Newmafruit Farms trip

The amazing Newmafruit Farms trip is back!

A Visit to Kent:  to see, smell, even pick apples for Rosh Hashanah (or maybe just for lunch).
FPS is taking a trip to Newmafruit Farms in Canterbury, Kent on Sunday, 10 September. FPS Syrian families, along with FPS members, will be taking a 1 3/4 hour-trip on a highly-reliable coach, to join in the harvesting of apples and pears on Melvyn Newman’s farm. There might even be an additional surprise for the children if current negotiations come to ‘fruition’!

When: 10 September, 9.00am pick up, for a 5.00pm put down

Where: FPS to the ‘wilds’ of the garden of England

Who: FPS Syrian families, and FPS members


Kabbalat Torah 2017

A very proud Shabbat for our community last weekend.
Raphy Klinger-Fixler
Ella Balint-Kurti
Evie Anticoni
Tali Erlich (granddaughter of Rabbi Harry Jacobi)
Ruben Qassim
Hannah Gellman

Our fabulous Kabbalat Torah class of 2017 were called to the Torah in the presence of His Excellency Mark Regev the Israeli Ambassador. He was our secret guest and our young people felt honoured by his presence. Last week was a challenging one for the Progressive Jewish world as the Israeli government's response on the Kotel  and progressive conversion were de-stabilised. Mr Regev addressed the Kotel but not the other one. We understood. We appreciated him joining us and bringing his brother and family visiting from Melbourne. It was a very good occasion. Our young people brought much pride to their community, I say this not just because my Ruben was one of them.
May we go from strength to strength and put July 7th 2018 in our diary for next year's Kabbalat Torah.

Shabbat Shalom to all
Rabbi Rebecca

The KT class's introduction to their service
We are celebrating our Kabbalat Torah journey together with our community. Kabbalat Torah means ‘receiving of the Torah’ and was a Liberal Jewish invention to allow teenagers – at a more reflective age than Bar and Bat Mitzvah at 13 – to come together as a group to learn and recommit to their Judaism. Next year we will hopefully go on Israel Tour, most of us being in the LJY-Netzer group in Israel sharing that experience as well.
KT has been about making friends that I have been able to see regularly and to see the way we all interpret Judaism differently. Our friendships have extended further out from synagogue.
We are all aware of how turbulent and chaotic the world seems at the moment. The community that we have from KT and FPS provides us with an anchor and some stability that is very important.

Our new Community Education & Development Manager

Finchley Progressive Synagogue is delighted to announce the appointment of Zoe Jacobs as our new Community Education & Development Manager. She will take up her post in August.

Zoe (pictured right) will be known to many of our members for running exciting activities for our tots, and is coming to us after a year as a community youth worker for RSY-Netzer, visiting synagogues up and down the country to run activities, build youth groups and inspire young people.

Her role at FPS will include running our religion school Ivriah as well as setting up a new youth group and training the next generation of young FPS leaders.

Zoe says: “I am delighted to be joining FPS. Over the past year I have been welcomed into the community with such kindness and warmth and I am very excited now to begin working alongside the congregation and Rabbi Rebecca. FPS is an extraordinary, loving and friendly place, and I can't wait to become a bigger part of it.”

Rabbi Rebecca Birk welcomed Zoe’s appointment: “We immediately recognised that Zoe's qualities include positivity, thoughtfulness, tenacity and enthusiasm. We are thrilled that she will be joining us from the summer and look forward to the impact she will make on our community's young people.”

Gabriel Webber, our current Community Development Manager, is leaving us in July to begin training as a rabbi. We wish him all the best in his new role.

A statement about the attack on Welfare House, Seven Sisters Road

This is a statement from the Co-Chairs of the Barnet Multi Faith Forum and Communities Together Network (CTN)  following the attack at Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road, London on Monday 19th June:

The CTN expresses shock, and sadness at the terrorist incident that took place in the early hours of Monday 19th June, outside Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road in the London Borough of Islington, as Muslim worshippers were leaving the Finsbury Park Mosque after evening prayers. We condemn this act of extremism, terror and religious hatred and endorse the comment of Es Rosen, Chair of Barnet Multi Faith Forum that “We regard an attack on one faith at prayer as an attack on all faiths."

We want to reassure residents that we will resist all attempts to undermine community cohesion and share the view of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, of this “Sickening attempt to break those bonds of friendship that define the United Kingdom"
We give thanks for their bravery, to the members of the public and members of the Mosque who offered their assistance and to the commitment and skill of the emergency services and hospitals. Borough Police are in contact with the Local Authority and the mosques and there will be enhanced police patrols and more presence around faith premises particularly mosques at peak times such as Iftar prayers and Eid.

We are proud of our longstanding tradition that Barnet’s diverse communities get on well together and work hard to ensure that all our residents feel valued, share a sense of belonging and are able to go about their daily lives in safety and with peace of mind. We are resolved to keep Barnet a place where people of all faiths and none can live peacefully with their neighbours.  
Shakil Ahmed, Head Teacher of Ayesha Community School said, “As proud members of Barnet’s diverse communities, we are saddened by the attack outside Muslim Welfare House. We condemn all such terrorist attacks and urge communities to stand together against all forms of terrorism and hate. As a school we feel it is incredibly important to educate our young people about a positive, cohesive perspective on their future and promote virtues of tolerance, respect for humanity, justice and equality”.

Barnet will not tolerate any act of hate or and we ask all those living, working and studying in Barnet to seek support and assistance from community groups, faith leaders and the local police if they are the victim of such crimes. If you witness any act of hate crime (including disability, race and religion) or violence, please report this to the police. You can report the incident to the police using 999 in emergency situations or 101 for less urgent situations.  Details of reporting a hate crime can also be found on the Council’s website at

To report anything suspicious, members of the public are advised to call the AntiTerrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

Susie Orbach at FPS

Two years ago Rabbi Rebecca Birk was asked by Susie Orbach and Jeanette Winterson to give a Jewish blessing at their marriage. Last Sunday Susie repaid the favour by taking part in A Conversation with Susie Orbach at FPS.

It was just that; an intimate conversation about Bodies, Psyches and Judaism. Susie shared her childhood memories of people knocking on the front door to which she’d greet them with Are you Jewish? Are you Labour…if the answer was negative to both, Then what are you doing here?

She spoke to concerns of Social Media, the pernicious era of selfies and liking photos that inform young girls about their appearances. She spoke of the almost mystical power of the relationship between therapist and patient and what happens in the consulting room. She spoke of aging and coping in the world.

80 people gathered for this over individual eggs benedict, coffee and cake.

A wonderful event.

Rabbi Rebecca writes:

Our conversation with psychotherapist and writer Susie Orbach yesterday @FPS. Acknowledging the London Bridge attacks hours earlier we began discussing the need and ability to investigate our inner worlds while the external one is so threatening. Susie spoke of mothers, bodies, young women and the pressures they face, the role of the therapist in helping people ‘know themselves’.
It was great; intimate, inspirational and beautiful food created by Jo Dowling, Gabi Highman and Debbie Dwek. A wonderful team effort!

Susie Orbach - Sunday 4th June

SUNDAY 4th JUNE 11am - 1pm

Susie Orbach1.JPG


Talking Psyche, Bodies & Judaism

A conversation over brunch

Susie Orbach is a psychotherapist, writer and co-founder of The Women’s Therapy Centre. She is the author of numerous books including Fat is a Feminist Issue, her first book, which has been continuously in print since 1978. Her most recent book, In Therapy, is based on the critically acclaimed Radio 4 series of the same name.

Tickets: £15 member, £25 non-member available here.

Shavuot at FPS - Tuesday 30th May 2017

“Ruth the convert, Ruth the Migrant” - Tikkun Leil

At Shavuot three North London Communities come together for a night of REVELATION.

Finchley Progressive Synagogue, Sha'arei Tsedek Reform & Southgate Progressive Synagogue invite you to join us for a night of spiritual, cultural, educational and culinary nourishment! There will be something for everyone:

● Inclusive Shavuot Service

● Chavurah Supper

●Tikkun study sessions

● Cheesecake Break

Programme & timings:

  • 18:30-19:30 Service
  • 19:30-20:15 Chavurah Supper
  • 20:15-21:15 Session 1 Panel Discussion - ‘Responding to the Book of Ruth’
  • 21:15-21:30 Cheesecakes & coffee
  • 21:30-22:15 Session 2
  • 22:15- 23:00 Session 3
  • 23:00 Midnight Spirituality

Bring & share non-meat dish, cheesecake or a dessert.

Please contact Lynda Cannon (, 020 8886 0977), Valerie Joseph at FPS
( or Janet Renton at Sha’arei Tsedek ( to coordinate the feast!