Friday, 6 June 2014

Shavout Highlights

OK, so this is a thread so people can share their experiences of this year's Shavout, be it good, bad, something spiritual, a food recipe or if you are not a Jew, feel free to ask us questions about it. 

I'll kick off with my own downs & highlights- 

1) Food- excellent as ever. A great Sephardi/Ashkenazi fusion. I did the cooking,  as it is my week in the kitchen (and let us not forget one of many jobs has been to be a trained chef ).

2) Flowers- house was suitably decorated without being too garish and the smell has been very fragrant.

3) Tuesday night study- I've mentioned this before ,but I didn't stay up all night (I believe Hannah and Co did, though), in part because we've got younger members of our family, but also because our teenagers are doing 'A' level or 'GCSE' exams at the moment.  I do miss this in one way. I remember when I really got back into my Judaism at university and spent all night studying Torah with the person that was going to become my first wife, enjoying every single minute of it. And that's how I got my big black hat.

4) Family not present- Missed my eldest daughter, Natasha, who has been doing exams at university all week. Looking forward to the end of June, when it will be done. I do also miss my sister Esther, my sister Ruth  and brother Sholmo.

5)Sex - Fabulous love making with Mrs K.

6) Reading -We did read the book of Ruth and studied the 10 'Commandments', where we contrasted this with the 7 laws of Noah. Interestingly, the laws which bind all humanity don't call on people to believe in or worship G-d.

7) Leftovers -Still have cheesecake left over. 

8) Family Present -Great to see my sisters Hannah & Rachel and my brother Samuel on the second day, who were surprisingly alert, given their all night stay up.

9) Hilarious e-mail read before holiday ,began with - 'Mr Kavanagh. as tool of the international Zionist conspiracy'....

10) Favorite song - The Akdamut . This is a liturgical poem, written in Aramaic, sometimes put to music .It was composed by a person called Rabbi Meir, whose son was murdered during the 'Crusade' of 1096 (yet another reason why I cringe at Christians & some Jews, who think there should be another Crusade or think the original ones were somehow OK), and he was forced to defend the Torah and his Jewish faith in a debate with local priests, and successfully conveyed his certainty of G-d's power, His love for the Jewish people, and the excellence of Torah (perhaps stories like this might convey why Jews are extremely hostile to Christian missionary work, but also why we are steadfast in defending ourselves; if  your life depended on arguing for your faith, it becomes rather ingrained to debate well).

Well that's my brief summary.

Shabbat Shalom! 


  1. 'Mr Kavanagh. as the tool of the international Zionist conspiracy'....


  2. Hi David,

    Well it was good to see you on the second night and me and our housemates had a fab time on the first one. Great meal; we had Challah, Chicken Tagine and cheese cake. Really enjoyed staying up to study the Torah from cover to cover. Our bro Sam put on his Fedora and we did Kabbolas HaTorah... We had plenty of coffee, cheesecake,blintz, Khai,siete cielos, olives, Smaltz Herring & malt whiskey. We started at 9.30pm and finished at 9.30 Am, the next day .

    Amazing what 5 Jews, 2 agnostics and 1 Anglican can come up with, over ! Also enjoyed reading the text in Hebrew and Aramaic- and helping others to understand these languages, as I've been a bit lazy recently, by using English translations of the Torah and Talmud . Big highlights for me was looking again at the Genesis creation account, The Ten Commandments and Shabbat 31 a, among loads of other stuff! (:

  3. The laws of Noah? What are they? I thought this was about the 10 commandments ?

  4. Hannah,

    LOL! Is Dave still 'the Vulcan' ??

  5. Dave,

    Like you it was a mixed bag. Did stay up to do Torah, study, but with school kids still needing to go to school, neither I nor Pete did an all nighter. I'm glad I'm not the only one with cheesecake left!

  6. Time for a song -

  7. Hannah

    The answer is that our Rabbis interpret the 7 laws of Noah in a much more lenient way as our laws, because Gentiles do not have the benefit of the oral Torah. And whilst being a Christian is idol worship to a Jew, because Christians themselves claim strict monotheism, this does not for them constitute idol worship. I believe the same is true for Hindus, as like Christians they actually have 1 God, but different aspects of the same, although Maimonides did argue that Hindus were idolaters, I think the situation has changed somewhat now, because we've all got to know each other a bit better; besides which Hindus have never persecuted or harmed Jews in any way shape or form and our interfaith relationships are nothing other than amicable (as you know via Mrs K's Welsh -Hindu family).

    From Wikipedia -

    "The world's first Jewish-Hindu interfaith leadership summit, spearheaded by Hindu organisations in India and Jewish organisations in Israel, as well as the American Jewish Committee, was held in New Delhi on February 2007. The chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger, was actively involved in the dialogue, together with Swami Dayanand Saraswati. They stated that "The Jewish and Hindu communities are committed to the ancient traditions of Judaism and Hindu dharma respectively, and have both, in their own ways, gone through the painful experiences of persecution, oppression and destruction." Mertzger quoted:

    "For thousands of years we have marched on parallel causes and have now built bridges of cooperation between the two religions. Jews have lived in India for over 2000 years and have never been discriminated against. This is something unparalleled in human history".

    A second Hindu-Jewish summit took place in Jerusalem in February 2008. There, the Jewish delegation accepted that true Hindus accept One Supreme Being and do not think that the representations used in worship are idols. Despite snowy weather in Jerusalem, the Hindu delegation visited and said their prayers at the Kotel, also known as the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites for Jews.

    In June 2009, another Hindu-Jewish interfaith meet was held in New York and Washington. The International Hindu-Jewish Leadership Dialogue was hosted by the American Jewish Committee, the Hindu American Foundation, and the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and was sponsored by the World Council of Religious Leaders. It began with a lunch and presentations amid saffron-robed swamis, dark-suited rabbis, and Hindu lay leaders wearing lapel pins combining the Israeli, Indian, and American flags."

    And this was from the same article -

    "The Bnei Menashe ("Children of Menasseh", Hebrew בני מנשה) are a group of more than 8,000 people from India's remote North-Eastern border states of Manipur and Mizoramwho claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel. It is believed that the Assyrian Empire exiled the tribe of Manassah almost 3,000 years ago. Although they settled in Northeast India, tribe members kept their Jewish roots for more than 2,000 years. On March 31, 2005 Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, one of Israel's two chief rabbis, accepted the Bnei Menashe's claim because of their exemplary devotion to Judaism. His decision was significant because it paved the way for all of the Bnei Menashe to enter Israel under Israel's Law of Return. In the past two decades, some 1,300 Bnei Menashe have moved to Israel. Indian Jews including the Bnei Menashe have never suffered anti-Semitism in India, but they regard Israel as their homeland and decided to emigrate "on Zionist considerations."

  8. We're just getting too young for this aren't we?

  9. Hi David,

    Thanks for that full explanation, much appreciated!

  10. Hi Terry

    I think David has explained to you the laws of noah below , so I won't add anything further to that comment.

  11. Great stuff Ruth! Thanks for sharing,of course a Torah scroll is better off being with the Jewish community than some stuffy museum !

  12. Thanks Esther,
    Sephardi music is soooo expressive !


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