Communal Seder Tuesday 6th April 2023
On Tuesday 6th April, our community came together for the first in person Communal Seder for 3 years. As you can imagine, this was quite a momentous occasion. The Seder was well attended with friends CFI and from a group from local Church, led by Reverend Julie attending.
A great, fun evening was enjoyed by all. Nathan read the Ma-Nishtana, which was followed by Holly singing it.
Massive thanks to Karen and Amelia for all the help they gave with the mountain of washing and clearing up.
Please have a look at the photos from the Seder.
Our Community came together for a fun filled morning celebrating Purim. Rabbi David encouraged everyone present to get into the spirit of Purim by dressing up. Rabbi David was transformed into a Ship’s Captain, very appropriate as he steered us through reading The Magilla of Esther, with the obligatory Cheering of Mordechai and Esther whilst enthusiastically Booing Haman.
Following the service many Hamantaschen were consumed thanks to Nicole for providing these traditional, delicious treats.
Celebrating Sukkot 2022
On a beautiful Sunday morning, the community came together to build our Sukka and celebrate Sukkot. The children, with a little adult input helped to decorate the Sukka. Natasha then led a short service culminating in shaking the Luluv & Etrog. Everyone took part in this age old tradition with the younger children smelling the Etrog & then guessing what kind of fruit it was. Most of the little ones guessing, as expected that the Etrog was a lemon.
As has become the practice at Brentwood Reform, we collected food for the foodbank in lieu of the traditional fruit and vegetables that are hung in the Sukka. We did of course hand a little fruit up and the children were encouraged to draw or colour in pictures to help decorate the Sukka. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather this year and the morning was thoroughly enjoyed by all of those present.
Simchat Torah 2022
Our community gathered to celebrate Simchat Torah with the service being led this year by Louis. Our Chatan Torah this year was Elliot, who read Devarim expertly from the Sefer Torah. Unfortunately, Elliot’s wife, Suzanne our Kallah Bereshit was stuck at home with a sick child. Our heartfelt thank went out to Amanda who stepped in to read Bereshit at the very last minute in Suzanne’s stead. A nerve-wracking experience when you have only had 2 hours notice.
Congregant’s and guests then enjoyed a lovely kiddish and some time to socialise with Elliot taking a little of the kiddish home to Suzanne and Daniel.
A Visit to Manchester’s Jewish Museum
The last week in August 2022 saw Jan and Louis off to Manchester to visit Granddaughter Holly at University.
Whilst in Manchester, Jan and Louis took the opportunity to visit Manchester’s Jewish Museum. The museum is housed in the grade II listed building that was the former Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue. The first challenge was finding the building, Jan said, “Google maps showed the location of the building only a 5 minute drive from where we were staying. However, with roadworks and not actually being able to drive down Cheetham Hill from the end we approached, we almost gave up! After driving around in circles for half an hour, ignoring the Sat Nav and working on instinct, we finally arrived following 40 minutes in the car!”
Jan and Louis said they were so pleased they persevered, what an amazing Museum and beautiful old Shul. Many photos were taken and a few are on this website. For Jan & Louis, some of the exhibits were almost like looking back on their childhood. The old Haggadah’s and Tzduka boxes from the JNF used to be found in many Jewish homes. The actual Shul has been preserved in pristine condition, even the Arron Chodesh has old Sefer Torah scrolls behind a protective glass screen. Having spent 2.5 hours looking around, a lovely hot meal was enjoyed at the vegetarian café run by friends of the museum. Al in all, if you are ever visiting Manchester definitely make the Jewish Museum on Cheetham Hill part of your to do list.
A New Hall plus In-Person Services – February 2022
On Shabbat 12th February we were delighted to, at last, return to face to face services. Zoom has been amazing and kept the community together, however there is no doubt actually being together cannot be beaten.
Over the last couple of years whilst we have been using Zoom, we had been considering moving premises. We have been very lucky to procure a lovely large, secure hall, with a smaller hall and kitchen leading directly off of it. Ideal for Bnei Mitzvah.
Sadly, a couple of key community members did not feel comfortable joining our first service, however, they hope to return in the very near future.
Please see the photo of the new hall with Rabbi David, Louis and a few of the children.
Thanks to everyone who recently attended our Chanukah celebration, it was great seeing so many of you and hopefully we will see you all in person very soon.
Benjamin’s Bar Mitzvah
On Shabbat 10th July 2021, Benjamin became Bar Mitzvah. Due to COVID, Mum Nicole decided in advance, in the interests of safety, Ben’s Bar Mitzvah would be held in her garden.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a cold wet, windy morning. However, taking into account the temperamental English weather Nicole had already made plans for such an event and a large marquee had been erected in the garden.
Ben and Nicole had requested that rather than having Rabbi David lead the service, they would like our Community leader Natasha, a friend of Nicole for well over 30 years & known to Nicole’s 3 children, Mark, Benjamin and Charlotte as Aunty Natasha, to lead the Shabbat service.
Benjamin read his Parashah and the Haftarah beautifully, with his Uncle Daniel being given the Mitzvah of reading the Haftarah blessings on Benjamin’s behalf. Thus, despite Zoom and the rather cold, wet weather, a great day was had by all.
The community wishes Benjamin and his family a hearty mazel tov.
Max’s Bar Mitzvah
On Shabbat 15th May 2021, Max had his Bar Mitzvah. Sadly, due to COVID restrictions, as with many other children, Max’s Bar Mitzvah was via Zoom. It was held in Grandparents’ Jan & Louis’ conservatory and attended by Max, his parents, Grandparents and 1 sibling in person. However, the rest of the family and friends attended via Zoom, seeing total well over 100 attendees. Max, as expected, did himself and his family proud.
For Max’s family on his mother’s side, particularly his Granddad Louis, it was especially poignant, as Max chose to wear his Great Grandfather’s tallit. Sadly Max never actually knew his Great Granddad (known as Poppa to all of his grandchildren) as both of his Great Granddad’s passed away in 1990.
Max’s English full name, Max Wolf, carries the Hebrew names of both of his Great Granddads on his mother’s side, Yitzok Sholom ben Aaron (Isaac & Sidney). Max specifically requested that Mum Natasha lead his Bar Mitzvah service.
So all in all, a very special day indeed. The community wishes Max and his family a hearty mazel tov.
Simchat Torah 2020
Whist COVID-19 has stopped us gathering together physically, Zoom has allowed us to celebrate the main events of the Hebrew calendar. On Sunday 11th October, courtesy of Zoom, we came together, to celebrate Simchat Torah.
Our Kallah Bereshit was Jan and our Chatan Torah was Louis. We could not reasonably expect Jan & Louis to dance with the Sifri Torahs around their conservatory. However, we made the best of it, with well known Hebrew music blaring in the background, Louis swayed along in front of the open Ark. Louis then read Devarim followed by Jan reading Bereshit.
Never say Jews are not adaptable. Certainly Simchat Torah 5780 was different, but celebrated at Tikvah Chadasha nonetheless.
Amanda Runs the London Marathon – October 2022
On 4th October 2020, founder member, previous Chair and long serving Council member, Amanda, took to the streets to run the London Marathon. As we are all aware the London Marathon is normally held in April, but was postponed due to…yep, COVID-19. This was Amanda’s first marathon, and we are all very proud of her achievement. Running a course in and around Brentwood, was a difficult task, wet muddy and hilly! Amanda ran on behalf of the Charity, VICTA. A charity dedicated to assisting visually impaired, a cause close to Amanda’s heart.
Our community are very proud of Amanda’s achievement, and wish her a hearty mazel tov. Perhaps 2021 will see her run the route normally designated for the London Marathon. Watch this space.
Sadly, our usual Chanukah celebration could not go ahead as planned this year. Nevertheless, we made the most of it with Louis devising an interesting Chanukah quiz. The quiz was well attended. At the end we all lit our own Chanukias. The quiz was well attended with all the children taking part receiving £8 national book tokens whilst the adults received a Jewish Holiday Baking book, featured below.