Magazine of the
New West End Synagogue
Rosh Hashanah 5769 / 2008
From the Desk
of the Editor
02 Contents & Welcome from the editor
04 Events, Social & Personal
05 NWES Social Club
06 Message from Rabbi Shisler
07 Chief Rabbi’s Rosh Hashanah Message
08 The thoughts of Chairman Melvyn Lux
09 Meet the Chatanim
10 Jeremy Jacobs, The New Chief Executive
of the World Synagogue
12The NWES Israel Trip May 2008
14 Life as a Chorister
16 Childrens Page
18 Bayswater and the New West End Synagogue during
World War Two. Part Four – The most frightening period.
23 Invisible Men
24 Israel - An Alternative History
25 Airways to G-D
26 Getting Ready for a Function
28 Favourite Traditional Rosh Hashana Recipes
29 Winter Blues, What Winter Blues
30 News from the Office
31 The Book (Club) Report
32 Yom Tov Guide 5769
34 Hagim Timetable 5769-2009
35 New Year Greetings 5769 / 2008
The Hebrew word “Kippur” means to wipe off or to clean. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement,
is a day when we wipe the slate clean and start again from scratch, starting anew.
It is with this in mind, you will have hopefully noticed a new and exciting look to Mosaic,
the New West End Magazine. It is hoped that this new look will demonstrate that we are
a young, ‘go-ahead’ and friendly Shul with lots going on.
It is not the only thing at the New West End though that has been destroyed rebuilt from scratch
– the Guild has most generously organised the refurbishment of the Bride’s Room. This will
make a New West End wedding even more beautiful than it already is.
Our Rabbi’s teach us that a couple’s wedding day is, for them, like Yom Kippur. In many
communities, the Bride and Groom have a custom of fasting on this day, from dawn until the
wedding ceremony is completed. Fasting before the wedding means forgiveness for all deeds,
starting life afresh, like Yom Kippur. In the Mincha service on the day of the wedding,
the Groom says the Amida of Erev Yom Kippur.
Here at the New West End we have approximately forty weddings a year. Although any
wedding here cannot be anything but memorable, the Service is always enhanced when it is
accompanied by our choir. In our “choral special” you can read about not only our Shabbat
regulars, but also those who come just for weddings.
In this issue we also focus on our other two bridegrooms, John Harris and Victor Wasserman,
this year’s Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereishit. We find out a little bit about them and their
family, where they come from and their thoughts about the New West End.
I hope that you enjoy the new look of the magazine and, together with my wife, Shana wish
you a Shana Tova U’metukah – a happy, sweet, and peaceful New Year.
Jean (nee Rosen) and Manny SANETT
1st September 1954
Minister Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler
Chazan Jeremy Lawson
Representatives on the
Council of the United Synagogue
Dorothea Josem, Jonathan Matheson
Chairman Melvyn Lux
Vice Chairman Gaby Morris
Representative at the
Board of Deputies of British Jews
Wardens Alan Gainsford, Martin Lewin
Administrator Rachel Cohen
Financial Representative Jeff Hammerschlag
Beadle Eli Ballon
Board of Management
Choirmaster Elliot Burman
Monday–Thursday 10.00 am–4.00 pm
Friday & Sunday 10.00 am–12 noon
Telephone 020 7229 2631
Fax 020 7229 2355
Designed and Produced by Creative Interpartners, London
Events, Social & Personal
New West End
Synagogue Social Club
Mazel Tov to all who were
married at the New West End
over the last few months:
Deborah Silver and Barrie Morgan
Danielle Green and Joel Benson
Eve Kimerling and Julian Harris
Francine Shisler and Sammy Daniel
Katie Godfrey and Nicky Jason
Sarah Benton and Joshua Luks
Gemma Golan and Paul Bloom
Danielle Yershon and Ryan Kissin
Suzanne Wilson and Damian Tash
Jacqueline Hoffman and Benjamin Swabe
Kim Anders and Jonni Milich
Natasha Grayson and Michael Rosen
Laura Harris and Michael Carlton
Natalie Cowan and Lee Josephs
Julie Tamir and Jonathan Gilbert
Ruth Joseph and David Joseph
Sonya Yadin and James Saidman
Mazel Tov to
Susanna and Jonathan Paisner on the birth of a son
Judith and Harold Paisner on the birth of a grandson
Caryl and John Harris on the birth of a grandson
Jeff Margolis on his 70th birthday
Zac Skry on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah
Maxine and Michael Margolis on the occasion of their son’s wedding
Joseph Djanogly on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah
Frederic and Marla Simkin on the birth of twin sons
Arnold and Franka Simkin on the birth of twin grandsons
We offer a very warm welcome
to the following new Members
of the Synagogue:
Mrs. Lynn Brown
Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Calton
Miss Brenda Daniels
Mr. Joel Hyams
Mr. and Mrs. Laurence Lando
Mr. Ricky Shapshak
Mr. and Mrs. John Ziegler
Come along to our club on the first Wednesday of each month and receive a very warm welcome.
We are always delighted to see you!
Lunch is served at about 1.15pm and frequently includes homemade soup, hot burekas, freshly
made sandwiches and excellent homemade desserts.
We generally have either a speaker or music. Among recent entertainments we have had:
• Beverley Jane Stewart with an exhibition of her paintings of Shul architecture
• Harry Lyons talking about his life as a wandering musician
• Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler - an afternoon of magic, music and mirth
• Otto Deutsch, memories of pre-war Vienna
• Trevor Toube explaining the science of delicious cooking.
DO NOT MISS - Excellent singer Mark Rosen on Wednesday, 5th November
Many, many thanks to our brilliant Hosts and Hostesses - Bob, Debbie, Dorit, Natalie, Rene,
Ruth, Trevor and Valerie. We all enjoy working at the club and the pleasure of seeing new
and old friends each month.
For further information please phone Patricia on 0207 229 9661.
Do you have any presents that you could donate to our raffle These help finance our food and
entertainment as well as giving pleasure to members. Please contact Patricia - 0207 229 9661
We extend our condolences to:
Miss Rachel Cohen, our Administrator, on the loss of her sister
Mrs. Dianne Bloom on the loss of her mother
Mr. Jeff Margolis on the loss of his brother
Mrs. Louise Mirwitch on the loss of her mother
Mrs. Judith Paisner on the loss of her mother
May the Almighty comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem
We regret to announce the following deaths:
Mrs Chinita Abrahams-Curiel
We will remember them
We have introduced the practice of reciting Memorial Prayers to recognise the generosity of
those who have left legacies to the Synagogue in their Wills, and who will be permanently
acknowledged in our Yizkor Book.
We are extremely grateful to those congregants who have made bequests, which enable us to
maintain and preserve our beautiful Synagogue together with its activities.
If you would like to make provision in your Will for the future benefit of the Synagogue please
contact the office.
The Board of Management along with the members, as well as visitors to the NWE, wish to
thank all those who have sponsored Kiddushim over recent months. The Kiddushim provide
a time to make new friends and catch up with old ones.
We would like to thank you all!
Message from Rabbi Shisler
Chief Rabbi’s Rosh
Hashanah Message 5769
It is very noticeable how many people have abandoned the second day of Rosh Hashanah,
so I have decided to use my message this year to give some background to its origins in the
hope that a better understanding will encourage more of our members to observe it with us.
Although the Torah mandates only the 1st Tishri as Yom Tov, the second day of Rosh Hashanah
was established by our Prophets in ancient times, and has been observed throughout the entire
Jewish world ever since.
The Jewish calendar is a luni-solar one, that is, it depends on the moon as well as the sun.
The months are determined by the length of time it takes the moon to encircle the earth,
which is approximately 29½ days - and the seasons by the sun. In Temple times, the beginning
of each month was announced only after two witnesses came to the Temple to testify that they
had actually seen the crescent of the new moon. If after 29 days there were no credible
witnesses, the 30th day was declared as Rosh Chodesh, making the month a full month
(as opposed to a defective 29-day month). After the new month had been declared, messengers
would be sent out to inform the various Jewish communities whether the previous month had
been a 29 or 30 day month.
Rosh Hashanah presented a special problem because, not only is the 1st Tishri Rosh Chodesh,
it’s also Yom Tov.
On the evening following the 29th day of Elul, (the day before Rosh Hashanah), the court in the
Temple would sanctify the day as the first of Tishri based on the possibility that witnesses might
come that day and testify that they had seen the new moon, confirming that Rosh Hashanah
was indeed on that day. If the witnesses did appear, then that day had been Rosh Hashanah
and following day, 2nd Tishri, would be an ordinary day. However, if witnesses did not appear,
then the following day would be Rosh Hashanah and it would turn out that the previous day,
although it had been sanctified as such, hadn’t been Yom Tov at all!
Since this was clearly a very unsatisfactory situation, to ensure that people would not treat the
first day lightly, thinking that it might not be Rosh Hashanah, the early Prophets ordained that
Rosh Hashanah should be celebrated as a two day holiday - with the prohibition of work,
the sounding of the shofar, and the appropriate festival prayers being observed on both days.
An indication of the ancient character of these two days, even in the Holy Land, is found in the
special prayers that were composed for the second day only, and also in the fact that a different
Torah reading, and Haftarah is mandated for each day. So we know that the Jewish New Year
has, since time immemorial, been celebrated as a two day festival, even in Israel, as it continues
to be to this day.
This two-day celebration of Rosh Hashanah is referred to as Yoma Arichta - one long day, which
means that the forty-eight hour observance of Rosh Hashanah is considered one extended day.
Even so, each day is sanctified in itself. Regarding preparation, however, they are considered to
be two separate days so you may not prepare food on the first day for the second.
In every corner of the world Jews celebrate our New Year for two days. This is a tradition that
has been hallowed by time and is a way in which we identify with our co-religionists, wherever
they may live. I hope you can now see that people who have the notion that they’re identifying
with Israel when they don’t come to shul on the second day of Rosh Hashanah are seriously
misguided. The reality is that if you want to identify with Israel, then you should be coming
to shul then.
Anne and I look forward to the great pleasure of seeing you all over the forthcoming Yom Tov
days, and we pray that you and all your family will be granted a wonderful healthy, happy and
Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler
As I write these words, the world–not just the Jewish world–is facing a period of turbulence
and uncertainty. The international political situation is hard to read; the economic situation
harder still. We face recession; no one knows whether this will deepen into depression.
‘These are the times’, said Paine, ‘that try men’s (and women’s) souls’.
Wrestling with this challenge, I found my mind going back to a Rosh Hashanah long ago,
in the mid fifth century BCE. The Babylonian exile was over. Many Jews had returned.
The Second Temple had been rebuilt. Yet there was no miraculous transformation in the
situation of Jews. They continued to face enemies without and divisions within. Outmarriage
was high. A significant part of the population was deeply assimilated. Half could not even
speak Hebrew (Neh. 13: 24).
That Israel survived at all at this time was due to two remarkable leaders the statesman-diplomat
Nehemiah and the scholar-teacher Ezra. They realised that something radical had to be done to
give the nation the strength to endure: not military or political but spiritual. The people needed
a clear identity, a framework of values, a set of beliefs, a way of life. The national imperative was,
in short, a return to Torah and a renewal of the covenant between the Jewish people and God.
On Rosh Hashanah they gathered the people before the Water Gate in Jerusalem. Ezra read
the Torah to them. Educators were placed throughout the crowd to explain what was being
said. The people, realising how far they had drifted from their mission, began to weep. It was
then that Nehemiah said words that, for me, contain one of the secrets of Jewish survival. He
said: “This day is sacred to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep ... Go and enjoy choice
food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred
to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8: 9-10). Let those
words echo in the mind: “the joy of the Lord is your strength”.
Jews never lost the capacity to rejoice, at times of poverty and oppression, they celebrated
Shabbat and the festivals as if they were royalty. They studied, like aristocrats of the mind.
They celebrated weddings as if they had no care in the world. I sensed that same resilience in
Israel throughout the difficult years of suicide bombings, Katyushas and Kassams. The strength
of the Jewish people is that we never allowed our enemies to rob of us of our ability to laugh,
and celebrate, and say Lechaim, and sing. Nehemiah, the shrewd statesman, was right.
“The joy of the Lord is your strength”.
It is not easy to rejoice in hard times. It calls for real disciplines of body and mind. It needs
habits of gratitude, rituals of giving thanks, sacred times when we stop thinking of what we
lack and instead focus on what we have. It means celebrating family and home and children,
love and friends and community. That is what Judaism trains us to do. Half its rituals are
about celebrating and sanctifying life. Rosh Hashanah is a sustained prayer for life.
There have been civilisations that worshipped power, wealth, art, science, victory in war,
dominance over others, privilege, hierarchy superiority. Judaism found joy in life itself: life in
love, life ill community, life in the birth of a child, the life that flows through the generations
as we honour the past and cherish the future. Jews knew that you could lose all else and still
In life we find G-d. His is the breath we breathe, the call we hear, the forgiveness we feel,
the strength we need. No other religion has so focused on and sanctified the blessing of being.
This sustained our people in the past. May it sustain us in the coming year. May G-d bless us
all with life, and health, and peace.
Bebirkat ketivah vechatimah torah lekha ulekhol Yisrael
Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks
Rosh Hashanah 5769
‘the joy of the
Lord is your
Adler House 735 High Road London N12 OUS Tel: 020 8343 6301 fax: 020 8343 6310 email@example.com www.chiefrabbi.org
The Thoughts of Chairman Melvyn Lux
Rosh Hashanah 2008
Meet the Chatanim
The World will remember the year 2008 for a number of notable events. Amongst these we had
the first Chinese modern Olympic Games, Russia flexed it’s muscles with its incursion into
Georgia, there was Obama mania in the USA and probably most important to Jews worldwide
we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the founding of the modern State of Israel.
In addition you will have noticed the format of our shul Magazine Mosaic has been modernised.
This is carrying on the desire of the New West End Community to keep up to date.
May I take this opportunity on behalf of us all of thanking Caryl and John Harris for their
professional design input and our Editor Eli Ballon for his guidelines and all who have offered
their thoughts and most especially written contributions for this exciting 21st Century look.
In the last 12 months we have had a number of visitors to the New West End, some of whom
have since become members.
All of these people made similar comments to us about how great the New West End Synagogue
is, which in essence is: The friendliness of the whole congregation. A most beautiful and
inspiring building. Fantastic music. A variety of events and activities. An especially welcoming
spirit for all children whether of the community, or just visiting. For the first time in his life
one person said he actually felt “at home” in a Shul. I would like to thank each of you who
contributes to making this happen.
Naturally the Board of Management and I have been delighted to hear these comments. I know
the whole community wants the NWES to be great and that is why everyone helps in every way.
We have a lot to thank our Rabbi and Rebbetsin who when asked at their first Board of
Management meeting “how do we increase our membership They said you don’t. You first
make the members feel part of the Community”. We have followed their advice. This spirit
has also increased our membership.
We all owe a debt of gratitude to many of those who have previously served on the Board of
Management, or are currently serving, the generous donations from our members and non
members, to maintain the artefacts and the beautiful interior of the building. Because of these,
we have managed to obtain Grade I listing, which applies to only two shuls in London, Bevis
Marks Synagogue and the New West End.
Our two Chatanim and their wives chat to
Eli Ballon about themselves and their lives.
John Harris _ Chatan Torah Caryl (née
Harris) Married – 17 March 1964 Offspring
– Selene, Sofie and Sarah. Profession(s) - JH
– International Graphic Design Consultant
(Retired) -CH Advertising & Graphic Designer
-MD of Design Consultancy (UN-Retired!)
EB - 1Q. Were you born into a big family
JH. No I have one elder brother and Caryl’s
elder sister married him!! Makes life nice and
easy. CH I have an older sister and brother.
2. Did you have a very religious upbringing
JH. Well my father was quite religious and I
always enjoyed going to shul and studying.
Caryl’s parents were less religious but similar
to our family so we fitted together very well.
3. How did you meet
JH. At Edgware Maccabi Club when Caryl
was 14 years old and I was 16.
4. When did you first meet the Wasserman
CH. I think it was because I had started a
crèche at Chelsea Shul but its such a long
time ago – its hard to remember. JH. Victor,
Eliane, Caryl and I were all on the Board of
Management at Chelsea shul and we shared
the responsibility of keeping the shul
thriving and vital.
Benjamin – just 6 weeks. JH. Sarah the
youngest girl is a graphic designer like us
– but so far no wedding bells – too busy
travelling the world.
8. Do they have a view about their religion
JH. Selene went to Solomon Woolfson so she
had a great start to Judaism. Sofie and Adam’s
children attend the NW Jewish School in
Manchester – Sarah runs a Jewish girl-guide
group in Stanmore where I ran a Jewish scout
troop for more than 30 years. CH. The girls
have a strong feeling of who they are - and
children seem to be a very important part of
the New West End.
Victor Wasserman _ Chatan
Berashith – Eliane (née Salanic) Married –
14 November 1965 Offspring – Karen,
Babette and Candy Profession(s) - VW.
Personnel Director (Retired)
the shul which was a big wrench for me as I
was barmitzphad there and had been involved
with Chelsea all my life.
5. What do you like about Nwe – list...
Eliane and I were over-awed by the beauty,
friendliness, and exceptional quality of the
services. Where else can you experience such
a beautiful choral concert every Saturday
morning Not to mention the spiritually
uplifting service. We were most impressed
with the Rabbi and his lovely wife and he is
a superb educator.
6. Let’s go back to you family – what do your
daughters do for a living/interests
All the girls went to the French Lycée here in
Kensington. Karen studied at the Sorbonne
and is a French lawyer and English solicitor.
Babette went to Central St Martins and
graduated in jewellery design and now runs
her own company winning design awards
for her brilliant work. Candy was at King’s
College and is now a marketing manager
with a medical company in Sydney.
To add light to our lustre we had a visit from H.E. the Israeli Ambassador Ron Prossor on a
Shabbat morning in July. We celebrated with a communal lunch and afterwards he spoke and
fielded questions from the audience for over an hour. Before the lunch he spoke to the Rabbi
and to the Chazan saying how much he enjoyed the Service and the music and mixed with
the members generally chatting and making all who met him feel he was a “regular guy”.
The joint Cheder Prize Day ended the first year of the joining of the cheders of NWES and of
Holland Park Shul. This union is very successful and by uniting we have enabled more children
to get together and support a full complement of teachers. In addition we now have a class
covering GCSE Hebrew.
The NWES along with the Zionist Federation organised a mission to visit Israel during the
celebratory week. It was fantastic! We met a number of important people including:
The Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and senior members of the Knesset. Deputy Editor of the
Jerusalem Post. A Colonel of the Intelligence Corps. The British Ambassador and many others.
We went to ceremonies, memorial services, a tour of the Intelligence Corps HQ and a number
of modern museums paying tribute to founders of the State like Herzl and Menachem Begin.
We met visitors from across the world as far afield as Australia, Chile, South Africa and the USA.
By the time this magazine is published we will be at the Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur period.
A time to contemplate, repent and revitalise ourselves and give Tzedaka to those less fortunate
Denise and I wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year and well over the Fast.
5. We know you were firm supporters of
Chelsea United Synagogue Before then
– what shul were you a part of
JH. It was when we were looking for the
new London home and we wanted to be
near a shul. Before that we were members
of Edgware United Synagogue – we were
married there and so too were our siblings
Toni (Caryl’s sister) to Peter.
6. What do you like about NWE –
CH. One Shabbat John finally agreed to
try it instead of Chelsea and that was it.
The friendliness and the welcome were
overwhelming. JH. We both love the
services, the musicality of the whole shul
and of course – is there a more beautiful one
in all of London Every Shabbat it is a real
treat to sit and enjoy every aspect of the shul.
7. Let’s go back to you family – what do your
daughters do for a living/interests
JH. Selene is married to Martin both are heads
of schools and have two sons, Harry (9) and
Freddy (5). CH. Sofie is a physiotherapist -
married to Adam, a Consultant Neurologist,
and they have Louis (5) Saskia (2) and
EB - 1Q. Were you born into a big family
VW. Not really I had one brother and
one sister and Eliane has two sisters and
2. Did you have a very religious upbringing
VW. Eliane came from a very religious
background. But both our parents and grand
parents had deeply religious backgrounds
and were always involved in community
work both in their places of birth in Europe
and also here. Like most refugees from
Russia, Germany and the Baltics their
struggle to safety is a story in itself.
3. How did you meet
We met at a Boxing Day party in London – two
months later I was invited to her lovely home
in the South of France and I knew she was the
girl for me. I proposed and was accepted we
were married in Central Synagogue in ‘65.
4. When did you first meet the Harris Family
John and I were Chelsea Board Members
and we campaigned to get a Cheder started
because of our six young daughters and
from that point on we more or less took over
running the shul. We both decided to leave
‘Where else can
Jeremy Jacobs, the new
Chief Executive Of The United Synagogue
As many of you will know, I have had
the great honour to have been offered the
prestigious position as Chief Executive of the
United Synagogue, which I will be taking up
around the Yom Tovim time.
My family has been fully involved with the
United Synagogue since its inception in
the 1870’s. My great-great-grandfather was
Warden of the Hambro Synagogue during
the period when the five main Synagogues
of London joined together to create what was
effectively a self-help organisation dedicated
to developing communal facilities for the
growing London Jewish community, and
he also served on the United Synagogue
Council and Chief Rabbinate Council. As
time progressed the US developed an ethos of
pooling resources to assist new and growing
communities as well as enabling declining
communities to downsize with dignity
My family’s involvement continued with my
great-grandfather serving for over thirty years
as Warden of the Hambro Synagogue and
then Warden and Financial Representative of
the Stoke Newington Synagogue around the
turn of the century. My grandfather served as
a United Synagogue Council representative
for the Dunstan Road Synagogue during the
1920’s and with my father being a very active
United Synagogue Council member for Dollis
Hill, my brother Financial Representative
for Pinner, and my sister and brother-in-law
taking a prominent role at Belmont, it was
only natural I continued the family tradition.
Having spent many years on Belmont’s Board
of Management and Finance Committee I then
became Financial Representative and then
Warden of the community.
In 1996 I ran for the position of Treasurer
of the United Synagogue, and served two
terms finally relinquishing the post of
Senior Treasurer in 2002. However this was
not the end of my involvement. It was with
great excitement that I accepted the post
of Chairman of the newly created Young
Peoples Programme of the United Synagogue.
I helped forge the strategy and brand that
is now TRIBE and have been Chairman
ever since, seeing the fledgling organisation
growing into the largest Jewish organisation
catering for young people in the country,
with over 12,000 members.
The experience of being Chairman of
TRIBE has been a most exhilarating one,
and this has played no small part in whetting
my appetite to play an even greater role in
British Jewry. Working with a dedicated
group of professionals, and seeing hundreds,
if not thousands, of kids, engaging in Jewish
life, and showing a mature responsibility
towards their community, has been humbling.
I remember clearly the Shabbatonim in
Israel, where, annually, over 200 gap year
participants, from various United Synagogue
backgrounds, and different levels of religious
observance, come together to share an
experience which enhances their commitment
to their Jewish identity. How could I not be
inspired by their commitment and enthusiasm
towards their home communities
Which is where I was, back in May 2008. The
post of Chief Executive had been filled very
ably on a caretaker basis by Stuart Taylor since
the middle of 2007 and I knew this period
was reaching its end. Having discussed the
possibility of applying with both Stuart, and
Simon Hochhauser the current President of the
United Synagogue, I decided to make a formal
application and was offered a first interview.
You might be interested in the process
I went through before I was finally offered
the position. I knew the interviews would
be rigorous, having been on the interview
panel for the previous two appointments,
but dealing with it from the other side was
a different ballgame altogether.
Even before I started the process, having
read the person specification and job
description, I realised I had to give very
serious thought to my overall vision and
strategy for the organisation. I started to
put pen to paper, and very soon realised
how passionately I believed in the ethos and
principles of the United Synagogue. I am
sure many of you will empathise with this
process. As you start to think about something
seriously you develop a passion that has lain
dormant, and I realised that everything I had
done before for the organisation was leading
me to this new challenge.
My final strategy document filled me with a
sense of commitment and drive. The need to
nurture and develop warm and welcoming
communities, grounded in Halachah, devoted
to developing Jewish identity, is without
doubt a mitzvah and a necessity. What better
challenge could I hope for at this stage of my
The first interview was conducted by two
current Trustees and a Human Resources
consultant. It was a rigorous interview,
focused on problem solving and personality
profiling. It was a very thorough two hour
process, and one which, despite being
apprehensive beforehand, was actually very
enjoyable. My past experiences put me in
a position of strength as for the most part,
all the problems raised I had come across
during my previous work for the organisation.
I hope my passion also showed through, and
shortly after the interview I was asked for a
second interview with four other Trustees and
a Human Resources professional.
For the second interview I was asked to make
a formal presentation to the panel on, guess
what, my vision for the United Synagogue,
and my proposed strategy to achieve that
vision. Well, I had already done most of that
work, but the additional effort in formalising
the power point presentation was a very
worthwhile process for me. In this process
I had to firm up the practical elements of the
strategy, ensuring that by the time I gave the
presentation, I was confident and polished.
The three hour process, which also
included further discussion on specific topics,
was arduous but exhilarating. The end result
of course was a telephone call asking me
whether I wanted to go through the final
process. I was to meet with an independent
Employment specialist who would delve
deeper into my personality.
Having got this far, and having increased
my passion and commitment to succeed,
I willingly accepted the challenge. As the day
arrived, it began to dawn on me that this final
process would be very challenging. I was not
disappointed. The four hour interview, which
included psychometric testing and probing
questioning, was arduous but enlightening.
As you will have gathered, the outcome
was a success for me. Having gone to Israel,
whilst celebrating at a Simchah, I received a
telephone call from the President offering me
the position. I accepted with alacrity, full of
anticipation and humility.
Here I was, one of a long line of the Jacobs
family, committed to the organisation,
finally being given the opportunity of
fulfilling the dream of accepting what
many regard as the most senior full-time
professional position in British Jewry,
with a chance to really make a positive
difference to the lives of all Jews in Britain!
What does the position involve The job
description gives some flavour of the scope of
the position. Not only would I be responsible
for around 700 employees who are working
tirelessly for the community, but I would also
have stewardship of assets approaching £100m,
and income of around £20m per annum.
In particular it confirms that “The role
is challenging and complex requiring a
sophisticated ability to work with a range of
diverse interest groups and stakeholders and
to balance the need to manage the
unexpected with a focus on moving
the organisation forward.
The Chief Executive is responsible for and
leads the professional team of the United
Synagogue and works in tandem with the
elected President and Trustees”.
More specifically it requires:
The setting and implementation of strategy,
Servicing Communities, Jewish Religious,
Infrastructure provision, Management
of Internal relationships and Personnel,
Responsibility for Communications and
External relationships, Reporting all of the
above to the Trustees and ensuring proper
Governance mechanism is in place
As you can see, the role is complex and
comprehensive, but what is most interesting
is the prominence of the strategy concept,
and it therefore gives me an opportunity to
fulfil my vision for the United Synagogue.
I have of course already alluded to this, but,
in brief, my Vision is as follows:
That the United Synagogue enables all
British Jews, as defined by Halachah, to
develop their Jewish identity, through our
united family of welcoming communities
and quality central services
This is very similar to the existing Vision of
the United Synagogue, but it perhaps has
more emphasis on action rather than reaction.
There are a number of key words in the
Vision which I want to highlight:
All British Jews – the United Synagogue has
always tended to focus on the London area.
With changing demographics, and many
young people moving into the London area,
TRIBE has found a need to start focussing
its efforts more widely, and we have found
willingness, indeed passion, amongst
regional communities to participate in our
Vision. That is something I want to develop
as we go forward.
Defined by Halachah – let us be up front
and proud. We are a religious organisation,
working within the bounds of Orthodox
Judaism, and we should say so. Of course
others will disagree, and we must respect
their views, but similarly they should respect
ours. Dialogue is vital, and I aim to continue
that to the best of my ability, but as far as
our organisation is concerned, we have
restrictions which we must comply with.
Develop Jewish identity – here is the heart
of the vision! Why do we have such an
organisation as the United Synagogue
Of course we want to have communities of
like minded people; of course we want there
to be kosher food available; of course we want
to be buried in a Jewish cemetery; of course
we need a proper Religious Court to settle
certain matters; of course we need world-class
Jewish education; but these are all aspects
of the same goal – TO DEVELOP JEWISH
IDENTITY. As a father, and, Hashem willing,
a future grandfather, there is nothing more
important to me than ensuring my family both
retains their Jewish identity and increases it
as much as possible. That will include their
being involved in Jewish communal, social
and religious life and an up front and proud
commitment to Israel. That is what the United
Synagogue is really all about and my vision
is that we create the opportunities for all of
British Jewry to grow in a religious and
Jewish communal sense.
United family of welcoming communities
– But how can we develop Jewish identity
Through our communities, because that is
where Jewish life really exists. Notice some
key words even here: we must be a united
community, working towards the same
goal, and sharing facilities, ideas, resources
and personnel wherever possible. Different
communities within the United Synagogue
may sometimes have differences of opinions,
but ultimately we must be united, because
we are a family sharing the same goals,
aiming for the same objectives. To do that,
all our communities must work tirelessly
to be welcoming to all their members and
visitors alike. We must always realise that
we are serving our membership, and that
service concept applies at both central and
local level. My goal is to encourage and
enable communities to increase membership
by providing the warm and welcoming
atmosphere people want, as well as
providing a wide range of facilities and
services, with the ultimate goal of
developing Jewish identity.
Quality central services – this was one of
the original goals of the United Synagogue,
and nothing has really changed. Pooling of
resources and strength in numbers enables
a community to provide facilities that are
financially and physically impossible when
there are too few members. However, one
aspect of my vision is perhaps more focussed.
I am determined to ensure the facilities we
provide are efficient, relevant, and steeped
in the concept of SERVICE to the community.
We must never forget, whether it be within
the centre or at local level, the needs of our
members, and we must do this with the
express intention of developing their
So, quite a task ahead of me! But I am
passionate about the United Synagogue
and my Vision, and I hope I will play some
small role in ensuring the organisation
delivers quality and relevant services to our
membership, enabling our community to
grow and to assist in the development of
Chief Executive Designate
‘I realised that
I had done
before for the
me to this new
The NWES Israel Trip May 2008
struck by the
in which they
were in broad
relation to the
to the region
Twenty-one NWES members gathered in the Carlton Hotel Tel Aviv on Sunday 4th May for our
third Israel Mission, led by Rabbi and Mrs Shisler. The previous trips in 2004 and 2006 had been
hugely successful and enjoyable and the 2008 event was to prove equally popular.
Breakfast on the Monday morning found the overnight arrivals semi-compos-mentis - some had
had only a couple of hours sleep after their night flights whereas the majority had already had
two days in the sun to recover from the journey.
The formal proceedings started with a briefing in the hotel from our guide Mina Glatzer, but
the tour got off to an unfortunate start because the coach was caught up in a huge traffic jam on
the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway following an earlier accident so we eventually left the hotel 1½
hours late. This meant that our scheduled meeting at the Foreign Ministry had to be cancelled
and instead we went straight to the Knesset where we met with two MKs - Yoel Hasson of the
Kadima Party and Colette Avital of the Labour Party. Each of them spent about an hour with us
briefing us on the political and security situations in which Israel finds itself and answering
questions. Naturally there were differences of opinion between the two politicians but we were
struck by the many areas in which they were in broad agreement, especially in relation to the
potential threat to the region from Iran.
We then drove to the new Yad Vashem complex where, after lunch in the cafeteria, we were
guided through the exhibition by Asher Cailingold, a veteran of the ex-British community in
Israel. As was to be expected, the visit was both impressive and moving and the new facility
is architecturally striking, being built through a hill so that, on exiting, the visitor sees a
breathtaking panorama of the Jerusalem hills.
We dined at a restaurant in Jerusalem (various tasty morsels on skewers, accompanied of
course by Israeli salads and pita) and then returned to Tel Aviv for the night.
Tuesday 6th May provided some of the major highlights of the trip. We returned to Jerusalem
(this time the coach was on time!) and at the Jewish Agency building we met with Steve Linde,
Managing Editor of the Jerusalem Post. In a highly entertaining and informative one-hour
discussion he gave us a third viewpoint on Israel’s internal politics (rather more bluntly than
the politicians the previous day!) and external security threats where once again Iran figured
prominently. Steve promised to visit us at the NWE next time he is in London to bring us further
up to date with developments and you would all do well to watch out for this event and make
a point of attending - you will not be disappointed!
After lunch in Cafe Joe in Keren Hayesod Street - highly recommended - we drove to Mount
Herzl for a visit to the Herzl Museum where we were joined by Eli and Shana Ballon who were
on holiday in Jerusalem. The museum traces Herzl’s early ideas on a Jewish state through to the
Zionist Congresses of the 1890s and 1900s through a series of cleverly thought out dioramas and
films. We then moved on to the Menachem Begin Museum which uses photographs, recordings
and similar displays to record his life both before and after the founding of the State of Israel.
We dined in the restaurant at the Museum and then drove to the Old City of Jerusalem for the
official state ceremony for Memorial Day - Yom Hazikaron - at the Western Wall, attended by
President Shimon Peres who together with a war widow lit the memorial flame for Israel’s
On the Wednesday morning we drove first to the Machal Memorial in the Jerusalem hills for the
Yom Hazikaron ceremony. Machal was the name given to the overseas volunteers who came to
Israel in 1948 to fight alongside the Israelis in the War of Independence. Many died, and all their
names were read out during the ceremony, including twenty-two from the United Kingdom.
At 11am the air-raid sirens sounded throughout the country to signal the two-minute silence -
a very moving moment.
We were accompanied that morning by Colonel Olivier Rafowicz who briefed us on the security
fence and took us to see parts of it in and around Jerusalem and overlooking Bethlehem from
Gilo, a neighbourhood which had come under sustained fire from the Palestinian territories
before the construction of the barrier. In the afternoon we had a short tour of the Old City
culminating in a visit to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, adjacent to the Southern Wall of
the Temple Mount, which houses in the Davidson Centre a three-dimensional “walk-through”
computer reconstruction of the Second Temple.
Dinner that evening was at a restaurant in the new North Tel Aviv port which has been
transformed from a run-down group of disused warehouses into a smart shopping, eating
and tourist area within fifteen minutes walking distance from our hotel.
Thursday was Yom Ha’Atzmaut - Independence Day - and we were taken to the Army
Intelligence School at Glilot, just north of Tel Aviv. We spent a fascinating morning seeing
everything from captured military hardware to satellite imaging equipment and pilotless
information-gathering aircraft. There was also a full size replica of a Hezbollah camp in South
Lebanon and a mock-up of one of the tunnels used to smuggle people and weapons across
the Gaza-Egypt border. These tunnels are quite unlike the image one has from The Great
Escape film - they are easily big enough to drive a truck through!
Our next stop was the JNF picnic and barbecue in the Nes Harim Forest in the Jerusalem hills
(where one has to say that the food did not compare favourably with that produced by our own
ex-South African team of experts at the Shul barbecue in July!).
On the final morning of the trip we were honoured by a visit to the hotel by the British
Ambassador, H. E. Tom Phillips CMG. He stayed with us for nearly an hour and gave us a
somewhat off-the-record briefing on his view of the Middle East situation. Without breaking
any confidences, he too regarded Iran as the most serious threat to stability in the region and
he also made many flattering comments about Israel’s development over the many years that
have elapsed since he was first sent there as a relatively junior diplomat.
Our last outing was a short tour of the old city of Jaffa which is continually developing as an
arts-and-crafts centre and also a brief stop at the Independence Museum in downtown Tel Aviv.
This trip differed from the previous two in that we spent much more time being briefed by very
highly qualified and experienced people on the political and security situation. On earlier visits
we were taken to units helping, for example, disabled children or disadvantaged families. As one
of the people who has been on all three trips I can say that we now have a much more complete
insight into what makes Israel unique and what we can do to spread the message in the face of so
much adverse comment in this country.
Life of a Chorister
By Gary Fine
‘I led the boys
in the high
services at the
My Grandfather, Naphtali Halter, was a chazzan in Lodz, Poland at the age of 15 years.
After arriving in Liverpool in 1907 with my Mother, who was 12 years old, he took up the post
of chazzan at the Princes Road Synagogue before moving to the East End of London where he
became well known as a mohel, shochet and cantor of the Cannon Street Road Synagogue for
more than 40 years.
When I was a child my Grandfather tried to teach me to write music but had to admit defeat,
as I was completely unable to understand the basic rudiments of note positioning and value.
However when he taught me my bar mitzvah he realised that I had a pleasant singing voice
but suggested that I should not seriously think of using it until it had broken.
At the age of 17 I joined the choir of Golders Green Synagogue in Dunstan Road as a trainee
baritone. The choirmaster was David Levine and one of the basses was Stanley Warren. My
apprenticeship lasted about one year after which Queen Elizabeth invited me to join her army.
Two years later in 1956, after retiring from National Service, I returned to Golders Green and
my mothers cooking to find that I was welcome to return to the choir as an unpaid trainee but
I declined as I considered that my apprenticeship had ended two years earlier.
Some friends persuaded me to attend a rehearsal of the Zemel Choir where I was auditioned by
Dudley Cohen, the founder and musical director. To my delight and amazement I was accepted
but, as this was a mixed choir, I had to retrain as a tenor. Once again Stanley Warren was in the
After a short while I joined the choir of Finchley Synagogue in Kinloss Gardens, under the baton
of Lionel Leigh, where I sang with a bass named Stanley Warren!! I led the boys in the high
holydays services at the Odeon cinema in Temple Fortune. One of the boys was 7 year old Lionel
(now Rabbi) Rosenfeld whose father was chazzan of the Shul.When the choir disbanded I was
asked to sing in the Dennington Park Road, Hampstead Synagogue choir.
I met my future wife, Rita, who was a soprano, in the Zemel Choir. She was also a chorister in
the Hampstead Synagogue where we were married in 1963 and sang together for almost 30 years
with Chazzan Charles Lowy. Hampstead was the last United Synagogue to have a mixed choir
but no Stanley Warren.
We then moved to the New London Synagogue where we sang for 13 years.
Rita and I had set up home in Stanmore and became members of Kenton Synagogue where our
son Clifford was Bar mitzvah and daughter Natalie was Bat Chayil under the tutelage of Rabbi
Eddie Jackson and the then chazzan Geoffrey Shisler.
For the past 10 years I have been singing at the New West End Synagogue in Bayswater, which
has the last full time synagogue choir in London, and with The London Cantorial Singers and
You may be asking yourself why anyone would want to devote so many years to an activity.
To me and the majority of choristers this is not just a hobby but, to use a well worn phrase,
it’s a way of life.
New West End Choir
The New West End Synagogue has had a
choir from its inception in 1879. Its most
distinguished choirmaster was D.M. Davis,
whose photograph and Code of Conduct hang
in the Golda Cohen Room. He conducted for
no less that 50 years, during which time he
co-compiled Kol Rinah: The Voice of Prayer
and Praise, but is far better known as the
“Blue Book”, which contains the
core-collection of Nusach Anglia choral
pieces. It is still used in Anglo-Jewish
communities over one hundred years later.
Paul Lessman , choirmaster, was in the choir
from 1948 until his retirement in 1992. Paul
was succeeded by Elliot Burman who has
been choirmaster since 1993.
The New West End can boast the only
full-time professional synagogue choir in the
London area. They officiate at all Shabbat and
Yom Tov Services held in the Shul, Weddings
and any special Services, at all times with the
aim of making the Service more beautiful in
praise of Hashem.
Rev. Brian Segal became choirmaster of
Edgware United Synagogue in 1973, having
joined their choir as a ten year old. After a
period of tuition at Jews’ College under the
aegis of Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler he became
Chazan at Ilford Federation Synagogue until
1984. Brian spent 23 happy years as Chazan of
Palmers Green United Synagogue, serving the
community and expanding his knowledge.
Since 2006, Brian has been the wedding
Chazan of the NWES. He was extremely
pleased to be given this honour at what has
been his favourite London synagogue.
Elliot Burman has led the New West End
choir since 1993. His family discovered his
musical talent at a very early age. He has sung
in classical concert choirs including at a Prom
Concert, as well as with Zemel, the London
Jewish Male Choir and the London Cantorial
Singers; he has acted as deputy-conductor in
the latter two. A semi-retired school teacher,
his other interests include the history of
transport and collecting phonecard, stamps
Jack Ferro A barrister by profession, he began
singing with the New West End choir in 2005,
and performs regularly with the choir and
also the Neimah Singers. A lyrical tenor, he
has a keen interest in chazanut and liturgical
music, and has often led the Shabbat service
at the NWES. He has performed with some
of the world’s leading chazanim, in the UK
Trevor Toube has sung in choirs in South
Africa, California, Cambridge, and London
over a period of nearly six decades. He is
also a composer. By profession, he is a
mostly retired academic, specialising in
Stanley Blum loves to sing everything from
L’Dor Va’Dor to Al Jolson. A pharmacist by
trade, he wanted to leave his profession for
the stage. He recently made his second CD
and is in the final ten of the Star Now Search
for a Star.
Jeff Jacobs first sang in public aged 4 at
Jewish retirement homes with his two
brothers. He then sang tenor in the South
West Essex Reform Synagogue junior choir,
and bass in the adult choir.. Jeff joined the
London Jewish Male Choir in 1993, and
toured Israel, Holland, and Gibraltar -
he is the choir secretary. In 1995 he joined the
NWES choir and has sung in shul on Shabbat
and Yom Tov ever since. Jeff’s hobbies include
opera, comedy and walking.
Stanley Warren first heard a Shul choir
singing a Sefirat Ha Omer Service aged 10
at Philpot Street Synagogue in 1936 and was
thrilled. He joined Duke’s Place choir for
a short time and after demob took singing
lessons. He sang in the Sadler’s Wells chorus
until Professor Herbert Cesari said “Not for
you; you’re a soloist”. Stanley has sung in the
Golders Green Shul choir, Kinloss Gardens,
Finchley and Hendon Shuls.,Stanley was
enticed to the NWES and has remained for
the past ten years.
Elliot Berman (with an e) - Although the
newest recruit to the choir, he felt that it was
inevitable that he would sing at the NWES.
Having been involved in Jewish choirs for
several years, he was often confused with
NWE’s illustrious choir master! Elliot sings
with the London Jewish Male Choir and is its
current treasurer. He is also a member of Mill
Hill Amateur Operatic Society and Impact
Stuart Dashwood has been a member of the
NWES choir since 1995. He has sung with
The Jewish Male Voice Choir and the London
Cantorial Singers, currently he spends most
of his time singing for various operatic
and musical societies throughout London
including the Brent Opera, whom he
considers his “home”.
Melvyn Miller has over 45 years experience
of singing with various Jewish Choral
Societies and Synagogue choirs around the
country including the Zimriyah Choral
Society of Birmingham, the Glasgow Jewish
Choral Society, the Zemel Choir and presently
sings with the London Cantorial Singers.
He is also a member of Edgware United
Synagogue Choir and occasional member
of the NWES choir.
Alex Knapp graduated from Cambridge
with MA, MusB and PhD degrees in music.
He has also been awarded Hon ARAM, LRAM
and ARCM diplomas. Alex teaches privately
and at university (most recently as Joe Loss
Lecturer in Jewish Music at SOAS).
A composer, arranger, broadcaster and
consultant Alex has performed as
accompanist (piano/organ) on several
recordings of Jewish music, as well as at
numerous concerts accompanying Chazanim
Adler, Hainovitz, Helfgott, Herstik, Malovany,
Miller, Müller, Schulhoff, Stern, and Weinbach.
If you are ready for some
Fun then come to
to play, to pray and for plenty of
A Story About The Meaning Of The Shofar
Once upon a time a boy from a small village came to a city for the first time. In the middle of the
night he was woken by the loud beating of drums. When he asked what it was, the people told
him that when a fire breaks out, people beat their drums and, after a short while, the fire is gone!
When the boy returned home to his village, he told his neighbours about the wonderful system
they had in the city for putting out fires. The people in the village were very excited and ordered
drums for each household! The next time a fire broke out, everyone in the village beat their
drums but the fire continued to burn and many of their houses burnt down. A visitor, who was
there from the city, saw what happened and was told that they thought the beating of the drums
would help extinguish the fires so the visitor explained:
“Did you really think you could put out the fire by beating drums We beat the drums in the city
to sound an alarm and wake other people for them to help and go to the well for water to put out
the fire. It’s the water from the well that extinguishes the fire, not the beating of the drums!”.
Dip The Apple In The Honey
to the tune of Clementine
Dip the apple in the honey
Make a bracha loud and clear
‘Shana Tova Umetuka’
May you have a sweet new year
Mummy, Daddy, Sister, Brother
Sit around the table now
Dip the apple in the honey
If you’d like, I’ll show you how!
Rosh Hashanah is here!
to the tune of Happy Birthday!
it’s the time
of the year;
we all say
‘Good Yom Tov’ and
‘Happy New Year’!
At New West End we welcome
people of all ages!
Our children’s club, Club Sameach, has
separate activities on Shabbat and Chaggim
for children under 5 and for those over
5… teenage volunteers are also more than
We’d love to meet you anytime but please
make a special effort to join us over the Yomim
Tovim. Our Sunday morning Cheder caters for
children from 4 yrs old and attracts families
from as far away as Windsor and Wimbledon!
Do come to see for yourselves…
If you’d like further information about any of
our activities for youngsters at New West End,
please send an e-mail to:
Club Sameach Schedule:
(both days) 11.30am – 12.30pm
to find words
linked to this
time of year
Hearing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah is a kind of ‘beating the drums’ alarm for us, warning us
to improve our behaviour in the year ahead!
14th October 11am – 12pm
answers: apple, honey, tashlich, tekia
For the regular Shabbat schedule, please e-mail
Club Sameach celebrates Lag B’Omer 2008
Bayswater and The New West End Synagogue
During World War Two
Geoffrey L. Green
The Most Frightening Period
and will never
fail, and that
will long shine
‘London will never be conquered and will never fail, and that her renown, triumphing over
every ordeal, will long shine among men’ Closing sentence of a Statement on the ‘Flying Bomb’
made by Winston Churchill to the House of Commons 6 July 1944.
The German Air Force diverted to the Eastern Front after the invasion of Russia on 22 June
1941 which meant the heavy night bombing of London ceased. For the citizens, a kind of lull
pervaded, the opportunity of a night’s sleep, and some normality slowly returned, set against
an austere background. At the New West End Synagogue services were held in the Board Road
(now the Golda Cohen Room) on weekdays during the winter months, and in the Synagogue at
other times, attendances were satisfactory. To show his appreciation of the Jewish efforts in the
ARP Services the Mayor and Council of Paddington visited the Synagogue on Sabbath 4 October
1941. Reverend Ephraim Levine had completed 25 years of service to the Synagogue and now his
four sons and son-in-law were in the Army. The United Synagogue agreed to extend the retiring
age of Reverend Isaac Goldston for a year, where he taught ten children in the Hebrew Classes,
two of my friends, Geoffrey Gross and Peter Bird were Bar Mitzvah.
It was getting near my turn. In the spring of 1942 my Aunt and Uncle returned to London from
Oxford, and I had a final change of school. St Clement Danes Grammar School in Ducane Road,
Hammersmith, on the number seven bus route from Westbourne Grove. I dropped down a Year,
and not only that, Reverend Goldston contacted Father and gently broke the news I was far from
ready for my Bar Mitzvah. A simple seven line portion was re- found for me on Sabbath second
day Shavuot, and so started a crash course in the Secretary’s Office. I do not know who had
a harder time of it poor Reverend Goldston, or me. On walking to St Petersburgh Mews most
evenings, I passed the bomb site in Bark Place (now the Herbert Samuel Hall) where a large brick
built emergency water supply water tank had been built. Came the day I was so nervous, no
confidence whatsoever, the memory of the Priestly Blessing from Reverend Levine addressing
me in seat number 32, in the front row traditional place for all Bar Mitzvah boys. No Kiddush,
home for lunch with the family, including mother’s parents present to witness their youngest
grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. The possible threat of the Air Raid sirens was ever present, but did
not stop my having a few friends for tea
About the time of the third anniversary of the war came the decisive battle of El Alamein.
Germany’s advance was threatening Stalingrad, and looking grim for the Russians, with
anguished cries from them for a ‘second front’. However, the naval defeat of the Japanese at
Midway Island and the stemming of their advance through the jungles of Burma was better
news from the Far East. Everyone began to feel we would win the war, but it would be a long
and heart-breaking time, rationing got more severe, our clothes were getting drab, queuing for
everything particularly the cinemas. Wartime conditions made inroads into religious life, one
example when the Board of Shechita cut the salaries of shochetim and shomerim because less
kosher meat was being slaughtered. Although kosher supplies absorbed only one per cent of
home-killed meat, there was no government guarantee that Jews would receive their full ration.
Five pounds of matzoth was allotted to each Jewish person at Passover.
The iron railings to the dwarf brick wall fronting Orme Lane were given up for scrap to help
the war-effort. Not all was despondency, ironically membership substantially increased as the
drift back to London gathered momentum with services well attended. Central Synagogue,
Great Portland Street had been bombed and Western Marble Arch Synagogue was not to be built
until after the war, which meant St. Petersburgh Place became pre-eminent. Striking was the
numbers of allied servicemen, particularly from the United States who had a number of hostels
in the Bayswater Road at Lancaster Gate, opposite Kensington Gardens. During the High Holy
Days the New West End Synagogue was filled to overflowing. On United States Thanksgiving
Day a service was held in the Synagogue, conducted by the U.S. Chaplain, Judah Naditch who
also gave the address, later being broadcast to the United States. The Lord Mayor and Lady
Mayoress of London were present with the Chief Rabbi. For Dutch Jews our Synagogue saw
the celebrations for Queen Wilhelmina’s birthday, and Polish Army Officers with Government
representatives attended for special prayers to the victims of Nazi atrocities in Poland.
Reverend Ephraim Levine took part at Kensington Town Hall in April 1943 of ‘Support for the
oppressed peoples’- ‘He spoke as one of the persecuted people, and was glad of the opportunity
to give audible expression of thanks to the men of the Churches represented at the meeting.
The voices that had been most articulate against oppression were the voices of the Christian
Church. This form of persecution is an attack against all religion - not only the Jews. Christianity
is intimately bound up with Judaism. We want practical help as well as sympathy, and we must
open up Palestine, the traditional home of the Jews’
The income of £8,135 in 1944 was the largest in the history of the New West End Synagogue,
as against £7,305 the previous year. Membership continued to increase with thirty gentlemen
awaiting seats, and only sixteen vacant seats for the ladies. At a Board Meeting on the 20 January
1944 sanction was given to train Mr Harris as a successor to Reverend Isaac Goldston at a salary
of no more than £200 per annum for the post of Secretary. Many of the marriages solemnised at
the Synagogue were not members, which on occasions resulted in men entering the Synagogue
without proper headgear (kippot were not allowed) and indulging themselves by smoking in the
vestibule. The United Synagogue had already pointed out the danger of increased ceremonies
at public halls, if the use of the Synagogue was refused or discouraged. Reverend Goldston
proposed a large notice in the Vestibule. The Ladies Committee had been revived with monthly
meetings and energetically led by Mrs Franklin. Contact Ascot Hostel, a Jewish home for
children orphaned or otherwise directly affected by the war. Concern was expressed to urgently
pass to the United Synagogue that the Matron of the London County Council Lindsey Hostel
for Unmarried mothers and their Babies was anxious for Jewish girls to start being visited by a
Jewish Minister. The far sighted start to organising a Social Centre, where young Jewish men and
women could meet, once a month on a Sunday afternoon for social and educational activities.
Importantly to be housed on Synagogue Premises, where the rooms on the first floor were most
suitable, requesting a power point and use of the piano. Concern over cleanliness of the Toilets by
employing regular cleaners instead of casual workers, and pressing for amendment of the United
Synagogue Act of 1870 by granting the franchise to lady seat holders.
A startling reminder just a month later - the air raid sirens sounded during the night of 18-19
February 1944, the heaviest raid by 120 aircraft since the London Blitz. Incendiaries caused fires
in Moscow Road, Queensborough and Inverness Terrace. A high explosive in the centre of the
road opposite 18 and 19 Bark Place demolished four small houses with blast damaging the whole
of the east side beyond repair. Irvine Court, Porchester Terrace received a direct hit killing three.
On Sunday 20 February numerous incendiaries caused fires for two hours between 10 pm. and
midnight in Palace Court, Ossington Street and worse of all fires in the United Dairies building
at the corner of St Petersburgh Place and Moscow Road, opposite the Greek Church. The horses
from the stables in Chapel Side were led away to safety. The Great Western Railway Royal Hotel,
Paddington Station had the top floor severely damaged by incendiaries. All went suddenly quiet
again, the Little Blitz was over.
On the 19 February 1944 England played Scotland at Wembley winning 6-3 with 80,000 in the
crowd. Before the game, and during half-time, I was in the Massed Drum and Bugle Bands
of the London Sea Cadets, counter-marching on the famous ground. The wizardry of Stanley
Mathews on the right wing giving the Scottish full-back a torrid time until he brought Stanley
down by the shirt in utter frustration. Both got up, and shook hands. On reaching 14 years of age
the youth were expected to volunteer in the Cadet Movement. With two of my friends, living
opposite, we joined The Royal Borough of Kensington Sea Cadet Corps at 19, Chepstow Villas
W 11. The band being taught by Max Abrams. Drills, rudimentary seamanship and navigation,
visiting Portsmouth Naval Barracks and a submarine re-fitting in the Dockyard. In August 1943
I stayed with an Aunt in Liverpool going aboard her son’s ship, the aircraft-carrier Furious, then
re-fitting in Gladstone Docks. At school the Playing Fields were dug up for allotments and I was
so pleased to bring home in my cycle bag vegetables for Mum.
gathered in the
West End and
own large Vs
for Victory in
the night sky’
News of the long awaited Normandy Landings were announced on 6 June 1944 but for
Londoners the elation was short lived. Just a week later I was with two friends on the corner of
Needham Road and Westbourne Grove we saw streaking across the sky over towards Shepherds
Bush in the west one of our fighters on the tail of what appeared to be a small German aircraft
belching fire. Soon out of sight then an explosion. Another raider downed so we thought.
In fact what we had witnessed the first day of attacks by Pilotless Planes over London on
Thursday 15 June Hitler’s Vengeance Weapons had started. The Doodlebugs as these V1s became
known were mid-wing monoplanes having a wing span of over 17 feet and an overall length of
about 25 feet carrying a war head of about 1,800 pounds. Propelled by a pulse jet engine, a top
speed of 410 mph, navigated automatically by a gyroscopic unit, flying at an average height of
3000 to 4000 feet. Launched from an inclined 150 feet long ramp from sites in Northern France
and Holland with a range of 150 miles, later extended to 250 miles. The engine cut out, automatic
flaps opened, causing the missile to go into a shallow glide for 15 seconds, an impact fuse
causing a blast wave of up to 400 yards. Day and night the Doodlebugs came over London
each one sounding like a dozen motor cycles, without silencers, struggling up a hill.
I heard the beastly things approaching getting louder and louder ‘Quick Mum get downstairs
I shouted - jumped a flight of 8 stairs in one go - down to our basement shelter. It passed over,
silence, a massive explosion, the house shook.
It was pointless for the RAF fighters to shoot down the V1s over London, but rather in the open
sea. The static AA guns reinforced with 363 heavy and 522 light guns formed a gun belt on the
Downs 30 miles from the Kent and Sussex coasts, behind which a massed Balloon Barrage.
Although radar had improved, it was decided to move the guns to the coast with the fighters
operating in the Channel. Time was crucial, but the huge logistical effort of shifting all the guns
within one week to the coast showed immediate results. Until 1 September 1944 apparently 8000
V1s were used until the German launching sites were destroyed by the advancing allied armies,
of this number 2400 V1s fell on London, killing over 5,000 injuring and maiming many more.
There was considerable strain on moral, many using the Underground again as deep shelters,
others leaving London on packed trains, with a number of children evacuated for the third time.
Bayswater was generally fortunate in that south-east London bore the brunt of the doodlebugs.
On Wednesday 28 June a doodlebug had cut its jet engine off coming down in the gap between
The Hammersmith Hospital and my school in Ducane Road, fortunately exploding at the back of
our playing fields. On one occasion at School Assembly we stood silent for a minute as one of our
pupils had been killed. A Jewish boy nick-named ‘Russia’ at school lived in the top floor of Ralph
Court, Queensway, opposite Porchester Baths, asked me to come up on the roof. With binoculars
to the east we could see the ring of barrage balloons defending us. One incident certainly stands
out. I was going to visit my Aunt and Uncle now living in Finchley, and heard a Doodlebug
getting louder and louder. I was caught in the open - the noise was deafening - if it cut out that
would be that - fear got a hold - I dived behind a small front garden wall and lay flat - thankfully
for me it flew on, cut out, a massive explosion followed
On Tuesday 27 June rumour spread a V1 had hit Whiteleys in Queensway but in effect came
down with a colossal explosion on 136-140 Bayswater Road virtually alongside Queensway
Underground Station. Only about 500 feet from the New West End Synagogue, causing
considerable damage from 1, Orme Court to opposite the Park Gates, destroying a Convent and
the Coburg Hotel, severely damaging another, now The Hilton Park Hotel. Re-built as seven
new shops in a complex of flats as Caroline House on the Bayswater Road with road access to
Caroline Close at the rear. Just one person had been killed; our Synagogue had escaped with
minor blast damage. The very next day another V1 caused considerable damage and blast to 1-21
and 2-20 Leinster Gardens corner of Porchester Terrace and Leinster Place (abutting Cleveland
Square with damage at 35-56 Porchester Terrace. A V1 in Westbourne Square damaged the
Seven Doodlebugs fell within the vicinity of Kensington High Street and Campden Hill.
The worst was on Lyons Tea Shop on the corner Earls Court Road and Kensington High Street on
Friday 28 July during the lunch hour for shoppers and store assistants - 30 killed and 184 injured.
Other incidents included, with fewer casualties, on The Abbey Grounds Hornton Street where
the Library and Town Hall now stand; and severe damage to Kensington Palace Mansions on
the corner of De Vere Gardens where 350 Gibraltarian evacuees were sheltering - 3 killed and
Then like a ‘Bolt from the Blue’ two massive explosions were heard over most of London on 8
September at 6.40 pm - the first of the expected long range V2 rockets fell at Chiswick, killing
three and injuring another ten. Sixteen seconds later a second near Epping without casualties.
Plummeting on London from a height of up to 60 miles, with a range of just over 200 miles
loaded with about 1650 pounds of explosives these ballistic missiles caused huge craters.
There was no defensive answer except to find and bomb the rocket launching area near The
Hague. Meanwhile we anxiously watched for news of our advancing front into Holland,
which had unfortunately been held up at Arnheim.
At a New West End Synagogue Board Meeting on the 12 September discussion centred on the
current bombing emergency on the High Holyday Services starting five days later. Resulting
in no Children’s Services being held; provision for an Overflow Service left in abeyance; free
seats provided for members of H.M. and Allied Forces; approval of Mr. Emanuel Adler (very
satisfactory the previous year) to be engaged as Ba’al Shacharit and Ba’al Tokeah at an agreed
increased remuneration of £30; with all Services held in the Synagogue. Other matters included
requirement of additional Minyan men; the un-authorised printing of a ‘New West End
Synagogue Bulletin’; finally a Grant to the Beadle Mr Roth of £15 was approved in appreciation
of his untiring devotion to the interest of the Synagogue during the bombing emergency.
Aimed at Central London and approaching from the east the V2s often fell short causing
destruction in East London and Essex. By the time the rocket sites were over-run on the 27
March 1945, London had been hit by 517 rockets nearly 3000 killed and 6000 seriously wounded.
None fell on Bayswater but we heard some of the distant explosions.
We knew the war with Germany was ending with the eventual surrender coming on the 4 May
1945. Huge crowds gathered in the West End and at Buckingham Palace whilst Searchlights
weaved our own large Vs for Victory in the night sky. A visible reminder of those memorable
days 1939-1946 is the mortar filled holes at the top of the small dwarf wall in Orme Lane where
the iron railings for the war effort were removed.
To see an appendix of places damaged, or the sources and bibliography, for this and the
previously published three parts, please set the author or magazine editor.
The Invisible Men
by Stuart Katz
By Rachel Cohen
and I am still
care, love and
As a trustee of Nightingale, the South London care home has a special place in my heart and I’m
incredibly proud to be a part of such a fantastic organisation. I was born in Nightingale Lane
opposite the care home and their gardens became my local playground some 60 years ago. Few
things stand the test of time, but Nightingale has gone from strength to strength as the decades
have passed on.
It is 100 years since the first residents moved into the Wandsworth site in early 1908. Nightingale
continues to be unrivalled in their care and recently reached a new high when it was awarded
the highest ranking of 3 stars by the regulator, the Commission for Social Care Inspection.
I have a very close affiliation to Nightingale, my mother a volunteer for 50 years and in her later
life became a resident for a further three years. She had excellent treatment and I am still very
much indebted to the wonderful care, love and affection she received. This made me mindful to
do all I can to promote the home and the wonderful facility which is available the whole family.
Some ten years ago, my wife Jacquie started to become a regular volunteer and her weekly events
now include a discussion group with the residents and tea parties where she brings our three
Labradors who are registered as PAT dogs (pets as therapy).
Today, it serves as both a home and community for those entering the later years of their lives.
Nightingale boasts top facilities and cares for 250 residents, making it the largest care home of its
kind in the UK. With residential care, advanced nursing facilities, a dedicated dementia unit and
short stay respite facilities, Nightingale caters for the entire spectrum of need for older members
of the Jewish community. For the families of residents, Nightingale offers the peace of mind they
need and assurance that their loved ones are being looked after in comfort as well as being given
level of care according to individual needs.
Any visitor walking through the home will be genuinely surprised at what they Nightingale
has to offer. A buzzing café, a beautiful synagogue, a volunteer run shop, a full medical centre
on site, a popular hairdresser and beautician and a relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere.
The staff realise the importance of keeping the residents minds as well their bodies active to
keep them healthy and place an enormous emphasis on creating an environment in which they
can channel their energies and interests into a variety of stimulating pursuits. With a monthly
book club run by Edwina Currie, a concert hall, a dedicated arts and crafts team and regular
trips out, including trips to the theatre, opera, ballet parks and the seaside, the residents are
encouraged to participate and spend time with their friends.
It doesn’t take the Commission for Social Care Inspection to prove what a wonderful
establishment Nightingale is – all you have to do is look around at the content, smiling residents.
We can only hope that Nightingale thrives in this fashion for another century and continues to
provide a safe, secure and caring home for the older generations of our community.
If you would like to enquire about permanent or short stay residence at Nightingale,
would like to make a donation, or find out about volunteering opportunities please contact:
LeonSmith@nightingalehouse.org.uk or 020 8673 3495.
You have heard of the Scarlet Pimpernel and the three musketeers, well even the New West End
Synagogue has its invisible men. You hardly ever see them and even if you do they are part of
the furniture – unseen - however you do see the cleanliness and order in the synagogue. Who
are they, these invisible men Between us they are Fabricio, Eder and Mark. “Who” I hear you
ask. Let me tell you something about these three characters that not only helped us receive a
Grade I Listing with English Heritage but also upkeep the synagogue in tip-top condition.
Fabricio, born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil spent ten years with the Mounted Police in São Paulo,
which in Brazil is called Regimento de Cavalaria, and together with his horse numero 556 (Al
Capone) was trained to preserve public order and control riots. During Fabricio’s career as a
mounted policeman he was honoured to accompany the Brazilian hero, Formula One Triple
world champion, the late Ayrton Senna, to his burial place in the famous Morumbi Cemiterio
in São Paulo. Another big event was his participation in 1992 at the Carandiru Penitentiary in
São Paulo where a massacre took place, triggered by the inmates rioting. Luckily, Fabricio and
his horse were there to help, guarding the outside prison perimeter. In 2000 Fabricio was
invited to visit London by a family friend and has been here ever since, he met his Portuguese
wife Raquel and last year were blessed with a cute son Gabriel. I bet Fabricio will put him on
a horse before long!!
Eder was born in São Paulo, Brazil and, after finishing his education, moved to Spain with
his family before finally came to Great Britain in 2002. Some of you may remember John who
worked here about four years ago; John is Eder’s brother, so we have kept it in the family!
Some of you may know that the name Eder is mentioned in the Chumash, (Genesis 35 Verse
21) “And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond Migdal-eder”. The New West End
Synagogue is the first Jewish place that Eder has ever worked for and when he went to Brazil
on holiday, he started to notice how many Jews and Jewish things there are in Brazil mainly
the kippot wearers on the streets.
Actually Eder is our brave caretaker who climbs up to the roof (pictured) in order to lower the
chandelier for the changing of the bulbs. You could say that Fabricio and Eder now deal with
the “Changing of the Bulbs” rather than the Changing of the Guards!!
Mark was born in the East End of London where he still lives, with his family. Mark is a very
talented cartoon artist, (see his Spidey) and enjoys creating his own characters especially with
a horror theme. As a cartoon artist his drawings require precision and this is to the benefit of
the New West End Synagogue as Mark meticulously looks after the everyday maintenance of
I am looking forward to seeing the new cartoon images of the members that come in to contact
with Mark, maybe they will have fangs dripping with blood or will Mark be lenient – remember
you have been warned! Maybe I should recruit Spiderman to change the bulbs as he does
not need to harness up before climbing the walls to reach the chandelier, but Eder enjoys the
adrenalin rush that being on the roof gives!
The caretakers send their best wishes for a Peaceful and Happy New Year.
heard of the
and the three
well even the
New West End
Israel - An Alternative History
by Gaby and Howard Morris
Airways to G-d
by John Harris
we be thinking
have been, had
Israel not been
It occurred to me during the NWES visit to Israel over the Independence Day celebrations,
what would we be thinking now, what would our experience have been, had Israel not
been created If Israel had been snuffed out in the War of Independence in 1948 how many
experiences both joyous and tragic would have eluded us
I don’t think there would be a Palestinian state. Egypt’s march into Gaza would have succeeded
and no doubt it would have occupied a good bit of what is now southern Israel. Jordan having
occupied the West Bank would have pushed on to the Mediterranean. A Russian backed Nasser
would quite likely have fought a war with Jordan sometime in the last 60 years.
Jewish communities may have survived, but the prospects of the Palestinians having their own
country may now look better, ironically, and if the nascent Israel had not survived.
The great power struggle between the West and the Soviets would have been expressed through
proxies other than Israel and the Arabs.
But for us in the Diaspora this would have been another disaster following the Holocaust from
which we may have struggled to recover spiritually and intellectually.
Where would those existing in Displaced Person camps have been resettled Could they have
all reintegrated into their original homelands Quite apart from whether they wanted to return
to their original countries as the Iron Curtain was lowered across Europe, how welcome would
their return have been How many more would have been offered homes by the USA, UK and
Australia A bankrupt Britain would have been reluctant to take tens of thousands of Jews.
Less so, unless other countries were willing to shoulder a proportion of the burden of absorbing
the refugees. The chances are that the Jews would have rotted in the DP camps for a generation
or more. Perhaps the political Zionists would have wanted to keep the Jews together in the
camps, the best place to politicise them, even radicalise them for a continuing struggle.
So where would the struggle for an independent Zionist homeland have reached Would it have
left the realm of politics altogether, to remain our two thousand year spiritual goal Would the
Zionist movement have produced new leaders
On any view it’s hard to see in the post colonial poverty stricken Middle East that any bit of land
would have flourished in the way Israel has. No one would have planted forests, created farms
and developed cities and industries to a first world level. The Holy Land would have remained
a stony, parched and neglected place.
For centuries our aspirations for the return to Jerusalem had been a central belief that had helped
hold our people together. To come so close and to fall at the last fence may have been a catalyst
for further secularisation.
I put these thoughts out of my mind. Instead of that gloomy outcome for the Jewish people we
found ourselves under a beautiful blue sky, commemorating the courage of volunteers who came
to fight for Israel’s independence, looking in awe at the power of the Israeli air force and visiting
a specialist army unit, marvelling at the technical know-how of the young soldiers.
If G–d is everywhere it stands to reason that-part if not all of him may be in the air. There is a
certain spirituality in the air–you cannot touch it but you can feel it.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Hebrew word for air, wind and breath is similar to the
Hebrew word for spirit – RUACH and the adjective for spiritual is RUCHANI. Also the Hebrew
word for air is related and has links with the Hebrew word for spirit of life – NEFESH.
The rather wordy literal definition of a kiss is “ an anatomical momentary juxtaposition of two
orbicularis oris muscles in the state of contraction.” But despite this lengthy description what this
doesn’t describe is the emotional abstract definition of the kiss is the feelng you get from the love
of your partner by exchanging a breath of each other’s air through the mouth. Or the pleasure
you derive when you place a breath of your air on the forehead of your grandchild or loved one
and vice versa. Anyone who has had anything to do with horses will know that in order to feel
empathy with the animal you must first breathe through its nostrils.
Is not death the expulsion of air leaving the body in order for the soul to rise up And what
about mouth to mouth resuscitation, is it not filling the lungs with air in order to put life back
into the body Or smoking when inhaling bad air can often lead to cancer. I cannot understand
why many orthodox Jews smoke.
Abstract expressionism is a development of art in America in the 1940’s in which the expression
of the artist’s feelings informs his abstract representations.
The average person does not understand abstract art because there are no elements to see–no
subjects to relate to. But G–d could be described as abstract and not literal and this may be the
reason why many non believers cannot translate the tangible from the intangible. Perhaps they
see G–d as a wise old chacham with a long flowing white beard sitting on a golden throne
offering judgement and surrounded by winged angels. They cannot grasp the intangible
concept that G–d might be abstract in the air and therefore cannot be seen.
You are unable to make a sound without air either with singing, music or general
communication. If you don’t believe me try blowing the shofar with your mouth tightly
closed or whistling with your finger blocking the air. Perhaps that is why music can be
spiritual as well as emotional, because you cannot touch music but you can feel it’s
abstract and emotional qualities.
In the same way and especially at this time of the year you cannot touch G–d But with penitence,
prayer and charity you might be able to feel the shachena of his presence touching you.
‘Perhaps it is
for air, wind
and breath is
similar to the
for spirit -
1948 was a dramatic year, not just for Israel. The end of the British Empire and all colonial
empires fast approached. Partition of India brought horrific bloodshed, independence for
immature African nations was just around the corner and in South Africa the National Party
came to power launching its racial policies to subjugate a mass of people that were doomed
to a failure that would take nearly 60 years of hardship and injustice to come about. Israel
has survived but its future depends upon it standing out as an example of justice, peace and
reconciliation. The alternatives are too awful to contemplate.
Getting Ready for a Function
by Anne Shisler
Recently the shul has held two very successful functions, the lunch for Israeli Ambassador and
the Summer Barbecue. Many people came and enjoyed themselves. I thought I might give you
a little insight into how the functions are arranged.
When the Functions Committee decided to hold another barbecue – our last one was in 2005
– we were having a meeting in the depths of winter. It is difficult to look ahead to the English
summer and hope that we would pick a warm, sunny and dry day. We were lucky – we managed
As the date approached, Henry Magrill made contact with his Residents’ Association to book
Cleveland Gardens, the private square outside his home. We made contact with Cyril Green to
ask him if we could use his van to schlep chairs, barbecues, etc. Lynn Meltzer, Susan Katz and
I went shopping, butchers were phoned for quotes, lists were made and Fabricio the caretaker
was nagged to find all the equipment. Fabricio and I went shopping for ice boxes and things for
the barbecue from Tesco’s. Henry bought the charcoal; Jeff Hammerschlag bought the barbecue
seasoning for the meat. (Our South African members were in charge of cooking the meat!). We
went to Just Kosher in Borehamwood, Sainsbury’s in Ladbroke Grove, Paperplus and Kays in
Golders Green. I think Paperplus are always very happy when Lynn and I arrive to buy things
for any function – we are very good customers! Rachel and Eli manned the office. Appeals were
sent out for help. Simon was booked to be the caretaker for the day and performed his duties
with his usual good humour.
stood in the
On the morning of the barbecue, Jonathan Robinson, Natalie Cutler, Susan and Harvey Katz and
Rachel, Henry Magrill and Lynn and Alan Meltzer gathered in the shul to get things under way.
We collected chairs, equipment, paperware, knives, buckets, cold drinks, (and rushed down to
Tesco’s to buy ice) and made lots and lots of salad. The Rabbi stood in the kitchen slicing melons
to perfection (remember he used to be a mohel). Simon and Cyril loaded the van to take the
equipment to the square (they made six trips!) where Jeff Hammerschlag, Michael Margolis and
Eric Shapshak and helpers were waiting to get the cooking under way. Mike Talalay, in his role
as our security chief, made sure we all stayed safe and his wife Debbie came along to support
him and give her usual valuable help.
Lots of people helped as the food was put out – lovely dips and crackers, crisps and nibbles,
soft rolls, fabulous salads and great chicken, burgers and sausages from the barbecue, followed
by lots of fruit. Nobody went away hungry. We had over 70 people come for lunch – the weather
was fantastic and everyone had a great time.
When it was time to pack up it was all hands on deck and everything was soon cleared up.
Just remember that any time there is a function at the New West End Synagogue, many hours
of preparation have gone into making sure it is a success. We have a great team – but we could
always do with more help in the kitchen. The day before the Ambassador’s lunch we had a
caretaking team, with our committee laying up the tables, making sure they looked beautiful and
another team cooking all day in the kitchen. Shabbat was a great success, but very hard work.
There had been many hours of preparation before that, plus the concerns and hundreds of
emails about having such a high-profile visitor. But again we could say – ‘Well done the Team’.
Hope you enjoyed these functions – if you missed them make sure you come and support us
For Good Causes
We raise money for UK Jewish Charities
21st Happy Birthday
(sorry, no electrical items)
You can drop the goods off at any of the local
ALL ABOARD Shops
you can phone us to arrange a collection
020 8381 1717
For more details visit our website
How about volunteering
A great way to meet new people and help worthy causes.
Rosh Hashana Recipes
What Winter Blues
By Lynn Meltzer
Easy Sweet Honey Cake
1lb self raising flour
1 tin of Golden Syrup
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of corn oil
5 large eggs
2-3 teaspoons of ground ginger
2-3 teaspoons of mixed spice
2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 tea cup of warm water with ¾ teaspoon
bicarbonate of soda
Mix all ingredients together except for the
water and bicarbonate. Leave in a bowl
covered for at least 1 hour, longer if possible.
Line two loaf tins with foil. Add warm water
and bicarbonate and mix well. Divide mixture
into the two tins and bake at 160°C (325°F) for
40 minutes, then at 150°C (300°F) for a further
40 minutes. Freezes well.
12 oz of self raising flour
8 oz Tomor margarine
6 oz sugar
2 x 1 beaten egg
Cream Tomor and sugar together and 1 of
the beaten eggs and then the flour. Chill in
fridge for a few hours. Roll out gently and cut
into shapes. Glaze with the other beaten egg.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, almonds,
glazed fruit or decorate as you wish.
Bake 10-15 minutes till golden.
by Dee Mullan
Yet another summer has past, but life goes on. Summer 2008 was OK – but different from
other summers. Was it really bad Maybe the weather in the UK was not too pleasant, but still,
we did our best to enjoy ourselves. It’s nice to moan from time to time, it makes us feel alive.
The children are gone from home and it’s two of us again. The time is different though. Now we
feel we deserve from life more than ever before - yes, we can afford more material things; we are
more sophisticated than before, more knowledgeable and definitely we are wiser. But are we
Of course in many respects we are, but let’s look closely at ourselves.
Looking in the mirror is a good place to start. What can we see - a familiar face, perhaps
a little older We don’t like our wrinkles, but that’s OK, anything in the twenty first century
can be fixed. Possibly we feel we can allow ourselves to be slightly overweight – that’s no
problem, we can always go on a diet. We read about different ways of dieting in just about
every magazine, we know all the facts, yet nothing seems to work when we try it, so we join
the gym or if we are really desperate, we resort to surgery in order to look trim and desirable.
All well known celebrities have their own personal trainers in order to look good and keep fit.
Reputedly, Madonna spends four hours every day exercising. I am not different, I can do it
myself. Nowadays, each one of us is conscious about body image and the older we get, the
more we realise that we should do all we can to maintain ourselves in tip top condition.
Living healthier lives helps us keep up with the younger generation. None of us wants to feel
left behind. Not so long ago, the Victorians considered themselves old when they reached
50- now, most commentators say, life begins at 50! Consequently we need to make a conscious
decision to do something like joining a suitable exercise class. Not all classes are suitable for
everybody. It can be very off putting to go to gym and see gorgeous, young slim bodies.
Yet some classes are far more suitable.
Several years ago I was asked to establish a keep fit group for Jewish ladies. It is a small class
with a personal touch. I am a qualified trainer and come highly recommended. Ladies who
joined when the classes began several years ago still attend regularly. The group reinforced
friendships. What’s more, they learn continuously about their bodies while I teach. Only last
week one of the groups returned from a cruise to Alaska. On the ship there was an exercise
class, but she was very disappointed with it as she missed what she was used to and the sense
of camaraderie within her home class.
Each Tuesday evening at 7 o’clock, we have fun with different music and choreography, and
I can’t imagine life without my lovely ladies. We are a very happy group, young at heart and
most of all we have real fun while keeping our bodies supple and trim.
Quick Cheese Cake
1 lb of cooking soft cheese
1 cup of caster sugar
Crushed biscuit chunks or sponge cake
2 beaten eggs
2 small cartons of sour cream
Mix together cheese, sugar and eggs. Pour
into a loose bottomed tin, lined with crushed
biscuit chunks or sponge cake.
Bake 190°C (375°F) for 30 minutes.
Mix sour cream and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Pour over the cake and then return to the
oven for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and then
put in fridge overnight.
Whether you are familiar with exercises or have never attended exercise classes before, why not
give it a go Come and give it a try and see how it can help ward off the winter blues.
News from the Office
The Book (Club) Report
to use it –
I shall give
Dear Members and friends,
I am pleased to report that the new membership database at the US Head Office is near
completion and our office should go live in November/December 2008. If you spot any errors
in your data please do let me know so I can correct them.0One thing I noticed is that I do not
always have your children’s names and date of birth - please email them to me so I can enter
them in the database. Also note that children on reaching the age of 21 should become
members in their own right and we have a special rate of sixty pounds per annum for them.
As for the High Holydays seating form, my hat goes off to Mr L. Peters, the only member who
spotted and told me that the seating form stated Friday 12th August 2008, instead of Tuesday!
In fact I said (jokingly) to Mr Peters that it was deliberate mistake to see who and how many
would spot it! Douze points to Mr Peters!
Once again I say Kol Hakavod to all the helpers and volunteers who make the New West End an
exciting and vibrant place to attend. Without their help we would not be able to achieve what we
do. I have to mention a very special thank you to the Guild for their refurbishment of the Bride’s
Room – it looks amazing! Worth getting married just to use it – I shall give that some thought!!
Every morning a group of dedicated men come to make up a Minyan for the morning prayers;
these same men dig into their pockets and pop a few coins in our collection box and apart from
a variety of foreign coins and little balls of fluff, they have collected since Pesach just under
£400.00. These monies, usually given as a sum of forty pounds, are donated to institutions such
as the Initiation Society for Mohalim, Hospital Kosher Meals, Jewish Child Holiday Fund, Jami
and many other worthy causes. A hearty thank you to you all and may you all continue to do
Here’s to wishing you all a Very Peaceful, Healthy and Happy New Year and a G’mar
P.S. In 2011, 12th August is a Friday– you saw that here first!
Next came the first of two novels by Bernice Rubens, The Elected Member, a harrowing
storyof personal and familial descent into madness involving a Rabbi, his barrister son,
and not-quite-sane daughter.
We then jumped back in time over a hundred years and sashayed into Coningsby, by Benjamin
Disraeli. We read some fascinating passages on the social mores of the English upper classes
and on Disraeli’s (very positive) view of Jews and Judaism; we also skimmed some not quite
so engaging paragraphs on the intricacies of the Corn Laws and the Reform Act of 1832.
Moving closer to the present, we stole our way into the heart of The Book Thief by Markus
Zusak, an Austrian writer living in Australia (no typo or loss of syllable there), a novel that was
intended as a children’s book but crossed over to the adult best-seller list. It’s an uplifting story
of an orphaned German girl who hides and befriends a young Jewish man during the dark days
of the Second World War.
This was followed by us marching on with the second Rubens, The Sergeants’ Tale, a lightly
fictionalised account of the kidnapping and hanging of two British sergeants by the Irgun in
retaliation for the execution of several of its members. One of the sergeants is halachically
Jewish, and the novel, despite appearing to be merely an easy read, actually delves deeply
into the meaning of duty and friendship, of family loyalty, and of personal identity – all
made even more complex by an overlay of heterosexual and homosexual love – both
unrequited and not.
Finally, by the time you read this, we will have finished the year by investigating The Yiddish
Policemen’s Union. Set in the (fictional) post-war Jewish community of Sitka in Alaska, it is
‘at once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the
mysteries of exile and redemption’. Or so the dust jacket claims – possibly accurately as this is
another novel from the American writer Michael Chabon, author of The Amazing Adventures
of Kavalier and Clay, an engagingly drawn portrait of two young men involved in the genesis
of the (Jewish) comic book industry in New York that produced the Marvel and DC superheroes
from Superman to the X-Men and the Fantastic Four (and yes I have read them all and
Spiderman as well).
To those of you who don’t yet attend the Book Club, please join us. It’s great fun. Next year’s
reading list is still to be agreed, so come along and recommend your past favourites – or those
books that you’ve always wanted to read. The suggestions for the next twelve months include
Children of the Ghetto by Israel Zangwill, The Color of Water, by James McBride (it’s American
– there’s no “u”), and Sashenka, the new and very well-reviewed novel by Simon Sebag-
Montefiore. My own nomination is Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, because it’s a wonderful
bitter-sweet novel with a very unusual love affair, because Hemingway writes beautifully,
and because there is a strange and haunting Jewish element to it.
Good books are wonderful companions. As Groucho Marx once said, ‘Outside of a dog, a book
is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.’
Share your books with your friends. Contact us if you want to get on the email list (bookclub@
newwestend.org.uk). Then come along and participate in some interesting and intelligent
discussions, and maybe even some friendly arguments. Stretch your intellect, and join us for a
cup of tea, a piece of cake, and possibly a dram of Rabbi Burns’ favourite tipple. See you all there.
‘We were then
by Amy Bloom
land, where a
her way in New
York in the
The Book Club continues to lay down a marker for intellectual brilliance. The last twelve
months began with Saul Bellow telling us not to look a Humboldt’s Gift horse in the mouth.
Or anywhere else.
We were then swept Away by Amy Bloom into la-la land, where a young Russian Jewess makes
her way in New York in the early 1900’s, has an affair with two wealthy impresarios, the father
and his gay son, then tries to get back to Russia to find her lost baby daughter, along the way
hanging out with hookers in Seattle and grifting with gold miners up in the Yukon.
Yom Tov Guide 5769
Monday night, 29th September
Light the Yom Tov candles before 6.29pm
and recite the following two blessings:
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam, asher kiddshanoo b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu l’hadlik neir shel Yom Tov.’
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam she’hecheyanoo, vekiyemanoo,
vehigianoo lazman hazeh.’
Prior to lighting the candles, it is important to
light a twenty-five hour candle e.g. a Yahrzeit
candle, so that one can transfer the flame from
the twenty-five hour candle to a new candle
in order to light the Yom Tov candles on the
second night of Yom Tov.
Services in the Synagogue commence
Following services, and your return home,
make Yom Tov Kiddush, then wash hands
ritually and make the blessing over the
challah. The challot for Rosh Hashanah are
traditionally round and represent continuity
and wholeness. After eating some challah,
dipped in honey, we take an apple and dip
a piece in honey and say the following prior
to eating it:
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam, Borei Peri Haeitz’
After eating it recite the following:
‘Yehi ratzon milfanecha Adonye Eloheinoo
veilohei avoteinoo, she’techadesh aleinoo
Shana Tova oometooko’
‘May it be your will. O Lord our G-d and
G-d of our forefathers that this year will be
a happy and sweet year for us.’
Tuesday 30th September
Shacharit services begin at 8.00am
It is important for every man, woman and
child to hear the blowing of the Shofar which
commences at approximately 10.00a.m. It is
important to hear the blessings recited by the
Ba’al Tekiah (the one who actually blows),
and to answer ‘Amein’ to each of the three
blessings. Then, during the course of the
morning, we are obliged to hear one hundred
blasts of the Shofar.
It is forbidden to talk from the time one
hears the first note of the 100, right up until
the last one.
In the afternoon of the first day of Rosh
Hashanah, we will return to the Synagogue
at 4.30pm to walk together towards the
Serpentine for the traditional Tashlich Service
at 5.00pm at the Peter Pan Statue. This is
performed by reciting several prayers at a
source of water. Afterwards, the pockets are
symbolically emptied as if a person is shaking
off his sins and casting them into the water.
As a source for this ceremony the verses in
Michah are often quoted:
‘He will again have compassion upon us;
He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou will
cast all our sins into the depth of the sea …’
We then return to the Synagogue for Mincha
and Ma’ariv at 6.45pm.
Tuesday night 30th September
We usher in the second day of Rosh
Hashanah by lighting the Yom Tov candles
as soon as possible after 7.27pm We do this
by transferring the flame from the existing
flame which was lit before the first night Rosh
Hashanah began (see above) and then reciting
the two blessings. Since there is a doubt about
whether we should recite the She’hecheyanu
Beracha on the second night, it is traditional
to have on the table a new fruit that one has
not eaten yet that year, while one makes the
blessings over the candles. Alternatively one
can wear a new item of clothing. However, if
one does not have a new fruit or a new item
of clothing, one still makes both blessings
Wednesday 1st October
Shacharit services begin at 8.00am
Mincha and Ma’ariv will be read at 6.45pm
Yom Tov ends at 7.25pm.
The Fast Of Gedaliah
Thursday 2nd October
The day after Rosh Hashanah is observed
as a fast day, in memory of Gedaliah ben
Achikam. Gedaliah had been appointed
Governor of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar, after
the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE.
He had been charged with the responsibility
of rebuilding Jewish life among the remnant
of the Jews still in the Holy Land.
As a result of internal strife among the
people, Gedaliah was assassinated and,
many of those Jews who had remained in
Judea, fled to Egypt. Since this represented
the final stage of the destruction of Jerusalem,
it is observed as a fast day, when we recite
special Selichot prayers.
Shacharit will be at 6.45am.
Fast ends at 7.17pm
Friday 3rd October
Shabbat commences 6.19pm
Mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat will be read
Saturday 4th October
Shacharit will be at 9.15 am
Mincha, Seudah and Ma’ariv at 6.00pm
Shabbat ends at 7.18pm
Wednesday 8th October
On Erev Yom Kippur, Wednesday 8th October,
at 1.30pm, we will conduct the pre-Yom
Kippur Mincha (afternoon) service, in the
Synagogue. Included in this service is the first
of the ten times that we recite ‘Al-cheit’ prayer
(confession) throughout Yom Kippur.
A festival meal on Erev Yom Kippur is a
mitzvah (obligation) because one thereby
reveals joy over the approach of his or her
time of forgiveness. This meal is called the
‘seudat hamafseket’ (meal of cessation).
There is no Kiddush prior to this meal, but
we do wash our hands ritually, make the
‘Hamotzi’ (usually over a Challah) and
say Grace after Meals. The meal should be
concluded well before 6.08pm, allowing
enough time to light candles and to get to
the Synagogue in time.
The following Berachot are said over
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam, asher kiddshanoo b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu l’hadlik neir shel Yom
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam she’hecheyanoo, vekiyemanoo,
vehigianoo lazman hazeh.’
Wearing Non-leather Shoes
It is forbidden for men, women and children
to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur.
Services in the Synagogue commence
The Yom Kippur prayers begin with the chanting
of Kol Nidrei. We have to commence before
sunset since this prayer is a form of the repealing
of vows, and we are not permitted to repeal vows
on Yom Tov.
Thursday 9th October
Shacharit commences at 9.30am
Yizkor on Yom Kippur Day will be at
If one’s parents are still alive, it is permissible,
but not essential, to leave the Synagogue
during Yizkor. However, it is our custom that
we commence with a public Yizkor, which
includes Memorial Prayers for the victims of
the Holocaust and for Israel’s fallen soldiers,
for which everyone should remain in the
Synagogue. There will then be a short break to
allow those who wish to leave to go out before
we commence the private Yizkor.
The Fast ends at 7.07pm.
The Building of the Succah
If you haven’t built a Succah before and intend
to do so this year, the Rabbi will be very
happy to advise on the requirements to ensure
that it is Kasher. It is a Mitzvah to decorate the
Succah. If you are able to assist with the Shul’s
Succah, please contact the Synagogue office
for details of when it will be done. Also please
let us know if you are able to donate laurel
branches, fruit, etc.
Dwelling in the Succah
It is a great Mitzvah to eat in the Succah.
The congregation is invited to join us for a
festive dinner in our Shul Succah following
services on Monday evening 13th October.
Please make reservations at the Synagogue
Office on 020 7229 2631.
Kindling of the Lights
Lights are kindled on the first Yom Tov
night in the Succah (if you have one - or else
indoors) and two Berachot are said:
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam, asher kiddshanoo b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu l’hadlik neir shel Yom Tov.’
‘Barooch atah Adonye Eloheinoo melech
ha’olam she’hecheyanoo, vekiyemanoo,
vehigianoo lazman hazeh.’
Note that the same requirements regarding
the 25-hour candle apply as they did for
Four Species - The Lulav
The four species are taken hold of each of
the seven festival days (except Shabbat)
and a Berachah is said over them daily.
Anyone who wishes to have a set of lulav
and etrog, please contact our Shammash Eli
Ballon in the Shul Office. Even if you do not
have your own Lulav and Etrog there will be
several sets in the Synagogue for your use.
Please note that our annual Simchat Torah
party will take place this year on Tuesday
21st October following the evening service
which commences at 7.00pm Please bring
your children both on the Thursday night and
Friday morning for Hakafot - there will also
be a special Kiddush after the service on the
Hagim Timetable 5769 / 2008 New Year Greetings 5769 / 2008
Rabbi & Mrs. SHISLER and family wish the
community a healthy and peaceful New Year.
A happy New Year and well over the Fast to all
our friends at the NWE Synagogue – Denise &
We wish all the NWES a healthy, sweet and
peaceful New Year from Gaby, Howard, Lucy
and Josh MORRIS
Wishing Rabbi & Mrs. Shisler, Honorary
Officers and the entire New West End
Community a happy and healthy New Year
from the HAMMERSCHLAG Family
Eli & Shana BALLON wish Rabbi & Mrs.
Shisler and all our friends at the NWES a
healthy and peaceful New Year
Happy New Year to Rabbi & Mrs. Shisler,
Honorary Officers, members and guests of
the Community. Many thanks for your
hospitality and acceptance – Svetlana &
Wishing my community a Happy New Year
and blessings and peace for Israel – Sandra
Best wishes for a peaceful, healthy and happy
New Year from Zara BRICKMAN and Lionel
Norman & Thelma EPSTEIN and family wish
the Rabbi, Chazan, the Honorary Officers and
the whole Congregation a happy and healthy
Geoffrey & Valerie GREEN wish all the
community a happy and healthy New Year
Best wishes for a healthy, happy and peaceful
New Year from Jane and Cyril HODES
To the Rabbi & Mrs. Shisler, the Honorary
Officers and all my friends Happy New Year
from Yolanda HOPMEIER
Wishing Rabbi & Mrs. Shisler, family and
friends and all members of the community
a happy and healthy New Year – Susan and
A very happy New Year to Rabbi & Anne,
Jeremy, Board of Management and the
Congregation from Roy & Barbara LEVIN
With our best wishes for a healthy and happy
New Year to all our Community - Linda and
Maxine & Michael MARGOLIS and Family
wish Rabbi & Mrs. Shisler, the Honorary
Officers and the entire Community a happy
and peaceful New Year
Hilde & Jonathan MATHESON wish Rabbi &
Mrs. Shisler and all their friends a happy and
healthy New Year and well over the Fast
Lynn & Alan MELTZER together with
Amanda, Oliver and Brandon wish Rabbi &
Mrs. Shisler, Chazan Jeremy Lawson, and all
our dear friends a healthy happy New Year.
Sandy & David MONTAGUE wish everyone at
the New West End health, peace and happiness
Anne and Stephen PETERS and Family wish
all at the New West End a very happy, healthy
and prosperous New Year.
Wishing a happy and joyous New Year to all
– Collette & David PRICE and family.
Renée & Valerie RICHMAN wish Rabbi and
Mrs. Shisler and all our friends at the New
West End a very happy and healthy New Year.
Mrs. Sybil SCHAPIRO wishes everyone a
healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.
New Year greetings from Phyliss SHAPRO and
Stuart. May we all have a peaceful year.
Our best wishes for a healthy, prosperous and
happy New Year – The SIMKIN Family now
joined by Sebastian and Zachary
Wishing the whole community a happy and
healthy New Year from Angela, Jon, Rachel
and Zac SKRY
Marcella and Bobby wish all their friends a
very happy and peaceful New Year.
Wishing all at NWE a healthy, happy and
prosperous New Year and well over the Fast.
Jacquie & Stuart KATZ and family
Jean & Alan LANDESBERG wish Rabbi
Geoffrey and Anne Shisler, and all members a
very happy New Year and well over the Fast.
Jeremy & Susan LAWTON with Joel, Oliver
and Joshua wish you all nachas and good
health for the coming year
Happy New Year from Jonathon, Jemimah,
Rebecca, Liz and Michael STEINFELD
Celia and Morris WEINTROUB send their
best wishes for a happy and healthy New
Year to you all.
L’Shana Tova. Wishing all my friends at the
New West End Synagogue a healthy and
peaceful New Year – Madeline WHITESON
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