If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?
Stuart Goodman, editor of the Norwich Liberal Jewish Community newsletter, selects The Human Family from Siddur Lev Chadash
Mazeltov! Norwich Liberal Jewish Community celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special Shabbat service with members, friends and dignitaries including the lord mayor and sheriff of Norwich and the chair of the county council.
At the end, Rabbis Leah Jordan and Danny Rich invited children from our community, mostly members of our cheder, to join them on the bimah.
We look on our cheder as probably the most vital part of our community. We live in a rural county with a small Jewish population. In effect, our cheder is less an education provision than a way for our youth to meet, socialise and mix with other Jewish youngsters. In most cases they are the only Jewish children in their schools and the experience is valuable.
A few years ago, my daughter came back from a trip to the USA with a gift – a packet of serviettes. The image showed children excitedly opening presents under a Christmas tree.
The message: “Now was probably not the best time to tell the kids they were Jewish” – very funny on one hand, very sad on another. Which brings me to my Desert Island Text. Taken from Liberal Judaism’s Siddur Lev Chadash, specifically from the Readings on Various Themes, it is the section on ‘The Human Family’.
“Who are our brothers and sisters? Are they only members of our own family or clan or people or nation? All men and women of every colour and creed, of every race and nation are our brothers and sisters, for we are all members of the human family.” A comforting thought for the splendid isolation of life on a desert island. And no eight records for company, as other castaways are allowed.
What did John Donne write about no man being an island?