15/16 November 2019, 17/18 Cheshvan 5780

Over the Summer Reb Irwin Keller wrote a poem I am a disloyal Jew. It went viral. It was in response to a comment made by his president about Jews being disloyal citizens.

I am a disloyal Jew.
I am not loyal to a political party…
I am not loyal to taunts or tweets…
I am a disloyal Jew…
I am a loyal Jew.
I am loyal to the inconveniences of kindness.
I am loyal to the dream of justice….

Historically as Jews in the country we have been engaged and concerned with the world around us. Since the introduction of the prayer for the Royal Family and the Government, the first in the vernacular, into traditional liturgy here we have seen citizenship as part of our faith. As synagogues we are political every time we attempt to repair the world Tikkun Olam. At the moment at FPS we are engaging with our elected officials and those who might be elected. Our strong relationship with the former leader of Barnet Council Richard Cornelius enabled much of our successful justice work. Three weeks ago Rabbi Danny Rich talked to us about his role in Labour Party work, and his perspective as an activist on the claims of antisemitism. Tonight we welcome Luciana Berger MP, next week Mike Freer MP and we await confirmation of Ross Houston the Labour candidate’s visit.

It is right we engage in this way, never party political as a synagogue but strengthening the lines of communications with all possible elected representatives from all three major parties. After 12 December we will work with our MP to continue the contribution we make to the Borough of Barnet.

This is what we are loyal to.

Rabbi Rebecca