What an amazing Purim we had at JCoB. Our annual Seudah and late megillah reading was so busy that people poured in to the garden so we read the megillah with the door open so that those outdoors could listen in. The pizzatoshen were delicious and some 100 scrumptious home-made hamantaschen all disappeared. Thanks to all those who helped prepare food, who added to the general delightful chaos, and who helped clear up afterwards.
JCoB Central was bursting with people for our annual Chanukah party in December. Every year, we hold an arts and crafts afternoon, followed by Chanukah candle lighting and delicious food. An event not to be missed!
Our children are spending several weeks learning about Pesach (Passover) to prepare for the exciting seder nights. Younger children are making model matzahs and seder plates. Older children are learning about the legend of Elijah and the values that Pesach teaches us.
Everyone has taken home their own 'hagadah' containing what they have learned. On Pesach itself, in addition to the seders, we have a matzah picnic planned for the last day of Pesach, with a special child-focused service in the morning. To join in the fun email us.
Thanks Ora for catching some pictures!
Thanks to the Mayor of Reading for hosting a Civic Chanukah Celebration on 20 December. We lit candles and everyone ejoyed home-made doughnuts and latkas thanks to the Rebbetzin and Rabbi. We look forward to making this an annual event.
JCoB Cheder ended our Autumn term with a pre-Chanukah treat. We normally have a full chanukah party with candle lighting and dinner, but Chanukah is during school holidays this year, so many children will be away for our communit chanukah party.
So instead, we spent an extended second half of cheder doing chanukah crafts, including candle making, sand art, and making suncatchers.
The children also enjoyed some latkas as their break time snack!
For those who will not be on holiday, we will be holding an actual chanukah party on the last night of chanukah - for all age groups.
Mazal tov to Oded and Romi Ran, on the birth of a daughter Myla Summer Ran.
Mazal tov to Elias and Ewa Kupferman on the birth of a daughter, Amber-Anne.
Volunteers Needed to share a cup of tea and a chat with older members of our community who are housebound and crave a bit of company (and might be very good company too!). If you can help or need visiting, please email email@example.com.
Friday night services during the winter months will be at 5:30pm. Everyone is invited to an Oneg Shabbat on Friday 9 December. To book your place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next formal Shabbat morning service will be on Saturday morning 17 December. See above for a full list of dates. On all other Shabbat mornings, why not join us for JCoB-I, a chance to daven more informally and learn together.
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.
The Women’s Rosh Chodesh Group will meet again on Thursday 1 December 8pm at the home of Judi Lyons. The topic will be Chanukah. New faces are always welcome. Email email@example.com for directions and to get on the Rosh Chodesh email list.
Reading welcomes back Ashley Blaker, who will be performing his new show, Meshuga Frum, at South Street Arts Centre, Tuesday 31 January, at 7:30pm. Tickets can be obtained from http://www.readingarts.com/south-street/whats-on/ashley-blaker-meshuga-frum
KOSHER FOOD NEWS
Just Kosher (justkosher.co.ouk) will be delivering food to Reading on Sundays 4 and 18 December. If you need only a few items or urgently need challot or other essentials, contact Rebbetzin Shira on 07931747316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Please keep us informed so that we can keep this list up to date.
(as published in the Jewish News http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/its-biblical-this-week-king-solomon/)
Venerated by Muslims and Masons, King Solomon is a magnificent biblical character. His early life is mired in sibling rivalry; his older brothers repeatedly tried to usurp his preference and grab the throne for themselves. It must have been overawing to be brought up in the fledgling empire of King David. Solomon was the son of beloved Bathsheba, but the story of how David married her is rather racy, and because of this Solomon was actually her second son.
His name means God's peace, and this is emblematic of his empire. David built the empire, and Solomon (Shlomo) consolidated it by extending trade networks and alliances.
King Solomon was crowned in the face of the rebellion of his brother Adonijah, who attempted to seize the throne for himself. He then purged those who had attempted the putsch including his father David's chief general Joab.
Solomon allied himself with Hiram of Tyre, and together they set to trading all over the known world. Solomon set up military and trading outposts. The Falash Mura Jews of Ethiopia are said by some to have been descended from one of his outposts.
This wealth and military prowess allowed Solomon to build the Temple to God which David his father had not. David had blood on his hands; Solomon was not a warrior king. He built it as a focal centre to the Kingdom of Israel (riven even then by tribal rivalry) and also as a house of universal worship and peace.
Solomon was renowned for his wisdom. Three books of the Bible are said to be his: in his youth, the romantic Song of Songs; in his middle age, after he prayed to God for wisdom, the Book of Proverbs; and in his older years the dour Ecclesiastes.
Solomon was granted wealth and power as well as wisdom. His fame spread so far that the Queen of Sheba visited him from the Deep South. His Temple was a wonder of the world.
Alas human frailty was present even in this wisest of monarchs. Solomon contracted marriages with many princesses from other countries and allowed them to erect temples to their deities. This resulted in great displeasure from God. However, Solomon was allowed to remain on the throne for forty years, for his father David's sake. It was only after his death that his weak son Reheboam managed to annoy people and permanently split the Kingdom.
His defects, levies, taxes, excessive women (1000 wives and concubines), too many horses and regal trappings, forced labour and incipient authoritarianism, were more than balanced by his peaceful, long and stable rule, his trade ties and prosperity, his creation of the national shrine on the Temple Mount, and his exceptional literary legacy. He and his father David are remembered with great fondness in our national consciousness.
To this day, it is above all his wisdom which is remembered. The Judgement of Solomon is a repeated subject of paintings, and reminds us of his ability (at the height of his power) to see the essential nature of human relationships.
Rabbi Zvi Solomons
The only Orthodox Rabbi in Berkshire