- Rabbi Aaron Gol...
Apr 21, 2013
This morning’s parashah is so vital to us as Liberal Jews, that we read it now and at one of our highest ritual moments of the year, on Yom Kippur afternoon. It questions and challenges: What does it mean to be holy? How can we imitate God? It responds by suggesting that it is by the healthiest combination of ritual – the acknowledgment or the Divine and our purest ethical behavior towards one another that we might attain holiness.
But is that possible. I think that there is a distinction to be drawn between imitating God and making our best human, mortal attempt to follow the precepts that we might hold were written down by our ancient ancestors and all those since, inspired by their love of God and humanity.
Perhaps this is hinted at in what has become known as ‘The Golden Rule’ that Jonathan read for us this morning: “V’ahavta l’rei-acha kamocha - Love your fellow as yourself.”
- Leon A Smith
Apr 19, 2013
Isn’t it strange how sometimes it takes somebody’s death to remind us that we are still alive. The passing of Margaret Thatcher seems to have focussed the attention of the media and the population generally on her life and work. Yet many people have not thought about or referred to Maggie Thatcher for many years. We have seen occasional pictures of her looking frail, arriving or departing from an event at 10 Downing Street or Westminster but beyond that, certainly for the last decade, she has been largely out of our consciousness.
Most people will be aware that she had been living with the debilitating symptoms of dementia for many years. Dementia is a disease which has heartbreaking symptoms and consequences both for the person afflicted and for family members and friends. Put simply – she has suffered.
Regardless of our political views of her term in office and what she did or didn’t achieve or do, it seems that we as a society in many cases are incapable of showing compassion. The level and degree of bitterness which has manifested itself through demonstrations and the social media debate evidence this.
- Rabbi Aaron Gol...
Apr 18, 2013
Pablo Casals, one of the world’s greatest cellists of all time was attributed as saying, “Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When we will we also teach them what they are?”
Similarly, if the week’s Torah portion is as uninspiring and largely irrelevant as we are presented with, why not talk about something completely different that is!
It was with incredible surprise, delight and a hug dose of parental trepidation that my wife and I heard the announcement from our youngest daughter that she wanted to go on LJY-NETZER’s Machaneh Aviv (Spring Camp) – 6 days and 5 nights away from home. Of course we were wonderfully supportive, nurturing and encouraging. I filled in the forms with a mix of pride, elation and a humungous scream brewing inside as I conjured up images of my daughter alone on her dorm bunk, inconsolable as she pleaded time and again, ‘why didn’t they just say I was too young!?’
Apr 16, 2013
"When the Queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the L-d, she came to test Solomon with hard questions ...... Solomon answered all her questions - nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon ..... she was overwhelmed."
This account in the First Book of Kings chapter 10, verses 1-13 offers a strong clue to the start of Jewish life in Ethiopia. It hints at the Queen of Sheba converting to Judaism and having an affair with King Solomon. Ethiopian legend takes up the story and tells of the Queen of Sheba giving birth to Solomon's son Menelek. At the age of 20 Menelek learned about his father and wished to visit him. He travelled to Jerusalem where his father was delighted with him and he spent three years there. Eventually it was time to return to his country, accompanied by 1,000 men from each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. The intriguing twist to the legend is that they brought with them the Ark of the Covenant which they spirited out of the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem and which is said to be preserved to this day in a church in Axum, giving rise to the stories of the 'lost Ark' and the 'Holy Grail'.
Whether or not the legend is true it is clear that there was a strong Jewish influence in Ethiopia from very early times, almost certainly before the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE. By the time Christianity came to Ethiopia in the 3rd century, Ethiopians kept the Sabbath (on Saturday), observed laws of ritual purity and dietary restrictions similar to Jewish law and circumcision of males at 8 days old. To the present day Ethiopians feel themselves connected to the People of Israel and their last Emperor Haile Selassie, who believed he was descended from King Solomon, was proud to adopt the title of 'Lion of Judah'.
Apr 15, 2013
Everyone threw themselves into the dancing, with children as young as five joining in enthusiastically, at the final stop on SCoJeC's "Klezmatize" ceilidh tour at Dundee synagogue.
Apr 14, 2013
MEMO 347 A weekly overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.
Apr 14, 2013
במסגרת פרויקט של מועצת הקהילות היהודיות בסקוטלנד (סקוג"ק), "להיות יהודי בסקוטלנד", פגשנו מספר ישראלים שחיים ברחבי סקוטלנד. למרות שהם חשים כבבית, חלקם גם סיפרו לנו על הקשיים בהם נתקלו בשל עמדות מקומיות על ישראל
Apr 12, 2013
"The performers drove the dances in a perfect blend of rhythm and swaying melody" said one participant at SCoJeC's "Klezmatize" ceilidh in Maybole, "and the clarinet's human voice spoke of a culture both ancient and live."
Apr 11, 2013
In the course of SCoJeC's Scottish Government-funded "Being Jewish in Scotland" project, we met a number of Israelis who had settled in various parts of Scotland. Although they all felt at home here, several told us about difficulties they encounter because of local people's attitudes to Israel.
Apr 11, 2013
Members of the Glasgow Jewish community joined regulars and local musicians at the Sikorski Polish Centre for the next stage of our "Klezmatize" ceilidh tour.