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Thanks to everyone who came together to create a special and uplifting Rosh Hashanah for a second year running. Special thanks to those who helped build and decorate our ohel, to those who assured a minyan in time for barechu, and to our kiddush sponsors. Looking forward to seeing you all again for Yom Kippur and Succot.
JCoB announces a special video to help you get to know our community: https://youtu.be/n5l-qIHBM0c
Mazal tov to Yael Bloom, daughter of Jason Bloom (previously of Reading, now living in Australia), who will be bat mitzvah on Yom Kippur.
Andrea Sinclair thanks everyone who supported the McMillan coffee morning . The weather was good, the cakes were delicious and a very successful bring and buy raised £136.00. Come again next year??
Succah and Spice and All things Nice
In addition to our regular succot yom tov meals, JCoB again invites you to its annual special afternoon of lulav waving and delicious vegetarian curries on the 2nd day of Succot. Please let Rebbetzin Shira know if you would like to attend so that we can cater appropriately and send you full details. If last year is any predictor, we expect a very full succah! Suggested donation £10 (children, students, and low income folk free as usual).
Yom Kippur Services at JCoB Central
Join us for wonderful Yom Kippur services filled with music and traditional melody. The services will be musical and intellectually stimulating, the shofar (at the end of Neilah) is the best blast for miles, and we have a break fast after Neilah to enhance your experience. There are explanations to make sure you are up with what is happening, and the community is welcoming and friendly. Tea and coffee will be served after Neilah.
The full schedule of services is in the emailed version of the newsletter. Contact us and we will send you all details!
Beside the services themselves, Rabbi Zvi is happy for you to browse his extensive library of Jewish literature and philosophy, so that you can learn while taking in the atmosphere. The services will follow the Koren Machzor, according to the traditional Anglo-Jewish minhag, as in the old Routledge machzorim.
Children on Yom Kippur at JCoB Central
As usual, Rebbetzin Shira will run a children's programme with lunch available for your children so that you do not need to run home. There are also games and books to keep children entertained while you daven, as well as swings and a climbing frame in the garden.
If you are an adult who cannot fast, then as usual, Rebbetzin Shira can arrange food for you. Please contact Rebbetzin Shira with your needs.
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, contact Rabbi Zvi by morning after Yom Kippur at the latest.
Yom Tov Meals at JCoB Central
As always, you are welcome to join us for meals over yom tov. We have the largest Sukkah in Berkshire and it is always a hub of activity. As always, we ask for a contribution so that we can afford to have an open house. Please email Rebbetzin Shira to let her know when you wish to join us.
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.
Traditionally, this time of year is one for acts of charity. Traditionally, three things: prayer, repentance and charity, can alter the divine decree, or to put it another way, they can tip the scales to make possible a better world. Please consider supporting the following causes with a donation before Yom Kippur:
The “Valediction Memorial ” in Prague is a project to honour the memory of all the parents brave enough to have said ‘good bye’ to their children sending them by trains into the arms of strangers knowing that this was the only way to save their lives during World War II. It will be a bronze copy of a door from a train of the time mounted on a bronze plinth with an inscribed message. Thanks to the permission of the Czech Railways it will stand on Hlavni Nadrazi – the Prague main railway station. For more information or to support this cause, visit http://valedictionmemorial.org/
Magen David Adom is Israel’s only national medical emergency, disaster, ambulance and blood service, and since June 2006 Magen David Adom has been officially recognised by the International Committee of the Red Cross as the national aid society of Israel. For more information or to make a donation, visit http://mdauk.org/
KOSHER FOOD NEWS
Just Kosher (justkosher.co.ouk) will be delivering food to Reading on Sunday 30 October. If you need only a few items or urgently need challot or other essentials, contact Rebbetzin Shira.
We publish a list of sick people (cholim) every week so that the community can pray for their recovery. For reasons of privacy, this is not published online but is in the emailed version of the newsletter.
Jonah (On Yom Kippur 5777)
As we approach Yom Kippur and the amazing riches of the service on that day, we are urged to consider our conduct in the past year, and how we can improve it.
Most people cram into shul on Yom Kippur for Kol Nidrei, then the peak moment of Yizkor, emptying out for a schluff until Ne’ilah and the end of the day, when they can go home and grab a much-needed meal. However, this is (counter-intuitively) the wrong way to go about things. Yes, come to shul – but stay, and enjoy the service as much as you can. A day spent in shul over Yom Kippur should be one of joy and spiritual renewal rather than fasting drudgery. The service, the tunes, and the sense of community are all better felt over the whole period. In a way it’s a shame that we have to go home.
The quietest time is the Book of Jonah, during Minchah. Then we listen to the story of a prophet who is an inveterate sinner. It is, perhaps, the heart of the whole day’s efforts – a man who has reached such an elevated level as to receive revelation from God, nonetheless maintains such a misanthropic attitude that God rebukes him repeatedly.
Jonah is perhaps the drama queen of the Bible. He loses his temper too easily and expects God not to be merciful rather than showing love. He has an image of God which does not match the reality.
Perhaps we too fall into Jonah’s trap. Instead of seeing things through a wide lens, we are often focussed on our own smaller interests. Instead of doing things for the wider good, we seek personal advantage. And although we are often able to justify our own actions and find rationales for them, we should question how honest we are really being. Like Jonah in the bowels of the ship, are we actually sleeping through a storm? Like Jonah under his gourd, do we sometimes deceive ourselves that we have a right to comfort and shelter, when others in front of us are at risk of being swept away?
Jonah is the challenge to us – to work to create ourselves in a better nature, and to avoid the pitfalls of myopic self-interest. Jonah is the call for community to come together, in that lull of the middle of the day, before the last great heave of Ne’ilah when we rise to the summit of Yom Kippur and bid that great uplifting fast farewell.
May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.
כתיבה יחתימה טובה
Rabbi Zvi Solomons
The only Orthodox Rabbi in Berkshire