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Saturday, August 23, 2014
27 Av 5774.
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News.. News.. News..
Donate when you shop online!

With 'easyfundraising' your online retailer will make a small donation to Beth Shalom at no additional cost to you. Over 2,700 online sites participate in this scheme and, over time, the amounts donated can add up and make a substantial difference. You will need to go to the easyfundraising website to register an account, choosing Beth Shalom as your charity.

Starting Cheder - register now for 2014/15


Beth Shalom is fortunate to have a thriving Cheder which meets on Sunday mornings. If your child will be starting Year 1 in regular school in September, then they are ready to begin cheder. Older children, up to 13, are always welcome to join whether they have previously attended cheder or not.


Please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it to request a registration form. Early replies are much appreciated.

Beth Shalom members in Patience

Three members of the BSRS are currently taking leading roles in the Swaffham Bulbeck Summer Theatre's production of the G&S musical 'Patience'.

Leslie Wheeler, Steven Aronson and Caille Sugarman-Banaszak are all centre in key roles in this production, staged in a large and well decorated barn in Swaffham Bulbeck. Do get along to the last performances if you can - ends on 14 June. Details are here

Berenice Mann's review for Local Secrets is here:

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Jews Remembered at St Edmondsbury Cathedral

One particular Czech scroll continues to be a source of inspiration.  Last Thursday, (6/2/14) at the kind invitation of Revd Canon Matthew Vernon, photographer, Marion Davies and poet, Jane Liddell-King (both from the Cambridge Jewish community) attended St Edmundsbury Cathedral to give an illustrated talk based on their project: Faces in the Void: Czech Survivors of the Holocaust, which owes its existence to a scroll originating in Pardubice.  The project was published as a book in 2011.


Holocaust Memorial Day, Cambridge

Review by Berenice Mann and Guy Shafer

“Our destination? Nobody knew.” Primo Levy.

On the evening of Sunday 26 January hundreds of people gathered at the Corn Exchange Hall in Cambridge to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day, at an event organised by Keystage Arts and Heritage, run by BSRS member Mike Levy.

This year the Holocaust Memorial Day had a national theme of ‘Journeys’ with many of the presentations reflecting this theme. One journey was featured in particular, that of Kindertransport, where over 10,000 Jewish children were rescued from Nazi Europe and sent on trains to the UK, where many found foster families, around 100 of those being in Cambridge.

Lipton and Leket launch website

Diana Lipton, former teacher, service leader and member of Beth Shalom, and now living in Israel, has joined with the food charity Leket in a new project to provide a recipe for every Torah portion.

The JC has featured this in an article here: 


Tribute to Michael Neuberger
Read the eulogy delivered at the funeral of Michael Neuberger by Fiona Karet. 
High Holyday Charities
Big Bands coming to Beth Shalom!
Mike Levy takes to the stage now he's 64
Beth Shalom member Mike Levy is taking to the stage with his own show, entitled 'Now I'm 64'. Mike says  "It will be at CB2 Cafe, Norfolk Street, 7 30 pm, Thursday 15th August. Hope to see someone (anyone) there!"
Review - 'Annie'

Berenice Mann reviews SIMADS production of Annie, which had two BSRS members, Madeleine and Rebecca Goddard, playing July and Tessie in the orphan ensemble.

Directed by Eve Redgrave

Burgess Hall, St Ives

Annie, the musical, is the well known story of little orphan Annie, whose chirpy optimism, in spite of growing up in far from pleasant circumstances, charms all the adults she meets in her adventures. With well-known numbers such as ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Hard Knock Life’, and some cute kids, what's not to like? 

July and Tessie
Review of Oliver!

Review of Oliver!

Produced by Cambridge Operatic Society and Young Actors Company

Review of Dress Rehearsal, 26 November and First Night 27 November

I have to start this review by saying I was extremely impressed with this production overall. The staging and set were fantastic, the cast was extremely strong and the execution of the songs more than did them justice. We are indeed fortunate in Cambridge to experience such high quality productions.

The cast had two Beth Shalom members, Les Wheeler in the adult chorus and Rebecca Goddard, in the orphans and Fagin's gang. 



Purim Fun at Beth Shalom

The staff and children at cheder had a fun day today with a brief assembly followed by games, activities and exciting stalls such as face painting, nails, hair braiding and tattoos. The morning was completed with the performance of a musical theatre version of the Purim story, produced by Shally, with choreography by Deborah J.

We were privileged to witness the world premier performance of an extraordinary troop of belly dancers, as well as a sterling performance as panto baddy Haman by Ariel and solo singing by Rebecca.

The show will be repeated (as much as is posible) in shul on Wednesday evening at the Megilah reading.


HMD service, Saffron Waldon

Report on HMD Service, Saffron Waldon, 27 January 2012, by Les Wheeler


Ruth Barnett, a Holocaust survivor was among the many guests who attended a moving memorial service in Saffron Walden.

More than 450 people, including 300 schoolchildren attended Fridays event at St Mary’s Church to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in a show of cross-culture unity.

The theme of the service was “Speak up, Speak out”, and Ruth Barnett, who escaped the escaped the Nazi’s, spoke about her experience of coming to England via the Kinder transport in 1939.

The service ran as a designated day of reflection marking the anniversary of the Soviet Army’s liberation of Auschwitz Birkenau in 1945.

The were readings by the students from Saffron Walden County High School and the Friends School and the joint choir of pupils from the primary schools sang Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.

The Holocaust memorial prayer “Eil malei rachamim” was sung in Hebrew by Leslie Wheeler of the Beth Reform Synagogue, followed by recitation of the Mourners Kaddish.

A wire cage enclosing a candle (above left) provided a stark visual focus and those present came forward to tie a ribbon to the cage as a pledge ‘With the help of G-d I will remember, I will speak out’.

The Rev Anne Howson, who led the service said: “I was thrilled the children were so involved and cared so deeply. It is important that young children understand these issues so as to prevent atrocities from happening in the future”. dsc_0197_group.jpg

The service concluded with the Arronic blessing sung in Hebrew by Leslie Wheeler and said in English by the Rev Anne Howson.








Succah decorationg by Cheder children

The children and families of Beth Shalom Cheder decorated the Succah on Sunday afternoon.img_5227.jpg

David Katz wins innovation award

David Katz, Beth Shalom member and, until recently, a teacher at the Cheder, has won an industry award during his gap year at a local engineering consultancy company.  david_katz.jpg

David won an innovation award, sponsored by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, as part of The Year in Industry programme run by education charity EDT. David won the award for designing and developing a prototype sampling device that has attracted interest from four major companies. 

He is now going to study Mechancal Engineering at Imperial College, London.  

Mazeltov from all his friends at Beth Shalom. 

See link for more details :

Raising the Roof effortlessy - Easy Fundraising for Beth Shalom!

Please read this and consider using Easyfundraising for your on-line shopping.
Beth Shalom Building Fund Raising Committee invites you to buy your regular on-line purchases via
Easyfundraising to give us further income towards the new Synagogue. How does Easyfundraising work? They provide a FREE service where you can shop with your favourite online stores and at no extra cost raise funds for any charity, good cause or group you choose to support. You still shop directly with each retailer as you would normally, but simply by using the links from their site first, each purchase you make will generate a cash back donation to the Synagogue Building Fund, instantly raising money for us.

Eg, make any purchase from Amazon and 2.5% will be donated. Insure your car with Aviva Car Insurance and raise £26.00, or purchase a mobile phone from O2 and earn £17.50, etc. You can shop with 2000+ brand name retailers and to raise funds you just use the links from their site first - it's that simple! If you ALREADY shop online, why not help good causes at no extra cost from purchases you would make anyway. You don't need to come up with any complex sponsorship ideas to raise funds; you just need to shop online via Easyfundraising's site. NB your chosen good cause receives 100% of the donation shown on the site. E.g. if the donation rate for M&S is 2.5% of all spend, your chosen good cause will receive 2.5p for every £1 spent.

Will I pay anything extra? No. You pay the same prices exactly as if you visited each retailer's website directly. Using their service will not cost you a penny more than you would pay normally.
How much can I raise? Up to 15% of every purchase is donated, depending on which retailer you select and what you buy. The exact donation that will be paid is displayed directly next to each retailer listing. With some categories such as mobile phones and insurance there is a cash value.
How do I register? Go to Then type Beth Shalom into the ‘Find a cause’ box – Beth Shalom comes up very quickly when you start to type it. You then select it and you’re taken to a screen where you have to enter your details, I.e name, email address and password. Then you move to another screen which tells you how to raise money for Beth Shalom. EASY!

Technion Cambridge Group Rhythm and Tea afternoon

Technion Cambridge Group – Rhythm and Tea - Rhythm and Tea afternoonsam_3673.jpg Sunday 10th July 2011  

The Committee worked particuralry hard to make this a great aftertoon, which apart from a couple of light showers was most successful, graced by many of the community and local neighbours. we were entertained by Deborah the “Pandiva” who performed popular tunes on her steal drum with appropriate backing. We were very fortunate to have two ex graduates from The Technion, Ronit Shmaryahu who was this years recipient of a British Technion Society scholarship to Study Architexture at Brookes College, Oxford. We would particuarly like to thank Jackie, Denise, Barry, Robert and Martin for the great effort they put in to make this afternoon such a success, which raised in excess of £400 towards future awards. We look forward to seeing many of you at the Climate and Ron Arad events.

John Rogger  



Review of David Abulafia's new book

Review: David Abulafia: How Mediterranean Jews steered an influential course through history.

David Abulafia, a long time member of BSRS, has a new book out called "The Great Sea: a Human History of the Mediterranean". It sounds like a fascinating read.

The JC review by By Jane Liddell-King, another BSRS member and author in her own right, can be read here.

David Abulafia is scheduled to speak at Cambridge Limmud, November 6. " The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean" is published by Allen Lane

Sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld awarded an Honorary OBE

Sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld was awarded an Honorary OBE on Wednesday 13th July 2011.

Internationally acclaimed sculptor Helaine Blumenfeld was presented with an honorary OBE for her outstanding contribution to art. She was presented her OBE by Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport at a private ceremony.

Blumenfeld is one of the few non-British artists ever to have been honoured in this way. Honorary OBE's are awarded to non-British subjects, and over the decades, only a relatively small number have been presented. Luminaries such as Pierce Brosnan, Bill Bryson, Raymond Blanc and Janet Susman have been recipients of this honorary award.

Dr Blumenfeld said “As an American-born sculptor working in the timeless tradition of carving marble, I am thrilled to receive this Honorary OBE."

Helaine Blumenfeld was a favoured pupil of Ossip Zadkine, and her works have been hailed as 'The Henry Moore's of the future.' In 2004 she was elected Vice President of Royal British Society of Sculptors, and in 2007 she won the Il Premio Pietrasanta e la Versilia Nel Mondo, adding her name to the list of winners of this honour including Botero, Pomodoro and Marc Quinn. Helaine was the first and remains the only woman to receive this prestigious award. In 2008 the Royal British Society of Sculptors held a major retrospective of her work. Helaine Blumenfeld has been invited to exhibit in the Piazza and Chiostro di S. Agostino in Pietrasanta, Tuscany. The solo show opens on 3rd September 2011. The Robert Bowman Modern Gallery has represented Helaine Blumenfeld since 2006.

Ed Kessler awarded MBE

Dr Edward Kessler has been awarded an MBE for services to interfaith relations in the Queen's honours list.


Ed is a long-standing member of Beth Shalom, a former council member and was one of the leaders of the Cheder as well as a teacher for several years. Many of the community will be familiar with his warm and amusing sermons at many of the shul's Barmitzvahs and other occasions. It is certainly good to hear someone so deserving receiving an honour.

The award is for his professional contributions as Director of the Centre for the Study of Muslim, Jewish & Christian Relations, the first and only academic centre in Europe dedicated to fostering relations between these religions through teaching, research and dialogue.

Ed commented, "I see this award as recognition of the success of the Woolf Institute in fostering better understanding and relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims, since its establishment in 1998. I am privileged to have founded an Institute in whose aims I passionately believe. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all our donors, supporters and patrons who have made a vision possible.

"Understanding relations between faith communities is not an optional extra; neither is it to be feared. Should our political leaders choose to exclude faith issues from the contemporary debate they will do so at their peril. Having taught and written on relations between Jews and Christians for two decades, as well as Islam more recently, I have come to realise that all faith communities can (and do) make an enormous positive contribution to our civil society."

Historical Note

The Woolf Institute (formerly called, The Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, CJCR) opened its doors in 1998. It comprises The Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations (CJCR), The Centre for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations (CMJR) and Public Education Programmes (PEP), which separately (and in combination) provide a stimulating learning environment in the study of relations between Jews, Christians and Muslims for a national and international student caucus.

The Institute's founders, Rev. Prof. Martin Forward and Dr. Edward Kessler, who had both been involved in the study and practice of interfaith dialogue for many years, realised that despite the importance of Jewish-Christian dialogue in Europe, few seminaries or universities were able to offer courses on the insights of the encounter between Judaism and Christianity. The aim was to develop an independent Centre that would bridge this gap and harness the best of contemporary scholarship in the service of inter-faith understanding. The location in Cambridge allowed the Woolf Institute to follow in the tradition of first-class scholarship in the study of Judaism and Christianity.

The CJCR has become one of the world's leading centres in the study of Jewish-Christian relations throughout the ages. It works closely with the Faculty of Divinity and contributes to the provision of University's undergraduate and postgraduate teaching programme.

Fantasy Musical Fundraising

An audience of 90 people enjoyed a fund raising evening presented by the Festival Players, supported by Beth Shalom’s own choir, Kol Echod on 12 March.  Our usual Shabbat morning venue was transformed with a temporary stage and lighting to create a warm cabaret atmosphere.

Of course the most important ingredient in any Beth Shalom social is food and catering was admirably directed by Valerie Berkson.

The concert consisted of two halves, the second opened by the Kol Echad choir, meeting for the last time under the baton of its conductor Anthony Phillips. They sang two songs – the perennial favourite Mi Ha-ish and a rousing version of Oseh Shalom, by the recently departed Debbie Freeman.

The bulk of the concert was ably and enjoyably performed by the Festival Players, a Cambridge-based amateur theatre ensemble that has only recently moved into the area of concert evenings. One of their members is Beth Shalom’s own Les Wheeler who brought the house down with a rousing version of a largely forgotten English chestnut from the First World War era, ‘The Cobbler’s Song’.

The Players’ main repertoire was drawn largely from movie musicals from the Disney canon; the opening being ‘Bear Necessities’ from Jungle Book. Soloists led with songs from Starlight Express, Wicked, Witches of Eastwick, and more. The songs were very well performed and suitably dramatized. The best example was the song “I am all alone’ from Spamalot. There was a suitably dreamy version of ‘Wish upon a Star’ from Pinocchio and a touching rendition of a very un-pc song, ‘How to handle a woman’ from Camelot.

The evening was judged to be a great success, both socially and financially, with over £500 raised towards our aim of building a reform synagogue in Cambridge. Perhaps we should all wish upon a star….


Cheder Purim Play

Treats were in store at the Cheder Purim extravaganza on Sunday 13 March.

The cheder children enjoyed a fun session at the penultimate cheder of term, playing games on a variety of stalls and exchanging Mishloach Manot Purim baskets. Some of the children starred in their version of the Purim story, directed by Shally Shefer. The rest of the community will also get a chance to see this performed at the BSRS Purim celebration on 19 March. Some photos are below to whet the appetite!




LAUNCH OF ANNE FRANK AND FAMILY EXHIBITION, available throughout February 2011 at The Michaelhouse Centre, Cambridge

In partnership with Great St Mary’s the University Church and the University of Cambridge, the Anne Frank Trust UK is bringing the acclaimed 'Anne Frank and Family Exhibition' to the Michaelhouse Centre. This exhibition and complementary programme of Tuesday evening ‘conversations’ provide an opportunity to explore Anne Frank's story through family snapshots, debate, discussion and drama.
The exhibition consists of a collection of framed photographs taken in the 1920s and 1930s by Otto Frank, a keen amateur photographer of his two daughters, Anne and Margot. They show the happy carefree life the children enjoyed before they were forced by the Nazis into hiding in a secret annexe in Amsterdam, where Anne was to write her world famous diary.

Performance - Ensemble Theatre – ‘Uninvited - Voices from Exile’ – Elizabeth Mansfield – 22nd February The Uninvited is a performance tour de force telling the extraordinary stories of refugees and exiles, from all over the world, past and present We are keen to encourage member of the community, schools and youth groups to view the exhibition and participate in the ‘conversations’. Educational resources will be available for teachers planning a visit.
For further details of the exhibition, programme and booking arrangements for school and youth groups, please contact Val Ross, Regional Manager, Anne Frank East, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it



Quiz Night - Fundraising Success

What does SCUBA stand for? Who founded Wikipedia? Do you know the answer to these two questions? If not, why weren’t you at the Beth Shalom quiz? You missed a treat.

The Beth Shalom fundraising quiz was a successful evening with a combination of answering questions, eating fish and chips and drinking wine, all in a very sociable atmosphere with an excellent turnout of about 80 people, old friends and new.

The questions, expertly set by Tim Jones, were always tricky but not usually beyond EVERYONE’s reach. He kept us on our toes with, amongst others, rounds on local knowledge (thanks, Tim, for the one about Perne Road!), Jewish knowledge (oy vei, you want us to understand Yiddish?) and a picture round (surely Ali G isn’t as handsome as that?) We raised over £600 for the building fund and had a fun night out.

Thanks to Tim Jones for the questions, to Mike Frankl, Fiona Karet and Valerie Berkson for their organisational skills and to all those who donated prizes for the raffle. Looking forward to lots more FUNdraising events.

Sheila Levy

Cheder donates warm winter goods for World Jewish Relief on Mitzvah day







Cambridge, 21/11/10

Members of Beth Shalom Cheder were among around 20,000 Jews who gave a few hours of their time to support numerous good causes on "Mitzvah Day" (Sunday 21st November).

The project - one of around 600 organised nationally - involved the Cheder families bringing warm winter clothes and household goods to the Cheder, where Mitzvah Day helpers organised and bagged them. Volunteers later 100_4720web.jpgtransported the goods to a WJR collection point for distribution as part of their ‘Operation Winter Survival' programme.

Mitzvah Day project organiser, Berenice Mann commented, "This was the second year Beth Shalom Cheder has participated in Mitzvah Day and we are delighted to have collected 60 sacks of clothes and goods for World Jewish Relief, all of which will go to families in need around the world as part of their ‘Winter Survival' programme. Mitzvah Day is about giving time, and it‘s a great way for the Cheder children to really feel they are doing something to help those less fortunate. It's amazing what a difference we can make to someone else by donating just a few hours."    

The Cheder also held a mini-fete, with stalls selling Judaica, sweets, home-made cakes, tombola and card decorating, raising over £200 towards a permanent shul building for the community.

Around 70 children, along with their parents, siblings and teachers participated in Mitzvah Day. The hall was decorated with Mitzvah Day banners, balloons and posters, creating a very festive and enjoyable atmosphere.

Martyn Sakol, head teacher, commented, "I'm delighted that the BSRS Cheder children and families were able to do our bit for charity by giving a little time, and a lot of warm clothing.  That's what Mitzvah Day is all about and it's fantastic that so many people turned out to support our event."

The organisers would like to thank everyone who helped out, supported us and gave so generously on the day.

Photos from top to bottom, Cheder children with the WJR collection, families enjoying the fun of the fair on Mitzvah Day, and some of Class 7 with their cake and sweet stall.


Berenice Mann

Mitzvah Day Organiser

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Cheder children decorate Succah


Families from Beth Shalom Cheder gathered on Sunday 19 September to decorate the Succah ready for the services later in the week.

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BSRS members fire up fundraising

Members of BSRS held their first fundraising event to raise money for a new shul building. The community have already raised half a million pounds to purchase the la100_3736web.jpgnd in Cambridge and now need to raise further funds to provide a building.

    Although it was 'chilly with a chance of sunshine', around one hundred members and guests enjoyed a Kosher barbecue at the home of Peter and Estelle Wolfers, while relaxing in their beautiful gardens. Kosher burgers, sausages and veggie sausages were provided along with an array of salads, followed by strawberries and delicious (parve) ice cream for dessert. Groups of friends gathered round to eat, drink, gossip and discuss the plans, which caused a great deal of interest and comment. The children played games and explored the extensive grounds, and especially enjoyed the butterfly meadow.  

    Initial concep100_3739web.jpgt plans, for the new building were on display, for everyone to view and comment on. Council members were on hand to discuss ideas and concerns. The plans show a two-storey building with the synagogue upstairs in a light, airy room with a vaulted ceiling to give a feeling of space and substance. One member said, “I was very moved, close to tears, when I saw the plans, and realised how much having a shul meant to me, and to our community. Seeing the plans made it feel very real.”

    Frank Harris, chair of the Buildings committee, commented, “The members have been really interested and inspired by this initial set of drawings, and we have had some valuable discussion, feedback and ideas this afternoon. We now need to raise close to one million pounds to make this dream of having our own synagogue a reality. I'm sure everyone will be delighted to know that this event has raised £1065 towards our target.” 

    The Building Committee would like to everyone who attended, and of course those who helped organise the event, especially the Wolfers family for providing the idyllic setting. 



Netbuddy is setting up a website for Jewish people with learning disabilities, their families and professionals. In order to ensure that the website is fully comprehensive we seek your help. We would be most grateful if you could include the attached notice in your newsletter, weekly email and/or website. Set up by Linda Goldberg,, former CEO of a learning disability charity, and Deborah Gundle, mother of a disabled teenager, Netbuddy aims to provide the Jewish community with a comprehensive list of all that is available from large organisations to support groups and individuals active in the field wherever they are in the UK. Netbuddy is endorsed by the Board of Deputies and major learning disabilities organisations such as Norwood, Langdon and Kisharon. This website which will offer information, notice boards, and interactive forums will be an invaluable resource for people with learning disabilities, their families, and professionals within the Jewish community. It would be most helpful to us if you could email us by return to let us know when and in which issue you plan to publish our notice. Thank you for your support, Best wishes, Deborah Gundle and Linda Goldberg

Contact email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   tel: 0787 981 7733

Download pdf synagoguenewsletterinsert

SHARING RESPONSIBILITYAbove all, the purpose of CST, the Community Security Trust, is to ensure that any member of our community is able to lead the Jewish life that they choose. CST is part of our community, so it can only succeed if our community takes its share of responsibility. read more ...Shul_article_HHD_2010
Are you Interested in studying relations between Jews and Muslims?

Are you Interested in studying relations between Jews and Muslims?

The Woolf Institute, based at Wesley House, is seeking students from September to take a ‘Certificate of Continuing Education in the Study of Islam, Judaism and Muslim-Jewish Relations’. Students will be introduced to the major characteristics of the Muslim-Jewish encounter, both in the past and in the contemporary world. For the last 3 years, members of the local Jewish community have enjoyed taking this course, which is multi-disciplinary with an emphasis on texts, theology, history and anthropology. The course is an opportunity to study for a qualification awarded by Cambridge University Institute of Continuing Education. Further details on website .
Charity Concert of Classical and Jewish Music

There will be a charity concert on 9 May - please see pdf below, or calendar for details


Board of Deputies Community briefing

See pdf here

More information is available on their website at



New Jewish Group being formed at Anglia Ruskin University


A New Jewish Group is being formed at Anglia Ruskin University by Natania Goldrich for Students or Staff who might be interested.
The Society would be unaffiliated and Ethno-Cultural (rather than primarily religious) so that all Jews from all walks of life, backgrounds and religious persuasions can be included. The group would be intended to foster a sense of common identity through cultural events including Jewish art, music, literature and theatre, learning basic Hebrew and any subjects that might be of interest within the group. The University has never had its own Jewish Society although I have now introduced Simon Mandel, the Jewish Chaplain to Cambridge University to the ARU Chaplaincy and I understand he is to become an Associate Chaplain. Please would anyone interested contact Natania Goldrich This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 01223 874539.

WJR Thanks BSRS Cheder

WJR says thank you to BSRS Cheder

A thank you certificate has been received from World Jewish Relief for the collection by the Cheder families for the Haiti relief fund.

Edie Eligator, who received the certificate, will bring it to Cheder to show everyone on Sunday. She said "It's fantastic that the children have been able to help towards this emergency fund, which needed immediate response."



WJR certificate

Purim Celebrations

The purim celebrat100_3589web.jpgions at Beth Shalom were something to write home about this year. Starting with the boisterous Megilah reading and fancy dress100_3595web.jpg parade on Saturday 27 February, the Cheder continued the party spirit on Sunday 28. 

The Cheder children from the younger classes sang some Purim songs, such as Chag Purim. This was followed by a Purim play in true panto tradition with leading ladies Esther and Vashti played by boys, and Haman, Mordecai and the King played by girls. The play was beautifully orchestrated by Shally Shefer and included fabulous costumes, super acting and jazzy singing by all.

After the entertainment we were able to enjoy the home baked treats on the cake stall, sponge throwing at Haman and lucky dip, among others, and a good time was had by all.



Kosher for Pesach

We have received information about a new kosher shop opening in Essex - download the pdf below:

Pesach shop, Essex

Note there is also Derby Stores, Cambridge, who will get Pesach orders, and Just Kosher in Borehamwood, Herts if Gants Hill seems a bit far. Tesco Borehamwood also stocks a good range of basic Kosher for Pesach stock.

Just Kosher

5 Croxdale Road
Borehamwood WD6 4QD
020 8207 5556

Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration Activities in the East of England

Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration Activities in the East of England

There were a number of events in the East of England region to commemorate this important occasion.

In Cambridge on 26th January, there was the Launch of the exhibition "Polish Heroes; those who saved Jews during the Holocaust" from the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, at the Guildhall, Market Square, Cambridge. This is an inspiring exhibition about Polish people who have received recognition by Yad Vashem. They are among the "Righteous Among Nations" and are commemorated in the Jerusalem museum.

Cambridge City Council's Holocaust Memorial Day event took place on 27th January.Josef Mironiuk at HMD Cambridge

This year's national theme was Legacy of Hope. Holocaust survivors - both victims and rescuers - spoke movingly of pain and loss, survival and despair and their wish for a legacy of hope. 

The evening began with an address from the Mayor of Cambridge and ended with the usual moving candle-lighting ceremony.

The focus of HMD is memory and the lessons from the Shoah. This year the Cambridge community welcomed a distinguished recipient of the Yad Vashem Righteous Among Nations Award (given to non-Jews who saved Jewa during the Holocaust). We will hear the story of Mr Jozef Marionuk (pictured, right) and how his family helped saved a group of desperate Jews by hiding them in their farmhouse in rural Poland.

The programme also included a new talk by Eva Clarke, reflections on a visit to Auschwitz by two local school students, a performance by the Beth Shalom Jewish choir, Kol Echad, an original dance piece based on Schindler's List and more.

Also on the morning of 27 Jan the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse screened the film "The Power of Good" and winner of the 2002 International Emmy Award for Best Foreign documentary.

The film shows how, on the wave of the Nazi invasion and threats of war,  Nicholas Winton, a young British businessman,  managed to take 669 mostly Jewish children, out of Czechoslovakia to England.  By helping to save their lives he showed how one person can really make a difference and inspire hope in a troubled world.

HMD, Norwich 27 January

Dr. John Clark and Dr. Jeannette Fine, as representatives of the Jewish community, attended a HMD event at Norfolk County Hall in Norwich and performed some readings. They were invited by the county hall chaplain, the Rev. Christine Copley, to a lunchtime service for county employees. Holocaust memorial ceremony Norwich

There were 36 people there including the chief executive and the Chairman of the County Council. The chaplain did some readings, Jeannette sang and read the Shema, John read from Elie Wiesel and read the Kaddish and an Imam gave a very supportive sermon, a prepared reading and read from the Haditha, the opening of the Koran in a very moving service.

At the lunch afterwards in the Chairman’s office, they were shown some documents by a Kindertransport survivor, who had managed to track down what happened to his parents. John was shown a three page typed document, in German, which was the summons to his mother to present herself for transport to Theresienstadt. His German is not the world’s greatest, and it was whisked off before he could read it properly.

However, Dr. Clark said, ”I did not get a chance to ask how he came into possession of the document, but by goodness it made my blood run cold. Not the least chilling aspect of it was that the Nazis had the chutzpah to label the document as being from the Office of Jewish Culture (rough translation).”  

New RSY Netzer youth group at Beth Shalom

New youth group at Beth Shalom

BSRS is starting a branch of RSY-Netzer for Cambridge Jewish youth aged 12+ to join. The group has been initiated by Danielle Ross, a mother of teenagers and member of BSRS, who was concerned that there was nothing socially for her own children to do, to help connect them to other Jewish kids and enlarge their sense of Jewish identity.

Danielle says, “The teenagers need something other than shul services, to enable them to meet other Jewish kids. As we are a small community, I want the teenagers to have a sense that they are part of something bigger and provide a route for them to meet more Jewish kids both in and outside of Cambridge, hence RSY-Netzer, an established youth organisation."

The first meeting will be on January 24th. For more details, see the Calendar and our Youth Page

Mitzvah Day

Mitzvah Day

Cambridge Beth Shalom Reform Cheder donate 50 bags of goods for World Jewish Relief

Members of Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue’s (BSRS) Cheder in Cambridge were among around 15,000 Jews and others who gave a few hours of their time to support numerous good causes on “Mitzvah Day” yesterday  (Sunday 15th November).


Cheder children at Mitzvah Day

Celebration Dinner for Beth Shalom

On the evening of Saturday 10 March, the beautiful and historic Great Hall at St John’s College, Cambridge resonated with the sound of around 140 people from the Jewish progressive community, including past and present residents, students and members of Beth Shalom enjoying a delicious meal and a wonderful atmosphere.

This major fundraising event, a celebration black tie dinner, included some illustrious guests such as Michael Grabiner, Chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism; the President of the Movement for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, CBE; and the Movement Rabbi, Laura Janner-Klausner.

After enjoying a chanpagne reception, the guests were welcomed by Mike Frankl, Chair of BSRS, and Frank Harris, Chair of the Building Committee. Speeches were given by Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, who studied law at Cambridge himself, and Dr Edward Kessler MBE, Executive Director of Cambridge University's Woolf Institute, who stressed the importance of Beth Shalom acquiring its very first home after over 30 years

The evening buzz continued with an exciting auction of prizes such as holidays in Spain and the Cotswolds and an exclusive box at the Royal Opera House, plus a silent auction and a well-stocked and beautifully presented tombola.

Organiser, Professor Fiona Karet Frankl commented, “We are delighted with the support for this event, which has raised well over £30,000 towards our goal. It's a substantial sum, but we still have a long way to go.”

Report in the JC here



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