November 14, 2013

Much has been speculated about Dinah’s desire to leave the safety of her family’s tents and wander off to explore the lives of other women, the daughters of Canaan; and much also about her rape by Shechem.



By Rabbi Josh Levy, November 7, 2013

In the rabbinic chronology of Jacob’s story, the patriarch is blessed by his father at age 63, leaves home to study for 14 years and finally, after seven years of labour for Laban, marries at the grand age of 84. By contrast, we are told that his brother, Esau, marries at (just) 40 years of age. What possible moral can this difference have for us?



By Rabbi Barry Lerer, October 31, 2013

The Midrash tells us that what impressed Isaac, was not the scent of Jacob’s garments (bigadim), rather it was the spiritual character of his betrayers (bogdim), those descendants of Jacob who would turn away from God and then turn back again in repentance. It was through this that Isaac found Jacob worthy of his blessing.


No Merkel for Board dinner

October 27, 2013

The Board of Deputies is hoping a woman’s touch will get tickets moving for its appeal dinner.

With just a few weeks before next month’s event, featuring Home Secretary Teresa May, the Board has turned to former vice-president Flo Kaufmann to be dinner chairman. “I was asked to pull it together,” Mrs Kaufmann said.


Chayei Sarah

By Dr Annette Boeckler, October 24, 2013

“How can we make God laugh?” asks a joke and replies: “Tell Him your plans for the future.” This week’s prophetic reading and our Torah portion both deal about persons planning the future.



By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, October 17, 2013

In one of the most astonishing moments of Torah narrative, Abraham asks God to stand and wait while he attends to three travellers. God has presented Himself to Abraham in a moment of intimacy between Creator and created. Abraham apparently shuns Him for three mortals, striking us as somewhere between chutzpah and ignominy.


Lech Lecha

By Lindsay Simmonds, October 11, 2013

Lech Lecha follows the journeying of Abraham and Sarah, specifically their discovery of monotheism and their attempt to spread it. They are, it seems, told to find themselves, away from the confines of their upbringing. Ironically, this journey is a forced exile, rather than a jubilant or self-initiated one.



By Rabbi Josh Levy, October 3, 2013

The early rabbis, ever creative, imagine the raven arguing with Noah when he tries to send it out of the ark. Understandably reluctant to face the waters, it asks why Noah does not instead send one of the clean birds, of which seven pairs of each kind are happily aboard the ark.



By Rabbi Barry Lerer, September 24, 2013

Rashi comments that the plural form is used in the above verse, even though the angels did not assist God in creating man. He goes on to explain that even though in using the plural the Torah leaves itself open to heretical claims that many gods participated in the creation of man, nevertheless God wanted to teach a lesson in humility and derech eretz (respectful behaviour).


Shabbat Chol Hamo'ed Succot

By Rabbi Michael Pollak, September 17, 2013

As we reach the end of the sequence of festivals, which starts with Rosh Hashanah and then climaxes with Yom Kippur, only to soar again with the festival of Succot, it is worth reflecting on the drama and theatre which was played out in the Temple over those days.