Thursday, 22 February 2018

Words From The Chair

As we get older there are times when different parts of our brain do not seem to be working in unison with each other. At the end of my report in December’s edition of the Gate I referred to the Synagogue’s 75th anniversary, and stated that the Civic Service would take place on Saturday 3rd November. Not sure why I did that, because I was instrumental with others in deciding it would be the on the 10th. Oh! for the long lost days of my youth when life was so crystal clear. Even though my birthday is in February, it always seems to me to be a funny old month. It can be very cold or unseasonably mild. As daylight gets longer, thoughts focus on if winter is coming to an end, or will March be a harsh month. Whatever the case may be, come wind, snow, rain, or shine, SPS continues in its day by day duty to provide its members with some Yiddishkeit in their lives. Whether that might be adult education sessions, services, clubs, serving on committees, or volunteering to help out, SPS is the place to be by becoming involved in communal life. 

Every year on Tu Bishvat the children of Ruach plant a tree in the Synagogue garden. A member suggested to me that we should plant one in Hilda Schindler’s name. Everyone I spoke to agreed that would be a wonderful thing to do, as she gave so much of her life to the children of the Religion School. The tree planting will take place after the Shabbat morning service on February 3rd. Everyone is welcome to attend the service and stay for the poignant ceremony. 

As I write this missive, the repercussions about President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital are still reverberating around the world. In last month’s Gate, Rabbi Yuval succinctly summed up how detractors are, but within the wider world there are probably millions of people who only believe what they see and hear about the Jewish state through biased news outlets and prejudiced social media. 

I have a friend who is a devout, warm-hearted Christian steeped in knowledge of the old and new testaments, who said to me that she thought Tel Aviv was Israel’s capital. My response was very much the same as Rabbi Yuval’s narrative, mentioning King David, Solomon, and the Torah, amongst other Judaic links to the holy city. Eventually she apologised and conceded how misguided she had been, and if the topic ever came up with her church friends, she would persuasively steer them in the right direction. As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss, however the world will have to get used the fact that Jerusalem has always been sacred to Jews, and always will be. At the conclusion of the Pesach Seder the following words resonate, “next year in Jerusalem, next year in a world redeemed”. May that always be the case. 

Robert Dulin

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