You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old: you shall fear your God: I am the Eternal.
You shall not render an unfair decision: do not favour the poor or show deference to the rich: judge your neighbour fairly.
You shall not hate your kinsman in your heart. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinfolk. Love your neighbour’s welfare as if it were your own. I am the Eternal.
These are just some of the words of Kedoshim, the portion this Shabbat. It holds the blueprint for treating people well; for how to be a mensch. And how fitting then that this week should see us participating in Barnet Citizen’s Assembly when we called on our Council leadership for decent and better provisions for our fellow citizens; these will be clean air, better mental health support and signposting for our young people, the Living wage and more ambitious and integrated settling of refugees here in Barnet.
The opportunity to collaborate with other local (religious) institutions is critical and is in a sense Torah in action. We are in such significant days; Week Two of the Omer when we’ll count the days and connect to GEVURAH, our strength and resolve.
We marked Yom HaShoah and in so doing, as we did last Shabbat for our Czech Scrolls, we pay tribute to those who went before us and pledge to remember with strength and resolve. Our guest of honour was Janine Webber BEM, now a firm friend of our synagogue, so impressed is she by our commitment to relationship and care. Her second visit and she feels at home.
Such emphasis on relationships is both highly Jewish and very much part of the ethos we share with other Barnet institutions gathered in the Citizen’s alliance. Being in relationship means you will be loving your neighbour’s welfare as if it were your own. This is the word of the Eternal. I believe we will do so this week and leading into this Torah text on Shabbat. We felt proud of FPS and our direction of focus back as we honour and commemorate and forward as we pledge to new learning and responsibility.
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