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Archived Events

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Friday, 23 JanuaryHolocaust Memorial Day and Erev Shabbat
Friday, 19 DecemberHanukah Party and AGM
Friday, 5 DecemberKabbalat Shabbat
Friday, 22 NovemberShabbat Shacharit
Friday, 17 OctoberSimchat Torah 2014
Friday, 10 OctoberSuccot 2014
Wednesday - Thursday, 24-25 SeptemberRosh Hashana 2014 - 5775
Friday-Saturday, 5-6 SeptemberCCJ Lincoln and LIM Shabbat Experience
Friday, 8 AugustKol Zimra
Friday, 18 JulyOneg Shabbat
Friday, 20 JuneKabbalat Shabbat
Wednesday, 4 JuneTikkun Leyl Shavuot
Saturday, 24 MayShabbat Shacharit and Torah
Monday, 14 AprilSeder Night 2014
Friday, 4 AprilKabbalat Shabbat
Friday, 16 MarchPurim 2014
Friday, 7 MarchOneg Shabbat
Saturday, 15 FebruaryShabbat Shacharit
Friday, 24 JanuaryHolocaust Memorial Day and Erev Shabbat
Friday, 10 JanuaryKabbalat Shabbat
Friday, 29 NovemberHanukah Party
Saturday, 23 NovemberShabbat
Friday, 18 OctoberKabbalat Shabbat
Saturday, 12 OctoberLIM Fish & Chips
Saturday, 5 OctoberSt George Harvest Supper
Friday, 27 SeptemberSimchat Torah
Friday, 20 SeptemberSukkot 2013
Wednesday - Thursday, 4 - 5 SeptemberRosh Hashanah 5774
Friday, 2 AugustKol Zimra
Friday, 5 JulyKabbalat Shabbat
Saturday, 29 JuneShabbat Shacharit and Torah
Friday, 10 MayCandle Lighting and Singing
Friday, 19 AprilKabbalat Shabbat
Saturday, 3 NovemberShabbat Shacharit and Torah
Friday, 5 OctoberKabbalat Shabbat and Succot
Friday, 16-17 SeptemberRosh Hashana 5773
Friday, 17 AugustKol Zimra (Voice of Song)
Various Days in JuneSchool Visits
Wednesday, 20 JuneClore Shalom Visits Lincoln
Saturday, 16 JuneCelebrating Shabbat
Sunday, 27 MayTikkun Leyl Shavuot
Monday, 25 MarchSeder Night
Saturday, 23 FebruaryPurim Party 2013
Friday 25 JanuaryHolocaust Memorial Shabbat

Holocaust Memorial Day and Erev Shabbat - 23 January 2015

The Lincoln Branch of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) and the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan (LIM) jointly organised this year’s Commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). The event was held at Swallowbeck Methodist Church, Newark Road, Lincoln on Friday, 23 January 2015, by kind permission of Revd. Susan Chambers.

On arrival the audience members were invited to light a memorial candle and spend a few moments of private reflection on what commemorating the Holocaust and subsequent genocides of the 20th Century meant to them personally. As this was the start of the Jewish Sabbath, the formal programme of the evening began with the lighting of the Shabbat candles by Micky Griffiths of LIM.

CCJ Branch Chairman, Revd Mike Mason, introduced the event and set the scene for the theme of this year’s commemoration: ‘Keep the Memory Alive’.

There then followed selected readings and testimonials of this theme from victims and survivors of the Holocaust and from the genocides of Rwanda, Bosnia and Cambodia.

These were read by members of the Swallowbeck Church Rangers, and by Mike Costello, a CCJ Branch Committee member.

Revd Susan Chambers, of Swallowbeck Methodist Church then read commemorative prayers drawn from Christian sources to conclude the Christian commemoration.

To open the commemoration from Jewish sources, Dr Dorothy Gennard read a litany of statistics drawn from the Holocaust and the genocides of the last century that really drove home the enormity of man’s inhumanity towards man. Steve Griffiths then concluded the Jewish commemorations by chanting the Eyl Maley Rachamim (God, full of compassion) memorial prayer for those murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and then led Jewish members of the audience in the Kaddish Yatom (Mourners Kaddish).

After such an intense emotional period it was time to break for light refreshments and the opportunity to meet socially to discuss and reflect on what had just taken place. After supper, Rudi Oppenheimer, himself a Holocaust Survivor, spoke with great fortitude and not a little humour of his childhood experiences during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazis.

He somehow managed to survive the internment camp in Holland and then the horrors of Bergen Belsen concentration camp. This was a most thought-provoking presentation and exemplified why HMD was as relevant today as ever.

Over 70 people attended this HMD 2015 Commemoration. Both CCJ Lincoln and LIM would like to acknowledge the support given by the Lincolnshire Echo in printing a full page article based on an interview they had conducted with Rudi. We also wish to recognise the unfailing support of BBC Radio Lincolnshire who this year also broadcast an interview with Rudi.

In addition, Lincoln City Radio and Syren Radio both invited Steve Griffiths to speak about HMD in general and our event in particular. Finally, we are extremely grateful to Rudi Oppenheimer for travelling up from London to give his influential and very moving talk.

Hanukah Party and AGM - 19 December 2014

On Friday 19 December we celebrated our 4th Hanukah together. Only Maxine and Steve were unable to join us being currently on a visit Stateside. With Karen and Dorothy joining via Skype, we were also delighted to welcome Edna and Margaret, Naomi and Yvonne to the party.

After we had lit the candles on 8 Hanukiot and sung MaozTsur, we then said Kaddish for Jane and for Maxine who were still within a year of their bereavements. Then came the gift giving. Maxine and Steve had left a smallparcel for each of us, which contained various mugs and similar items with a Jewish theme. In addition, Dorothy and Karen had posted to Yvonne a large and rather mysterious parcel. On opening it, we discovered most thoughtful and apposite gifts for everyone present. Even though they could not be with us in person, we really felt the warmth of their friendship and commitment to our tiny kehilla.

Afterwards we held our 4rd AGM which in true LIM fashion lasted just over 2 minutes. As a result of being in a healthy solvent situation we voted not to increase the meeting subscriptions. After washing and making motsi we sat and ate a delicious meal of the traditional potato latkes, salads and other goodies, culminating in the anticipated superb doughnutsthat Edna and Margaret brought from their local bakery.

The meal was followed by another Hanukah tradition. We split into two smaller groups to play the dreidel game, Steve having first explained the rules. We could not, of course, play with real money, so we made do with some very fine chocolate coins. We were all winners by the end as we agreed to share out the spoils. Before ending the evening we all wished Naomi a safe flight back home to Chicago for the coming holiday season.

All in all this was a wonderful way to celebrate our 4th year together and we are all entering the new year with great confidence for the future of the community despite our being rather more dispersed than ever before.

Kabbalat Shabbat - 5 December 2014

On a rather damp and miserable December evening we all gathered at St George’s small hall for another LIM Kabbalat Shabbat meeting. We were delighted once again to have Naomi with us, but even more delighted that her mother, Tamar, could be with us during her visit from Chicago.

Sarah, Naomi, Micky and Tamar

Naomi also brought Sarah, a Danish university friend who had wanted to attend a Jewish service.

Sarah and Naomi

Another special pleasure was having Edna and Margaret back after their travels and other commitments.

Tamar, Olga and Edna

And to top it all, we enjoyed the company of Dorothy up from Devon on an academic mission, but with time to be with LIM for Shabbat. Karen joined us from Devon via Skype. Sadly, Yvonne was not well enough to join us, but hopes to be better in time for the Hanukah party. Maxine and Steve were back in California and, as it would have been about 10.30am for them, Shabbat had not even started so instead of skyping with us, Maxine sky dived out of a perfectly serviceable airplane!!

Maxine Flying High

After Edna had lit the Shabbat candles, Steve led the service that included some really rousing singing. We were able to join Jane in saying Kaddish for the loss of her friend Viv and also for her father and paternal grandmother. We made KIiddush while Karen was still linked with us and then, to a stirring rendition of Shalom Alechem, we gathered at the table for a lovely supper.

The Gathering

Shabbat Shacharit - 22 November 2014

Our small community was even smaller this week as we celebrated Shabbat Shacharit. Steve and Maxine were away in the USA for Thanksgiving with their family. Edna and Margaret were also away and Yvonne was not enjoying the best of health. It was good to have Olga up and not quite running with us after her recent operation and once again we had the pleasure of Naomi’s company from Lincoln University. Even boosted as always with the delightful companionship of Dorothy and Karen via Skype we were not quite enough for a Minyan this week.

Steve led us all through the Pesukay D’Zimra and Shacharit services. Instead of having a Torah service, we then had a wide-ranging discussion and analysis of the week’s Torah portion - Toledot – which described the shenanigans within the family of Isaac and Rebecca as Jacob twice takes honours from his elder brother Esau through deceit and subterfuge. We concluding the service with a rousing rendition of Ein Keloheynu, Aleynu and Adon Olam. Because we did not have a Minyan, we were not able to say Kaddish, but we spent several moments of silent reflection keeping Maxine and Jane foremost in our minds.

After the service we did Kiddush while Dorothy and Karen were still with us. Once they had disconnected we all enjoyed a wholesome lunch of soup, challah, apple pie and cheese and biscuits. Huge thanks to Pat and Peter for providing the bulk of this and what delicious recipes they used.

Our next meeting will be Kabbalat Shabbat on 5 December when we look forward to the presence of Dorothy who will be in the area on some pursuit of academia.

Simchat Torah with LIM - 17 October 2014

On Friday 17th October we celebrated Simchat Torah by linking up with our family and friends in France, Devon and Chippenham.

Maxine and Steve in France - Dorothy in Devon - Abi, Megan and Sophie in Chippenham

We began with as short Kabbalat Shabbat and Shabbat Ma’ariv service, especially to enable Maxine, Jane and Ruth to say Kaddish for the Yahrzeits they were observing.

Steve had given us all verses to learn from both the last chapters of Deuteronomy and the first chapter of Genesis to keep continuous the cycle of the reading of the Torah. Despite a few nerves for many of us we rose to the task of leyning (reading the Hebrew) and then the translation. It was lovely to have the children joining in with us albeit from as far away as Cheltenham. This leynathon was a first for LIM and will, no doubt, now be a tradition.

After completing the reading we took it in turns to re-roll the Torah back to the beginning.

At the start of the process

Half way there

Back at the beginning

As always, we finished the evening eating a delicious meal together. The “pièce de resistance” had to be Naomi’s flower pot desserts. They had the unlovely title of ‘dirt cake’, but were a chocolate heaven full of calories and were hand made by Naomi herself!!

Thanks go to Peter for producing some lovely photographs of the event.

Succot with LIM - 10 October 2014

We met once again in Steve and Micky’s home since they have the means to erect a Succah. They had also bought the Arba Minim (Lulav and Etrog) when they were in London recently for Yom Kippur. As usual LIM members brought a delicious array of different foods for supper.

LIM were very pleased to welcome Naomi Rubenstein, a recently arrived student at Lincoln University. Naomi’s folks live in Chicago so we were delighted that Naomi could be with us for the joys of a Succot celebration. We were also delighted to welcome again Yvonne, who had recently returned from a Mediterranean cruise which, though enjoyable, had exacted a heavy toll on her physical health leaving her in considerable pain. Despite this, she was with us and we had the benefit of her delightful company. Edna and Margaret were once again with us after their travels. Ruth had a heavy cold and decided not to inflict her germs on us. Olga, too, was feeling under the weather through a medication she was on and thought it best not to be with us this week in the hope of being better for Simchat Torah next week. Dorothy and Karen joined us from Devon on Skype. Maxine and Steve were not able to join us on Skype from France. Hopefully, they will be with us next week for Simchat Torah.

Steve began the evening with a shortened version of Kabbalat Shabbat. Armed with our beautiful, transliterated siddurim, everyone could join in. After the Service, Steve gave a very clear, amusing and informative explanation about the festival of Succot, the Lulav and Etrog and the building of the Succah. We then all went outside to enter the Succah and take turns to shake the Arba Minim in the prescribed six directions. Despite forecasts of doom and gloom we were lucky to have no rain at all while we were outside.

Steve sets the example

Naomi looks determined

Yvonne has a good shake

The hard part was ‘taking’ Dorothy and Karen outside with us so that they could witness proceedings. With judicious use of a chair and a strong wifi signal we managed it – just. Everyone had a go at entering the Succah. Steve had posted the various brachot on the wall in transliterated format so that even those with little Hebrew could participate.

Then came a most delicious and convivial supper. Micky had prepared a pasta bake. Ruth and Natan had already supplied the salmon for the bake, but we opted not to use it this week. To this we added the lovely salads brought by Pat and Peter, Edna and Margaret. Despite not attending in person, Olga had prepared a wonderful apple pie and Naomi had brought a delicious cake onto which she had iced a drawing of a Succah and the words Succot 5775. What a lovely thought. Add to this the cheese selection Jane had brought and the round festival challah that Steve had baked and we had the makings of a wonderful meal.

Everyone left well satisfied with a memorable Succot celebration and vowing to learn their leyning for the mini-leynathon we will be doing for Simchat Torah next week. Everyone has one verse to leyn from the end and one from the start of the Torah. Even those on Skype will be taking part, plus, we hope, Micky and Steve’s daughter Abi via Skype from Chippenham. It should be a fun evening.

Rosh Hashana 24-25 September 2014 – 5775

We are delighted that we have now held Rosh Hashanah services for the third year in a row. This year, the logistics were a bit more complicated by the fact that Steve and Micky’s daughter, Abi, and her family were home permanently from Australia and staying pro tem with them. We therefore held the Erev RH service at Moorside Court where earlier in the year we had held the Seder Night.

This year Yvonne, Edna and Margaret were all away and could not be with us. Very unfortunately, Ruth and Natan’s kitchen renovation coincided with RH and they were forced to miss Erev RH because they were dealing with major disruptions to their home. That said, we were delighted to welcome Abi to our services and on Erev RH we were also delighted to have Naomi, a recently-arrived student at Lincoln University. If that was not enough, we were also able to welcome Maxine and Steve here on a visit from their new home in France, plus Dorothy and Karen up from their delightful abode in Devon.

The Erev RH service went very smoothly with everyone quickly picking up the nusach and melodies that were special for Rosh Hashanah. Afterwards, we all enjoyed a wonderful soup made by Micky with round challah made by Steve G followed by apple crumble and custard. All of it was gluten-free (except the challah) so that Dorothy could fully enjoy the meal free of any dietary worries.

After the meal, Steve G issued everyone with their ‘homework’ for Simchat Torah. We had all agreed to try to do a ‘leynathon’ for ST whereby everyone reads one verse from the final stages of the Torah and then, after rerolling it to the beginning, everyone reads a verse from the opening chapter.

The next day we all met at Micky and Steve’s home for services. Naomi was not able to be with us as she had essential university lectures to attend, but Natan did manage to get away from his kitchen renovation, at least for the service itself. Wearing a traditional Kittel, Steve led the services starting with Pekuday D’Zimra. He had explained how the nusach would be different from the nusach used on regular Shabbat services. All the members soon got into the mode and mood of this music and, with the help of the Eit Ratson Machsor, quickly joined in the Hebrew passages as much as those in English. After Shacharit and the long Amidah, Steve led the Torah service using the beautiful, but extremely heavy, Torah scroll that had been a gift from the York community.

Just about everyone had a role to play in this service. Natan, Maxine and Abi each had call-ups for the Torah readings, Micky followed the readings in the scroll, Jane opened and closed the ark, Olga read the prayers for the Royal family while Dorothy once again blew the Shofar during the Shofar service with great sensitivity, dedication and integrity. She enabled this high point in the service to have real depth of meaning and intent.

It has not been LIM’s custom to do the Musaf service so, after Aleynu, Kaddish Yatom and Psalm 27, we finished with a stirring rendition of Adon Olam. This put us all in the mood for the delicious lunch that followed. Everyone had helped with the catering to weigh the table down with a fabulous choice of savoury and sweet foods.

After lunch, Steve led a 45 minute shiur on the topic of fasting. We explored all aspects of the topic, its history, why it was and still is done, who does it, how often, how it was conducted, what else occurred while fasting and the biblical, rabbinic and private origins of the fasts we hold today.

After the shiur, we had a very pleasant stroll in the wonderfully warm late summer sunshine to the nearby Hartholme Lakes where we engaged in the ceremony of Tashlich. Micky and Olga stayed at home as Olga was feeling a little tired still after her recent hip operation and Micky cleared up the rooms after the service and lunch.

This year we had found a different location by the lakeside. This did not require deft footwork or a good sense of balance as the slope to the water was far gentler and the sandy ground more amenable to safe steps. Steve G explained the purpose and history of Tashlich and the symbolic casting of sins into the waters in the form of breadcrumbs. This ceremony had not always met with favour over the centuries with some rabbis claiming that it called on the superstitions and mystical beliefs of the supernatural, which were contrary to Judaic teachings and belief. But the simple ceremony retained its popularity with the common folk and remains widely observed today even among the more orthodox.

After reading the short Tashlich service in the Machsor we each took turns in casting our sins away into the lake. Dorothy, who, being gluten-free preferred not to handle the breadcrumbs directly, had her own unique way of casting into the water provided she took enough allowance for the gusty wind. After we had each done this we then spent a few minutes in quiet, private reflection or gentle discussion on the purpose of the ceremony and its impact on us.

The day finished back at Steve and Micky’s with a delightful hour or so of socialising with drinks and light refreshments. All in all this was a hugely successful festival celebration made possible by the simple fact that all LIM members had a role to play, all shared in the catering, all had a genuine desire to enter into the mood and intent of Rosh Hashana and everyone took great pleasure in being together as a community.

CCJ Lincoln and LIM Shabbat Experience - 5-6 September 2014

By Revd Mike Mason, Chair, CCJ Lincoln & District Branch

The members of the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan (LIM) had issued an invitation to the Christian members of the Lincoln Branch of CCJ to experience for themselves the Jewish practices in keeping and celebrating Shabbat/Sabbath. Some fourteen of us accepted this generous invitation and gathered at St George’s Church at 6.30 p.m. on Friday 5 September. There we joined some members of LIM in the flesh while others joined us via Skype from France and Devon - an extraordinary means of fellowship!

The Shabbat prayers were led by Steve Griffiths and we were very indebted to him for explaining to us the structure and content of the various parts of the service taken from the prayer book used by LIM. This book was extremely helpful in that it included not only the Hebrew text and that text printed in a script we could read but also an English translation and transliteration of it and explanatory notes.

The service began with the lighting of the candles and a prayer to welcome the Sabbath as a gift from God which enables a time of separation from daily living in which we can concentrate on God and on offering him praise. This was followed by various readings from the Psalms, extracts from the Torah (the first five books of our common Bible) and other poetic texts. Some of these Steve encouraged us to join in the singing of in Hebrew while others we recited in Hebrew or English. Thanks to his skills as a cantor, we soon found ourselves joining in both languages with a real sense of God’s presence and feeling of worship.

I think we all felt at home with much of this e.g. in the familiar words of the Psalms, the use of candles, and the actions of standing and sitting at appropriate times. At one point in the service we also shared in wine - another familiar action.

At the close of the service we moved symbolically from the ‘synagogue’ at one end of the Church Hall to ‘home’ at the other. Having organised the seating arrangements we then moved to the kitchen to wash our hands accompanied by a prayer and then, in silence, returned to the table where we shared in the ‘breaking of bread.’ We then shared in a lovely meal prepared by the members of LIM and a wonderful time of fellowship as we learned more about each other. Steve taught us more Jewish songs and tunes! And so to bed!

We reconvened at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday morning for the Shabbat morning and Torah services. We were more prepared for the format of the service but once again Steve skilfully led us through it. At its heart was the Torah Service in which readings are made from the Torah scroll. We learned that the scroll was made of parchment and written by hand, that this meant that it should not be touched by hand as the inks very easily smudged, that a silver pointer was used to follow the text, and that this particular scroll was extremely heavy!!

Each section of the reading was introduced and concluded by a Brachah (blessing) which was read in turns by members of LIM. The Torah is read in a cycle which means it is read from start to finish in each Jewish year. As it was near the end of the year, the readings were from Deuteronomy. Only a portion of the set text was read!!

There was then a reading of the Haftarah taken from the remaining Jewish Scriptures which was read by Maxine from the South of France. Prayers for mourners, for individuals and for nations were read by Dorothy from Devon. We again drank wine before closing with further prayers.

We then repeated the hand washing and ‘breaking of bread’ rituals from the night before - followed by yet more delicious hospitality. At the end Steve explained the ritual of Havdalah and the prayers which would be used at dusk to close the sacred hours of Shabbat and return to ‘profane’ days of the rest of the week.

All of us agreed that this had been a memorable experience which not only gave us an insight into Jewish practices but showed the Jewish roots of our Christian practices and our deep debt to the faith on which ours draws so heavily. It also showed wonderful hospitality - we felt really privileged to be allowed to share the Shabbat Experience with our Jewish sisters and brothers. We expressed then, and do so again, our grateful thanks to the members of the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan.

Kol Zimra - 8 August 2014

Pat and Peter hosted the event this time last Friday afternoon, when Olga was welcomed back after her recent operation - it was great to see her looking so happy and well.

The main reason for this event was to prepare for the CCJ Shabbat Experience weekend at the beginning of September, and songs for the Shabbat were sung with Steve G accompanying on the keyboard.

Maxine then played some very lovely and emotional songs on the keyboard. These were songs from her past life in shuls in California.

In true tradition, we then broke for a delicious sandwich and cake tea contributed by all the members.

After tea, Steve G presented a gift to Maxine and Steve from the LIM group, wishing them well in their new life in France. Maxine then gave a short speech on behalf of she and Steve, thanking LIM for the present, wishing the group well and looking forward to meeting up with us all on Skype.

A short discussion then took place concerning the conflict in Gaza, anti-Semitism and how best to deal with these issues.

Plans were made for the Shabbat Experience weekend, and also for Rosh Hashanah.

Oneg Shabbat – 18 July 2014

The focus of our meeting this week was a mix of light entertainment, a short Erev Shabbat service and then a supper together. Dorothy and Karen joined us on Skype. Of the other LIM members, everyone was present except Olga who was still recovering (successfully, happily) from a recent hip replacement operation. On that theme, we were also delighted to welcome a pain-free Edna who had undergone the medical procedure she had been waiting for to sort out the source of her discomfort.

The evening was great fun. We began with a gentle 20-question quiz on a wide range of topics including some on Judaism, history, maths, spelling, observation of daily things we regularly see, geography, the Royal Family and so on. Steve had set the questions and acted as quizmaster. The top marks achieved were about 16, but we did not investigate who might have qualified for the wooden spoon. The whole point was to enjoy the fun of the quiz without any embarrassment or being put on the spot.

Steve then led a short evening service with a particular need to say Kaddish for Micky’s father and Maxine’s parents. We then enjoyed Kiddush before saying farewell to Dorothy and Karen. Then came an amazing supper of reading lovely foods. Pat and Peter have volunteered to host our next meeting which will be a Kol Zimra evening of song, taking advantage of the ability to play instruments while Shabbat is still so late in coming in.

Kabbalat Shabbat – 20 June 2014

As we enter the Summer months, we find that not all members can attend planned meetings. On this occasion we were just 7 in number. We know, of course, that Edna and Margaret find it very hard to be with us. Pat and Peter were away on a holiday and Twinning visit in Europe, Maxine and Steve had opted to spend this Shabbat with the Progressive shul in Nottingham. Dorothy and Karen were also away in Europe on a well-deserved holiday.

We therefore cancelled the booking at St Georges and met at Steve and Micky’s home. With Shabbat coming in late and the summer evenings balmy and pleasant, we were able to dine al fresco on the patio and then have a wonderful evening of social and spiritual chat both outside and in the conservatory.

We discussed a wide range of topics from the secular to the spiritual. Ladies bloomers came up at one point, though definitely not initiated by Steve or Natan. We also looked at the differences between traditional and progressive Judaism and reaffirmed how good it was that we pursued an independent path that allowed everyone to travel their Jewish journey without judgemental attitudes from others in a safe and accepting environment.

Our next meeting will; be at St Georges on Friday, 18 July, when we will have an Oneg Shabbat that will include a gentle quiz as part of the social evening.

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot at LIM 4 June 2014

As Shavuot begins, it is customary to study the Book of Ruth in the evening, so our LIM group gathered for learning and fun. Each of us took turns reading portions of the story. We took a few moments after each portion to discuss what the passage was telling us. We translated each passage from biblical English to today’s English, to help us find our way through what may be considered complicated ways of saying simple sentences. As usual, there were different ways of interpreting the writing with different perspectives making it an interesting conversation and learning something new about this story.

Then the “Cheesecake” (freshly made for us from The Cheese Society in Lincoln) was brought to the table, which was like a ceremony in itself, along with fresh fruit, coffee and a variety of teas. Suddenly it got quiet in the room as we savored these delicious refreshments.

After the cheesecake, it was time to surprise Steve and Micky by presenting them with a card and gift from all of us at LIM, a “Thank You” for all of the time and effort they have put into LIM.

We finished up with closing comments about what we had just studied, giving us something to think about as we said goodbye to everyone, until the next LIM gathering.

Shabbat Shacharit and Torah - 24 May 2014

At our last Shabbat Shacharit in March we were only 7 here in Lincoln with folks either away or in poor health. This time we numbered altogether 14 because we had the pleasure of being joined by Charles and Pauline Posner, close friends of Steve and Micky from their shul in London. Steve and Maxine were also back from the States (and France). We also had the delight of having Karen with us in person because she was passing through the area and stopped by to be with us. Dorothy was also with us, but via Skype.

Steve began the service by calling everyone to say the ‘Shehechiyanu’ blessing for four reasons: first, the Posners were with LIM for the first time; second, this was our first opportunity to see and make use of the beautiful Torah mantle that Jane had donated to LIM; third, this was also the first time we had the chance to see an exquisitely cross-stitched table covering Yvonne had donated for use on the table that acts as the Ark, and finally Steve and Micky had repaired and lengthened the chain of the Torah’s ‘Yad’ and it was now fully functional.

Steve led us through the Shacharit service and then we had the real pleasure of Pauline leading us through the Torah service. Steve did the leyning, Charles read a lovely Haftorah and most others present took part in one way or another. It was a wonderful service and over all too soon.

As is our custom, after the service and Kiddush, we enjoyed an excellent lunch sitting together round the table. The food was really first class and everyone made a real contribution to the happy atmosphere that prevailed. Charles and Pauline were thrilled to have been with us and would dearly like to join us again.

Seder Night 2014

The LIM first night Seder was hosted by Micky’s mother Lorna, at Ravensmoor Close, North Hykeham. Nineteen people attended including six non-Jewish guests which LIM members were delighted to welcome at Seder. Chris and Sandy Brown and Dee and Jenny Freeman from St Georges (Sandy and Dee are ordained priests who serve the St Georges community) and Liz Peachman, the RE Co-ordinator and Jan Kenworthy (Trustee) joined us, from Scothern Ellison Boulters C of E Academy, a primary school.

The evening was led by Steve Griffiths and was also an opportunity to remember family and friends. Two members had a Yartzeit. In addition a LIM member had a birthday which the community helped celebrate with a gift and cards. Seder commenced at 6.35 pm and members and guests joined in using the community’s Hagadot and also transliterated words for the Hallel, Brachot for Pesach and the Ma Nishtana. The afikomen was prepared but since there were no children at the festival its discovery took little time!

The Seder table was delightfully adorned with napkins wishing everyone a happy Pesach and illustrating the 10 plagues (!) and the treasured cup of Elijah which had been donated to the community by Ellis. The meal, made and shared by community members, commenced with the usual egg and salt water followed by salmon, potato, tomato and green salads and a lovely selection of Kosher for Passover cakes, biscuits and fruit salads. The matzo (including gluten-free matzo style versions) had been kindly brought back from London by Micky and Steve. The Seder plate contained the usual burned egg and parsley etc although, as is our tradition, the lamb shank was replaced by a stick of celery.

After the meal LIM used its traditional sung version of grace after meals. The evening then progressed via coffee and tea to singing of traditional songs, ‘Adir Hu’, ‘Little matzos’, ‘Who knows one?’ and three verses and a chorus of ‘Passover things’. The evening ended in its traditional manner with ‘Haktiva’.

LIM particularly expresses its thanks to Lorna and the community at Ravensmoor Close for allowing us to use their facilities, the warm welcome and the opportunity to experience the Seder meal joyfully ‘as if we too had just come out of Egypt’.

Kabbalat Shabbat - 4 April 2014

Nine of us met this Friday evening at St Georges for Kabbalat Shabbat, joined as ever by Dorothy and Karen via Skype. Edna and Margaret were not able to be with us while Edna continues with less than perfect health. Steve and Maxine had already set off for France to sort out their new home there, long delayed while they were needed in the States.

Steve led a spirited Kabbalat Shabbat and Arvit Shabbat service. The singing increases each time in confidence and volume. After the service and while still connected with Devon, we had a fruitful discussion on the future of LIM, of which more below. Dorothy and Karen stayed with us while we did Kiddush, after which we enjoyed a really wholesome and delicious supper.

Our discussion centred on the fact that for the immediate future some of our members are likely to be away from Lincoln. Dorothy and Karen are already established in Devon; Steve and Maxine are very likely to spend a lot of time between France and the USA. Add to that the known and fully accepted difficulty that Edna and Margaret have in always getting to LIM meetings. Thus we face the situation where we will rarely have a true Minyan of 10 of us here present in Lincoln at a meeting.

We can hold most services without need of a Minyan, but according to Jewish tradition, we require a Minyan to say the Barchu, to conduct a Torah service and to say Kaddish. For some, particularly Steve and Micky, we would be taking a step too far if we were to ignore this need of a Minyan. So Steve sought the advice of Rabbi Joel Levy, the Rav of his shul in London, on whether there was guidance on the possibility of a ‘virtual Minyan’ using modern technology (given that we have already accepted that we will use Skype on Shabbat).

There had indeed been advice that basically said that for a Minyan the 10 people should be ‘b’makom’ in that place, ie physically present to offer the comfort to the mourner and to bear witness to the reading of the Torah. That said, the response also advised that individual rabbis and communities will decide on this question based on their particular circumstances.

To summarise the discussion that followed, we agreed that, even if we did not have a complete minyan ‘b’makom’, here in Lincoln, if we could add in those on Skype and thus achieve a Minyan then we would count that as complete and be able to do what requires the presence of a Minyan.

The key factor of any virtual presence was that those not in Lincoln could be heard even if not seen, rather than seen and not heard. Often a video link between more than two sources severely degrades the connectivity. Peter then had the excellent idea that we could have one or more sources here in Lincoln. We could there for envisage a meeting where Dorothy and Karen were connected on Steve’s IPad, Steve and Maxine were connected on Peter’s laptop and Edna and Margaret connected on Ruth’s laptop.

The overarching need for all of us is that we can sustain and strengthen our small kehilla. This solution meets everyone’s needs and is now an exciting way ahead for all of us.

Purim 2014

This year we celebrated Purim at Steve and Micky’s home. After the supper, Karen and Dorothy joined us on Skype. Sadly, Yvonne could not be with us because she had a serious leak in her boiler and had to wait in for the emergency plumber. Edna and Margaret also were not with us while Edna seeks to improve her health. Steve and Maxine had just landed back in the UK from an extended visit to the States and were driving back to Lincoln. All the absentees had sent their love and best wishes for an enjoyable and fun Purim party.

The evening began with a shared supper of pizzas, pasta, salad, fruit salad, lemon tart and, of course, Hamantaschen courtesy of Peter. The latter were extremely ‘moorish’. We then connected with Dorothy and Karen in Devon. Steve had prepared the Megilla Esther and allocated a chapter for each of us to read, in English, of course. He had sent in advance a chapter each to Dorothy and Karen. He also gave each of us a list of Haman’s sons so that we could all join in the rapid reading of their names in Chapter 9. We were also armed with home-made ‘greggers’, varying in loudness depending on how many dried peas had been used and how tinny the container.

As the readings progressed the cheers and boos and rattlings became ever louder as we heard the hero and villain names. It was great fun. Everyone managed to read the ten names of the sons in one breath. Purim is the one festival that allows everyone to be just a little silly and we certainly managed to do that.

We then enjoyed a calmer half hour of ‘show and tell’. Each of us had brought an item that had personal meaning that we explained to the others. Steve began the process by showing a teaching book for learning to play the piano. He explained that it represented something he had always wanted to do, but now had time to do it since his retirement at the end of last year. So, in fact, the book represented a new future and new horizons to explore, more time to spend with Micky and family and exciting times ahead.

Not in any particular order after that, but Ruth showed five very interesting photos of her mother and grandparents, plus of the Bailgate area of Lincoln. For her these represented her lifelong affinity to this historic area of the city. She always loved to wander in its streets as a child and still does today.

Olga’s choice was a lovely photo of her ‘bubba’ her maternal grandmother. This brought back fond memories of very happy childhood days spent in her company, of her excellent cooking and loving home.

Peter moved away from photos themselves but stayed with the theme by showing us all a very old camera that he had been given when he was in East Berlin taking part in a cycle race. It was a delightful gift, but he had never been sure why it had been given.

Dorothy and Karen both had very different objects. Unfortunately the image taken from the Skype screen on the Ipad did not reproduce well enough to show here. Both had moved earlier this year to the small Devon village of Exbourne. Dorothy has to follow a gluten-free diet. Imagine her delight when she discovered in the village shop chocolate made in Devon that was gluten-free. She was even able to share this with us because earlier in the week she had sent two small bars of it to us so that we could all try it. For some it was really lovely, for others…

Karen showed us a rather startling doll of a witch that she had had from childhood days. It was not the doll itself, but its association that Karen shared with us because the story of the doll had been the inspiration at a very young age of the desire to write stories. And how blessed we have all been to enjoy the wonderful stories that she has had published since.

Micky returned to jewellery when she showed the gathering a beautiful garnet dress ring that had belonged to her maternal grandmother. She explained that the ring had been a gift that she had treasured her whole life because it had meant so much to have received such a gift when so young.

Natan’s item was also associated with his childhood. It was an early Victorian edition of the King James Bible that he had been given as a child. He pointed out in the inside front cover two signatures that he had written when he was first taught to write.

Pat brought to the gathering a photo of her grandfather that brought back many happy memories of time spent with him in Worthing. She explained a little of his life and why he had had such a positive influence on her early memories.

Last up in this show and tell session was Jane, who, before showing us what she had brought, explained that it was in connection with a ‘significant’ birthday that she was about to celebrate. Not only did she want to show this item, but in fact she wanted to donate it to LIM, to the whole community. Duly puzzled, we all wondered what she meant.

Imagine everyone’s utter surprise and obvious delight when she returned to the room carrying our Torah Scroll which was now covered in a beautiful new mantle. She had the mantle specially commissioned and designed to bear the LIM logo plus the dates in Hebrew and English of when LIM formed.

A more detailed close-up of the mantle shows its exquisite design of velour material in a blue and silver theme with the logo expressed as a Magen David of interlocking shades of blue and our Hebrew lettering initials in the centre. This is a wonderfully generous gift and everyone expressed their delight on seeing it and realising just how special this was and how much it represented confidence and another stage in the growth of our tiny kehilla.

All in all this was a Purim party to remember in so many different ways. Sharing foods, enjoying our own rendition of the Megilla Esther, sharing aspects of our past or future lives with others and to cap it all, Jane gave the whole community not just to show and tell, but to keep, a gift of great kindness and one that we will all cherish.

Oneg Shabbat - 7 March 2014

To ring the changes, we decided to have an Oneg Shabbat meeting this week rather than a traditional Kabbalat Shabbat service. Everyone had been asked to bring a story, joke, anecdote, reading, poem or similar to share.

Karen and Dorothy joined us via Skype and we were delighted to have Yvonne with us once again following her period of rather poor health. Regrettably, Edna and Margaret could not be with us as Edna is not enjoying the best of health. We wish her Refuah Shleymah. Maxine and Steve were still in the States, but due home next week.

The evening was great fun. After lighting the Shabbat candles, everyone shared something. We had poignant stories, good jokes, whimsical poems, some Mishnah study, a good discussion and all this preceded by some lovely singing of a simple niggun that got everyone energised and in the mood.

We made Kiddush while Karen and Dorothy were still with us and then enjoyed a wonderful supper comprising delicious foods that everyone had contributed to. All in all this was a perfect way to share Shabbat together and to put us in the mood for Purim next week.

Shabbat Shacharit

Our small community was even smaller this week as we celebrated Shabbat Shacharit. With Steve and Maxine still in the USA following the very sad passing of Maxine’s father, plus Edna and Margaret away, plus both Olga and Yvonne succumbing to a horrible coughing virus, we were down to just seven in Lincoln, but boosted as always with the delightful company of Dorothy and Karen via Skype.

Steve led us all through the Pesukay D’Zimra and Shacharit services, introducing one or two new niggunim (melodies) which everyone was able to follow and join in in Hebrew thanks to our wonderful siddurim. Instead of having a Torah service, we then had a wide-ranging discussion and analysis of the week’s Torah portion - Ki Tissa – before concluding the service with a rousing rendition of Ein Keloheynu, Aleynu and Adon Olam.

Because we did not have a Minyan, we were not able to say Kaddish, but we spent several moments of silent reflection keeping Maxine and Steve foremost in our minds, plus David Bennet, whose mother Lillian had recently passed away. We then sang the beautiful Eyl Na Refana La phrase to wish Olga and Yvonne Refuah Shleymah, a speedy return to full health.

After the service we all had a lively chat with Dorothy and Karen including giving them our thoughts on the Holocaust play Irena’s Vow that we had all seen earlier in the week. We discussed the next meeting on Friday, 7 March, which will be an Oneg Shabbat format. We agreed we would all look at the festival of Purim and come to the next meeting ready to discuss Purim in preparation for our Purim party on Sunday, 16 March. For the latter, last year we all came dressed in fancy hats; this year we have decided to bring an article, artefact, photo or other object that has meaning for us, perhaps a story behind it that we would like to share with everyone else.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2014 in Lincoln

The Lincoln Branch of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) and the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan (LIM) jointly organised this year’s Commemoration of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). The event was held at Swallowbeck Methodist Church, Newark Road, Lincoln on Friday, 24 January 2014, by kind permission of Revd. Susan Chambers.

On arrival the audience members were invited to light a memorial candle and spend a few moments of private reflection on what commemorating the Holocaust and subsequent genocides of the 20th Century meant to them personally. As this was the start of the Jewish Sabbath, the formal programme of the evening then began with the lighting of the Shabbat candles by Micky Griffiths of LIM.

Sadly, both co-chairmen of Lincoln CCJ were unable to attend. Maxine Tomashefsky was still in the USA following the sad loss of her mother while Revd Mike Mason was suffering ill health. Steve Griffiths, a Joint President of Lincoln CCJ, took on the role of host on behalf of both CCJ and LIM. He explained the purpose of the evening was to fulfil the aims of the 2000 Stockholm Convention. These were firstly to uphold the fact that the Holocaust and subsequent genocides did occur, thereby giving the lie to those who would seek to deny these facts. Second, to honour the memory of those who had died in these atrocities. Third, to educate the current and next generations on the Holocaust and finally to help to combat anti-Semitism, racial hatred, xenophobia and intolerance.

Next came the commemorative part of the evening which used the declared 2014 HMD theme of ‘journeys’. First, the Rangers of Swallowbeck Methodist Church read brief statements taken from the testimonies of several survivors of the Holocaust, and of the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur and Bosnia. All these statements were on the theme of journeys that they had taken, both physically and emotionally. Revd Susan Chambers, of Swallowbeck Methodist Church then read commemorative prayers drawn from Christian sources.

After this we had a commemoration from Jewish sources lead by Steve Griffiths. This began with a communal reading of Psalm 27. Continuing the theme of ‘journeys’, the Psalm was followed by extremely moving and graphic accounts read by LIM members of three journeys taken by Jews during the Holocaust as part of the Final Solution. First, Dorothy Gennard read the testimony of Hilde Shermann of her journey from her village to a ghetto. Next Jane Harris gave the testimony of Rudy Mayer’s journey from ghetto to Auschwitz death camp and finally Micky Griffiths shared Olga Albogen’s harrowing account of the Death March she was forced to endure as the Nazis tried to hide the evidence of the death camps by marching the survivors away from advancing Allied forces.

Steve Griffiths then concluded the Jewish commemorations by chanting the Eyl Maley Rachamim (God, full of compassion) memorial prayer for those murdered in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides and then led Jewish members of the audience in the Kaddish Yatom (Mourners Kaddish).

After such an intense emotional period it was time to break for light refreshments and the opportunity to meet socially to discuss and reflect on what had just taken place.

After supper, Martin Stern, himself a Holocaust Survivor, spoke of his childhood experiences during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazis. He spoke with quiet dignity, great clarity and utter conviction. The audience were spell-bound by the power of his presentation. He finished by taking a broader view of man’s inhumanity to man by referring to a number of incidences of genocide throughout history. This was a most thought-provoking presentation and exemplified why HMD and its four-fold aims were as relevant today as ever.

Just under 60 people attended this HMD 2014 Commemoration. Both CCJ Lincoln and LIM would like to acknowledge the support given by the Lincolnshire Echo in printing on successive weeks before the event two very informative articles that set the context of HMD, described what we would be doing and encouraged people to attend. We would also like to express our thanks to BBC Radio Lincolnshire for inviting Steve Griffiths to give a live interview about HMD in general and our event in particular on the Rosie Duffield show the previous Sunday morning.

Finally, we are extremely grateful to Martin Stern for giving his influential and very moving talk, this despite the fact that only a few days earlier he had had a serious accident while riding his bike and was still suffering from the bruising. His dedication to the work of HMD is second to none.

Kabbalat Shabbat - 10 January 2014

Ten LIM members met for Kabbalat Shabbat with Dorothy and Karen making the number up to 12 via Skype. Steve and Maxine were still in the USA following the recent death of Maxine’s mother; Yvonne was still not enjoying the best of health and felt unable to be with us.

Steve led the Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv services with everyone joining in the singing with great enthusiasm and ever increasing confidence. The collective sound we made was a joy to witness and further confirmed the wisdom of our choice of siddur that enables even those without knowledge of Hebrew to join in.

During the service, we did not quite have a Minyan even counting our Skype-enabled friends, so instead of Kaddish Yatom we spent a few moments naming and remembering those in need of healing and especially those going through the pain of bereavement. Following the service we enjoyed a short chat with Dorothy and Karen, catching up on news and exchanging information. We were all pleased to note how well D and K had settled into their new home in Okehampton.

We said farewell to D and K after we had celebrated Kiddush together and then enjoyed a wonderful, self-catered supper that has become the hallmark of our meetings. After Grace After Meals, Steve led a short shiur on Beshallach, the Torah reading for this Shabbat.

Hanukah Party - 29 November 2013

On Friday 29th November we celebrated Chanukah together, albeit with few in number because several members were ill with colds and some were away. We linked up with Karen again on Skype who watched while we lit 4 chanukiot and then the Shabbat candles. There is something magical about candle light especially with 18 candles burning at once. We then heard the next installment of the story of Joseph and his brothers with us all joining in the question and answer session.

Afterwards we held our 3rd AGM which in true LIM fashion lasted just over 2 minutes. As a result of being in a healthy solvent situation we voted not to increase the meeting subscriptions. After washing and making motsi we sat and ate a delicious meal together. It was decided not to have potato latkes if we were going to have doughnuts later so we enjoyed jacket potatoes with various fillings and salads. Edna and Margaret had brought the doughnuts from the bakers in Horncastle and they were the best ever.

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 14th December at Micky & Steve's at mid day.

Shabbat - 23 November 2013

Eight members of LIM met at Steve and Micky’s home for a Shabbat morning gathering. Karen joined them via Skype from Okehampton and we were delighted to have Yvonne with us once again having recovered from a recent bout of poor health. Steve and Maxine were away in the USA. Ruth, Natan, Edna and Margaret were also away.

Because we had no minyan we decided to conduct a shiur on the Torah portion for this Shabbat. It being Vayeyshev, there was plenty to discuss with the continuing saga of Jacob and his large and rather dysfunctional family. Steve led the shiur with everyone else joining in answering questions and seeking further information about the story. There was a lot of laughter, some good learning and a great sense of conviviality sharing the story of Joseph interpreting dreams and of our forebears and some of the plotting, intrigue and dastardly actions they indulged in.

After the shiur Karen stayed on line to join us in Kiddush after which we all enjoyed a superb lunch. Everyone had brought a contribution that added to delicious savoury and sweet courses, nutritious, filling and extremely enjoyable.

After lunch Steve explained that the LIM website had brought two new developments. There had been an email from a lady author seeking information about blood libels in the UK in medieval times. Steve would be meeting her later that afternoon in the Cathedral to help her research. Also in was an email from a mother in Chicago, IL, explaining that her daughter would be coming to Lincoln University next year and wanted connection with a Jewish community. In his reply, Steve offered LIM as the place to visit and extended an open invitation to the daughter whenever she wanted to attend a LIM event, be it social or spiritual.

Kabbalat Shabbat - 18 October 2013

On a warm Autumn evening, LIM members met for Kabbalat Shabbat with Karen and Dorothy joining us via Skype. Yvonne had been taken poorly and could not attend at the last minute. Pat and Peter were deep in house renovations and had builders everywhere who needed constant cups of tea.

Steve led everyone through a well-sung Kabbalat Shabbat service and Ma’ariv service with Karen and Dorothy taking part via technology that did not always permit the video to work properly. But they could see us, which was the most important thing. Because we did not quite have a minyan, in place of the Kaddish Yatom, we spent a few moments remembering all those we knew who were in need of healing, not least Maxine’s parents. We then sang the beautiful Eyl Na, R’fah Na La words.

Karen and Dorothy stayed connected after the service so that they could join us for Kiddush. Once they had disconnected, we all enjoyed a wonderful meal together. Pat, Peter and Dorothy, despite not being able to be with us, had nevertheless sent the foods they had promised. We therefore had an abundance of everything and it was all fresh, delicious and varied. Shabbat is no time to worry about diets!

After the meal and Birkat Hamazon, we discussed various parish notices which included the fact that the website was now generating emails from interested parties. Both Steves were working on a redesign of the website to make it even more logical and a good visitor’s experience.

The next LIM meeting will be on Saturday, 23 November. We will not have a minyan and so will not meet at St Georges, but at the home of Steve and Micky, where we will enjoy a lunch together followed by a study session.

LIM Fish & Chips - 12 October 2013

Last weekend 8 LIM members - Steve, Micky, Olga, Pat, Peter, Jane, Ruth and Natan - met for a fish and chips lunch at the Bardney Heritage Centre. This was a purely social gathering to enjoy each other’s company and to deepen the bonds that make LIM such a great kehilla to be part of.

Ruth and Natan had stumbled across this venue a while ago when in Bardney getting their car serviced. The place is a converted railway station that contains a great deal of memorabilia about the wartime connection with the nearby WW2 airfield and of course about the former rail service through the station. As further research, Steve then contacted the Centre to confirm that they cooked in vegetable oil while Pat had been in touch to confirm whether they would also cook fish as a baked portion without batter. The answer to both queries was yes.

The group met on a very rain-swept day, but were soon very cosily ensconced in the restaurant. The owners were extremely friendly and could not do enough for us as we placed our orders and asked the inevitable torrent of questions about the history of the place. They even agreed to record the happy scene as the photo below testifies.

The meal itself was really delicious and plentiful, one of the best we had ever experienced in Lincolnshire. The atmosphere was very homely, informal, welcoming and convivial. We will be back.

LIM at St George's Harvest Supper - 5 October 2013

Last Saturday, as Shabbat went out, 5 members of LIM - Steve, Micky, Pat, Peter and Jane - went to St Georges Church hall where LIM normally meets, but this time to attend the Harvest Supper run by the church. We were there at the kind invitation of Revd Canon Ian Silk.

This was a great interfaith event because Steve was invited to say Grace Before meals in Hebrew alongside a Grace said by Revd Ian. After a delicious starter of pitta bread, olives and dips, Steve gave a short talk on how we prepared for the festival of Succot. He explained the quotes from the Torah that called for the 7-day festival, required us to gather the Arba Minim - palm branch, myrtle branches, willow branches and a citrus fruit called an Etrog - and directed us to dwell in temporary booths for the period of the festival. He ended this part of the proceedings by explaining how we built the Succah.

The main course included a delightful vegetarian option that went perfectly with the potatoes baked in their jackets. Between this and the sweet course Steve then explained to the gathering of 40 plus people of all ages and generations how we celebrated Succot. He referred to the need to dwell in the Succah, which would be fine in the warm weather of Israel, but more problematic here in the UK. He had kept the Arba Minim carefully preserved in cool garage and fridge. All four elements were in perfect condition some two weeks after Succot had ended. He explained the meaning of each of the four species watched here very attentively by Revd Ian.

Steve then explained how the Arba Minim should be held and then shaken in 6 different directions to denote God’s presence everywhere. The camera blur shows just how vigorous the shaking should be. He then invited Revd Silk to ‘have a shake’ much to the amusement of the gathering.

After a lovely dessert of spiced plums and ice cream Steve then surprised the gathering by inviting them all to join him in singing Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals) in Hebrew. He chose the very short version: Brich Rachamana, Malka D’Alma, Ma’arey D’Chai Pitta. Using a tune he had learnt at the 2012 EAJL Retreat, written by Alexander Massey, he soon had them all singing confidently in Hebrew, not only in unison, but also in a two-part division harmonising splendidly.

This was a wonderful example of two faiths meeting for a common purpose, celebrating their differences and learning from each other in an enjoyable social atmosphere. Long may they continue.

Simchat Torah 5774

LIM created three further precedents in their short (less than three year) history last week. First they met to celebrate Simchat Torah and second they were ‘joined’ by Karen via Skype. Karen had moved to Okehampton in the further reaches of England, but was very much with us joining in the celebration. Third, they celebrated a very special anniversary.

Edna and Margaret were away this week and Yvonne was visiting family and also could not attend. Sadly, Maxine and Steve had to rush back to the USA because Maxine’s father had taken a turn for the worse. They remain in our thoughts and prayers and we wish Maxine strength as she seeks to bring stability and comfort to her parents.

We began with the first precedent of welcoming Karen to our gathering. We are lucky that St Georges has a permanent Wi-Fi server. With IPad and deft insertion of password we were soon connected and the connection remained strong and stable for the rest of the evening.

We then observed a special anniversary. Ruth and Natan would the next day be celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary. For a full report of this please see ‘Our Golden Couple’ in the ‘social’ section of the website.

Finally came the third precedent. The key to success in marking Simchat Torah was to enable everyone to participate. Steve gave a short explanation of V’zot Ha Brachah and then, by passing a Chumash from one to the next, invited each person to read in English the blessing that Moses bestowed on each tribe. After each blessing Steve gave a more detailed explanation of what the blessing meant, the context of the characteristics of the tribe and where they were destined to settle in the Promised Land.

He explained how, traditionally, a community would honour two deserving members by appointing them as Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereshit to read the Brachot before the Torah readings at the end and then the beginning of the Torah. Since everyone in LIM was equally deserving of honour he called everyone up to witness the leyning of the final 12 p’sukim of the Torah, with someone then reading the English translation.

Another Simchat Torah tradition is for members to dance 7 times around the synagogue carrying the Torah. These Hakafot would be hugely exciting and accompanied by great joy. The trouble LIM has is that the Torah weighs a ton and we need two just to do Hagba. So Hakafot were off the menu. Steve still wanted everyone to be able to participate, to get close to the Torah and better still to feel confident in handling it. He therefore invited everyone to take turns to be at the ‘rolling’ end and at the ‘steadying’ end. He started the process with Micky to show how it was done. Karen, on Skype, kept a careful watch in the background.

Then Isaac took over helped by Pat with Natan kibitzing from the side to ensure everything was as it should be.

Then it was Jane’s turn to do the aerobic half while Dorothy kept the other end steady.

Nearing the end of the task by which time, Olga and Peter had completed the middle laps, Ruth took over the important half while Natan stood back watching with aplomb.

At last Bereshit hove into view. Steve then leyned the story of the creation. He stopped after each day to allow everyone in turn to read the English translation of the story. We also had the wonderful experience of hearing Isaac read some of the Creation story in fluent Israeli Hebrew. This really was a joy to the ears and made the Hebrew so meaningful even if we did not immediately understand the translation.

With the leyning completed we returned the Torah to our Ark and Jane gently closed the ‘curtains.’

With the celebration of Simchat Torah completed we said goodbye to Karen before making Kiddush and enjoying a beautiful and very delicious festival supper together.

Everyone agreed that this was a very moving and worthy way to celebrate Simchat Torah. Only one or two of us have the skills to do a lot in Hebrew so we devised a way of keeping the festival that included everyone with readings and especially the chance to get close to and handle the Torah scroll. Steve ended the celebration by suggesting that next year we might consider everyone leyning just one verse that he would teach them so that we could all participate in everything. This would be a wonderful precedent to set our small kehilla.

Succot 2013

Fourteen members of LIM met at Steve and Micky’s home to celebrate Succot. We were delighted to welcome Yvonne back in our midst after a recent bout of ill health. Isaac also joined us again and we were very pleased to have Edna and Margaret back with us. Dorothy and Karen were away on holiday in Italy.

We began the evening with Micky lighting the Shabbat and Yom Tov candles. Steve then led the Kabbalat Shabbat and Festival/Shabbat Ma’ariv services. After a confident rendering of Yigdal, Steve brought forth the Arba Minim, the Lulav, Etrog, Willow and Myrtle branches. He explained their significance, the reference to them in the Torah and how they should be waved in 6 directions taking care not to disturb or damage the pitom on the Etrog.

We then went out to the Succah to take turns to stand under it, say the Brachot and wave the Lulav and Etrog. Jane looks the happiest as she has laid claim to the Arba Minim, but Natan, Ruth, Steve, Yvonne and Olga all know their turn will come.

Sukkot 2013

Before any waving Jane closely inspected the Etrog to ensure that the Pitom was of an acceptable standard.

Sukkot 2013

Ruth agreed that it was just perfect and before long she had the Arba Minim in her hands and shook them with commendable intent.

Sukkot 2013

Natan was somewhat circumspect and formal in his handling of the goods. he preferred the upright, parade-like stance.

Sukkot 2013

What a joy it was to see Yvonne in the Succah. She had almost no opportunity in her earlier life to observe Succot and now here she was among our LIM community at the heart of the celebrations.

Sukkot 2013

Isaac and Edna were also very happy to be able to be in our small kehilla on this great festival.

Sukkot 2013

Steve and Maxine were clearly enjoying the occasion and we have Maxine to thank for all these excellent photos and Steve to thank for putting this story on our website.

Sukkot 2013

Sukkot 2013

Pat had no problems waving in all directions, but Peter seemed to get a bit tangled up with the overhead fruit decorating the Succah.

Sukkot 2013

Sukkot 2013

Micky and Olga, being old hands at this celebration, waved with all the nonchalance of experts showing novices the ropes.

Sukkot 2013

Sukkot 2013

Once back indoors, Steve led us all in Kiddush after which we enjoyed a superb supper to which everyone had brought a dish of either main course or sweet course.

Sukkot 2013

Natan, Steve and Isaac made short work of the cheese selection and the looks on their faces suggested they expected another serving of wine at any moment.

Sukkot 2013

What a joy it has been for LIM to meet once again on a joyous festival. We celebrated Succot in true traditional style and now look forward to next week when we can rejoice again as we meet to celebrate Simchat Torah.

Rosh Hashana 2013 - 5774

For the second year running, LIM held Erev and first-day Rosh Hashana services. All members were able to attend except Yvonne, Edna and Margaret who were away.

Rosh Hashana 5774

We met at Steve and Micky’s since our usual venue at St Georges had a competing Zumba class in the other hall. We were also pleased to welcome Isaac, an ophthalmic doctor, recently moved to Lincoln, who brought a delightful flavour of authentic Israeli accents and knowledge.

On Erev RH, on 4 September, Ruth and Natan did not attend because Natan had been feeling slightly under the weather so did not want to over-exert himself. This meant we did not quite have a minyan. Instead of reciting Kaddish, we decided to pause and remember all those we knew who were in need of healing. We naturally put Natan at the top of the list and our prayers were answered because the next day Natan was feeling much better so we were a full compliment for all the Rosh Hashana services.

Wearing a traditional Kittel, Steve led the services starting with Pekuday D’Zimra. He had explained how the nusach would be different from the nusach used on regular Shabbat services. All the members soon got into the mode and mood of this music and, with the help of the Eit Ratson Machsor, quickly joined in the Hebrew passages as much as those in English. After Shacharit and the long Amidah, Steve led the Torah service using the beautiful, but extremely heavy, Torah scroll that had been a gift from the York community.

Just about everyone had a role to play in this service. Natan, Olga and Jane had alyot, Micky followed the leyning in the Torah, Steve T acted as Gabbai calling folks to the Torah, Ruth opened and closed the ark, Isaac very bravely did Hagba, Maxine read the Haftara, Karen read the prayers for the Royal Family, community and Israel.

Following the Haftara, Dorothy blew the Shofar during the Shofar service with great sensitivity, dedication and integrity. She enabled this high point in the service to have real depth of meaning and intent.

It has not been LIM’s custom to do the Musaf service so, after Aleynu, Kaddish Yatom and Psalm 27, we finished with a stirring rendition of Adon Olam. This put us all in the mood for the delicious lunch that followed with everyone helping with the catering to weigh the table down with a fabulous choice of savoury and sweet foods.

Rosh Hashana 5774

After lunch, Steve led a 45 minute shiur on the topic of the Shofar. We explored all aspects of the instrument, where it came from, how it was made, when it was blown, how it was blown, why it was blown and the traditional customs and mitzvot that surrounded it. After the shiur, we had a very pleasant stroll in the wonderfully warm late summer sunshine to the nearby Hartholme Lakes

Rosh Hashana 5774

where we engaged in the ceremony of Tashlich.

Rosh Hashana 5774

Rosh Hashana 5774

The day finished back at Steve and Micky’s in their garden under the gazebo with a delightful hour or so of socialising with drinks and light refreshments. All in all this was a hugely successful festival celebration made possible by the simple fact that all LIM members had a role to play, all shared in the catering, all had a genuine desire to enter into the mood and intent of Rosh Hashana and everyone took great pleasure in being together as a community.

Erev Shabbat Kol Zimra - 2 August 2013

This event turned out to be yet another high spot in our LIM calendar. We were all invited to celebrate Shabbat at the house of Maxine and Steve T. A big thank you to both of them for their great hospitality! The evening was well attended and again we were able to welcome our new friend Isaac who is working in Lincoln at present.

Instead of the normal Shabbat service Steve G suggested we celebrate the event by having an evening of Jewish music, hence Kol Zimra (meaningful prayer through music). This was very successful. Even those of us who cannot hold a tune in a bucket took part. Steve came well prepared as always and with the aid of CDs and music sheets, taught us several traditional tunes and songs which were new to us. We even managed to la-la some merry Hassidic wedding tunes.

Then Maxine accompanied herself on her keyboard and treated us to some of the music, songs and prayers from her American Jewish roots.

The evening finished with a fine Shabbat supper which in itself has become a tradition of all our meetings and offered a great opportunity for everyone to chat and socialise.

All in all this was another a very successful and entertaining meeting. Indeed, it was the sort of event that is the hallmark of LIM and which always leaves everyone with the ‘feel good factor’.

Submitted by Natan

Kabbalat Shabbat - 5 July 2013

LIM members met once again for Kabbalat Shabbat on 7 July. Missing 5 members - Steve, Maxine, Pat, Peter and Yvonne - we decided to hold the service at Micky and Steve’s home rather than in the hall of St George’s Church. To our surprise and delight, an email came in from the LIM website earlier in the day from Isaak Leibovich asking to attend. Isaak, an Israeli, is a locum doctor of ophthalmology working at Lincoln General Hospital and had been in Lincoln only one week.

We held a really musical Kabbalat Shabbat, led by Steve, with everyone joining in the singing with great confidence. Afterwards, Edna lit the Shabbat candles and Natan led the Kiddush.

With the weather being so warm and pleasant, we held the Shabbat supper outside on the patio. The food, as ever, was really varied, delicious and plentiful. We then planned the meal for our next meeting at Steve and Maxine’s on 2 August when we will be having a Kol Zimra evening of singing.

Kabbalat Shabbat

In the general chatting after the meal, Isaak revealed that he had been in the Israeli army in the mid-1970s and that he had been involved in the Entebbe rescue mission in 1976. He had been practising his medical profession in various places in Europe. He was not sure how long he would be staying in Lincoln. We were all delighted to meet him and hoped that he would be with us again on 2 August. We were also very pleased that the work done to create and maintain the website had borne fruit. Long may this continue!

LIM Shabbat - 29 June

LIM members met for Shabbat Shacharit and Torah services at St Georges Church hall on Saturday, 29 June. With several members away, this was one of those rare occasions when we did not have a minyan, thus preventing the saying of Kaddish, Barchu and reading from the Torah.

Undaunted by this fact, the nine members who did attend enjoyed a very full and musical Pesukay D’Zimra and Shacharit led by Steve. With the help of the fully transliterated Eit Ratson Siddur, everyone was empowered to join in all of the singing and what a lovely sound we all made. It was really heart-warming to know that several of us, for whom Hebrew is still a challenge, could nevertheless join in fully with all of the davening.

We then held the Torah service to take the Torah symbolically out of the Ark, but instead of leyning from it, Steve led everyone in a short study session on the week’s Parshah, Pinchas. The focus here was on the request of the five daughters of Tselophochad for an inheritance, the description of Moses seeing the Promised Land, but being told he would not enter it and finally the decision that Joshua would succeed Moses as the leader of the nation.

After the service we all enjoyed a really delicious lunch that everyone had contributed to. We then discussed ways we could improve the LIM website. This was a full and lively discussion with everyone able to express their views freely. Several excellent ideas came out of the discussion which will be acted on over the coming weeks.

All in all this was another outstanding communal meeting, with everyone’s opinion being heard, respected and valued, everyone able to contribute to the services, the study session and the meal and everyone leaving a little further along the Jewish journey they were travelling.

10 May Oneg Shabbat

On Friday 10th May we shared an Oneg Shabbat together. Instead of having a Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a meal we did it differently this time. We sat down to eat straight away because Shabbat was not yet in now the nights are getting lighter. Everyone brought food which is always lovely and different each time we meet. We always manage to cover the dietary requirements of everyone present so no-one feels excluded.

After the clearing up was completed we sat round the table for the Oneg. We all took it in turns to tell a story, joke or do a reading all connected in some way to Judaism or having a message. As Shabbat was now in we lit the candles, said a blessing for the counting of the Omer then said a few words about Bernie Adler who had recently passed away. Most of us round the table knew Bernie and remembered him in lots of ways but for me it was his amazing Israeli dancing that was foremost in my mind. We prayed that his wife Di, his mother and uncle would find the strength and comfort they sought in these difficult times.

Then, as always, we finished on a food theme planning the lunch for our next meeting on 29th June and confirmed that like last year we would be having erev Rosh Hoshanah and Rosh Hoshanah together in Lincoln in September. -Micky Griffiths

LIM Shabbat - 3 November 2012

The Minyan met once again at St Georges Church Hall to celebrate Shabbat with a Shacharit and Torah service. Steve led the services with six other members taking part in one way or another. This also marked a ‘first time’ for Steve T who did an excellent job as the Gabbai calling people up to read the Brachot for the Torah readings. With more than enough of us to make a Minyan we were happily in a position to support Ruth who had a Yahrzeit.

The kehilla then enjoyed yet another tremendous buffet lunch comprising delicious dishes brought by members. Our focus on good food and good social company is not the main aim of our meetings, but is very much part of the balance we manage to achieve between having the right amount of spiritual content and the right amount of communal fellowship.

We were also blessed this week with having special guest Nahum Gordon. Nahum is a member of Steve and Micky’s shul in London. He is an outstanding teacher and educator and deeply read in many areas of Jewish studies, not least Tanach and Jewish history. Nahum led us in an engrossing shiur on the Binding of Isaac story that had featured in this week’s Torah portion. He really helped us to look carefully at what was written and what interpretations could be made. We looked well beyond the basic facts of the story to try to understand some possible reactions of Isaac and Sarah that resulted from Abraham’s decision to obey God’s command to sacrifice Isaac.

Happily, Nahum will be with again when we meet on 14 December for our Hanukah celebration.

Succot with LIM - 5 October

Some 14 members and guests of the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan met on 5 October to celebrate both Kabbalat Shabbat and the festival of Succot. The meeting was held in Steve and Micky’s home since they have the means to erect a Succah. They had also bought the Arba Minim (Lulav and Etrog) when they were in London recently for Yom Kippur. As usual LIM members brought a delicious array of different foods for supper.

Shabbat Candles

LIM were very pleased to welcome two non-Jewish guests, Eric and Christine Hewes. Christine’s maternal grandmother was Jewish, which halachically makes her Jewish, too, but she was never aware of the fact until adulthood and had been brought up Anglican. Also with us on the evening were Micky’s mother, Lorna, and Micky and Steve’s delightful grand daughter, Hannah. Finally, LIM were delighted to welcome again Yvonne, who had recently recovered from poor health.

Steve began the evening with a shortened version of Kabbalat Shabbat, which included the singing of Hallel. Armed with our beautiful, transliterated siddurim, everyone could join in. Even our non-Jewish guests made a brave effort at pronouncing the very unfamiliar Hebrew words. The service included saying Kaddish for Micky’s brother, Terry, and for all those lost in the Holocaust for whom there is no-one to say Kaddish.

After the Service, Steve gave a very clear, amusing and informative explanation about the festival of Succot, the Lulav and Etrog and the building of the Succah. We then all went outside to enter the Succah and take turns to shake the Arba Minim in the prescribed six directions. Despite forecasts of doom and gloom we were lucky to have no rain at all while we were outside.

Maxine and Steve





Then came a most delicious and convivial supper during which more explanations about Judaism and Succot were given. LIM members really did surpass themselves in their ability to put together a well-balanced meal. That said, we have been very careful not to make the meals ever more elaborate and expensive. Everything has remained simple, affordable, wholesome and very tasty.

The Dinner Table

Finally, LIM had once again decided for their Kol Nidre Appeal to donate tinned and packaged foods, toiletries and the like for the Lincoln Food Larder, a charity that helps the homeless, or those in desperate need of short-term help. Members brought their donations to the Succot meeting. A huge amount of foods and other goods were donated.

Rosh Hashana 2012 (5773 in the Jewish Calendar)

by Pat Smithers

Rosh Hashanah is one of the most Holy of Days of the Jewish Calendar and as such is celebrated in rather a special way. For this reason the Lincoln Independent Minyan (LIM) met on Sunday and Monday, 16 and 17 September in Micky and Steve Griffiths' home. To hold the festival services at all was a very brave decision for this community that has only 11 Jewish members.

Although we are not of Jewish origin, my husband, Peter, and I take a deep interest in Jewish traditions and were invited to join LIM and take part in these celebrations.

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Sunday, we all met and joined in the Erev Rosh Hashanah service from the Machsor (the High Holydays prayer book). LIM had bought copies of the Yet Ratson Machsor by Joe Rosenstein. This book contained the full traditional Hebrew texts, but every Hebrew word was transliterated enabling Peter and me to join in when Hebrew was being spoken or sung. We then were treated to a delightful meal of slices of apple drenched in honey, vegetable soup and to round it off, honey cake. This meal was symbolic of the desire that everyone present should have a sweet and peaceful New Year.

On the Monday, there were more readings from the Machsor and from the beautiful Torah scroll that had been so generously donated to LIM by the York community. We also experienced sounds which came from a hidden Shofar expertly played by a member, Dorothy. A Shofar is used traditionally during these Days of Awe, as the High Holydays are also known. Having tried myself to produce sounds and been lamentably unsuccessful I was full of admiration. The idea is that the Shofar, which is a ram's horn, is played to produce a sound which cuts right into the soul of the listeners and has been known to reduce some to tears, such is the effect.

Legend tells us that on Rosh Hashanah the blast of the Shofar reaches God's ears and reminds Him to open the Book of Life in which everyone's name is written. The book is deemed to be divided into three sections: the Book of Life for the righteous, the wicked and those in between. The righteous are immediately written down for a good life for the next year. The wicked are immediately condemned to death. The judgment for those in between, hopefully most of us, will be made on Yom Kippur 8 days later. Yom Kippur is a day of fasting when one asks for forgiveness for wrongs committed during the previous year. Thus the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer time to repent and change. This belief led to the custom of people wishing each other not only “Shana Tova Umetuka”, a Happy and Sweet New Year on Rosh Hashanah, but also “Gmar Chatima Tova”, May you be inscribed for a good year.

At the end of the meal, with Steve's guidance, we analysed together Psalm 27 in some detail. This Psalm is said traditionally twice a day during the whole of the Jewish month preceding Rosh Hashanah and continues being said until the festival of Simchat Torah some two weeks after the New Year.

Finally, we walked to one of the lakes at Hartsholme Park to engage in the ceremony of Tashlich. This custom grew up centuries ago. It was introduced to allow us literally to throw breadcrumbs into water and therefore symbolically to cast away our sin in preparation for a 'clean slate' for the Yom Kippur. It was a doubly meaningful experience since no-one, other than Steve, had ever done Tashlich before.


It would have been a step too far to try to hold Yom Kippur services as well this year, but now that LIM knows how successful Rosh Hashanah can be, maybe next year…

Kol Zimra - Voice of Song - Friday, 17 August

LIM members met in a private home on this Friday evening not to celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat in the normal way, but to engage in singing various pieces of ‘Nusach’ (prayer chants) and ‘Niggun’ (melodies). Because Shabbat came in late, we were able to use a small keyboard, inexpertly played, to pick out the tunes to help everyone sing vaguely in the right key and occasionally even the same tune at the same time.

None of the members has any solid background in music per se, nor had most a great deal of knowledge of Jewish religious chanting and song. However, we all had the music written out and we did not need to get tongues round complex Hebrew because most of the songs were without words so we could ‘La-la-la’ or even Lei-lei-lei’ to our hearts content. Sitting in a circle and having the courage to let our natural inhibitions be set aside, we were soon all singing loudly and confidently songs and tunes that we had not heard before. It was great fun, making mistakes, laughing in the kindest possible way over each other’s initial attempts, but then realising that we had ‘got it’ as Professor Higgins would say, and suddenly the melody flowed and we all felt a real uplift that we were able to craft such traditional music.

The icing on the cake was a new melody that we learned for a shortened (7-word) version of the Birkat Hamazon (Grace after Meals). Brich Rachmana Malka d’Alma Marey d’Hai Pita. The music is based on the ‘Adonai Malach’ nusach used on Friday evenings and Shabbat mornings. This now means we can all join in heartily after each meal we have together. And this we did following a delicious supper that we all enjoyed once Shabbat had come in and we had lit the candles.

School Visits to Talk About Judaism

Steve Griffiths, of the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan (LIM) has visited several schools in the area over the past weeks to talk about Judaism to Years 2 and 3 (7 to 8 year olds). The schools have included Washingborough Junior Academy, Bardney Junior School, Ellison Boulters C of E Primary School and the Ermine Infants School.

Talking to the children
Steve Talks to the Children About Judaism

Talking to such young children requires the message to be put across in simple English and the children invariably want to have ‘hands on’ involvement. So, Steve always starts by passing out about 15 kippot for the children to wear. This always creates great excitement. He then compares Judaism to Christianity in the places of worship, language used, and the day of the Sabbath.

Children like to see Jewish artefacts, so Steve puts on his tallit and shows the children examples of Hebrew and reads a short sentence so that they can hear what it sounds like. He also blows the shofar, which causes a great deal of amusement among the children, not least because the sound is so loud and not something they are expecting.

Steve Blows the Shofar

Further involvement by the children includes teaching them to sing in Hebrew Heveynu Shalom Alechem. The sessions always end with questions that the children have prepared in advance. This again encourages their participation and also allows the teachers to decide when to stop to ensure the lesson finishes on time.

While these school visits may be a part of the official school curriculum on interfaith studies, from our point of view they are an essential element of the interfaith work that some LIM members do in the area both directly with schools and through the auspices of the Lincoln branch of the Council of Christians and Jews.

Clore Shalom Jewish School Visit - 20 June 2012

Steve Griffiths, from the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan, , acted as tour guide for a day when the Clore Shalom Jewish School in North London visited Lincoln. This was another event in Steve’s regular interfaith and educational work.

Clore Shalom Visits Lincoln
Clore Shalom Visits Lincoln

The tour started outside Jews Court, the building that today houses the synagogue used by the Lincolnshire Jewish Community, but was known to be an active synagogue 900 years ago in medieval times. The group spent the morning in the synagogue, first holding a Shacharit service in these very historic surroundings and then listening to Steve who recounted the story of the medieval Jewish community in Lincoln and the history of the building itself.

In Front of Jews Court
In Front of Jews Court

The tour moved after lunch to Lincoln Cathedral where Steve took the group around the Jewish Heritage Trail in and around the cathedral. Here he explained the many Jewish connections to be found in the Cathedral and told the story of the blood libel of 1255 involving the child Hugh.

At Lincoln Cathedral
Discussing Jewish Connections with the Lincoln Cathedral

Children from Clore Shalom school visit Lincoln every year. We were blessed this year with fine weather and a group of children who were very well behaved, knowledgeable, interested and were a credit to their school.

Inside Jews Court
Inside Jews Court

Learning Can Be Fun
Learning Can Be Fun

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot 5772/2012

Once again LIM members had the chance to say Shehechiyanu as they gathered for the first time ever to celebrate Tikkun Leyl Shavuot in May. The weather was kind and we were able to sit outside on the patio of a member’s home to study and to enjoy cheesecake.

Tikkun Leyl: An Opportunity to Study and Discuss

Eleven of our 14 members attended. The evening began with Steve explaining what Tikkun Leyl Shavuot was, why it was celebrated and traditionally how it was celebrated. He then chose as a study topic to explore how our forebears had arrived at Mount Sinai to be given the Torah. But he did this as an interactive history lesson, taking us all from the very beginnings in Gan Eden and, using carefully chosen questions and helpful hints, reminded us of all the major stories and events in the early books of the Torah.

Discussions of Biblical Events

We discussed the events in Gan Eden, Adam and Eve’s descendants, the story of Cain and Abel, Noah and the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the events surrounding Joseph’s life, his ability to interpret dreams, how he came to be in Egypt and how he came to be such a powerful ruler there. Then how he met and was reconciled with his family. The simple phrase, ‘There rose in Egypt a king who knew not Joseph’ heralded the story of our people’s suffering, the birth and rise of Moses, the plagues and eventual escape from Egypt bringing us topically to Mount Sinai and the end of our study session. We then enjoyed a gorgeous cheesecake acquired from the local Cheese Society shop. One huge cake fed all of us with plenty to spare for second helpings.

This was a splendid evening of learning, study, history, reflections of our past and a reminder of why we are who we are as a people. It was also a wonderfully friendly and social evening with a great deal of laughter and joy at being in each other’s company. Indeed, it reflected exactly why we came together to form our Minyan. Spirituality and camaraderie co-mingled in abundance and we all left reluctant that it had to come to an end.

Shabbat Morning 16 June

Members of the kehilla met on a rather showery morning to celebrate Shabbat. The service included a number of first time events. Micky for the first time led us in Pesukay D’Zimra. After Steve led the Shacharit service, Sam then took over and for the first time led the Torah service. Steve leyned from the Torah, while Maxine for the first time read the Haftorah.

We were delighted to welcome once again Holocaust survivor Yvonne for whom these meetings are an emotional reconnection with a faith for which she had suffered so much during WW2. While she may not know a great deal about Judaism, she immerses herself in the ruach that is created during the service and feels very much at home in our inclusive community. Sam also brought along Helena, his friend, for whom this was also a first time visiting us.

Photos by Maxine

After Kiddush, we sadly had to say a farewell to Sam, who was about to leave the area, moving to York, the next stage in his early career in the medical profession.

We presented Sam with a lovely T-shirt emblazoned with the LIM logo.

We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch made from contributions from every member. The meeting concluded with a spirited singing of a short Birkat Hamazon of only 6 words sung to a melody written by a friend of Steve.

Our next meeting will be in July when we meet for a Kabbalat Shabbat service.

Seder 2013

Once again LIM members met to celebrate Pesach, this time at St Peter at Gowts hall because in St Georges, our usual venue, we would have been competing with a Zumba class!!

In addition to our usual members we were delighted to welcome once again Ellis who had very generously donated our Pesach Kiddush cup. We also had pleasure in welcoming Eric and Christine Hewes, plus Revd Bruce Thompson as special guests for the evening. Sadly, Elijah did not turn up.

Everyone contributed to the delicious Seder meal in a variety of ways. Steve led the service, providing transliterated Hebrew for all the main elements for those for whom Hebrew was a bit of a challenge. Thus, everyone joined in the singing with great enthusiasm and helped with the reading of the Seder story.

This was another wonderful evening of friendship, laughter, communal generosity and co-operation, everyone having something to contribute, everyone taking away a happy memory of a festival celebrated in traditional style, but in a manner that enabled everyone to participate.

Purim 2013

Purim 2013
Steve, Micky, Maxine, Ruth, Natan, Peter, Jane, Yvonne and Dorothy

"In spite of the seriousness of the event, I felt we were back in kindergarten or in the middle of a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. I had not laughed so much for a very long time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very interested in the story of Esther. What a woman!"   -Yvonne

Fish and Chips Supper

"A 'first' again for LIM was this celebration of Purim which as usual went like 'clock-work' owing to the tireless efforts of its organisers. There was a perfect blend of seriousness and merriment to this occasion which commenced with a delicious meal of fish and chips from the local 'chippie' and after readings by the members of the events of Purim, punctuated by reflections and comments by Steve, ended with some very tasty home-made hamantaschen provided by the members."   -Pat and Peter

Purim 2013
Ruth and Micky

Purim 2013
Jane, Maxine and Ruth

"At LIM we recently had our first Purim celebration. We met in a member’s house, started the evening with a lovely fish and chip supper, then made Havdala before starting the Purim story. We all wore ‘silly hats’ to enter into the spirit of the occasion. The hats gave rise to a lot of laughter. Each one of us read a chapter from the Megilla Esther amid much cheering and booing. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening filled with laughter and wonderful companionship."   -Jane

Purim 2013
Yvonne and Maxine

Purim 2013

"We all said a hearty Shehechianu as LIM celebrated Purim for the very first time. Everyone entered into the spirit of the craziness of Purim by wearing daft hats, such as a Captain Hornblower hat, a knotted hanky, a Swiss maiden’s pigtail hat, a Steampunk top hat and goggles and an RAF officer’s cap. We clapped, booed, cheered and behaved very childishly as each one took a turn to read a chapter from Esther. It was all great fun and rounded off by eating excellent Hamantaschen. It is occasions like this that make us all realise what a jewel we have in our LIM kehilla."   -Steve G

Purim 2013
Natan and Jane

"Each year when rereading the 'Purim story' different aspects strike one; this year it was the similarity between this book and the Greek play Lysistrata. From the Book of Esther - the strength of character of a number of women had a great influence, not only for the Jews but also on the closed community within a harem. Sometimes saying ‘no’ can sometimes change the course of history!"   -Dorothy

Purim 2013

Purim 2013
Natan and Maxine

"LIM have done it yet again! Another LIM first! It was simply a fantastic, enjoyable funny evening. The fish and chips were a brilliant idea and from beginning to end the evening was a resounding success. Here’s wishing for many more years of LIM."   -Ruth and Natan

Purim 2013
Natan and Ruth

Purim 2013

"I just loved this first celebration of Purim by LIM. It was great fun making fools of ourselves by wearing silly hats and cheering and booing throughout the reading of the Megilla. We all enjoyed a fish and chips supper and then Hamantaschan after the reading. Thank you everyone for joining in the spirit of Purim and the spirit of being a wonderful community of friends."   -Micky

Steve and Maxine Lead the Havdalah Service

Purim 2013
Ruth and Steve

"Not only was this LIM's first Purim celebration but possibly the first time anywhere that a Purim reading had to be cut short due to uncontrolled laughter!"   -Steve T

Purim 2013
Steve, Micky, Maxine, Ruth, Natan, Pat, Jane, Yvonne and Dorothy

Holocaust Memorial Day 2013 in Lincoln

by Steve Griffiths

Once again members of Lincoln Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) joined with members of the Lincoln Independent Jewish Minyan (LIM) to plan this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) Commemoration. The event was held on Friday, 25 January, in the Swallowbeck Methodist Church by kind permission of Revd Claire Simpson. We chose this year to repeat the format used in 2012 merging more formal Christian and Jewish liturgy into a commemoration service. I worked closely with Revd Bruce Thompson, the Chairman of the Lincoln and Grimsby Methodist District, and Revd Claire.

Memorial Candles
The Shabbat Candles Amongst the Memorial Candles

The programme we created began with all present (some 50 altogether) lighting memorial candles. Maxine Tomashefsky, CCJ Branch Chairman, then lit the Shabbat Candles since this was a Friday evening. Revd Bruce and Revd Claire then led with a hymn, readings, reflections and prayers of commemoration from Christian sources. I then led a similar short programme from Jewish sources that included affirmations why we needed to remember the Holocaust.

Simon Winston
Simon Winston Describes the Steps, If Unchecked, that Lead to Genocide

This part of the evening did not focus only on the Holocaust; we remembered those lost in subsequent genocides as well. The long list of dates, locations and unimaginably high deaths left a deep impression on those present such that the subsequent silent reflection was intensely deep before I chanted the ‘Eyl Maleh Rachamim’ Jewish memorial prayer and led those Jews present in the Mourners Kaddish.

Steve Griffiths
Steve Griffiths Leads the Eyl Maleh Rachamim and the Mourner's Kaddish

Following a light buffet supper provided jointly by CCJ and LIM members, those attending then heard a very moving description by Simon Winston of his childhood spent in Nazi-occupied East Poland (now Ukraine). Between the ages of 3 and 7 he and his family were incarcerated in a ghetto, escaped, lived in hiding for more than 2 years on the run, constantly hungry and in perpetual fear of capture. He spoke with quiet dignity and the very detailed descriptive narrative of one whose testimony is from first-hand experience.

Simon Speaks About His Family
Simon Speaks About His Family

On HMD itself, I visited the Anglican Church in the nearby village of Saxilby by invitation of Revd Steph Prosser to speak to over 70 churchgoers about HMD. I described how the seeds of Holocaust and genocide were allowed to grow through the inaction of bystanders at a time when individuals could have made a difference. Echoing the HMD theme of ‘Build a Bridge’ I explained that there was often little one could do initially to stop those who were determined to indulge in racial hatred, anti-Semitism, bigotry and abuse, but if we did build bridges between our cultural communities then perhaps enough people who witnessed such actions would act to stop it spreading.

The Next Generation
Simon's Moving Story Makes a Lasting Impression on the Next Generation

A final thought from Lincoln is the deep, respectful and very productive ties CCJ Lincoln has with members of the Methodist Church. Despite the policies of the 2010 Methodist Council, here in Lincoln we have worked without pause to ensure no bridges were broken between our faith organisations. This year’s HMD signals clearly how well we have succeeded in this endeavour.

Steve, Maxine and Simon
Steve Griffiths, Maxine Tomashefsky and Simon Winston

A Light Buffet
A Light Buffet Supper

No Matter What the Topic, We Always Eat

Photos in this story by Maxine Tomashefsky, Steve Tomashefsky and Peter Smithers

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