13/14 January 2023, 21 Tevet 5783

At Rosh Hashanah I shared the story of the synagogue who created lamps and light in their sanctuary by naming one for each member so when they came the lights turned on and when they were not there the darkness pointed to their absence.

I told you this with long term late member Maurice Needleman z’l in mind. He treated the synagogue as his home and we its members loved him. Maurice at his death left half of his estate to FPS demonstrating his love for ‘his family’. It has helped us secure our future and we always hope others might consider us similarly. This Shabbat is his yartzeit and we will host a special kiddush in his honour on Friday evening and Shabbat morning. On Shabbat morning we will share his kiddush with another beloved member, Richard Greene, whose presence has contributed to our home that we know as FPS. Richard has brought his learning, his charisma, his loyalty, his prayer leading skills and of late, his dedication to transforming and renewing our building, our home. We’ll be celebrating with him with a certain bitter sweetness as he moves to Jerusalem to take up the post of CNN’s Bureau Chief of their Jerusalem office. We are proud and delighted for him, but a little forlorn to see him leaving Hutton Grove (albeit temporarily). Megan, Reuben and Myfanwy will stay here so we know he will be back and forwards.  Join us on Shabbat to give him a special send off.

As we begin the Book of Exodus this week, I am reminded that Israel means us the Jewish community, our congregation, our synagogue. As well, of course as that land between Jordan and Egypt. This Shabbat I am interested in the power of names-each one of us so critical to our mass, to the flavour and mood of our synagogue here in North Finchley. Even Rashi suggests in his commentary to this verse-

Although [God] counted them in their lifetime by their names, God counted them again after their death, to let us know how precious they are, because they were likened to the stars,

What better thing to be reminded of as we begin our 70th anniversary year and look to our first event of the CIVIC SERVICE January 28th. I bumped into our mayor on Ballards Lane yesterday; she was in jeans not full regalia, and told me how much she was looking forward to joining us. Put the date in your diary; please be there.

And these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt; with Jacob, each person and their household came:

Shabbat Shalom to all of you and your loved ones,