30/31 October 2020, 12/13 Cheshvan 5781

This weekend marks the end of Black History month, but as a Black friend of mine said meaningfully, Everyday is Black history month for me.

I have been learning about the iconic Dame Jocelyn Barrow – the first black female governor of BBC. How is it she is not a household name? We recognise our community, alongside many others has work to do in expanding and enlarging our understanding of the Jewish family. This is a good moment to highlight and draw attention to the work and words of Black Jews and Jews of Colour who have and do contribute so profoundly to our Jewish experience.

This past Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl delivered a searing sermon about race and the Jewish people. We will recognise much of what she says. Do read it here ahead of this Shabbat. This week’s Taste of Torah will focus on this sermon and allow us a moment of conversation alongside Parashat Vayeira: Expulsion and Division.

This Shabbat will be Parashat Lech -Lecha where our Jewish journey began with Abraham and Sarah leaving with their possessions and the souls they had made in Haran, and they went to go to the land of Canaan, and they came to the land of Canaan.

Rashi quotes Bereshit Rabbah and suggests this was conversion, Abraham converted the men and Sarah the women. Either way this is the first time we see community growing.

We have always been a people growing, gathering others along the way. What a perfect verse to read this week. Our ancestors are from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt as well as the later Ashkenazi line.

This Shabbat fellow Liberal synagogue Kehillah North London is holding an all black led service . If you would like to support and be part of this please do please zoom in and let us know.

Shabbat Shalom