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From the Vice President



Hello, Shabbat Shalom and welcome to this week’s Great Synagogue News.

First a correction and apologies that in last week’s news, where Kristallnacht was written, it should have read the 80th anniversary of the first Kindertransport, which was a very moving service.

Congratulations to Alan Landis, Judy Menczel and all those involved in the success of the Antiques Valuation Day which attracted close to 100 people all vying for time with one of our three expert valuers. There was such a great variety of items brought in by people across the community.

Last shabbat Jackson Ryder recited his Haftorah under the watchful eye of his teacher John Lenn, his parents, family, guests and friends. Jackson did a fantastic job and continued on to lead the entire Musaf service. Everyone was so proud of him!

This week we are celebrating the Bar Mitzvah of Oscar Green and wish his parents Jonathan & Melissa Green, grandparents Leslie & Ginny Green and Roy & Ruth Buntman, siblings Stella & Charlie and all the family a hearty Mazal Tov and much nachas!

Thank you to them for sponsoring this week’s Chanukah-themed communal lunch in celebration and acknowledgment of Oscar’s special day.

Wedding Anniversaries being celebrated this week:

Anna & Michael Joel’s and our Senior Vice President Max & Barbara Freedman’s on both of their 46th Anniversaries!

Happy Birthdays and Mazal Tovs to Ken Gresham, Cynthia Reingold and Diana-Rose Orr.

Mazaltov on Rochelle Goot’s Bat Mitzvah Anniversary!

Michael & Rochelle Goot have made an offering on their daughter Danielle Blumberg being appointed Head of Junior School at Masada College, St. Ives.

We also wish Nanette Williams Mazal Tov on her appointment, announced Thursday, as a Judge of the District Court.

To all those with a Yahrzeit, or who have recently suffered a bereavement, the Executive Board together with your Great Synagogue Family wish you a long, healthy and happy life.

Wishing those going away, a safe journey, happy travels and speedy return.

See you in Shul.

Warmest wishes,

Caroline Lewis


From the Rabbi


Miketz - Chanukah - Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5779

The Torah reading this week is unique because we take out three Torah scrolls. The only time that happens is when Shabbat, Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh all fall on the same day. That does not happen every Chanukah, but this year Rosh Chodesh Tevet is on Shabbat and Sunday. We therefore read the parasha of the week, Miketz, and the special readings for Rosh Chodesh and for Chanukah. Normally, a special reading would be used for Maftir, as on a normal Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh. But when there are two additional readings, one is read as the last Aliyah before Maftir, and the other for Maftir itself.

The question is which one, Rosh Chodesh or Chanukah, and here we have to invoke a general principle. When there are two mitzvot which could be completed at the same time, we perform the more frequent mitzvah first. For example, when someone puts on a tallit and tefillin, they put on the tallit first because it is a more frequent mitzvah (every day) than tefillin (not Shabbat or Yom Tov).

In this case Rosh Chodesh occurs more often than Chanukah, and there are more days of Rosh Chodesh each year than there are of Chanukah, so we read the Rosh Chodesh section first, and then the Chanukah portion for Maftir.

That solves a difficulty, but what is the rationale behind it? We know that ‘familiarity breeds contempt’, and we are tempted to treat rare events or activities with greater attention. It is unsurprising that ‘common’ means both numerous and low grade, because that reflects a widely held mindset. The principle of putting the more frequent mitzvah first reminds us not to fall into that trap. We should regard everything according to its merits, and not be dazzled by rarity or novelty.

I want to wish a big mazal tov to Oscar Green, his parents, grandparents, siblings, family and friends, on his bar mitzvah this week. I remember his brother Charlie’s bar mitzvah which took place soon after I arrived, and it has always been a pleasure to celebrate with this lovely family, which has such deep roots in the shule. They are sponsoring the communal lunch in honour of the bar mitzvah and I hope you can join us for that.

This Friday night is also special, because for the only Shabbat this year we are lighting the Falk Menorah, and as always a Kiddush will follow the service. As we end another Chanukah, it has been a wonderful festival at our shule, with parties for the community at our home, and in the Portico for young adults, lunchtime learning, and Tot Shabbat this week with Hinda. We have celebrated fully and in style!

Finally, I want to thank everyone who made the Antiques Day such a success, especially Alan Landis and Judy Menczel, and indeed everyone who volunteered their services and who came along. I hope it will become an annual event.

Shabbat shalom and happy Chanukah!

Mon, 10 December 2018 2 Tevet 5779