Thursday, 14 October 2010

Coming Soon at New London

We have two exceptional events on Shabbat 22nd / 23rd October and I want to take this opportunity to place the marker in your diaries. It’s only a week away.


A Friday Night Dinner with Dr David Ariel – Lecha Dodi, Friday 22nd October.

Dr Ariel is President of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, otherwise known as Yarnton Manor. Yarnton is the home of Rabbi Jacobs’ personal library (some 15,000 volumes) and I have been looking for an opportunity to develop a relationship with this beautiful and important Centre of Jewish learning for some time.

Dr Ariel has a PhD in Kabbalah and, among other academic and professional distinctions, served as a teaching assistant to Gershon Scholem before coming to Oxford. He’ll be looking at the meaning of one of the most beloved songs in the liturgy.

Pre-booking is essential – please visit by the end of Tuesday (members £18, non-members £20, children and students £12).


Storahtelling – Shabbat 23rd October. Circa 10:15am.

Storatelling is a re-inventing of a once cherished part of the Torah reading service dating back to the time of Ezra and end of the First Exile. Torah reading should be theatre, grand and griping – especially as we read the stories of Genesis. Unfortunately for too many of us we can’t understand the Hebrew. It has always been this way. From Ezra’s time until the early Rabbinic period the Torah would be translated into the vernacular, verse after verse, by a specialist ‘meturgaman.’ Over time these specialists would embellish their translations creating commentaries, making observations and, according to many scholars, inventing what we now call Midrash.

This ancient tradition has been re-imagined by some talented Jewish educators and performers and I’m delighted that Joel Stanley, who will be known to many of us, will be bringing Storahtelling to New London. They will offer a theatrical translation of the story of the Akedah during the morning service. There will be no sermon (which may or may not be an added inducement to come but will at least ensure the service will end at its usual time).

All welcome – just turn up.

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