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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27 Aug 2015

Seeing is Believing – 5776 The central Torah reading of Rosh Hashanah is Akedat Yitzhak, the Binding of Isaac. It demonstrates Avraham’s complete submission to G-d; his willingness to even sacrifice his beloved son Yitzhak. Within the narrative, however, there is a peculiar exchange between Avraham and Yitzhak. Yitzhak…

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