Above: Daniel Weiss retells the Purim story with added juggling. Below: Yoav Git reads the megilla in more conventional style. Read the full Purim report on page 22.
Welcome to the CTJC Pesach Bulletin Bulletin Number 107. Cover image: ‘Lamb, Stodmarsh, Kent, England’, 17 May 2008. Photographer: Keven Law, Los Angeles, USA. Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sheep,_Stodmarsh_6.jpg
I hope you are enjoying the Spring so far. Pesach is very early this year, but the snowdrops have been out for a while and the daffodils shouldn’t be far behind. This issue of the bulletin is also bright with fresh new articles, reports, recipes and photos, to help usher us into the new season. Mark Harris has continued digging into Huntingdon’s Jewish past, and has turned up a surprising discovery there. Barry Landy reports on a ‘kosher cruise’, and lays out some of his ‘problems’ with Jacob and his decision-making. We have a recipe for making matza even more delicious – hard to imagine, but it’s true! There’s also a report on the Purim festivities which took place a few weeks ago. Plus, all the usual community news, useful information, and an updated religious calendar covering Pesach and Shavuot. The bulletin, like all aspects of CTJC, is produced entirely by volunteers. If you would like to get involved with any aspect of CTJC, please contact our Chairman Ros by emailing email@example.com If you would like to submit material for our Rosh Hashana issue, please email firstname.lastname@example.org You can read the bulletin online in full colour at http://issuu.com/ctjc/docs/pesach_2013 Finally, if you are looking to attend a Seder, please contact Barry Landy (C. 570417) who will try to arrange a suitable host. Wishing you and yours a Pesach kasher v’sameach, from all at the Bulletin. Small print… Views expressed in the bulletin are the views of the individual authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors or of the committee of the CTJC.
In this issue… 1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 10 14 17 19 21 22 23
Photos from our Purim celebrations Welcome to the CTJC Pesach Bulletin In this issue… Community news Communal information Chairman’s message Decisions, decisions – by Rabbi Reuven Leigh Problems with Jacob’s decisions – by Barry Landy A quest for Huntingdon’s synagogue, part 4 – by Mark Harris A winter cruise – by Barry Landy Matza-licious! – by Helen Goldrein Cambridge friends of MDA Colour by numbers & Pesach anagrams Purim report Religious calendar
Mazeltov To Jose (Yossi) and Jessica Liht on the birth of their twins, Ian and Danielle. To Annette Landy and Julian Landy on the birth of their granddaughter Alicia. Mazeltov also to new parents Robin and Gabrielle. To Eyal Ma'ori and Dalia Weinreb who will be married in 3 Thompsons Lane in March. Refuah Shlemah To Maurice Bogen.
The Cambridge Seder Monday 25 March, 7:15pm Chabad House, 37A Castle Street, Cambridge, CB3 0AH Please join us to celebrate the festival of Pesach. Our Seder will recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt whilst drinking the four cups of wine and eating the traditional hand-made Matzot. Tickets: £12/person, £25/family
Communal Information Shul services Friday evening In term:
Winter, Ma’ariv at 6pm Summer, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm In vacations: Winter, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat June-August, Minchah and Ma’ariv at 7:30pm September, Minchah and Ma’ariv just before Shabbat Shabbat morning 9:30am. Sunday morning 8:00am (most weeks). You can also consult our online calendar at www.ctjc.org.uk/calendar Learning Rabbi Reuven Leigh holds a Talmud Shiur at Chabad House, 37A Castle Street, Cambridge CB3 0AH, every Tuesday at 7:30pm. For more details email email@example.com A Talmud Shiur led by Prof. Stefan Reif is held on a convenient evening in those weeks when Prof. Reif is in Cambridge. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org Mikvah The Cambridge Mikvah is now open. To book an appointment please call Mrs. Rochel Leigh on 07825 126724 at least 48 hours in advance. For more information about the Mikvah please call Rochel or email at email@example.com. Hospital Visiting Contact Sarah Schechter, Tirzah Bleehen or Barry Landy if you need to organise visits, or would like to volunteer to help. Rabbi Reuven Leigh (354603) and Barry Landy can attend hospitals to read prayers. Due to concerns for personal privacy the hospital no longer informs us when Jewish patients are admitted, so if you or someone you know would like to be visited, please contact us. Chevra Kadisha Contact Barry Landy, Brendel Lang or Trevor Marcuson in the first instance. Bar Mitzvahs, Weddings, Brit Milah and other religious services Contact Rabbi Reuven Leigh or Barry Landy to organise. Children’s activities For information about Cambridge Hebrew School, the After School Club, or Ganeinu Child Care Service, contact Rochel Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org CTJC email list CTJC has an email list. To join and receive regular updates about services, events, Shabbat times etc, please email Barry Landy at email@example.com or Jonathan Allin at firstname.lastname@example.org CTJC Officers Rabbi Reuven Leigh Committee 2012/2013 Chairman Rosalind Landy Treasurer Jonathan Allin Secretary Barry Landy Synagogue officer Barry Landy Education officer Welfare officer Sarah Shechter Bulletin/website officer Helen Goldrein Board of Deputies
Chairman’s message With the coming of Spring, one’s thoughts turn to Pesach, the season of freedom, liberty and the possibility of human choice. Our ancestors in Egypt had very hard lives with no choice but to be slaves. Without G-d’s intervention we would have remained in slavery. It required Divine protection, a strong leader and great courage on the part of the people to change from slavery to freedom. There were stages of belief in G-d and then backsliding, as with the Golden Calf. The end result was the liberation of the Hebrew people. We have celebrated this through the centuries and we celebrate again today this change of status by reminding ourselves of our history and even reenacting it, as some communities do, marching round the Seder table carrying a cloth bag over one shoulder as a symbol of the Jewish people’s needs for their journey to the Promised Land. We draw our children in to the celebration so that they are encouraged to ask questions. Hence: ‘Ma Nishtana?’ Why is this different? The children’s Haggadah with the pull tabs to make baby Moses sail along the Nile in his basket keeps the attention of the young whilst we recite the Haggadah. Let us all read the text of the Haggadah again and rejoice at being free. It is good to remember and acknowledge one’s freedom. Wishing everyone a Pesach Kasher v’Sameach. Ros Landy, Chairman
Left: Ros Landy cutting a celebratory cake, with Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks looking on with interest, at the 75th anniversary party of CUJS last autumn. (Photo credit: Mark Harris)
Decisions, decisions… By Rabbi Reuven Leigh
The joke is told of a married couple who were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. At the party everybody wanted to know how they managed to stay married so long in this day and age. The husband responded, "When we were first married we came to an agreement. I would make all the major decisions and my wife would make all the minor decisions. And in 60 years of marriage we have never needed to make a major decision." The manner in which we celebrate the festival of Pesach poses a question on the relationship between the so-called major and minor decision in life. Although each festival contains its unique celebrations, the lessons from those celebrations are intended to be relevant and meaningful throughout the year. This is especially relevant to Pesach which has such a special central place in Jewish life, such that the Torah commands us to remember the going out from Egypt twice daily. During Temple times the central celebration of the redemption from Egypt on Pesach was the offering of the Pascal lamb and its consumption on the seder night. The redemption from Egypt was not a redemption of a large group of individuals, but was the beginning of those individuals being considered a nation. For the first time the Children of Israel are referred to as an ‘Am’ – a people. It is demanded of Pharaoh ‘to let my people go’ and Moses fulfilled his mission and ‘took out my people, the Children of Israel, from Egypt.’ In light of this, it would seemingly have been appropriate to accentuate this point in the central celebration of the festival, the Pesach offering. The manner of this offering should reflect the concept of nationhood and community. However, the commandment stresses the exact opposite. Each household has to bring its own offering, and everyone is obligated to be connected to their own household or to a small group. This seeming inconsistency in message could well be the Torah’s way of suggesting a subtle message. If you wish to bring about change and make a difference on a large scale, it is necessary for everyone to first and foremost gather themselves and their household and those who are most close to them. Through making a difference on a personal level and worrying about the so-called ‘minor decisions’ we are in fact achieving something great. This idea was eloquently expressed by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady. He had set a program for his Hassidim to strive with their minds and seek truth, to critically examine their every move to be certain it conforms strictly with truth and comes through effort. In his guidance to them he explained: “This striving does not imply – as some think, altogether erroneously – that one must pulverize mountains and shatter boulders, turn the world upside down. The absolute truth is that any striving, any act, whatever it may be, is perfectly satisfactory when performed with true intent: A blessing pronounced with intent (kavana), a word of prayer as it should be, with a prepared heart and an awareness of "before Whom you stand", a passage in Chumash said with an awareness that it is the word of G-d; a verse of Tehillim, a kind character trait expressed in befriending another with affection and love.” When something is true and worthwhile it does not rely on quantity and scope to gain meaning and purpose.
Problems with Jacob’s ‘decisions’ By Barry Landy
In December we read the last of the wonderful "winter Sidrot" with all their stories, but before we finally leave them for this year I want to reflect on some aspects of the story of Jacob, and one part of it in particular. If we look at the story with a critical eye, we see that in the early part of his life Jacob is a very forceful character, but that almost every decision he makes seems to have negative consequences. The very first instance is Bereshit 24, 29-34, when Esau returns home from the hunt starving hungry and Jacob sells him some lentil stew for his birthright. The result of this was that Esau hated Jacob; not one might think a very good exchange.
Above: Esau Selling His Birthright, c. 1627, by Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588–1629)
The next story is Bereshit 26 (a long time later): Isaac is old and cannot see; he asks Esau to get him some venison and he goes out to hunt. At his mother's urging Jacob goes to Isaac with some venison stew and convinces him that he is Esau quickly back from the hunt. By this means Jacob gets from
Isaac Esau's blessing. Naturally Esau is none too pleased by this either "that's why he is called Jacob (twister) because he has cheated me twice... ". Consequently Jacob has to leave home in a hurry (a third decision), following his mother Rebecca's advice "just leave for a few days until your brother calms down, then you can come back". As we all know, Jacob stayed away 22 years and was still afraid of his brother, and never saw his mother again. Three decisions, three bad consequences. Even his meeting with Rachel and his desire to marry her did not end well; instead of negotiating sensibly with Laban he made his wishes clear from the start, and allowed himself (ironically!) to be swindled so that not only did he have a wife he did not want (Leah) but also found that Laban and his sons did not trust him or behave in a friendly way to him. Without going into it in great depth the story of Dinah and the people of Shechem (Bereshit 33) also raises many questions about Jacob's behaviour. It would seem as though Dinah received far too little parental care; as Jacob's daughter we would have thought he would not let her "go out to be seen with the daughters of the land"; the result of flaunting herself in this way was that she was trapped by a local prince of Shechem and the dramatic end of this story is that two of Jacob's sons (Shimon and Levi) killed all the men of Shechem. The original decision to be lenient with the daughter had tragic consequences indeed. In Bereshit 36 we see yet another example of bad decision making. According to the text, (Bereshit 36:12), Joseph's brothers went to pasture their father's flocks in Shechem (yes, the very place they had sacked in the earlier incident). Jacob tells Joseph to "go and see how they are and to check the health of the flocks", despite knowing that the 10 other brothers hated him not only because he was always telling tales on them, but also because of his dreams in which he prophesied that he would one day rule them. "Right-ho" says Joseph and off he goes, with tragic consequences. Isn't it strange that Jacob would once again make a decision which turns out to be so dramatically wrong? There are many strange things about this story. Why were the brothers acting as shepherds? When Jacob left Laban he was very rich and had many servants (Bereshit 30:43) and one would expect the servants to deal with such mundane matters as looking after sheep; after all, even in his father's day, neither Jacob nor Esau were shepherds (Esau hunted and Jacob "dwelt in the tents"). And why go to Shechem? Even though all the males there had been killed Jacob himself had been terrified that "the people round about would kill me"; why go precisely there? And finally of course, why put Joseph into such danger?
It has been suggested that Jacob wanted to give the brothers a chance to reconcile themselves with Joseph; all I can say is that if this is the reason, then it went tragically wrong, and it would have been far more sensible to have engineered such a meeting at home, with lots of bodyguards! There is a comment in the Midrash (Bereshit Rabba, and quoted by Rashi) noting the fact that the verse that starts this story is (Bereshit 37:12) "Vayelchu echav lirot et-tzon avihem b'shechem" translated as "And his brothers went to pasture their father's sheep in Shechem". The Midrash notes that the short word "et" before "tzon" (sheep) has two dots over it, which, they comment, means that the dotted word should be omitted, and that the verse should be read to mean "And his brothers went to pasture [themselves]; meanwhile their father's sheep were in Shechem". This neatly answers two of the criticisms above. The sheep were in Shechem but the brothers were not; the sheep were in the care of the servants as they ought to have been. Meanwhile the brothers were up to their usual tricks and getting some "rest and recreation" somewhere else. Jacob thought they were in Shechem with the sheep, which is why he sent Joseph there, and why Joseph couldn't find them, but perhaps found the sheep! Maybe the kind man who told him where to go to find his brothers (in Dothan) was one of the servants. This reading also suggests another reason why the brothers were so cross; we know from earlier in the chapter that Joseph was carrying tales to Jacob precisely about what they did when they were enjoying themselves, and so they would expect that he was up to his old tricks and spying on them; after all they gave him no chance to explain himself. It might even explain why (Bereshit 37:18) "they saw him from afar" perhaps because they had posted lookouts expecting Joseph to come spying. We all know that in the end (22 years later) it all worked out fine for Joseph, and we tend to gloss over the fact that it wasn't so wonderful for Jacob. What did Jacob have after Joseph vanished? Esau on his doorstep "will he remain friends?"; Joseph vanished "I will never see him again"; sons he did not trust; wives he did not love. This echoes what must have happened to Isaac after Jacob left. Jacob was away for 22 years also; soon after Jacob left the Midrash tells us that Rebecca died, so Isaac was left with no sight; no wife; one absent son, and one other son (Esau) who must have had very ambivalent feelings towards his father after being cheated of what he felt he deserved. Jacob's serial errors of judgement remain a puzzle. These tales are full of depth and it is always a mistake to think that one has finally understood all the complexities of the character revelations.
A Quest for Huntingdon’s Synagogue (Part 4) Has Mark Harris found the town’s medieval mikveh?
In the last article on my now 18-month “Quest” to discover the precise location of Huntingdon’s medieval synagogue, I referred to the content of certain excavation reports relating to, and my viewing of certain archaeological finds revealed during, a predevelopment monitoring dig to the rear of 151 High Street and a short distance to the east of St Clement’s Passage, formerly known as “Mutton Lane” or “Mutton Alley” (see Parts 1, 2 and 3 of my “Quest” saga, published in the 2012 Pesach, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah issues of the CTJC Bulletin. They can also be read online at www.ctjc.org.uk). Most notable amongst the artefacts provided by the Cambridgeshire Historic Excavation Team for my inspection at Castle Court, in Cambridge’s Shire Hall complex, were: (1) a largish and quite heavy “brick” of medieval stone, which the excavation report indicated as deriving from the wall of a building that may have stood somewhere in close proximity to the find-site; and (2) a substantial, complete and attractively formed Lyvedon pottery jug. The ceramic was dated from mid-13th to mid-14th centuries, and was found resting horizontally in the nearest of three dig trenches to St Clement’s Passage. As I detected from previous researches into medieval English synagogues, stonework can be a useful pointer to the former existence of a sturdy edifice accommodating a Jewish place of worship. Stone town buildings, other than churches, were fairly uncommon in the early Middle-Ages. The material was extremely expensive and very difficult to shape. My recent research had focused initially on seeking to discover a plan of medieval Huntingdon, or, at least, a chart that critically pre-dated Speed’s map of 1610. As a lawyer, I considered that maps, plans, charts or drawings of a town could form part of the pleadings in property litigation. After some delving, I turned up an early 16th century suit by Huntingdon and Godmanchester against the Abbot of Ramsey Abbey for damaging the River Ouse to the complainants’ detriment. My information intimated that a map, prepared in 1514 for the court case, had become detached from the pleadings. So I sought the advice of Caroline Clifford, the very helpful Local Studies Librarian at Huntingdon Library and Archives. Although unlikely that an early 16th century map would assist materially with my hunt for the site of medieval Huntingdon’s synagogue (which was burned out by a mob in the late 1280s), I learned that a copy of the old map had been deposited in the Archives
by the Hunts Family History Society early last year. I was advised that the original map (an unwieldy 48 by 24 inches) is at the National Archives. Maybe unsurprisingly, the original (coloured) map is not in pristine condition, being quite faded in parts. But I was told that, in addition to the Hunts Family’s facsimile, the Huntingdon Archives also retain a black and white copy (by Louis Tebbutt) from 1937 of a slightly smaller reproduction of the 1514 map, which had been drafted with greater specificity for a legal case heard in 1898 and which affords now a useful aid to understanding the indistinct parts of the original. I made an appointment to view the copies at the Huntingdon Archives, and reserved a map table in its research room. At the same time, I requested any archived archaeological excavation reports relating to Huntingdon, on the basis that I may have omitted some in my earlier studies. Instantly the copy of the 1514 chart was unrolled, I could see that it would not be of assistance to me. The reproduced 1898 version, despite highlighting details in the original more clearly, was also of no aid to my cause. The map’s main aim had been to show the position of floodgates and mill streams on the Ouse east of the old bridge, and of the meadows on the south bank of the river. Unfortunately, the plan represented little of Huntingdon – only the southernmost extent of the High Street is drawn, with some rather stylised houses on either side of it. The outcome was not entirely disappointing; it was intriguing just to examine part of the town on a map which preceded Speed’s chart. It was only when I came to an archaeological report (dated July 1999) by Judith Roberts that my serious interest was aroused. It concerned a 1998 pre-development dig abutting St Clement’s Passage (fewer than 50 metres from the High Street). The locale is occupied now by a block of six flats on a compact estate named “Muttongate” (see Part 1 of my “Quest”).
The excavation had found evidence of medieval quarrying and later-period rubbish pits. But in “Area A” (one of three dig-site sections) the team discovered a circular pit (allotted number “20”) with “steep, almost vertical sides (1.05 metres diameter, 0.46 metres remaining depth)”. The base and its sides “were lined with grey clay 0.1 metres to 0.12 metres thick”, and “into which had been placed a nailed, wooden, possibly oak tub”. As soon as I saw the report’s photograph of it, the word “mikveh” entered my head! (It is
understood that a mikveh must be built into the ground, or be an integral part of a building attached to the ground.) I am endeavouring to locate the tub’s remains, assuming they were removed from the dig site before the housing development began. The report stated: “The lower fill of the tub was a pale yellow material (diameter 0.84 metres, and 0.25 metres thick), possibly of lime or mortar.” Proximate to the “in situ” wooden tub were shards of pottery dated somewhere between 1150 and 1450. The “upper fill … of the tub” measured 0.92 metres diameter, and was 0.15 metres thick. Pottery items, dated from 1100 to 1200, were found in the vicinity. Two shafts (numbered “13” and “15”) were discovered nearby. Pit “20” ended lower than either of them. The report stated that the function is “unclear”. Records relating to medieval mikvaot in the Rhineland allude (regarding Cologne) to a “shaft providing ventilation and light”, and (with regard to Speyer and Worms) to “a vertical ventilation and light shaft”. I have noted that the Victoria County History of Huntingdon refers to “St Clement’s Passage, today’s name for what was Mutton Alley or Mutton Lane, where stood one of two [town] pumps, the other being on Market Hill”. And I have written that, if the water pump or any predecessor water source could be dated to medieval times, it may be indicative of a spring in the neighbourhood (my “target area” is also close to the River Ouse) and the possibility of an observant Jewish community taking advantage of such water resources for the purposes of a mikveh. (For the kehilla, possession of a mikveh would likely have been a more important priority than establishing a synagogue.) Right: St Clement’s Passage.
Had I come across (in my “target area”) an unsuspected (maybe 800-year-old) subterranean mikveh in the 1999 excavation report’s allusion to pit feature “20”? (See the reference to “pit” in Leviticus, verse 11:36, from which the Halachah of mikveh construction is derived.) There is evidence of (“very uncomfortable”) wooden, Jewish ritual baths having existed in shtetl era Poland (for examples, in Lodz, in Bircza and in Maszewo, where fresh water was taken from a spring and poured into wooden baths), and also in Slovakia and the Pale of Settlement. It is understood that a wooden mikveh is permissible halachically, and build format was doubtless dictated by circumstances, whether era, locale or funds related. When, in 2001, archaeological excavations were carried out beneath Baltimore’s historic, then 166-year-old Lloyd Street Synagogue (the third oldest in the USA), a mikveh was revealed comprising a truncated quarter of a “wooden tub”. As in pit “20”, there were contemporaneous nails and pottery. Two medieval mikvaot were discovered during excavations in London some years back. The Milk Street mikveh was built using high-quality, squared, green-sand ashlar blocks, and was set within “a construction pit”. It is noted that the blocks were bonded with “lime mortar”. In the fill was found the base of a mid-13th century, London-ware baluster jug. Apparently, it was not known how the water was brought to the mikveh, though it seemed
clear that the tub would have needed emptying manually. Other pottery items, dated 12501350, were also found in context. The Gresham (formerly Catte) Street mikveh, also sunk within a slightly larger construction pit, was built of stone. The 1999 Huntingdon dig report described “Mutton Lane” as “a minor medieval lane running off the High Street”. It continued: “The site had not experienced dense occupation in the medieval period”, although it added: “In the northern part of the site [“Area A”], evidence of earlier activity appeared to exist in the lane frontage”. The report remarked that, “none of the [known] historic maps shows homes along the lane leading off the High Street”, but it concluded that “only with more extensive investigation can the medieval occupation of this part of Huntingdon be understood”. What purpose did the “in situ” wooden tub (found buried and preserved in clay in my “target area”) serve, if it was not a mikveh? As noted, there is manifest authentication of wooden tubs being used as Jewish ritual immersion baths, from North America to Eastern Europe; and of mikvaot being built into the base of vertical, circular pits. Wooden tubs (generally used for holding water wherever utilised) and the nearby presence of pottery jugs point up the potential significance. The River Ouse (only 120 metres east of “Area A”) and a potentially nearby, spring-water source are supportive. The fact that the (known) historic maps do not delineate “homes” alongside what is now St Clement’s Passage does not mean that none existed in medieval times (indeed, there is some post-hole evidence of such). Nor does it denote that there could not have been a stone-built synagogue in “Area A”. Archaeological evidence from Germany reveals decisively that medieval mikvaot were proximate to synagogues. And nearer to home, there is ample documentary confirmation that synagogues in medieval London were close to mikvaot, concealed from prying and maybe hostile eyes beneath the houses of affluent community leaders. There is a distinct likelihood that Huntingdon’s shul would have been sited extremely near to (even directly above) a mikveh. It is also likely that the synagogue would have been built somewhat apart from the High Street end of the medieval lane. The fact that it was burned out suggests that it was, indeed, isolated from the highly inflammable wooden residences of townsfolk. Several synagogues in Nazi Germany survived “Kristallnacht” (9 November 1938, when shuls were set ablaze) because they adjoined, or were dangerously close to, Aryan homes or other buildings. Similar examples exist from cities occupied by the Germans during the Second World War (such as Riga). And the medieval Huntingdon shul may well have been a fairly significant property (for the time), requiring extra space available only away from the crowded domestic and trade frontages along the town’s principal thoroughfare. Medieval Huntingdon’s shul housed a noteworthy library, which was auctioned by the authorities in the synagogue before it was gutted. Many of its volumes were bought “for a song” by the scholarly Monk Gregory and added to nearby Ramsey Abbey’s own extensive collection of Hebrew books (see Part 1). Constituting a valuable commodity, the synagogue’s surviving stonework was doubtless carted away for use elsewhere. It is illustrative to recall that after the dissolution of the Monasteries considerable amounts of stone from Ramsey Abbey itself were transported to Cambridge and employed in the construction of some of its colleges, including Gonville and Caius. Finally, I wonder whether there reasonable grounds to advocate that dig “Area A”, on which part of the “Muttongate” residential development now stands, marks the exact location of a ritual bath used by medieval Huntingdon’s Jewish community, and quite likely also of its synagogue? I will now seek the views of relevant experts on the available evidence…
A Winter Cruise By Barry Landy
In the winter 2012/2013 I decided to go on a Kosher cruise so that I would be guaranteed three services a day that I, as an avel, am supposed to attend. The cruise left from San Diego on a Friday and ended two weeks later in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, also on a Friday, so for Shabbat it was not possible to travel far from the port where we landed. As a result we had two Shabbatot on the ship and a third one in Miami Beach, about 30 minutes drive from Fort Lauderdale. I should explain that by "Kosher Cruise" I mean a cruise which provided Kosher catering and all Jewish necessities, but only for a small minority of the passengers. Our group was perhaps 40 strong, out of about 1300 passengers on the ship. There were in addition some other kosher-eating passengers who were provided with airline style kosher meals by the ship's caterers, and many of them joined us for services.
Above: the ship from a local viewpoint in Mexico.
We left Cambridge on the Monday and went directly to San Diego where we have friends. We stayed with one who lives in La Jolla, a neighbouring town to San Diego. There is an orthodox shul in La Jolla and I found a good minyan there every morning, travelling sometimes by taxi and sometimes borrowing our friend's car. Our friend took us to the pier to board the ship on Friday morning and we boarded, not really knowing what to expect.
Seven years ago, in 2005, we went on a cruise to Antarctica. On the second night we were invited to the Captain's Table (the only time that has ever happened to us) and remarkably the man two to my left leaned over and said, "Are you THE Barry Landy?", which I could not deny! It turned out that he was a contemporary of mine in Cambridge; I did not recognise his name as he had changed it in the intervening 50 years. Jokingly, as we boarded the cruise, Ros said, "will anyone say 'Are you THE Barry Landy?'" In best Mitt Romney style I offered to take a $10,000 bet, which she declined. She should have accepted, for as we went to the shul area on Friday evening to light candles, someone said, "Isn't it Mr Landy?" Not quite the same, but would have won the bet! It was in fact the father of a recent undergraduate (Harris Lorie). From the kashrut and services point of view the cruise went very well; we had minyanim whenever they were called (we missed one only when there was a very early excursion from the ship). I had been expecting (as an avel) to be obliged to lead all the weekday services but fortunately there was another avel in the party so we could share the duties. The food was excellent, although the portions were far too generous (I suppose that is hardly a complaint!). I volunteered to do the leyning so that was excellent as well... The weather was very nice â€“ it is always good to spend two weeks in temperatures above 25C in the middle of the winter.
Above: the lock gates closing on the Panama canal.
The cruise itself took us South from San Diego along the Mexican coast, along which we had three stops. At the first of these, Puerto Vallarta, as we were getting off the ship we bumped into Leo Davidson getting onto the ship moored alongside ours. Small world indeed. One stop in Guatemala, from which we visited for a second time Antigua, the old capital of the country which by happy accident has been preserved in the Spanish Colonial style. We had one more stop in Panama before transiting the Panama canal, and from there we sailed to Cartagena and onward to Fort Lauderdale. There was a "Rabbi in residence" who gave a very stimulating series of lectures on personal relationships based on the themes of the sidrot we were reading, and who also kept the various and widely varied passengers in check. There were many different minhagim and he very calmly and nicely steered a good line. We very much enjoyed the places we visited, especially the Panama Canal and Cartagena (Colombia), and got on well with, and enjoyed the company of, most of our fellow travellers in the Jewish group. After the cruise ended we landed at Fort Lauderdale and took a taxi to Miami Beach, about 30 miles away, where we spent Shabbat. We had an interesting Shabbat with a Chabad Rabbi and his family in Miami Beach. Unusual and warm people, he is from France and she from the Ukraine (her family made Aliyah when she was five). She is an artist. Their Shabbat table is long enough for 22 settings and would go from one end of our house to the other. Friday night he had a minyan in the house, which was really convenient. The only negative feature was the shul we went to on Shabbat morning. â€“ I have never davenned in a noisier shul, not even United Synagogue in the bad old days. The people in the shul seemed to be "Bale Batim", not newcomers who might possibly not know any better, and they literally talked the whole time, other than when they were saying the Amidah and Kedushah. I was close to the action and found it hard to follow. Ros, further away behind the screen, found it impossible. However the place itself was lovely and we got to see the boardwalk and the beach. On the Sunday, on our way home, we went to New York where we stayed for two days and got ourselves ready for the cold weather back home.
Matza-licious! By Helen Goldrein Let’s face it, everything tastes better with a layer of caramel and chocolate, and matza, it turns out, is no exception. I made this for the first time last year, following a friend’s mother’s recipe, and mistakenly made only a half batch. I quickly had to make the other half. This is so ridiculously more-ish – sweet, nutty, chocolately… mmmmm. I think this year I might follow the trend and make chocolate salted caramel matza. A sprinkling of sea salt between the caramel and chocolate ought to do the trick, I reckon. It is possible to make this parve, by substituting margarine for the butter. If you do this, the sugar and margarine will not amalgamate as with sugar and butter, but if you carry on regardless you will ultimately achieve a delicious dairy-free version of the original. Finally, the original recipe I was given was ‘American’ in that it used twice as much fat and chocolate as I have listed here, which was, in my opinion, FAR too much – I ended up scraping congealed margarine off the bottom of the first batch. However, if you want the full-on heartstopping, tooth-rotting version, simply double the butter and chocolate and away you go! Here’s the recipe: Chocolate caramel matza • 4 whole matza sheets • 200g brown sugar (I have used white sugar, and it worked fine) • 100g butter • 200g dark chocolate chips/chopped chocolate • 125g chopped almonds Heat oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking sheet with foil, dull side up, and grease well. Place the matza on the foil. 17
Combine the butter and sugar in a saucepan and boil until the sugar mixes with the melted fat and caramelises, and the mixture is a pouring consistency. Stir occasionally. Pour the mixture over the matza, covering it all evenly. The mixture will be partially absorbed by the matza. Sprinkle each matza with chocolate and bake for 5 minutes in the prepared oven. Spread the melted chocolate evenly, then sprinkle with the chopped almonds and lightly press them into the chocolate. Freeze for one hour, then break into small pieces and attempt not to eat it all at once. This can be stored in the refrigerator for several days (assuming it gets the chance).
Update – Cambridge Friends of MDA The Cambridge Friends of MDA have been active over the last few months. On Sunday 21st October 2012 at Lucy Cavendish College an 'Any Questions' panel, ably chaired by Dr Anna Abulafia, was assembled to answer questions from those attending, on a range of topics including relations between Jews in the UK and Israel. Sincere thanks to all the panellists – Arieh Iserles, academic, Julian Huppert, MP, Adele Geras, author, and Judy Rubensztein, psychiatrist – for giving their time and enthusiasm to participate in a lively discussion. Over £200 was raised for the work of MDA in Israel from entrance donations and a raffle. The Cambridge Friends of MDA are planning three more exciting events over the next few months: The first event is a joint one. MDA and the British Friends of the Technion will hold a musical concert soiree in the Bateman Auditorium at Gonville and Caius College on Sunday 5th May 2013 starting at 6.30pm, by kind permission of the College Head Prof. Sir Alan Fersht, followed by refreshments and the chance to socialise generally. The concert will be given by Zwika Vogel and his friends and associates. Zwika Vogel has appeared as a piano soloist with the Israel Philharmonic, Jerusalem & Haifa Symphony orchestras, and the programme will include classical and light pieces. Tickets are £15 including light refreshments after the concert, and are available from the committee members of Technion or MDA or by calling 01223 844503 or 01763 260809. The MDA annual Garden Party will be on Sunday 30th June 2013 from 3pm to 5pm by kind invitation of the Sansom family, at their home, 15 Latham Road, Cambridge CB2 7EG. More details nearer the date. Looking further ahead, on Sunday 29th September 2013 MDA is planning another concert in the afternoon. Peter Hewitt and his colleague Peter Fisher, both professional musicians, will play some Brahams sonatas. More details of this amazing event will be given nearer the time. Meanwhile please put all these dates in your diaries and the MDA committee look forward to seeing everyone on these splendid occasions.
Colour by numbers Colour the four cups of wine according to the numbers.
1 dark red 2 burgundy
3 maroon 4 red/purple
Pesach anagrams Can you rearrange these words to find the characters from the Haggadah? • • • • • • •
Hopeless mint Shocked twine Via Ark Bib A Baron Fat Rib Animal leg barb Eyelash Ligations Bazaar Bearably Zanier
Answers: The simple son, the wicked son, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Tarfon, Rabban Gamliel, Yossi the Galilean, Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya
Of Saturday evening’s festivities, Rabbi Reuven Leigh says, “Civilised and Purim are not a combination that one usually expects to hear, however, CTJC managed to combine an audible Megillah reading with an animated slideshow followed by a light buffet, classical music and a chinese auction for the children. The Old Library of Fitzwilliam College provided ample space for the children to play happily and for the adults to socialise comfortably. A great start to the Purim weekend.”
And of the Children’s party, on Sunday, Helen Goldrein says, “The children’s Purim party was hosted by Cambridge Hebrew School, and a good crowd of children and their parents were present, mostly in fancy dress. The children enjoyed making and sharing mishloach manot boxes, before appearing in a fancy dress parade. The crowd was then treated to the Purim story told through the medium of juggling! Who knew that Esther was chosen as queen thanks to her ability to keep 5 balls aloft simultaneously?! Bravo to Daniel Weiss for his stellar performance. The megillah followed, entertainingly read by Yoav Git who brought the story to life with his characterful voices and gestures. He was helped at the bimah by a witch, a flamenco dancer, and assorted others. The children were very engaged, taking great delight in booing and shaking their noise-makers at the relevant moments. After the reading, the children took part in arts and crafts activities. There were also plenty of hamentaschen to go around!” (See page 1 for more photos.)
Religious Calendar PESACH Anyone wishing to attend a Seder, or who knows someone who would like to attend a Seder should consult Mr Barry Landy (C. 570417) who will try to arrange a suitable host. Derby Stores (C. 354931) will take Pesach orders. Monday March 25 Fast of the Firstborn Shacharit 7:00am Finish all Chametz by 9:41am Burning of Chametz by 10:56am Festival starts 6:07pm Minchah/Maariv 6:00pm
Sunday March 31 Festival Starts 7:17pm Minchah/Maariv 7:15pm
Tuesday March 26 Shacharit 9:30am Minchah/Maariv 6:00pm First day ends 7:06pm
Monday April 1 Shacharit 9:30am Minchah/Maariv 7:15pm Last day starts 8:17pm
Wednesday March 27 Shacharit 9:30 am Festival ends 7.11pm
Tuesday April 2 Shacharit 9:30am Festival Ends 8:21pm
SHAVUOT Shavuot is in University Term, so the services are organised by the students. Minchah/Maariv times to be announced. Tuesday May 15 Festival Starts 8:33pm Wednesday May 16 Shacharit 9:30am Thursday May 17 Shacharit 9:30am Festival Ends 9:49pm TISHA B'AV Monday July 15 Fast Commences 9:10pm Maariv & Eichah 10:10pm
Tuesday July 16 Shacharit 7:00am (expected to finish about 9:00am) Minchah 1.45pm Fast ends at 10:10pm
CTJC Pesach bulletin 2013