From the desk of Rabbi Elli

ASERET Y'MEI T'SHUVAH 2020-5781 A4

Rabbi Elli Sarah

Writing by Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah

During this festival of Sukkot, may the fragile sukkah that recalls our ancestors’ forty-year sojourn in the barren wilderness, remind us of our obligation to assist the poor and the homeless, those in flight from persecution, war and destitution, and all those across the globe experiencing oppression, anguish, grief, loss, hardship and humiliation at this […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: October 5, 2020, 7:37 pm
At this festival of Sukkot, when we remember how our ancestors wandered in the wilderness for forty years before they were ready to create a new society, we are painfully aware that after decades of wandering in a wilderness of war, enmity and conflict, Israelis and Palestinians are still not yet ready to enter a […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: October 5, 2020, 7:35 pm
We have arrived at the festival that the early rabbis called ‘the season of our rejoicing’ – z’man simchateinu. After laying bare our souls and immersing ourselves in the depths of Yom Kippur, the new year begins in earnest with a celebration of the bounty of life. On the surface the contrast between Yoma, ‘the […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: October 3, 2020, 10:00 am
What an extraordinary Yom Kippur we are experiencing this year. When I was a child, and right up until I began my rabbinic studies at Leo Baeck College in the autumn of 1984, aged 29, I used to spend Yom Kippur with my Mum. We would sit together in the family home, talking about the […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: September 28, 2020, 5:48 pm
Tens of thousands of words are uttered on Yom Kippur; words expressing Jewish teaching; mostly words of prayer. Words are powerful. The impact of the TaNaKH[1], the Hebrew Bible on the world testifies to this. The Torah reflects the understanding of ancient times that words were, literally, a force for life – or for death […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: September 28, 2020, 5:48 pm
2nd Tishri – T’ki’ah, T’ru’ah, Sh’varim On Rosh Ha-Shanah, we are commanded ‘to listen to the voice of the shofar‘ – lishmo’a kol shofar.[1] In traditional communities, 2nd Tishri is the second day of Rosh Ha-Shanah, and when the first day falls on Shabbat, the shofar (ram’s horn) is only sounded on the second day. […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: September 20, 2020, 10:05 am
The New Year has dawned and we are still living in this coronavirus crisis that began to overwhelm our lives back in February. And we don’t know when it will end. So, we are marking Erev Rosh Ha-Shanah this year, not in the shul sanctuary, with the congregation gathered together, but on a technological online […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: September 20, 2020, 10:00 am
Preparations for the High Holy Days this year began very early at the shul. I usually start working on my sermons for Rosh Ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur in August, but this year, the continuing coronavirus crisis led to the decision that we could not gather in the synagogue for the autumn festivals, which meant that I began thinking about […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: September 20, 2020, 10:00 am
A new month began on Thursday evening: the Hebrew month of Elul. Traditionally, Elul is the time when we prepare ourselves for the aseret y’mei t’shuvah, the ‘ten days of return’ that begin on Rosh Ha-Shanah and conclude on Yom Kippur. The month of Elul lasts 29 days, so, in four weeks’ time exactly it […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: August 22, 2020, 10:00 am
At this time, 2606 years ago, the inhabitants of Jerusalem were experiencing the full force of the Babylonian conquest. The city had been under siege since the winter, and just over two weeks earlier the city walls had been breached. Exhausted and dying of famine, they didn’t know what lay ahead, but they knew they […]
Author: Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah
Posted: July 25, 2020, 10:00 am

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