Kol Nidre, 25th September 2023, Worry and doubt – Ed Kessler

Every year in the run-up to the High Holy Days I do what you’d expect me to do: I worry.  Not only because there is too little time to prepare adequately but because the need to decide on the topic of the kol nidrei sermon is agonising.  Not there is any shortage of subjects.  On the contrary, there are too … Read More

Shabbat Shuva, 23rd September 2023 – David Karat

Dear Friends Shabbat Shuva Shalom and Shana Tova Today is the Shabbat of Shuva returning or Tshuva repentance. The first Shabbat of the new year. Traditionally it was one of the two Shabbats on which the Rabbi of the Community would give a Sermon; the other is Shabbat Gadol before Pesach. Well, for reasons which are important to the ethos … Read More

Beshalach, 4th February 2023 – Marc Saperstein

We have listened to the words of our Torah reading from parashat Beshalach, Exodus 14 and 15, in Hebrew and English, and I would imagine that I am not the only one who found some rather strange problems with the words of our parashah, especially the presentation of God. I would like to examine what we should make of some of the … Read More

Lech Lecha, 5th November 2022 – Martin Cahn

When I was presented with this parsha as a basis for my sermon, I began to ask myself what should I comment on. This is the story of the wanderings of Abram and his family, Sarai, his nephew Lot and Sarai’s maidservant and later Abram’s concubine Hagar. There were many rabbinic interpretations which go into the detail of the reported … Read More

Kol Nidre 2022, Rab Eizik’s Treasure – Marc Saperstein

Rabbi Shneuer Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chasidic sect known as Chabad, was once thrown in jail by the Russian government because of the slander of an informer. While awaiting trial, he was visited by the chief jailer. Impressed by the appearance of the rabbi, the jailer began to question him about biblical passages he had not understood. … Read More

Numbers 25:10-26:4, 16th July 2022 – Franz Fuerst

What is the problem with sermons? They are only words. No matter how powerful or passionate the message contained in them may be, the raw materials – the words – from which they are crafted, are always fragile and ephemeral. And words are comfortably bendable and flexible as we all know. In fact, the terms ‘preaching’ and ‘sermon’ have taken … Read More

Mishpatim – 29th January 2022 – Franz Fuerst

Today’s Torah portion Mishpatim with its rather stern list of divine statutes, ordinances and potential punishments may seem slightly at odds with a simcha, the joyous occasion of celebrating a bar mitzvah.  The BM boy’s dvar torah already hinted at the fact that not all of these precepts are easy to accept from a contemporary point of view. And yet, … Read More

B’shallach, 15th January 2022 – Did The Exodus Happen? – Leslie Wheeler

The vision that most of us have of the Exodus is typified by a quote from General Sir Richard Gale’s Great Battles of Biblical History (1): “The long trek over the arid desert was a grim undertaking for a tired and undernourished people. Thousands of them, old and young, men and woman, with their children, their sick and their lame, … Read More