September 30th, 2015
Shulamit and I, Stefan and Yasmin join in thanking Zvi, Shira, Gavi, Ora and Shula for the lovely Succot hospitality we received at JCoB. Berkshire must be very proud of their very active and talented rabbinic family. Rarely does one encounter such lively enthusiasm to serve Hashem as in the home of the Solomons. Rabbis are not just for knowing about Judaism, but for heartily practising its tenets, throwing their doors open to welcome in community and sharing their time and attention with their flock. In the manner of Abraham our ancestor, Rabbi Zvi's approach is inclusive, encouraging and uncompromisingly welcoming.
On the first day of Succot we enjoyed a splendid quorate tefilla and expert Torah reading in the garden marquee, and I gave a sermon on the unique quality of the festival of Succot. The four species we are commanded to take and rejoice with are: the citron, the palm branch, the myrtle and the willow. There is multiple significance in the four species: they allude to the delicate balance in nature, for which we pray at this time of year; to the patriarchal ancestors and their wives and families and not least, to four different types of Jew: the layperson mitzvah-doer (myrtle), the yeshiva Torah learner (Palm branch), the all-round achiever (citron)and the disengaged (willow). Until and unless all four are held together, the blessing cannot be made on the commandment to sing songs of praise (Hallel) with them. So it is with our communities: only when united, unified in communal purpose and dedicated to spiritual growth, is there blessing on our mitzvoth. It is clear that Rabbi Zvi and Rebbetzin Shira are devoted to the ingathering of every precious soul into the congregation of the Almighty. Shulamit and I join in blessing you with every success in seeing your tree of life grow in the garden of Torah and mitzvoth which you so lovingly tend, and may your children continue to give you yiddisher nachas for many happy and healthy years together.
Rebbetzin Shulamit and Rabbi Ariel Abel
Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation
Bio for Rabbi & Rebbetzin Abel
Rabbi Ariel Abel lives with his wife Shulamit, son Stefan and daughter Yasmin in Darwen, Lancs. Ariel and Shulamit both hold first class undergraduate degrees, in Semitics and Mandarin / Latin American studies respectively. Their ministry extends across Merseyside, serving the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation and the Southport community. Ariel's has ministered to important communities in London and set up the first and only Semicha programme to prepare rabbinic leadership for mainstream Orthodoxy at Montefiore College, Maida Vale. When in Liverpool, Shulamit and Ariel stay at St. Margaret's vicarage and offer kosher hospitality alongside a Christian effort to serve the community in the same way upstairs! Rabbi Abel's philosophy "Judaism sums up in the tent of Abraham, a place where everyone is welcome and can feel at home and be in company with a hot meal, benefiting from a warm spiritual environment without being judged or told what to do". If you would like to join us on a Shabbat and support our work on Merseyside, e-mail Rabbi Abel on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Rabbi Zvi Solomons
The only Orthodox Rabbi in Berkshire