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Saturday, August 27, 2016
23 Av 5776.
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Building Fund

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Contact Us

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Our postal address and statutory information can be found here.

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News.. News.. News..
Fundraising Concert by Pied Pipers

Fundraiaing Concert Sunday 8 May at 7.30 at the Synagogue by Pied Pipers Musical Theatre Group

Going to be a great evenings entertainment!

All proceeds in aid of the Beth Shalom building fund. 
Tickets on the door £5. Drinks and refreshments available. Raffle prizes. 

7 for 7:30 The Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue, Auckland Road, Cambridge. 

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Closure of the Building Fund
Dedication Service
BSRS celebrates first service in new shul

Beth Shalom celebrates first service in its new, permanent synagogue

Berenice Mann

Cambridge, 14 June 2015

It was with much joy and nachos that Shabbat Shelach Lecha was celebrated last weekend in Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue’s brand new building.

Congregants were welcomed as they arrived at a stylish synagogue many of them had only previously seen as a construction site, and some had never seen. Many commented on the smell of new wood and sight of a floral display as they entered.

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The synagogue is in central Cambridge overlooking Midsummer Common, and has been built from scratch to a modern design including environmentally sustainable features such as low energy lighting, and solar panels on the roof to generate electricity. It is the first new-build Reform Synagogue in the UK for a generation.

Over 100 members came to enjoy this first service in the smart new surroundings. The sanctuary is light and airy with a high ceiling and oak floor. A delicious celebratory kiddush, provided by Jonathan and Joan Harris, was held in the separate community room.

Mike Frankl, Chairman of the BSRS Council, addressed the community at the end of the service to talk about the many potential new uses for the building, including social action projects and inter-faith events. In addition the Progressive Jewish University Students in Cambridge will be able to hold their Friday night services in the new shul.

Mike Frankl said, “It was an emotional and joyous day for many of the community, who have striven to make this synagogue a reality with many years of hard work, donations, committees and project management of the build. We are delighted finally to have received the keys and be able to move in to our new, permanent home. It really is a milestone day for the whole community and the city of Cambridge.” 


There will be a formal ceremony to consecrate the synagogue on 6 September.

BSRS member Les Wheeler takes lead in Fiddler on the Roof

Les Wheeler is playing Tevye in the Over Players' production of Fiddler on the roof. Our reviewer, Berenice Mann, went along on opening night - see what she thought of the show.

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The new building foundation stone unveiled!
High Holyday Charities 2015 / 5776

Tzdakah - the Beth Shalom High Holydays Appeal 2015 / 5776

 Dear friends, The Beth Shalom High Holydays Appeal is aimed at collecting donations for a local Cambridge charity, an Israeli charity, and our very own Beth Shalom Community. Charity is an essential element of the High Holidays; please give generously!

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 BSRS took leading roles in the Swaffham Bulbeck Summer Theatre's production of the G&S musical 'Patience'.

Leslie Wheeler, Steven Aronson and Caille Sugarman-Banaszak took key roles in the production, staged in a large and well decorated barn in Swaffham Bulbeck.

Read Berenice Mann's review for Local Secrets:

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Jews Remembered at St Edmondsbury Cathedral

One particular Czech scroll continues to be a source of inspiration. On 6th February 2014, at the kind invitation of Revd Canon Matthew Vernon, photographer, Marion Davies and poet, Jane Liddell-King 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 2014, 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.

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 2011 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.

Sharing Responsibility

The purpose of the Community Security Trust (CST), 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

The Woolf Institute

The Woolf Institute has online short courses that can be taken at any time of the year. Contact Emma Harris, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information, or see the Woolf Institute’s website.

Kosher Food

Derby Stores, Cambridge, stocks some Kosher food, and will take orders for Pesach. Just Kosher5 Croxdale Road, Borehamwood WD6 4QD, stocks a wide variety of Kosher food.

Celebration Dinner for Beth Shalom

On the evening of Saturday 10 March 2012, 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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