Abraham's Journey

Abraham's Journey11 Nov 2016

Sometimes, stories can help us heal. In light of political developments, we turn to a creative re-telling of a famous story, a midrash, of sorts, on the journey of Avram ben Terach to becoming Avraham Avinu.

After the Flood

After the Flood03 Nov 2016

This week we read the story of Noah. Our Rabbi blogger, Howard Cooper, takes a look at the rainbow and it's meaning within the biblical story as well as Judaism of past and present.

In the beginning

In the beginning27 Oct 2016

Just after Simchat Torah, as we commence with the Torah readings anew, it seems only right to start things off with an in-depth reading of the very first lines... Rabbi Howard Cooper takes us on an exploration with a little help of Rashi and Genesis Rabbah.

Kafka's Midrash

Kafka's Midrash20 Oct 2016

A final meditation on the festival behind us, prompted by a parable by Franz Kafka: on the calendar year, on the Torah, and the journey.

The Feast of Wandering and Rest

The Feast of Wandering and Rest14 Oct 2016

“The invitation of guests, strangers, ‘outsiders’, into one’s home or one’s community is a habitual part of Jewish social living, but it receives a special emphasis during Sukkot.” Read on to discover its symbolic layers and practical implications.

On Yom Kippur

On Yom Kippur07 Oct 2016

For the religious, the meaning (and weight) of Yom Kippur are clear. Our Rabbi-in-Residence, Howard Cooper offers a perspective on Yom Kippur that might prove meaningful - and useful - to all.

Way out of the forest

Way out of the forest30 Sep 2016

"A man had been wandering about in a forest for several days..." What can an old parable offer us for consideration over Rosh HaShana and the upcoming holidays?

Our homeland, the text

Our homeland, the text23 Sep 2016

Rabbi Howard Cooper:"The Talmud was a Euro-text centuries before the European Union was dreamed up." In light of the rise of right-wing nationalism across Europe, we are reminded of our centuries-old belonging to a trans-national community, neither dependent on, nor limited by, nationality.

Difficult Questions

Difficult Questions16 Sep 2016

Rabbi Howard Cooper: Are we ‘in the hands of God’ - as traditional religious language might put it? Or are we ‘the hands of God’ - as contemporary religious existential language might put it? This is the season for a creative wrestling with this question.

To the unbelievable

To the unbelievable09 Sep 2016

"Fifteen years on, have the toxic images generated by that event faded? Or have we come to normalise terror?" It is the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and Rabbi Howard Cooper offers a reflection on external as well as internal threats, and Judaism's attitude to both.

Elul: the stories we tell

Elul: the stories we tell02 Sep 2016

The High Holidays are ushered in with the onset of Elul - a month of reflection and preparation. Our Rabbi-in-Residence, Howard Cooper, shares his thoughts on the importance of personal stories and storytelling, and how they relate to personal change.

Cab Conversations

Cab Conversations26 Aug 2016

“So you are religious then? You believe in God?” They feel heartened by this, as if the unexpected, incongruous combination of a young blonde woman as a religious leader inspires them somehow. What I rarely, if ever, get is hostility.

Shabbat Nachamu

Shabbat Nachamu21 Aug 2016

The Shabbat after Tisha B'Av is special. Our Rabbi-in-Residence, Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz explains what is the 'ikar' - 'the essence' of the reading from Isaiah.

The First Time I Approached the Torah

The First Time I Approached the Torah19 Aug 2016

One year ago, I read the Torah for the first time, a passage from the parashah Be-Ha'alotekha. Today, I write my first Dvar Torah in order to share the values I believe in.

All that is Tisha B’Av

All that is Tisha B’Av12 Aug 2016

In this week’s pre-Shabbat blog, our Rabbi-in-Residence tackles upcoming Tisha B’Av and how not only the Temple, but also Jewish values such as chesed (graciousness) and redeeming the world fit into it. Let the Talmudic tale of Bar Kamtza lead the reflection...

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