Sidrahs

Mikketz

By Dr Annette Boeckler, November 28, 2013

“The Eternal One said to Satan ” Zechariah 3:2

In the northern hemisphere Chanucah usually falls when the nights are longest and darkest, but not this year, a month earlier than usual and, at its core, Chanucah is not a winter solstice festival anyway but a postponed Succot.

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Vayeshev

By Rabbi Daniel Rowe, November 21, 2013

The talmudic depiction suggests Joseph was so tempted that he claim close to sin. It is easy to understand why. A teenage boy rejected by his own family, lost in Egypt, fell into the clutches of a great seductress.
 

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Vayishlach

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.

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Vayetze

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?

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Toldot

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.

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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.

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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.

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Vayera

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.

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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.

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Noach

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.

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