what Hashem did for
me, not some nameless
ancestor, which makes this
story of our heritage
so important.
appears to go smoothly, even tough my legs
are ‘feverishly paddling under the water’. Our
backroom staff of Administrator Michael Wahnon
and Caretakers, keep the business and fabric of
the Synagogue in such fine shape.
Our Security team also needs our grateful
thanks, as do our Greeters at the entrance to
the Synagogue. The Board of Management
have worked so hard throughout the years to
make all the sections of activities proceed so
well. They continue to have a positive input and
give us advice so that your Executive can take the
necessary decisions, knowing full well that we
have the continued support of the Community
at large.
No Synagogue can function without its Rabbi,
and we are so fortunate to continue to have
Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler as our spiritual leader and
teacher. Indeed with his ability to morph into a
Chazan of the most impressive and tuneful kind,
has made the services as beautiful and melodic
as ever. I am happy to report that the Rabbi is
assisting your Honorary Officers in their search
for a new Chazan for the shul.
It would be remiss of me if I did not make a special mention
of Anne Shisler. I speak on behalf of the entire Community
when I give thanks that we have such an amazing person as
our Rebbezin. She is a constant tower of strength and energy
and we just have to acknowledge that she is part of the
reason that our dear NWES runs with such vigour.
So on behalf of your Wardens, and their respective families,
may we wish you all a Happy and Reflective Pesach.
Chag Sameach.
No Synagogue can function
without its Rabbi, and we
are so fortunate to continue
to have Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler as
our spiritual leader and teacher.
Message from the
Financial Representative
Harry Sieratzki
Dear members,
After four years as Financial Representative, I will
be passing the ‘cheque book’ to a successor at
the end of April.
During these four years, we have undertaken
one major and several minor projects and have
also succeeded in repaying a substantial loan to
the United Synagogue.
This leaves the NWES in a strong position for
the future.
I thank the community for the trust placed in me.
On behalf of my mother, Bencie and myself, I wish
Rabbi and Anne Shisler and all members of the
community a Kosher Pesach.
Finding My Way to
the New West End
Samantha Way
The London Jewish community has
some of the most spectacular shuls,
rabbis and congregants in the world.
I came to London not expecting
to find a synagogue that accepted
me like the New West End did, but
during my first Shabbat I found these
warm and generous people that took
me under their wings. My semester
abroad from Brandeis University was
one of the most fulfilling experiences
of my life. People ask me what I did
and what I liked
and almost all I
talk about is my
involvement in
British Jewish life.
hearing the Rabbi speak, helping set
up the Kiddush, and leading children’s
activities. As the only observant Jew
in a house of students, after coming to
events and services, I finally felt like part
of a community. It was an exciting time.
I was lucky enough to have figures
that acted as friends, parents, or
grandparents. I really meant a lot that
I had a “family” in this brand new
foreign country. This was the longest
time away and one of the farthest
places from my
home in Maryland
I had been. But
my family did
not need to
worry about me;
I was in good
hands. Every
time I needed
something I
could talk to
a congregant
and get help
with anything;
medicine, advice,
food. I took trips to Golders Green,
which were exciting and eventful,
and I loved going with others who
showed me the ropes.
I was invited to dinners and lunch
by congregants and the Rabbi
and Rebbetzin once I got to know
more people. Meals with families
were nerve wracking at first, my
experience with British homes was
next to none, but I soon learned to
People ask me
what I did and
what I liked
and almost all I
talk about is my
involvement in
British Jewish life.
I lived in Notting
Hill for almost four
months during
the first term for
university. My
semester started
the week of
Rosh Hashanah
and so I was
first introduced
to the community during the High
Holy Days. I found the services to be
beautiful and spiritually fulfilling. I came
to the UK with the intent to grow in my
observance; my family is not observant,
but I wanted to become, so I began to
immerse myself in activities, services
and events. I came to shul for Kabbalat
Shabbat, always greeted by the group
of regulars with warmth. I loved going
to Shabbat morning services, praying,
Sometime after
a month or so I
started to wish
that I could go to
shul more often,
because I loved it
so much.
love them. I had to cook all my own food in my
house so it was great to get to eat with others.
I was cultured in the art of preparing Shabbat food
(melon before the meal is a great idea), eating with
my utensils in the British way (I no longer eat like
an American, which should make some people
very happy), serving tea (always after the meal and
usually served by the man of the house) and much
more. I learned more from these happenings than
I learned in my British culture class at university.
Sometime after a month or so I started to wish that
I could go to shul more often, because I loved it so
much. I finally got up the courage to wake up in the
morning and go to Shacharit, and I have to say it
was one the best decisions I have made. I started
my day off with prayers, breakfast and conversation,
and it made every day better. I may have slept
through a good few mornings, but I always tried
to go. After a Shabbaton with Imperial College
I began to get involved with the Imperial JSOC,
eating lunch and going to their events with them.
It was great to get to meet observant people my
age that I could talk to and meet up with.
This term I go to Shacharit and Mincha/Maariv
every day with a minyan of Orthodox Jewish
students at Brandeis University. I am also the only
one with the Chief Rabbi’s Daily Prayer Book,
which I use every day. My first experience with
daily prayers at the New West End made it so
much easier for me to feel at home during these
times. I learn through group study and go to talks
to learn more about the texts and traditions, as
well as attending my actual university classes.
I want to become a Jewish studies teacher for
primary school age students eventually. I am really
passionate about learning about Judaism and
experiencing Jewish life.
Being back in the United States has its ups and
downs; I get to see my family more regularly, but
I miss the people I met and the family I acquired
in London. I would love to come back and spend
more time in London in the future. I look back
on my experience with fond memories. I met so
many great souls who made coming to shul, and
observing in other ways, more meaningful.
The Magic Circle
Christmas Show 2012
Alex Miller
Although Piff stole the show, the most
amazing magician in terms of technical
This was the second year that I had
been to see the show. Some of you
may know that I really love magic.
(Yes, I am the one who is always
making things disappear at the
Kiddush.) The show was amazing, as
always, and I got to see it from the
very front row. Grandpa even got
chosen to help out with one of the
tricks – although he corrected the
magician’s spelling, of course.
There were four performers. My
favourite by far was Piff the Magic
Dragon. Some of you may have seen
him on Penn and Teller ‘Fool Us’. He
dresses up as a dragon, and has a
very small chihuahua called Mr Piffles.
Piff the Magic Dragon does amazing
tricks and is also extremely funny! I
won’t tell you the jokes, as it would
spoil it, but if you ever get a chance
to see him, you should! My brother
Josh thinks he’s a real dragon, but
really he is a creation of John van
der Put, The Magic Circle Close-up
Magician of the Year in 2011.
It might seem strange to talk about a
Christmas Show in a shul magazine,
but this was more of a Chanukah
show because I got the tickets as a
Chanukah present! There was also
a pretty big contingent from our
shul, as I went with my grandfather,
my parents and my brothers, and
the Rabbi was there doing ‘front of
house’ on the day. What it is to have
such a magical Rabbi!
Piff the Magic Dragon does
amazing tricks...
Piff the Magic Dragon &
Mr Piffles the chihuahua.
skill was Martyn Rowland, who is a ‘mind reader’.
I thought for a moment that I knew how he did it
when he ‘read’ the mind of a girl who was thinking
about a particular time in the day… but then he set
a watch to the right time, even though it was held
by a boy for the whole time. I would really like to be
able to do that trick! And as for guessing names of
people and pets – well, that really is magic.
Of course the Rabbi
knows Martyn Rowland,
and has performed with
him too
Of course the Rabbi knows Martyn Rowland,
and has performed with him too. So
be careful what you think during the
Sermon, just in case the Rabbi has
learned to read your mind too!
So if you get a chance to book a
show at the Magic Circle, definitely
do so. www.themagiccircle.co.uk.
Unfortunately many of the shows
are on Shabbat so you can only
go in the winter, or else you have
to go midweek. Now if only I could
make my school disappear, I could go
to see those too…
Purim 2013
Passover Customs
British territory of
Gibraltar, the tiny
peninsula off the coast
of Spain, Jews actually
mix the dust of bricks
into their charoset dish
(see our Administrator’s
recipe), a symbol of the
mortar used to hold
together the brick walls
the Jews built in Egypt.
The Ark in a the
Shaar Hashamayim
Synagogue, Gibraltar.
POLAND Hasidic Jews living in Góra
Kalwaria, Poland, reenact the crossing
of the Red Sea in their living rooms.
On the seventh day of Passover, each
Jewish family pours water on the
floor of their homes, hikes up their
coats and says the name of the towns
in the region they would pass while
making their crossing.
Visiting Hasidic Jews from across
Europe, Israel and North America
pray in Lezajsk, a small town in
southeastern Poland, at the tomb of
their spiritual leader, Rabbi Elimelech
Weisblum (1717-1787), in an annual
event marking his death.
ETHIOPIA Ethiopian Jews’ history is strikingly similar to that
of their Israelite ancestors. The Jewish community there
underwent an exodus of their own in 1985, when Operation
Moses and Joshua took almost 8,000 Jews from Sudan to a
safe-haven in Israel, according to the Jewish Virtual Library.
In commemoration of Passover and their own past, Ethiopian
Jews break all of their dishes and make new ones to symbolize
a complete break from the past and a new start, reports The
Jewish Daily Forward.
Newly-arrived Falashas, Ethiopian Jews, dance and sing April
14, 1985 in Jerusalem during the open-air festival of Mimouna
to celebrate the end of Passover. After the fall of Emperor Haile
Selassie of Ethiopia, Israel had smuggled Falashas out of Ethiopia.
Very shortly, we will be sitting down to our Seder.
Though the story is the same everywhere, some
Passover traditions differ from one country to the
next. Here are some interesting Passover traditions
from some unexpected places.
AFGHANISTAN Jews living in Afghanistan
created the tradition of gently whipping
themselves with scallions as a symbol of the
Egyptian slave-drivers’ whips used against the
Israelites, says Beliefnet.com. According to the
Online Database of Jewish Communities, there
is currently only one Jew living in Afghanistan,
and the largest population of Afghan Jews are
in Queens, New York.
In this photograph, the last Jew in Afghanistan,
Zebulon Simentov, born 1959, sits on the streets
of Kabul.
INDIA A Jewish community has lived in Cochin in the Indian state of Kerala
for more than 2,000 years. Its members go to shockingly great lengths to
prepare for Passover, reports The Jewish Week.
‘Pesah work,’ as it was called in Cochin, would begin immediately after
Chanukah. In the Cochin community, it was believed that if a Jewish woman
were to make even the slightest mistake in Passover preparation during
the 100 days before the actual seder, then the lives of her husband and her
children would be endangered.
The pursuit of chametz was a serious business. To ensure purity, the Jews
of Cochin kept special rooms in which all Passover utensils, thoroughly
scrubbed, were stored. Houses would be scraped and repainted immediately
after Purim. Wells would be drained and scrubbed, lest they be polluted.
Each grain of rice – an essential staple even during Passover – would be
examined to ensure that it was free from cracks into which polluting chametz
might find its way.
Pesach Guide
Sweep and rinse well
with detergent or floor
Food cabinets
If the cabinet is going to
be used on Pesach, take
out all the food; wash
around it with a rag
soaked in detergent. Be
sure the detergent goes
into all the cracks and
soaks into any crumbs
of chametz which may
be there.
Although this is
technically sufficient,
many prefer to line the
cabinets with paper
as well.
After taking the food
out, wipe the interior
with a rag soaked in
detergent. Some are
accustomed to covering
the racks, however this
should be done with
care, so as not to impair
the circulation of the
cold air within.
If there is a real
possibility that chametz
went into them, they
should be checked for
fully edible crumbs
of chametz.
If the probability that
chametz entered these
places is remote, a
rabbinic authority
can be consulted to
establish the conditions
under which they do
not have to be checked.
This includes chests,
dressers, basements,
attics and all other
similar cases.
Sinks must be kashered
as follows: Clean the
sinks and pour a kettle
of boiling water into
them and on their sides,
ensuring that the water,
while still boiling hot,
touches all the surfaces.
It is preferable to line the
sink (e.g. with tin foil or
contact paper) or to use
an insert. However, with
metal sinks this is not
actually necessary.
Wash them with a
detergent; however,
they are usually covered
(with a non-porous
material) as well.
Kitchen counters
Since they may have
been used for hot
chametz, they should
be cleaned well and
kashered through
pouring boiling water
on them. Ideally, they
should be covered
as well.
Cleaning, without
any other kashering
procedures, is sufficient.
Cooker, oven,
Top – Wipe it with a rag
soaked in detergent
and cover it with tin foil
(optional). Grates and
the surface itself can be
kashered by covering
the entire area with two
layers of heavy duty
aluminium foil, lighting
all the burners, and
raising them to their
maximum heat. Let it
burn for 5-10 minutes.
(Of course, the exhaust
fan, if you have one,
should be turned on to
draw off the heat.)
Oven – Wipe it
with a rag soaked
in detergent. If you
suspect that there are
crumbs left, then clean
the oven with any of the
regular oven-cleaners,
and afterwards turn
on the oven to its
maximum temperature
for 30 – 40 minutes.
NB When Kashering
items they must first be
cleaned and then left
for 24 hours without
use before actual
Food processor
A Rabbi should be
Pots, pans, dishes
and cutlery
Whatever is not going
to be used for Pesach
should be put away
and locked up. If there
is actual chametz, it
should also be sold.
Clothes, blankets
If they have been
washed in a detergent,
there is no need to
worry, even if you
find crumbs in them
on Pesach. Pockets
of clothes not being
washed or dry-cleaned
need only to be
checked for chametz,
and then wiped out
with a rag soaked
in detergent.
Of course, clothes,
which will not be worn
on Pesach, can be put
away without being
checked, since all the
actual chametz in them
has been sold.
Pesach Recipes from
Around the World
Gibraltarian Charoset
Michael Wahnon
250g Roasted almonds
250g Roasted hazelnuts
250g Walnuts
1 box of dates
1 large orange
1 large apple
1 large pear
2 or 3 large bananas
Brick( yes, actual brick ) dust
Red table wine
Put the nuts through the blender ensuring
they are all very finely ground.
After peeling, add the fruit and dates and
blend everything together.
Add enough ground cinnamon to make a
dryish paste and a pinch of brick dust and
mix it all together.
Add a glass of red table, putting it into
the oven (gas mark 3, 160°C, 325°F) for
approximately 20 minutes until dry.
Remove from the oven, add ground
cinnamon and leave to cool.
When using on the Seder night, add red
table wine.
French – Mackerel Pickled
in White Wine
Trevor Toube
Try this elegant French dish, lighter than the on above
and certain to stimulate even the most jaded palate.
It can be prepared three or even four days ahead and
refrigerated before serving attractively garnished with
sprigs of dill or parsley; it is equally good made with
other fish such as herring, trout or even salmon.
For 6 servings, combine all of the following ingredients
in a saucepan, boil for 20 minutes and strain, reserving
the carrot and the lemon:
8-10 fl. oz (230-280 ml) of dry white wine
4 fl. oz (120 ml) of water
1 sliced onion
1 sliced carrot
1 sliced lemon
1 stick of celery
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of parsley
½ teaspoon salt
A generous teaspoon of sugar.
Wash and pat dry 6 mackerel fillets of about 6-8 oz
(170-225 g) each. Poach the fish, covered, for 3 – 5
minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the fillets
to cool in the liquid. Lift out the fish and any reserved
lemon and vegetables. Arrange them attractively in a
covered dish and boil the liquid hard for about 5 minutes
to reduce it. Pour over the fish; cover and refrigerate for
at least 12 hours. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Doro Wot
(Ethiopian chicken in red pepper paste)
Emebet Apfel
Servings: 4 to 6
2 pounds chicken legs and thighs, skinless
1 lemon, juice only
2 teaspoons salt
2 onions chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon gingerroot, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons paprika
1/4 to 1/2 cup berbere paste
3/4 cup water or stock
1/4 cup red wine
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
6 hard-boiled eggs peeled (optional)
Ethiopian Sautéed
Lamb or Beef
Emebet Apfel
Servings: 4
350g lean lamb or beef
1 garlic clove, minced
15ml olive oil or 15ml vegetable oil
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 green hot peppers, quartered lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
A generous pinch of salt
15-20g berbere mixed spice
Mix together the chicken pieces, lemon juice and salt and in
a large, non-reactive bowl and set aside to marinate for about
30 minutes.
While the chicken is marinating, puree the onions, garlic
and ginger in a food processor or blender. Add a little water
if necessary.
Heat the oil, in a large pot over medium flame. Add the paprika
and stir in to colour the oil and cook the spice through, about
1 minute. Do not burn. Stir in the berbere paste and cook for
another 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the onion-garlic-ginger puree and sauté until most of the
moisture evaporates and the onion cooks down and loses its raw
aroma, about 5 to 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to burn.
Pour in the water or stock and wine and stir in the chicken pieces,
cayenne to taste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to
low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Add
water as necessary to maintain a sauce-like consistency.
Cut meat into thin 2 inch long strips and mix
with garlic.
Add the peeled whole hard boiled eggs and continue to cook for
another 10 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through
and very tender. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.
Heat oil over medium-high heat; sauté onion
and hot peppers until onion is light golden
(about 4 to 5 min).
Transfer onion mixture to bowl.
Doro Wat Variations
Traditionally, the pureed onions are cooked first in a dry pan
without any oil. The liquid evaporates out and they take on
a unique toasted flavor. If you’d like to try this method, just
make sure your flame isn’t so high it burns the onions, and stir
constantly. Then add the oil, paprika and the berbere
and proceed with the recipe.
In the same pan, sauté meat mixture until
seared all over (about 2 min).
Sik Sik Wat: Substitute 2 pounds of cubed stewing beef for
the chicken. Proceed with the recipe.
tir in berbere spice mix to taste; sauté for
30 seconds.
Vegetable Wat: Substitute 2 pounds of small courgette, halved
and quartered. Proceed with the recipe, but just cook long
enough for the zucchini to be cooked through and soft.
Add red pepper and salt; sauté until red
pepper is tender (about 2 to 3 min).
Serve with tomato and cucumber salad.
Keep extra berbere spice mix on table
to sprinkle over meat as desired.
Doro Alich’a: Eliminate the paprika and berbere and substitute
white wine for the red wine.
Lamb or fish may also be substituted for the chicken in this
recipe.Chicken breast can be used, but the result won’t be as
tender and moist. If you don’t want to use red wine, just use a
full cup of water or stock.
US Futures Helping
the Next Generation
Gaby Morris
Chair US Futures, US Chesed Bursary Fund
From its inception the US Chesed Bursary Fund
has had tremendous support from New West End
Synagogue and I want to update you now on this
project and how it has developed. Its core aim is
to ensure no child is left behind due to financial
constraints. Now in
its third year, the fund
awards bursaries to
enable children to take
part in Tribe’s summer
camps in the UK, Europe
and Israel and on Learn
to Lead trips to Poland
and Jerusalem. All our
Jewish youth should
have the chance to
connect with our rich
cultural heritage and
there is no better place
than in a ‘full-immersion
experience’. Making this
connection creates and cements bonds that really
help the long-term good health of our community.
are embedded and thriving, too many are not and
their only engagement in community life, if there
is any, is at most on the first day of Rosh Hashana
and on Yom Kippur for the sake of their parents,
otherwise they do not take part in any community
activities. Whilst we
can stand by and allow
this to happen turning
a blind eye to the fact
that this is a very limited
contact experience, we
really should be reacting
and thinking how to
improve the situation.
All our Jewish youth
should have the chance
to connect with our rich
cultural heritage and
there is no better place
than in a ‘full-immersion
I’m not alone in noticing that there is a growing
disconnect occurring in the London Jewish
community amongst young adults. Whilst some
We entirely understand,
that there are so many
demands on their time
and both pressures and
distractions which, too
frequently, means that
they lose touch with
their community after university or beginning
working life. The United Synagogue is responding
to this with the creation of Young US a project
led by a group of young adults all in their mid
20s who are looking at creative ways of building
a vibrant young community that speaks to and
speaks for them. They have great ideas and energy
and have been chosen for their enthusiasm and
commitment; they are already creating events and
ways for young people to connect. It’s a project
that it simply makes good sense to support as we
all reap the benefits of its success.
We are launching this month US Futures, the
charitable arm of Young US. Its aim is to give both
financial support to Young US and continue to
make sure the Chesed Bursary Fund has sufficient
funds each year to award bursaries. At the heart
of this endeavor is the aim that no child or young
adult is left behind and that each is able to feel
part of their community.
We are launching this
month US Futures, the
charitable arm of
Young US.
If you would like to support, share
your ideas or give a donation to
these interlinked projects please
contact me.
These projects are entirely reliant on
individual donations and any donation
however small will make a meaningful
difference to someone’s life.
There is also the opportunity to join
or sponsor some of the New West
Enders who have agreed to join me
running in the Community Fun Run
in May. This will be my third year and
not only is it a really good day out but
it’s also entirely achievable regardless
of whether your level of fitness is like
mine or like Jessica Ennis.
Drop me a line if you would like
to help, join the mailing list of US
Futures to hear about events or
would like to learn more.
Email [email protected]
Website www.theus.org.uk
US Women – Time for change
or changing times
Leonie Lewis
Co-Chair US Women
Anne Shisler
New West End Synagogue
Some of you will be aware that the role of
women in the United Synagogue has changed
considerably over the past few years. Over the
past few decades, women have had to fight for
their place on the board of Management of their
local shuls and the US council. Now we have
elected women trustees
on the Executive of the
United Synagogue and
representation at every level.
The Trustees of the United
Synagogue are elected to
take on overall responsibility
for what is a large and
complex charity.
This didn’t mean throwing the baby out with
the bath water, but rather becoming a more
professional group, being truly representative and
seeking opportunities to capitalise on the global
increase in learning programmes and women’s
changing role in lay leadership.
A new strategy was
designed seeking to be
inclusive and aiming to be
representative, educational,
social, participative and
empowering. The new 14
women executive allows for
each individual to work on
a particular area of interest.
There are 6 divisions
The last 3 years have seen
which include Internal and
a different organisation
External Communications,
develop. US Women have
Expert Advisory, Training
used the current interest in
and Education, Events and
all things women related,
Advocacy with each division
to consider its own position
of the executive and
and more importantly to work out where it wants
female members .
to be. Dalia Cramer, the driving force behind US
Women, examined, discussed, convened and drew The new look has been built on strong foundations
up a new Executive Board with a new strategy
and a valued past and hopes to give voice to
believing that a window of opportunity presented all United Synagogue women, irrespective of
itself for a time to change.
age, location and/or religious practise. Focus
Over the past few
decades, women
have had to fight
for their place
on the board of
Management of their
local shuls and the
US council.
One of the exciting developments for women
within in the US came in December when the
US Council agreed to change the US byelaws
to allow women to chair their synagogue
Boards of Management...
has shifted from only organising traditional events
to a programme embracing discussion on modern
orthodox issues relating to women as well as areas
around social media and women in leadership, as
well as our usual public events.
US Women wants to utilise changes in technology
that can help us reach our members quicker and more
effectively. It is keen to position itself at the cutting
edge of engagement on women’s issues
as well as community issues that are pertinent to the
United Synagogue and its communities.
One of the exciting developments for women within
in the US came in December when the US Council
agreed to change the US byelaws to allow women to
chair their synagogue Boards of Management, so US
Women are organising an evening for all women, who
are currently or have been members of their boards,
and who may be interested in seeking election to the
chairman role. There will be sound bite workshops
exploring subjects which might help them to do the
role more efficiently and there will be the opportunity
to network with others who are in the same boat.
US Women is for all of us women and there will
be as diverse a programme of activities as we are a
diverse group. We live in changing times and we at US
Women are changing with them!
If you would like to know more
about US Women and its activities
contact Anne Shisler, your local
liaison officer, and visit Women’s
View page on You & US on the
United Synagogue website.
Website www.theus.org.uk
...about your race, religion or financial situation.
At Shaare Zedek hospital in
Jerusalem it doesn’t matter
who you are – Jew or Arab,
religious or secular, rich or
poor – everyone is treated with
the same unparalleled level of
care, from the very youngest
to the elders of this great city.
In 2013 our particular focus will be on the many
children of Jerusalem who are in desperate need
of Shaare Zedek’s world-leading medical expertise.
This year will see the opening of the first
departments in the hospital’s New Generation
building. This exciting new development will
house Jerusalem’s first ever dedicated children’s
hospital caring for all children – from tiny, fragile
premature babies in the new neo-natal intensive
care department through to teenagers seeking
the latest medical treatment.
We now need to ensure that these young
patients will benefit from the most up-to-date
technology and very best equipment, for which
there is no government funding. Please help by
donating towards this vital project and be part
of creating a healthier future for Jerusalem.
For more information,
to make a donation or to
discuss leaving a legacy:
phone 020 8201 8933
email [email protected]
Shaare Zedek UK is a registered charity with the registration number 1143272.
Our branches provide a wide range of safe deposit boxes.
Whether it’s jewellery, documents, computer data or other valuable items,
there is a box to suit your needs.
Renting a box is easy, just pop-in to complete formalities. No appointment
is necessary and our staff are always on hand to discuss your particular
requirements with discretion and in total confidence.
Edgware Branch
Hampstead Branch
Hatton Garden Branch
114 High Street
575 Finchley Road
100 Hatton Garden
(corner Manor Park Crescent)
(corner Fortune Green Road)
(next to Barclays Bank)
0800 955 0775 • www.balthornegroup.com
Hampstead BRaNcH
575 Finchley Road , Hampstead , NW3 7BN
Branches also in Edgware and Hatton Garden
New West End Synagogue
St Petersburgh Place
London W2 4JT
Telephone 020 7229 2631
Fax 020 7229 2355
Email [email protected]
Website www.newwestend. org.uk