PURIM MARCH 2023
We had a great Purim. In the evening we heard the Megillah, wore fancy dress, made a lot of noise and consumed some whisky. For the morning service we hear the Megillah read and then had a delightful breakfast together.
Here are some of the photos from the evening service.
FRIDAY NIGHT SERVICE AND DINNER
24 FEBRUARY 2023
Continuing our popular Friday Night Dinners, we had a very successful evening Friday night service followed by a three-course meal. The evening was well attended with over 40 people enjoying themselves. The whole evening was organised by Ruislip Synagogue Council, and partly funded by the United Synagogue’s Project Welcome fund.
Rabbi Stanley Coten gave a brief explanation on the need for everyone to meet at the Synagogue to pray and ultimately be happy together and that is exactly what was derived from this exemplary evening. It made attending Shul on a cold winter’s night into a warm and joyous few hours amongst friends and relatives welcoming in the Sabbath as one extended family.
CHANUKAH PARTY DECEMBER 2022
Another successful Chanukah party with guest singers the Shul Hoppers who entetained us throughout the afternoon. There was singing and even some dancing. We had viennas, latkes and of course healthy donuts.
A few pictures of the event.
VISIT BY OUR LOCAL MP FOR UXBRIDGE AND SOUTH RUISLIP, MR BORIS JOHNSON – NOV 2022
Boris Johnson visited the Shul in November and was surprised to hear that he was the first local MP to visit the Shul.
He chatted with our members and then spoke for thirty minutes and took general questions on a range of subjects from Israel, the war in Ukraine and life after being the Prime Minister. He also signed books, even ones that were not written by him and one was titled “Boris and his Downfall”, he thought it was rather fun to sign it!
Ruislip Chanukah Social Event 2021
On Sunday 28 November 38 Ruislip shul members and friends arrived at the shul in anticipation of an afternoon of having tea, a quiz and Chanukah lighting. The theme of the afternoon was 75 years, as Ruislip Synagogue is celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Our quiz master was Huw Davis, who was helped by Michelle and her friend Suzannah.
The tea was organised by Andrea and the Ladies Guild Team.
We had been forewarned to dress warmly as the windows would be kept open to aid ventilation, which made for a fairly chilly atmosphere as demonstrated by several people keeping their coats, and even gloves, on. However, this was offset to some extent by the warm atmosphere generated by the enjoyment of those present.
Everyone was very happy to be there and once people were settled in their seats the format of the afternoon was explained. We started by having a delicious tea, including the statutory doughnut, while also trying to do the Marathon round of the quiz which was to put names to logos.
After the tea we had the first two rounds of the quiz – to do with British politicians and TV shows – that is two separate rounds of course, not a combination, but that could be a winning idea.
We had a break for the lighting of the Chanukah candles by Stanley, and we then continued with the quiz.
We had a round where we had to identify UK sports personalities, who turned out to be mainly men.
Another round was a bit different and tied in with the 75 years theme. We had to try and identify people who are turning 75 this year. We were given some clues and if we felt we could identify the person we indicated that and if correct got 3 marks, if wrong we couldn’t continue with that particular answer. Otherwise more clues were given and if correct we got 2 marks, and then even more clues and if correct we got just one mark. That was a bit different and involved Michelle running around the hall marking the papers at the different stages.
We had a round where we had to identify musicals and then another involving places and buildings in London going back some years.
One round which got us sort of singing along involved identifying UK number 1s which took us back a bit, and then the last round identifying the artist of different paintings and sculptures. One of the clues was to identify the creator of ‘My Bed’ – possibly several people could have claimed that but it was actually created by Tracey Emin.
Some of the rounds were also accompanied by a song from a musical which was supposed to be identified for extra marks.
The quiz was very enjoyable and also quite challenging at times but everyone worked very enthusiastically. The rounds were very different so there was a good variety of topics.
There was some adjustment of the marks at the end to take into account the different number of people at each table, and in the end a table of just four people were announced as the winners and presented with their prizes.
It was a very good afternoon’s entertainment in very enjoyable company.
Grateful thanks are due to Huw, Michelle and Suzannah for setting up the quiz, which is a very time consuming exercise, and for the smooth running of the afternoon. Also to Andrea and the wonderful Ladies Guild team for all the work that is involved in the planning and organisation of the tea, to Stanley for the Chanukah lighting, and everyone who came along and together making it another Ruislip success.
LADIES GUILD LUNCH ON SUNDAY 17TH OCTOBER 2021
The Seventeenth of October was a very special day as it was the first organised event the Ladies Guild had organised after Lockdown. So 32 people duly arrived at the Shul in anticipation of enjoying a fish lunch and being entertained by a guitar player.
We certainly weren’t disappointed. The tables were set well apart so we had plenty of room and after a bit of chatting time we were asked to sit down and the plates of food arrived courtesy of the Ladies Guild. There was a choice of haddock or salmon, with a warm baked potato, coleslaw, cucumber and tomatoes and everyone happily tucked in to their food. That was followed by apple crumble and a slice of chocolate viennetta- type ice cream and tea and coffee with mints.
There was an excited buzz around the room as people chatted with each other and with people from other tables who hadn’t seen each other for a while.
Once lunch was cleared away we were entertained by a young man called Adam who sang a selection of songs while playing on his guitar. We spent an enjoyable hour or so listening to him.
After that the raffle was drawn which, as always, caused some excitement, especially among people who actually won something!
We then had another cup of tea or coffee and a cake to finish the afternoon off. Menahem thanked the Ladies guild team for providing the really delicious lunch and entertainment and that brought the afternoon to a close.
We certainly had a lovely time and I am sure everyone else did too and are very appreciative of the planning and work that went into making everything run seamlessly.
RUISLIP & DISTRICT UNITED SYNAGOGUE MAY 2021 REPORT
The Synagogue’s 75th Year
Ruislip Synagogue has just entered its 75th year and looking forward to celebrating this special anniversary. In pre 1939 Ruislip had a couple of Jewish families. When the London Blitz began, many Jewish families evacuated to Ruislip. These families eventually met socially and then managed to organise Sabbath Services and Hebrew Classes in each other’s homes and, when possible , to hire a hall for the Yom Tovim. From 1945 the group formed a Committee and began organising fund raising events to build a Synagogue in Ruislip and by 1950.
Ruislip & District Affiliated Synagogue was consecrated. In 2017 the Synagogue became full members of United Synagogue.
Events in May
During the pandemic Covid, members have been very grateful for the Zoom Kabbalat and Havdalah Services from Ruislip Synagogue. The really good news for May was that Ruislip Synagogue officially physically reopened for Services, restarting with Shavuot. We are now back holding Friday night and Saturday morning Services.
Ruislip Social Club
Even though the Synagogue has reopened, the Ruislip Social Club is still using Zoom as its meeting place for the time being. The usual biweekly Monday Club is being hosted by Michelle and Huw Davis, beamed live from their home for which members are very grateful. The Club holds its usual tea and chat plus a fun quiz, which all enjoy. The discussions have now left behind the usual questions over whether or not someone has had the first or second vaccinations and which type they had and any side effects. Now the chat is about looking forward to being able to physically meet. Of course, everyone is hoping that it won’t be too long before as near to normal social life can begin and the Monday Club can return to meeting in the Synagogue hall for lunch, playing cards and board games for a couple of hours.
Tuesday 25 May – The British Years Between 1922/24 – Talk by Brian Pollock
Ruislip Synagogue hosted a very fascinating Zoom talk given by Brian Pollock. He is an historian and for many years was a well-respected sixth form history teacher. Brian spoke on the British years between 1922 to 24 with the focus on the three elections and four Prime Ministers, which took place during that period. The talk looked at the causal effect those turbulent political years were to have on what was to follow, in particular the build up to another world war. His talk included many film and past newspaper cuttings, including the Jewish Chronicle and details of Jewish members of Parliament during this period.
We look forward to presenting further meetings either by Zoom, or maybe events in the Synagogue Hall, which are organised by the Synagogue Council or the Ruislip Synagogue Ladies’ Guild.
RUISLIP UNITED SYNAGOGUE EVENTS MARCH 2021
Since the January Report, Ruislip US Synagogue Community has, against all odds, kept the “show” on the road.
There are regular Kabbalat and Havdalah Services including being entertained with music and song after the Havdalah Service by Marvyn Ellison, which is much appreciated.
A special Havdalah evening acknowledging United Synagogue Women’s Shabbat, was celebrated by all Ruislip members with great verve and much chatting.
A zoom Purim Fancy Dress and Megillah reading by Rabbi Stanley Coten was a great success, which aptly introduced us all to the youngest member of the Coten family – their 4 month old grandson, who joined in the celebration extremely well in full fancy dress.
The Ruislip Social Club have held their regular Monday afternoon tea and chats, which is enhanced by the now very popular short fun quiz, which has become an integral part of the zoom meetings. Many thanks to Michelle, Synagogue Administrator, and her husband Huw for compiling and running the show.
There have been some very interesting in-depth illustrated lectures followed by questions and answers. These included a talk by Dr Eliya Stromberg from Jerusalem, who spoke very eloquently regarding children with special needs.
An illustrated presentation was given by Huw Davis on the Life and Works of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, his studies and his near miss as Chief Rabbi for the United Synagogue.
The Chairman of Ruislip Synagogue, Menachem Briskman spoke and illustrated an erudite talk on How Biblical Accounts are Mirrored with Similar Stories from Ancient Sources regarding the Creation, the Flood and the Tower of Babel.
Rabbi Stanley Coten and Rebbetzin Rosalind Coten discussed Getting Ready for Pesach, especially bearing in mind that the first night Pesach is after Shabbos, plus the fact that the clocks go forward an hour. This event caused quite a few questions from the zoomers, which were answered very succinctly by both Stanley and Rosalind. Stanley gave an explanation on why costs of some Pesach commodities were so high and also how reliable and respected the KLBD was both in this country and abroad.
RUISLIP UNITED SYNAGOGUE COMMUNITY DURING COVID 19 YEAR 2020/21
The past unusual year of Covid 19 has caused everyone world wide to change their normal way of life completely. It did not take long before Ruislip Community took up the challenge of assisting in many ways to ease the difficulties with which we were all going to have to contend.
A Ruislip Community WhatsApp Group was set up immediately there was Lockdown. Rabbi Stanley Coten, although very busy with, unfortunately, an even heavier load to carry as Senior Hospital Chaplain, has given us weekly video messages to uplift our spirits.
The Rabbi has also arranged for weekly interesting Shiurs and chats, including zoom meetings with other Synagogues including two visits to Parramatta & District Synagogue, Sydney, Australia the second visit was for Chanucah and Ruislip helped to judge a picture competition. Also a zoom to Toronto for an entertaining evening of song and stories from Rabbi Gedalia Zweig.
Rebbetzin Rosalind Coten organised a very interesting meeting linking Ruislip for a joint event with Norwich and Southport Synagogues for a KLBD Roadshow. This enticed many of the viewers to research and buy the new products.
Ruislip Synagogue has regular Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdalah Services led by Rabbi Coten.
The Synagogue linked with Pinner US, Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue, Kol Chai for a zoom meeting with Q&A, Speaker – David Simmonds MP, plus a zoom linked with Northwood US on a Q&A evening regarding Covid Vaccinations, which was very enlightening.
Ruislip has continued to maintain its regular Social Club on zoom and meet every Monday afternoon for “tea and a chat” This has now developed into holding brief fun quizzes.
A film evening was screened in June of The Green Park Hotel, Bournemouth, followed by members memories of the hotel.
The Community itself automatically kept in touch with other members of the Synagogue to make sure all was well either by telephone and/or ‘front door’ visits. Delivering meals, nosh and errands to those at home either unwell or shielding. The volunteers go much further than Ruislip as volunteers distributing food generally and sorting clothes in large warehouses. One of our sprightly 90 year old ladies managed a daily early morning sponsored walk to raise funds for Hatzola Edgware Charity Ambulance Service.
For a very small community the contributions from Ruislip members, who volunteered help even further afield, has been extremely large. Covid has not beaten Ruislip Synagogue’s members’ morale and there is a “Silver Lining” to this crisis which has brought the members even closer together.
RUISLIP UNITED SYNAGOGUE FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER AND TALK 21th FEB 2020
A very pleasant evening was spent at Ruislip United Synagogue on Friday 21 February 2020, when a Shabbat Dinner and talk took place. The meal was up to the usual high standards with many thanks to the Synagogue Catering Committee and those who volunteered to assist.
Rabbi Stanley Coten welcomed all to the evening’s Service and Event and also welcomed our guests, Doreen and Jeffrey Samuels. Doreen had kindly offered to give a talk relating to the Shabbat Parsha for the following day. Doreen’s title was a clever misquotation “How do I count thee? Let me love the ways” – An insight into significant numbers in Judaism. This was a truly fascinating and very interesting talk on how important numbers are in Judaism, especially as far as the Jewish Calendar and dates for the Yom Tovim are concerned. It included how we stay in the appropriate Hebrew months and the fact that every 19 years there is a whole month included to take account of the leap year. As Doreen pointed out, these remarkable mathematical problems were sorted out some 3000 years ago and they still work well! All present had fun participating in a quiz on numbers of special interest in Judaism.
Finally, our Synagogue Chairman, Menahem Briskman, gave a vote of thanks to the Speaker and to all those who had helped to make it such a pleasant and informative evening.
THE RUISLIP SYNAGOGUE LADIES’ GUILD PRE chanukah CELEBRATION on SUNDAY 15 DECEMBER 2019
This year the Guild arranged a wonderful Chanucah luncheon and entertainment to a ‘full house’.
Rabbi Stanley Coten began the event by introducing and welcoming the London Cantorial Choir to Ruislip Synagogue.
Then began an aptly hot winter menu of hot pea soup, viennas with jacket potatoes and Israeli salad, followed by fresh fruit and mint chocolates was just perfect and there were many compliments from those who attended. During the interval there were hot drinks and the inevitable doughnuts.
After lunch we all sat back to relax and listen in awe to the London Cantorial Choir rendering beautiful melodic performances including outstanding solos accompanied by their talented pianist. There were psalms from the Sabbath and Yom Tovim to Ladino folk songs and Italian opera arias. A truly sparkling afternoon of sheer joy.
The atmosphere throughout the afternoon was one of congeniality.
Rabbi Stanley Coten, thanked the entertainers and also all those who had helped to organise and arrange the event and to all those who attended.
It made a cold day feel very warm.
Neshama Event at the South Hampstead Synagogue – Sunday 22 September 2019
This was definitely an inspirational evening, which was enjoyed by the ladies who attended from Ruislip Synagogue. The atmosphere was warm and friendly; the venue was amazing.
The introductory presentation was so well done I seriously felt the video should be shown in ALL junior and secondary schools throughout the UK because of its message to the young to strive for their dreams of the future and care about others especially the disabled and elderly.
There were many presentations from which to choose and we were allowed two each. The two presentations I chose were – Ascent Through Song with Rebbetzen Dr Hadassah Fromson, who was very informative and her very accomplished guitarist.
My second choice was Rebbetzen Lauren Levin who gave a remarkable presentation – Yom Kippur a Journey in Prayer – she spoke with such fervour, conveying her complete conviction and faith for which I only have the greatest admiration.
The buffet catering was of a very high standard with several delicious salads and fish dishes for the main meal. The desserts were amazing with fresh fruit kebabs, mini pastries and petit fours.
The conclusion with community singing accompanied by a harpist and guitarist, of the prayers for the New Year was a wonderful way to end a very special evening.
REPORT ON THE RUISLIP LADIES’ GUILD SUMMER EVENT ON SUNDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 2019
On Sunday evening, 8th September 2019 at Ruislip Synagogue Hall community members and friends attended a magical evening of excellent food followed by musical entertainment from the trio Reb Menasche and the Shul Hoppers.
The evening was opened enthusiastically by Rabbi Stanley Coten who introduced the entertainers, Reb Menasche and the Shul Hoppers, and Mrs Scharf (wife of Menasche, who is also their musical director) and welcomed everyone and thanked the Guild for arranging their Summer Event.
The Guild Committee provided the most wonderful two course meal produced in the Synagogue kitchen. Following this Reb Menasche and the Shul Hoppers, delighted us with their selection of Israeli and New Year songs and music. The lovely voice of Reb Menasche mingled with his two very talented accompanists on violin and guitar made for a very freilich evening.
To add to all this pleasure Mr Menasche Scharf and Mrs Scharf also shared their 32nd wedding anniversary with the Community including a surprise celebration heart shaped forest gateau cake, which completed our meal to perfection.
It was a perfect evening, with thanks to David Koten for giving the vote of thanks and who managed to get two more encores from the trio for a cheering audience. Andrea, Ladies’ Guild Chairman, gave her thanks to all who had helped to make the evening a magnificent success.
Many grateful thanks to Jeffrey for volunteering their services for the safety and security of all who attended. Thanks to those unable to attend who sent generous donations and not but not least to our wonderful Guild Committee, stalwartly lead by Guild Chairman, Andrea, for giving their time to weeks of organising and helping throughout the event day in preparing everything which resulted in the success this special evening became.
RUISLIP MEMBERS RECEIVED WIZO “WOMAN OF WORTH” AWARDS
Ten members of Ruislip Synagogue attended the Rebecca Sieff Luncheon held in the Synagogue Hall following the WIZO AGM on 3rd July
Ruislip was very proud to have two of its stalwart members, Carole and Elaine Franklin, awarded The Woman of Worth Award for all their good work with WIZO. May they continue to be able to help and enjoy all the efforts they make for others. Both these ladies have committed themselves to the very nub of the Jewish Religion “Love they neighbour as thyself”.
A TALK ON THE JEWS OF UGANDA GIVEN BY ROS EISEN ON WEDNESDAY 25 JUNE 2019 AT RUISLIP SYNAGOGUE
Germaine Hanstead gave an explanatory introduction about Ros Eisen and her charity work with the Jews of Uganda.
It all began when Ros was doing a tour of Uganda that she came across this unique group of Uganda Jews living in a small village called Putti; they called themselves Abayudayas. During her short stay she kept in touch with the group and realized that their needs for proper care and food supplies was an immediate emergency and in the few days she was visiting she arranged for supplies of mosquito nets, a chicken farm organized by a local vet; and for a local doctor to give much needed medication, especially for the elderly and the very young.
On Ros’s return home to NW London she carried on caring for these people and managed to involve the services of WJR to assist with further needs. Eventually farming was introduced and the Abayudayas are now beginning to have a better lifestyle. An article on Ros’s achievements was reported in the Times and the Jewish Chronicle. The American Community are now also involved and aiding these Jews as best they can. Ros has her own small charity, which spends 95% of their monies on the people and the area. It is a small charitable group who pay for their own trips to Uganda and many of the necessary needs of the Abaydayas.
Ros showed slides of the people and the area they live in, including photographs of a celebration of the anniversary of the State of Israel, which the Ugandan government had organized.
At the conclusion of Ros’s talk and slide show several questions were asked and there was much discussion.
Rabbi Stanley Coten gave the vote of thanks.
Light refreshments concluded a pleasant evening.
Mind over Terror – Sunday 12 May 2019
On Sunday 12 May 2019 Rabbi Dov Benyaacov-Kurtsman enthralled the 40+ audience at Ruislip United Synagogue when he spoke of how his Charity ‘Heads Up’ was brought from a small glimmer of an idea to what it is today 2.1/2 years later. The system of training his team began in Israel, unique in the world for helping traumatised victims of all sorts of tragic events. Using the same system, Rabbi Dov has brought it to the UK not only to treat victims of terrorist attacks but those survivors from car accidents and fires, such as Grenfell Tower in London. At the present time his team consists of over 90 volunteers continually training for every kind of emergency and he is looking for more volunteers, particularly ex-service personnel who want to make use of their past experiences.
Rabbi Stanley Coten said, that this was inspiring talk, its yet another way that Israeli knowhow can help British society.
The humanitarian benefits of this mode of treatment can be tremendous. I commend Rabbi Dov Ben Yaacov Kurtzman for what he has done.
RUISLIP SYNAGOGUE’S SHABBAT UK CELEBRATIONS – Friday 1 March 2019
Ruislip Synagogue once again celebrated Shabbat UK with a traditional Friday night meal. This is the fifth year we have commemorated in this way, which gets the community together and at the same time enables all members to partake in the full joys of our traditions, including the associated ceremonies and songs.
This has been yet another successful SHABBAT UK event with a gathering of approximately 50 members.
Rabbi Stanley Coten said that Shabbat UK has brought everyone together and all felt connected to the community. Over Shabbat, the singing, the learning and the overall experience was amazing. This was possible due to the hard work of all the Ruislip Synagogue volunteers.
Before Chazan Yossi Saunders entertained his audience with songs and jokes, he told us he had learnt it was also Rabbi Stanley and Rebbetzin Rosalind’s 32nd wedding anniversary and Yossi sang one song especially for them.
A delicious three-course meal was served by the Synagogue’s Catering Committee and waitresses.
At the conclusion of the evening the Chairman, Menachem Briskman, gave his thanks to all who had helped to make the event such a success namely, our Guest Chazan, Yossi Saunders, the Catering Committee and waitresses and last, but not least, to The Chief Rabbi’s Centre of Excellence for their generosity and guidance.
MEDICAL AND MORAL DILEMMAS FOR JEWS
Emeritus Professor David Katz from University College London gave a talk on Jewish Medical Ethics on 11 February 2019.
He specialises in immunopathology.
He explained how he became interested in that field through reading Franz Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption, and later being influenced by the former Chief Rabbi Jacobovits’ work on Jewish Medical Ethics.
When Israel came into being in 1948, laws were created to cover all faiths, not just Judaism.
This meant that many laws and procedures deviated from that of the UK, such as those governing autopsies.
He gave examples of medical dilemmas, highlighting what medical consent means, and how it is interpreted in various circumstances such as : Brit Mila , stem cell applications, end of life care, organ donation etc. In many of these situations not only was the Israeli system different to the UK, but there was more than one interpretation of what test should be applied in this country.
All in all, it became apparent that Medical Ethics and the application of Jewish Halacha is very complex and indeed a moral maze, often raising more questions than answers.