16/17 June 2023, 28 Sivan 5783

Americans, I (re)discovered, are very good at celebrating themselves. I found it impressive and not just a little life affirming.

So this Shabbat I am delighted we are honouring our 70th birthday with a summer bbq lunch and musical moment in the sunshine. We will offer appreciation of our outgoing Council members and Chair in the Shabbat service, conveniently the portion is KORACH which has a thing or two to say about leadership and its challenges. Korach and his band of followers criticise Moses and Aaron for leading the people.

“You have gone too far! For all the community are holy. . .Why then do you raise yourselves above the Eternal’s congregation?” (Numbers 16:3)

… is what they shout at the brothers, who have frankly carried the people tirelessly for years, not just months.

I like that we will read these words and they’ll help us appreciate how much those who lead us do – and as far as I am aware there are no complaints about our Council, who carry us all in a supremely democratic, conscientious and thoughtful way, managing the day-to-day life of our congregation and the visionary parts as well.

This Shabbat will be an opportunity to laud our lay leaders who work so extraordinarily hard for our synagogue and who deserve and need that blessing we say over Torah books endings;

Chazak, Chazak, V’Nitchazek. Strength, Strength, Let Us Be Strengthened. 

They have strengthened FPS and the next cohort will continue to do so.

Shabbat Shalom and see you then.