Thursday, 26 August 2010

God-Slot part Two

The second of my six contributions to BBC Radio 2’s Pause for Thought can be found on the BBC iplayer at

44:30 minutes in.

I’ll also be speaking on the eve of Rosh Hashanah at around 5:40am or you should be able to listen next week’s contribution on iplayer by Googling ‘Sarah Kennedy Radio 2’ and clicking through.


Thursday, 19 August 2010

God Slot

Radio 2’s God slot is at the most ungodly hour of 5:45am. This past Wednesday and the following five Wednesdays you can hear me sharing a Pause for Thought at this time.

For those of you interested but unable to make the 5:45am listening time, the programme is available on-line. I thought only for those logging on with a British IP address, but I was able to get this from Spain..

at 42 minutes in.



Prepenting with Amichai


One of my favourite contemporary teachers of Judaism is Amichai Lau-Levine. He’s taken on a challenge of blogging a series of reflections on Rosh Hashnah called ‘Prepent.’ With his permission I’m sharing today’s reflection and the warm encouragement that we all take his invitation to ‘pay it forward.’ Or subscribe to his future blogs at


Someone who is close to me is dealing with depression, finding it hard to get out of the house and take life on. She now works with a life coach, and they made a deal: each day she will work out for 20 minutes – any kind of work out at all – outside the house. When done – she texts him a brief ‘did it’ message. She respects him, and wants to do it. I offered to help by also taking on 20 minutes daily, starting today – and when I’m done – I’ll text her. It’s like a daisy chain of commitment to self-improvement, discipline, and daily change. I’m in to win. The next 30 days, a daily 20 minutes. Maybe more. Want to join and text me with you ‘did it’ daisy chain? Then pay it forwards. Maybe your 20 minutes isn’t about bodywork. Maybe it’s writing a page in your book, going through your address book one letter a day and finding who you need to make amends with, or maybe 20 daily minutes are about some other non violent playful warfare on the field of change?

Gym shorts on, here we go. 30 days to go. You can do it! 


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Meaty Matters

I want to talk, this week, about food. What could be more Jewish a subject? In my sermon I'll be trying to translate the sense of a holy relationship with our food into an approach to the myriad of decisions a careful consumer faces every time they walk an aisle or line their stomach.


In this note I want to relay information provided by Henry Grunwald, past-President of the Board of Deputies and Chairman of Shechita UK.  In a letter to Rabbis from across the denominations Henry recently wrote;


"By now you will have heard that the European Parliament recently voted on an amendment to the EU Regulation on food information to consumers to in future label meat and meat products derived from animals that have been slaughtered by shechita, „meat from slaughter without stunning‟. This will significantly impact on the kosher meat industry, imperilling the economic viability of Shechita. The millions of tonnes of meat from animals which are not properly stunned or cruelly re-stunned by secular methods will not be required to be labelled. Labelling religiously and humanely slaughtered meat products in isolation is discrimination, and is designed to deter potential buyers.


"If cruelty to animals is an honest and proper concern of any consumer then all such labelling of meat and meat products if introduced, should in fairness be applied to all methods of slaughter used, which may include stunning by electrocution, captive-bolt or gassing. Consumers should also be entitled to know whether the meat came from an animal that had been mis-stunned or re-stunned, before it was slaughtered, if an informed choice is the true intent of this amendment. According to Compassion for World Farming (no supporter of Shechita), 9% of all meat slaughtered using conventional stunning in Europe is "mis-stunned" by the captive-bolt or electricity, causing additional and unnecessary pain and stress to animals. Research by the British Veterinary Association showed that 59% of sheep are mis-stunned, but the Regulation does not require labelling to indicate this. And Shechita accounts for only 0.037% of all animal slaughtered in Europe."


This is an invidious attack designed to cause maximum damage while appearing only minimally antisemitic. Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, and even those who – dare it be said – don't keep kosher should all be alarmed.


For more information on the work of Shechita UK, please see


Shabbat Shalom and B'tei Avon

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