renee bravo


By renee bravo, August 29, 2011

One Sunday afternoon I was leaving my flat and a neighbour asked, "Where are you going?" I replied, "I am going to my niece for tea. Nothing exciting." Afterwards I thought, I am 82, and I can still go and see and do. I am going to a niece who loves me; she has a wonderful husband and healthy children. I will meet her friends, who are all good, kind, honest, hard-working people.



By renee bravo, August 15, 2011

I am reading a book called "Who wrote the Bible". The first sentence is "We do not know who wrote the Bible". 300 pages later, after extensive study of word patterns, war reports, etc. the last sentence is "It does not really matter who wrote the Bible. What matters is who reads it".


Tisha B'Av

By renee bravo, August 10, 2011

Next Wednesday night is Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem many centuries ago. There are many different customs for emphasising the sadness of the day.


presidential address

By renee bravo, November 30, 2010

One of the unexpected consequences of growing old is that you are asked to become President. In my case, the title is Honorary Life President, which means that the only way I can get out of it is to die. But I will try to defer that as long as possible, in order to avoid giving Darren the problem of changing the websight.



By renee bravo, October 13, 2010

In the very first chapter of the book of Genesis, we read that " God created MAN in his own image; male and female created he them". The word MAN (Adam in Hebrew) obviously means a human being, not a male person. The Hebrew word for male is Ish. Examples of the different usage in the Bible of these two words are too numerous to list in this short article, but here are a few examples. "Whoever sheds man's blood must pay the price". Does that mean that you can kill a woman with impunity? "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great", using the word ADAM. So were the women innocent?



By renee bravo, August 30, 2010

The Soncino Chumash (Pentateuch and Haftorahs) was the favoured choice of most orthodox synagogues prior to the arrival of the Artscroll series. It was edited by Chief Rabbi Dr. J. H. Hertz in 1936/7, and is popularly known as the Hertz Chumash. In the preface he wrote, "I am deeply grateful to the committee of the British and Foreign Bible Society (a Christian organisation), for their courtesy in generously granting me the use of the plates of their standard and beautiful edition of the Hebrew text.



By renee bravo, August 24, 2009

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, most of us will visit the graves of our departed relatives, and ponder the inscriptions. You may be interested in what happened to me when my husband died. He is buried at Waltham Abbey, which is administered by the United Synagogue. I wanted to put a Shakespearean quotation on his stone, and permission to do this was refused. The United Synagogue issues a printed leaflet giving instructions for everything to do with the stone and the burial, which contains these words, "Only biblical or rabbinic quotations are allowed".


Tisha B'Av

By renee bravo, August 21, 2009

A few weeks ago was Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem many centuries ago. There are many different customs for emphasising the sadness of the day. In the synagogue we sit on low stools, and read by candlelight. the embroidered ark curtain is replaced by a plain, black one; the prayers are chanted to a special melancholy tune; we are told to abstain from sex and Torah study, anything which gives pleasure, an so on. We read the Book of Lamentations, full of sadness and despair.



By renee bravo, July 23, 2009

May I respond to the lady who thinks (as do most people), that women must not say Kaddish in an orthodox synagogue.. She is quite wrong. It may be forbidden by some rabbis in some synagogues, but this is for traditional, social and political reasons, not religious ones.


Pharoah's Daughter,

By renee bravo, March 12, 2009

Pharoah's Daughter.


pride and shame

By renee bravo, January 16, 2009

When the State of Israel was established, it was received wisdom that every Jew felt a sense of pride and walked a little bit taller. After 1967, Entebbe, the economic miracle, the absorption of immigrants, the technological and medical advances, the pride was even greater. Even people who had only a peripheral connection to the community were able to share in the feelings of achievement. So when Israel does things which may not be so commendable, should we not share in the distress? Friends are happy to share the good times. Family should share the bad times as well.



By renee bravo, January 1, 2009

Following the current duscussion in the pages of the Jewish Chronicle about the right of non-rabbinic people to speak at funerals or stone-settings, you might be interested to know what happened at Waltham Abbey, an orthodox cemetery, when my husband died over 20 years ago. I asked permission for members of the family and friends to read the psalms, rather than the officiating minister. This permission was granted. You only have to ask.


Waltz with Bashir.

By renee bravo, December 4, 2008

I have just seen this absolutely brilliant film. There were only three other people in the cinema. WHY?


My Sermon - Rosh Hashanah – 5769.

By renee bravo, October 19, 2008

Rosh Hashanah – 5769.

I have to start, as always, by telling you what I’m sure you all know, that I have no official religious authority. Nothing I say should be assumed to have any Halachic validity. I may even suggest that you think things which are at variance with received opinion, and contrary to religious norms, even slightly blasphemous. You think I am a sweet little old lady, actually I am a dangerous subversive.


Breaking the Barriers.

By renee bravo, September 13, 2008

The article by David Newman entitled "A Community of Contradictions" ends  with the hope that the Anglo-Jewish community move beyond the internal constitutional barriers which divide synagogue organisations. He suggests that only the coming of the Messiah will do that. Is it a co-incidence that the front page features the  attempt by the non-orthodox synagogue authorities to do just that, break the barriers.