News and Announcements
Berkshire Community Cheder welcomes new and existing students to its second year since moving to JCoB Central. We are starting a new Hebrew reading class this year, so this is a great time for your child to discover the joy of Jewish learning. This week the children enjoyed listening to the shofar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kPX0Wct0zo. To find out how your child can begin his or her Jewish learning journey, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mazal tov to Yardena and Alan Cutsforth on the birth of a grandson Oscar James Gold, Oz ben Avraham, born to their daughter Angel and Allan Gold.
We wish long life to Reuven (Uvi) Farchi on the loss of his grandfather.
Andrea Sinclair invites everyone to a MacMillan Coffee Morning. These wonderful nurses have touched so many of our lives and our loved ones in their hour of need. Wednesday 21 September, 10am. Coffee, cakes and a Bring and Buy. Contact JCoB for location details.
JCoB Shul For a schedule of services, please subscribe to our newsletter!
Friday night services are earlier now every week as the days get shorter. The Oneg Shabbat has been rescheduled to 16 September. Book your place with Rebbetzin Shira
We will hold a formal Shabbat morning services again on Saturday 24 September. On other weeks, all are welcome to join us for JCoB-I, a chance to daven more informally including reading and discussing the weekly parshah.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
We are excited to be offering services for a second year at JCoB Central led by Rabbi Zvi and Gavriel (our wonderful ba’al shacharit). Full details are in the calendar above. Last year’s services were inspiring and uplifting beyond all expectations. All community members are welcome to attend and there is no charge or need for tickets. Please contact Rebbetzin Shira if you wish to book a yom tov meal.
Note to RHC Members: Again this year, Rabbi Zvi offered his free assistance to RHC so that kosher services could take place at Goldsmid Road to bring the whole community together for yom tov. As we go to press, no answer has been received.
Succot services will take place again this year, and we are excited again to host Rabbi Ariel Abel and his family over the festival. We will again obtain Lulav and Etrog sets for the community. This year, we have been offered student sets for only £16.50! (only for students). Standard sets are £20 / £25 and as usual extra nice etrogim are always available at a premium. If you wish to order a lulav and Etrog or other succot supplies such as schach, email email@example.com by the morning after Yom Kippur at the latest.
Thanks to a generous donation, there is currently no charge for children, students or low income adults attending meals at JCoB Central.
For working adults, suggested donations are: Dinners £15 Fancy lunches £10. Light lunches £5.
We welcome your sponsorship so that we can continue to offer hospitality.
KOSHER FOOD NEWS
Just Kosher will be delivering food to Reading on Sundays 25 September and 9 October. If you need only a few items or urgently need challot or other essentials, contact Rebbetzin Shira
New Directions (On Rosh Hashanah 5777)
There is a saying oft attributed to Einstein that the definition of an idiot is someone who does the same experiment over and over again, expecting a new result each time. People often post this comment on social media when they come across a troll who repeats the same tired old argument, but never seems to learn anything from the interchange.
We human beings are creatures of habit. We love doing things the same way and get into ruts of ritual. It is uncomfortable to do something new, to strike out in directions which are different to what we are used to. Our comfort depends, to some extent, on the surroundings and actions which we are used to. Inertia, more than anything, is responsible for lack of innovation. The argument that “it’s always been done that way” is seductive, because it smacks of tradition.
At Rosh Hashanah however, we are asked to break our bad habits, and to strike out in new directions. We are encouraged to become entrepreneurial in a personal sense, by overcoming the stasis and the poor choices we tend to make in our lives due to that inertia. On Rosh Hashanah we are told to wake up to the opportunities we have in our lives, and to try to make a difference; to ourselves, and to the rest of the world.
This is what we mean by Teshuva – a Hebrew word which means “turning”. Some consider it to be turning back to God or back to our true selves, but in the sense that I am speaking about it really means, turning off the beaten track. This is that time of the year when we can get out of the rut we often wear ourselves into, and start to make a real difference to ourselves, our families, our community and our country. We start with ourselves, but this is an ongoing project.
Here at JCoB we have taken a new path. We are reaching out to many young Jewish adults, and offering a different model of Orthodox Judaism for Berkshire Jewry. We offer inclusion, unity, friendship, hospitality and a thumping good musical environment for our prayers. As a community we support each other and invest in our future success.
A year ago we held our first High Holyday services here at JCoB Central. We weren’t quite sure what we were letting ourselves in for. We put up the marquee, and prayed that we would make minyan over the Chaggim. This year we remember the warmth, the ruach (atmosphere) and the wonderful joy of celebrating together, culminating in a Ne’ilah so packed there was barely standing room in there. We are looking forward to doing this again, and at the same time hoping that in the coming year we and every Jew in Reading and the wider Thames Valley area can strike out in a new direction, can grow, and can enjoy the celebrations along with us.
Wishing everyone Chag Sameach, and a K’tivah v’Chatima Tova – may you be inscribed for a happy and healthy New Year.
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Rabbi Zvi Solomons
The only Orthodox Rabbi in Berkshire