18 Aug 2016

It’s now been one year since I moved to London, and what a year it’s been! A new position, a new home, and a new culture all at once. While I miss friends, family and familiarity, I’m thrilled with the move and all that’s come along with it. I…

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13 Jul 2016

I write this post in the hope of answering a question that I’ve been pondering for the past few months. What is the world’s longest continuously running synagogue? I ask not about the oldest synagogue building, or about an uninterrupted religious tradition that may have survived geographic dislocation. Rather, I…

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28 Jun 2016

As an American living in England, I’m often asked about Donald Trump. Now as a resident of England, my American friends ask me about Brexit. From the lack of city workers in the London coffee shops midday on Friday, but from the very large crowds drinking outside the pubs,…

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23 Jun 2016

Every city is unique, each with its own climate, ebb and flow, culture and pace. As a rabbi, it is important for me to understand a place’s character so that I can better actualise its potential. London is of course no different, and it is not surprising that it…

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01 Jun 2016

The term parnas is usually translated as the president or prince of the community. Indeed, the head of the mahamad in London is even called the parnas presidente. However, the term parnas actually means much more. I’ve noticed that when some historians try to characterise the nature of the…

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23 May 2016

Touro Synagogue, Newport, RI The Jewish trial of the century has just concluded. The trial pitted the oldest American Jewish community against the oldest American synagogue. At stake was the legacy of America’s Colonial era Jews. The oldest remaining synagogue building in (what is today) the United States is the Touro…

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19 May 2016

One of the most noticeable features at many of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogues are the canonical robes worn by the rabbis and hazanim (often called ministers). They are striking because they are so similar in style to gowns traditionally worn by many Protestant ministers. Wearing them therefore seems to transgress the Biblical prohibition of ‘thou…

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05 Feb 2016

The Torah contains laws that govern slavery, whether captured in war or enslaved to pay off debts. In fact, it is no secret that Sephardim owned slaves. This is particularly true of the Western Sephardim of the 17th and 18th centuries, including those of the Caribbean, New York, Amsterdam,…

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09 Dec 2015

It’s now been over three months since I arrived in the UK and at Bevis Marks Synagogue. As you might expect, it’s taken some time to adjust to my new surroundings and to a new home. That being said, I’ve found the transition exhilarating and I’m energised by our…

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21 Oct 2015

Lekh Lekha: The Secret of Circumcision – 5776 – By Rabbbi Shalom Morris The practice of newborn male circumcision is synonymous with Jews and Judaism. The Torah records that the commandment of this procedure was first directed at Abraham and his family. Since that time the descendants of Abraham…

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