Sign In Forgot Password

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat T'tzavveh 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

There are many aspects of my job which I completely love but a particular one is something many of you will have experienced about me but most wouldn’t know to be a thing. As the rabbi of a community of 1000 households I take an inordinate amount of pride in members doing extraordinary...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Bo 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

It took a drama for me to get on board as well.  I’d vaguely heard about the Post Office scandal.  I’d read something about it years ago and knew it clearly wasn’t all that it seemed, but not knowing anyone personally affected, not knowing anyone who ran a Post Office at all and not...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

Shabbat Va-y'chi 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Howard's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

There are some Biblical verses – well, many if truth be told - that lie dull and lifeless on the page for us modern readers. They no longer speak to us – if they ever did. That’s probably our limitation, not theirs. But over time we...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Mikketz 5784

 You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

 

I have spent the week lighting candles. When I say that, I don’t just mean it’s Chanukah and therefore each night I quietly lit the chanukiah, I mean that again and again and again each day I was telling the story of Chanukah or teaching a little message as I did so when...Read more...

Rabbi Tony Bayfield

Shabbat Hanukkah 5784       

Numbers 7: 87-9

You can listen to Rabbi Tony's sermon here or read it below

 

 

 

As you’ll discover in about three and a half minutes, this second Torah reading for Shabbat Hanukkah is short but particularly obscure. Which is why Jo Ozin...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Va'yishlach 5784

 You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

Iryna is the Ukrainian lady who lives with her husband and 3 children in the family home my father-in-law vacated to give them a new chance in life when war broke out in Ukraine. They are doing brilliantly...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Va-yeitzei 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

 

I usually write my sermon some time during the week. I know what I want to reflect on,...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Vayera 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

I have an image from films, TV dramas, novels and sadly also the news, an image of the accused sex-offender, who knows he is innocent but is left skulking around town waiting for their trial.  The local community have already found them guilty so as they walk down the road, collar up and...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Shabbat Lech L'cha 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Deborah's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

I’m going to be honest, I’m not trained for this. Actually, I suspect almost none of us are. I studied medicine, education, Jewish law, ethics and pastoral care. I know about grief, about listening, and about learning. 

I never took the module in military strategy, or...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Shabbat Noach 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Deborah's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

 

In the October half term before the pandemic, exactly 4 years ago this weekend, I was in Israel. Along with other leaders in our Reform movement we spent a remarkable morning at kibbutz Nachal Oz, sitting and listening to residents and local leaders talking about their lives right...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Bereishit 5784 – Israel at War

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

My knowledge of “secular music” as Cantor Zoe calls it, or at least current music, usually comes through the walls of an almost teenager’s bedroom or accompanies lifts to and from school; it even makes the sounds of guitar lessons a pleasure to have echoing around...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Neilah 5784

There’s something about this time of the day on Yom Kippur. The emotion of Yizkor and our awareness of the preciousness of life, the feelings of love, the complicated feelings, the fragility of it all. It’s all sitting here in the room with us, tired, a bit hungry, aware of the dimming light, the sense that the day is fading, and we become more and more aware of how raw this can all be. A room full of people,...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Yom Kippur Morning 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Deborah's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

At night, it prowled the streets of Prague, defending the people of the ghetto from attack. The golem of Prague, a creature made from the clay of the Vltava river, animated by the Hebrew letters written on its forehead, a mythical creature of great stature and, depending on which story you read,...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Kol Nidre 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

It seems this moment to talk, Kol Nidre at FRS, can be rather more powerful than I ever imagined.  When I convinced Jonni, a really very...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

2nd day Rosh Hashanah 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Howard's sermon here or read it below

 

 

 

Let me start with a question: how do you, we, keep track of what we go through every passing hour, the dense profusion of thoughts, emotions, intuitions, anxieties, confusions, that add up to our lives? How do we keep track of, how do we chronicle, the hidden regions of our hearts? Our...Read more...

Rabbi Tony Bayfield

1st day Rosh Hashanah 5784

Challenged to produce a Rosh Hashanah morning service with no prayer book, I realised that Screen 5 at the Vue allowed me to integrate all the components: liturgy, music, study passages, Torah reading, Musaf responsive readings and sermon) around a coherent theme. The downside of this is that the sermon doesn’t stand alone and is dependent on its context. For the beginning of the service, I wrote a...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

1st day Rosh Hashanah 5784

Are you in the mood at this point in our service for something a bit different? A bit of light relief maybe?  I hope so. I want to try something out with you. The sermon slot is probably not normally associated with light relief but anyway I’m going to talk to you a bit about Rosh Hashanah, the New Year - but I’m going to ask you to do something, something participatory, if you can. (Don’t worry...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Erev Rosh Hashanah 5784

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

We do a lot of our internal communications on a platform called “slack”.  Whilst discussing the communication to the community around the announcement of my stepping down, I messaged back, “please can we remember I haven’t died!”  Immediately an automated response from...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Selichot 5783

You can listen to Rabbi Deborah's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

This evening I wanted to tell you about a man named Dashrath Manjhi. He was from a village in the East Indian state of Bihar called Gehlaur. He fell in love with a woman named Falguni Devi and they were married. Like many villagers they had to climb mountains daily to get the water, food, medicines, and...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Sermon Nitzavim

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below

 

 

 

Government can’t be that different a place to work than any other offices. So, when big issues arise it’s so hard not to imagine the conversations going on behind the big imposing doors of Westminster being rather similar to a school staff room, a shul office or any major company.

“Well...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

Shabbat Ki Tavo

You can listen to Rabbi Howard's sermon here or read it below

 

 


Cami’s outstanding introduction to her Torah portion homed in some key themes: the theological problems with reward and punishment  in the text, then her psychologically acute description of how she saw Moses as attempting to encourage the Israelites to be the ‘best versions of themselves’ and this...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Shemesh

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below

 

 

 

Shabbat Shemesh is a very quiet one in our house.  While Jonni and I are left with our own memories of summers spent with RSY and the videos we can play in our memories, of life-long friends enjoying crazy, wholesome fun in boarding schools and run down activity...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

Shabbat B’midbar

You can listen to Rabbi Howard's sermon here or read it below

 

 

 

When Susan shared her thoughts with us earlier, one of the themes that caught my attention was this question of whether as Jews we want to be counted - to stand up and be counted, recognised in our group identity by the powers that be; or whether we wanted to be quiet, to slip under the radar, as...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Shabbat Terumah

You can listen to Rabbi Deborah's sermon here or read it below

   

 

A number of years ago at the conference of the European Union for Progressive Judaism in London, a question was posed by (or in the name of) Jeremy Leigh. It was remarked that sitting in large fancy rooms eating dinner has been a hallmark of many moments in Jewish history. And so we were asked, if someone was...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Shabbat Vay'chi  

73.6% of statistics are made up

Apparently

Or at least that’s what the internet told me- and it could be right, or at least it sounds about right, it makes the point I want it to make anyway, so I’ll use it.

I suppose it’s a bit like that thing that Einstein said about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Or maybe it was...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

Shabbat Va-yiggash

You can listen to Rabbi Howard's sermon here or read it below.

 

 


Okay, I have a quiz question for you: what connects these three people? David Hockney, Gwyneth Paltrow and the novelist Ian McEwan? I’ll give you some time to think about.  

This is the time of the year when the newspapers are full of quizzes, puzzles, games – I suppose they reckon that people...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Shabbat Tol'dot

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 


“Lo alecha ham'lacha ligmor,  V'lo ata ben chorim l'hibatil mimena”

It’s not up to you to finish the work but neither are you free to abstain from it.


I, like many of you, have been singing these words since I was little, in school, in shul, on camp and understood this quote from pirkei...Read more...

Rabbi Howard Cooper

Yom Kippur Ne'ilah 5783

 

 

 

So – here we are at Neilah: this is the service tradition calls ‘Closing’, which makes sense (it’s the end of this marathon day we’ve had, 25 hours) : so it’s Closing Time, and we put in our last orders (so to speak), our last pleas, our last requests, And because it’s closing time, the energy is changing, we are moving from  the solemnity of Yizkor,...Read more...

Rabbi Deborah Blausten

Yom Kippur Shacharit 5783 - Bitachon

You can listen to Rabbi Deborah's sermon here or read it below.

 

 

 

At some point in my journey to the rabbinate I learnt a secret- when rabbis are a bit dubious about the content of liturgy, they avoid reading the English. I learnt this the hard way, leading Hallel, our festival psalms for the first time. 

I found myself...Read more...

Rabbi Miriam Berger

Kol Nidre 5783

You can listen to Rabbi Miriam's sermon here or read it below.

 

 


Sat at the side of the hospice bed there is a quiet tranquillity.  There is an inevitability, a certainty that is painful and yet reassuring.  We know what to do and how to behave when given absolutes of how things will definitely play out.  The certainty allows people to relax into their roles.  To...Read more...

Thu, 29 February 2024 20 Adar I 5784