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Many of you are aware my dear father passed away last year on 1 October 2014 corresponding to 7 Tishri 5775. Shabbat 22 August 2015 was7 Ellul, which marked the end of the 11 month period of mourning. Was I supposed to wake up on that morning and suddenly by very happy that I am no longer in mourning, am I to be more happy than usual that I am not a mourner? The hole that I still carry around with me following the loss of my dad and the feeling that something in my life is missing is still there and I am sure will stay with me for the rest of my days. But life has to move on and continue and the last 12 months have seen lots of happy and sad emotions.
The Chagim following the loss of dad were very difficult but as a family we rallied round each other and slowly the black veil began to lift.
Many of the women in our community will remember the excellent Challah Bake that was held as part of the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK. It was an amazing sight to see over 150 women and girls together kneading dough, being led by Rebbetzin Liat Lieberman, and then the photographs trending on social media of the finished baked Challot. We hope to emulate last year’s Challah Bake with this year’s Challah Bake due to take place on Thursday 22 October 2015, with the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK taking place on Shabbat 24 October 2015.
Following Operation Protective Edge in Israel last summer, lots of speakers on Israel were brought to address the community including Luke Akehurst from We Believe in Israel, Jonathan Sacerdoti, Brigadier General Shalom Harari from Shaare Zedek and Davis Lewin from the Henry Jackson Society. They all spoke about Israel and how we, as English Jews, can continue to show our support to Israel specifically by writing to MPs and writing to the media complaining about their bias reporting. An informative Zionist Federation Israel Advocacy Training Day was held which further reiterated these points.
The Liverpool Jewish community was dancing for a whole weekend in February with the Kids @ Liverpool Learning Melave Malka on Saturday night and a Hachnasat Sefer Torah (rededication of two Sifrei Torah) at Stapely on the Sunday morning. Kids @ Liverpool Learning will begin this year on Motzei Shabbat 31 October 2015 and the Sifrei Torah are used at each monthly Shabbat morning and every Yom Tov service held at Stapely.
In March I felt I had suffered a further bereavement following a two day visit to Poland and visiting Auschwitz-
As a community we were privileged to hear the testimony of Ruth Barnett, a Kindertransportee on Yom Hashoah and whilst the Anne Frank Exhibition was being housed at the King David Campus Arek Hersh delivered his testimony of surviving Auschwitz and being liberated at 16 years of age. I had never seen a tattooed number on an arm until Arek showed off his tattooed number. Both of these survivors also addressed pupils at the King David Primary and High Schools. I was also honoured to hear the testimony of Zigy Shipper at the opening of the Anne Frank Exhibition at Alsop High School to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Zigy’s powerful words will remain with me forever especially the fact that we cannot change the past but we have the power to determine our future. He went on to say that many people often ask him “how can I remember” and his answer is always “how can I forget when most of my family perished”. All three survivors, speaking at very different events, received well deserved long standing ovations.
With the General Elections taking place in Israel in March a Question Time event was held with an esteemed panel which resulted in lively debate.
It was a privilege to hear Margaret Aspinall, Campaigner for Hillsborough Justice and Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group tell her story to the Jewish Forum, so ably run by Johnny Cohen, of how her life has continued following the loss of her then 18 year old son at the Hillsborough Disaster.
Yom Ha’atzmaut was incorporated into Shabbat Across the Mersey being held on the Friday night an hour and a half before the commencement of Shabbat. The party atmosphere of Yom Ha’atzmaut was incredible which then opened the gates to welcome Shabbat and Shabbat Across the Mersey with over 900 people across various venues enjoying a typical and traditional Friday night Shabbat meal. Details of this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations and of Shabbat Across the Mersey V will be announced in the very near future. The Liverpool Jewish community was delighted to welcome the UJIA Magic Moments who delivered a heart wrenching Yom Hazikaron service and joined in the fun at Yom Ha'atzmaut and Shabbat Across the Mersey.
A new initiative this year was the inaugural Yom Yerushalayim Quiz which packed out the Community Centre room at the King David Campus. I never knew answering quiz questions could be such fun! Thanks must go to resident quiz mistress Avril Lewis. Watch out for details of next years community Yom Yerushalayim Quiz.
The Liverpool Jewish community was delighted to be part of the Israeli Film Festival this year and showed the film Hill Start, well received by a large number. This was preceded by the showing of the first episode of Srugim, the Israeli equivalent of “Friends”. Details to show the rest of the series of Srugim will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
Events to look forward to over the coming months include a ladies pre-
Information on these and other events can be found on the Liverpool Jewish website www.liverpooljewish.co.uk – the communal diary is now on the website for all to see or you can contact me on 0151-
Liverpool Jewish Community Activities Co-