Chukkat, 6th July 2019, Leslie Wheeler

The Red Heifer and the purification of tumah We read in (Numbers 19:2) “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish and upon which never came yoke.” The question I asked myself when reading this verse was … Read More

Niso, 8th June 2019, Tali Artman Partock

Religion without guilt I once more want to visit today the teaching of my Rabbi Shlomo, a man whose understanding of human nature and religion shaped my life. I try to imagine what he would have to say about this week’s parasha, the longest in the Torah, and its many rituals: the ordeal of the Sotah, the Nazirite, the political … Read More

The House is On Fire, 27 April 2019, Simon Eder

At a meeting of the college faculty, an angel suddenly appears and tells the head of the philosophy department, “I will grant you whichever of three blessings that you choose: wisdom, beauty or £10million.” Immediately the professor chooses wisdom. There is a flash of lightning, and the professor appears transformed, but he just sits there staring at the table. One … Read More

Parashat Metzora Shabbat Hagadol – 13th April 2019, Les Wheeler

When I was first offered this sermon, (my very first by the way!) I was really excited and couldn’t wait to look it up in the Chumash to see what the arashat was all about. I must say my initial reaction was pretty negative. Just more sin offerings, leprosy, dashing of blood on the altar, not something that readily stimulated … Read More

Amidah Meditation, 6th April 2019, Mike Frankl

Given that we have had three scrolls today because it is Rosh Chodesh, I am not going to discuss any of the readings today but would just like to say a little about the short meditation at the end of the Amidah. It’s a piece that we almost never read out loud, and which I have talked about before, some … Read More

Vayikra: Vocation, 16th March 2019, Benji de Almeida-Newton

Why do people do what they do? Well, if we’re thinking in terms of jobs in an industry of some sort then some people do what they do for money alone, others for the combination of money and intellectual satisfaction; few people do unpaid work for obvious reasons, especially if they are already on a low income. Our association between … Read More

Parashat Tetzaveh, 16th February 2019, Tali Artman-Partock

For most of us, there are two types of Torah readings that we find harder to identify with: those which have to do with mass killings and those which describe the building of and serving in the Temple. Progressive Judaism, as some of you know, has given up on the Jerusalem Temple ever being rebuilt as it was. In fact, … Read More

Faith and Freedom, 19th January 2019, Nick Shenker

Today is 13th Sh’vat 5779 in the Jewish calendar, the day my darling daughter Maya Hannah Shenker (Hannah bat Natan) made Bat’mitzvah here at Beth Shalom and didn’t she do well! I know that you have worked extremely hard and the fruits of your labour are here for us all to see. And so it falls to me, your proud … Read More

Two new sermons – 5th and 12th January 2019

Bo – Fred Diamond, 12th January 2019 As you’ll have heard, this week’s Parasha, Bo, is building up to one of the main events of Sh’mot, the book of Exodus, namely the Exodus itself. Let me start by plugging the weekly parasha discussion sessions that recently started on Thursday evenings – it’s been really interesting and informative learning about what’s … Read More