Hamaor Community – News, November 2017 to February 2018
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This is a very exciting time for Beis Gavriel as we have found our new and permanent home for shul services and events on Sunningfields Road. Work is well underway with the physical planning of our new centre. Whilst our temporary location in Spectrum House is geographically challenging for most our membership, nonetheless it has been a great success due to our members showing much support until we move into our new building!
THURSDAY NIGHT ‘LEIL SHISHI LEARNING’
The men enjoy this event every week, with cholent and kugel. The rov gives a general shiur whilst others learn in chavrusa.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT WOMEN’S SHIUR
This is now in action, with the participants learning parshas hashavua and the Tanya.
SHIUR AFTER DAVENING
This takes place on Sunday mornings – Reb Saul Djanogly leads a thought-provoking discussion on ‘Money and the parsha’ which focuses on the Torah’s a
pproach to many of life’s challenges that we face today.
A farbregen for men in honour of the previous Rebbe’s yahrtzeit, was held on Yud Shvat. It was a chassidic gathering of warmth, inspiration and nigunim, led by R’Mendel Kalmenson, who is the Rabbi of Beit Baruch and executive director of Chabad of Belgravia, London. He is also the author of the popular seforim “Seeds of Wisd
om” and “A Time to Heal”.
BEIS GAVRIEL FORUM MEETING
With our new physical building on the horizon, it was time to formulate the vision, values and goals of our treasured community. A select committee was invited to take part and give their input in assisting us in molding the future. The evening was coordinated by our consultant David Goldberg who has 30 years of experience in assisting charities to achieve their strategic aims.
beis hamedrash nishmas yisroel
trip to kerestir
A group of over 40 members of the shul enjoyed a brief but unique trip to Hungary this past Motzoei Shabbos for a melave malka by Reb Shayale of Kerestir.
Departing quickly after Shabbos, the group, led by their dynamic Rov Rabbi Dovid Tugendhaft, arrived in Bodrogkeresztúr at close to 4am local time. Despite the lateness of the hour, a beautiful seudah awaited them arranged by the hachnosas orchim at ‘Reb Shayale’s Guest House.’
During the melave malka, the visitors were regaled with stories about Reb Shayale and with divrei Torah from Rabbi Tugendhaft and Rabbi Shloime Yitzchok Bixenspanner of Hendon Adath, who also joined the trip. There were moments of lively dancing as well as contrasting periods of kumzits-style singing with the lights dimmed and candles flickering creating a warm and uplifting atmosphere – not too dissimilar to the unique shalosh seudos held each week at Nishmas Yisroel.
Immediately after the melave malka, the group made the short journey to the tziyon of Reb Yeshaya who’s legacy as a “people’s Rebbe” who resolved unsolvable problems, healed the incurably ill, and warmed souls numb with cold continues to draw Yidden from around the globe nearly 100 years since his holy soul left this world.
As dawn approached, the group davened Shacharis at Reb Shayale’s house which has been restored to it’s former pre-war glory offering all manner of visitors a constant flow of hot meals and minyonim, as well as a mikva and a warm place to stay for those seeking a yeshua or simply an injection of classical chassidish ruchniyus and varemkeit.
After breakfast and on the way back to the airport, a stop was made to daven at the kever of the Yismach Moshe in Ujhel (Sátora
ljaújhely) as well as at the old Beis Hachayim in Ujhel to afford Mr Hershy Stimler the opportunity to say Kaddish at the grave of his grandfather who lived in Ujhel before the war.
The group greatly benefited from the presence of Rabbi Nosson Maimon of Breslev Yerushalayim who joined the trip having been in London for a lecture tour. Rabbi Maimon’s warm and engaging manner and inspiring divrei Torah on the various coach journeys added an additional dimension to the trip as he spoke of the importance of pushing one’s self and leaving one’s ‘comfort-zone’ in order to achieve spiritual advancement.
Those fortunate enough to have taken part in this exhausting yet memorable trip certainly left their own ‘comfort zones’ but will have no regrets as the unique aura of Reb Shayale continues to radiate in their hearts and minds.
On a cold winter evening in 2011, Nishmas Yisroel led by Rabbi Dovid Tugendhaft joined the Dirshu revolution – learning one omud of Mishna Berura each evening as part of a worldwide cycle. This past Monday 8th January, the Kehilla commemorated the completion of all six chalokim of Mishna Berurah with a Siyum and Seudah for it’s members.
Nishmas Yisroel joined the Dirshu cycle part way through Cheilek Gimmel and whilst their siyum was therefore later than the worldwide Dirshu siyumim, it marked a particularly special achievement for this young community.
Already in it’s 9th year Nishmas Yisroel’s joined the Dirshu programme when their kehilla was located in a makeshift shed in the rear of another shul on Brent Street. Attendants to the nightly 9.45 shiur had to bundle up with coats and scarves to compensate for the poor heating and leaking roof. Now a constituent member of the Federation of Synagogues and occupying a prominent building across the road on Brent Green, Nishmas Yisroel members can proudly reflect on the achievement of 7 consecutive years of Dirshu shiurim every Sunday to Thursday evening.
The siyum was coordinated to coincide with the yahrtzeit of Mr Bernard Tugendhaft z’l, The Rov’s late father. The Rov made the hadran in front of a large gathering of over 80 members as well as a group of ladies who’s husbands attend the nightly shiurim.
During the seudah, Dayan Lichtenstein, Rosh Beis Din of the Federation praised the kehilla on this remarkable milestone and stressed the importance and benefits of learning practical halochoh lemaisoh as part of a daily kevius. Rabbi Tugendhaft presented seforim to those who had diligently attended the Dirshu shiurim since it’s inception.
Members Yossi Klein and Jonathan Kaye who frequently give the shiur in place of Rabbi Tugendhaft also shared some thoughts and memories with the Kehillo and praised the Rov for his dedication to the shul as well as the clear and concise manner in which his shiurim are delivered.
The Rov’s father in law, Rabbi Alan Kimche concluded the evening with a warm tribute to his son-in-law pointing out how even the most accomplished balei batim need the guidance of the Mishna Beruruah to deal with everyday halachic situations.
Nishmas Yisroel boast an audio archive of thousands of Dirshu shiurim which are uploaded and shared through their website. The shiurim are listened to as far away as America and Germany by those participating in the Dirshu cycle.
Croydon Synagogue held its yearly Chanukah service on 17 December. The event was led by Rabbi Natan Asmoucha and attended by 75 congregants from across the South London Jewish community. Attendees all took part in candle lighting and enjoyed fresh salt beef and homemade latkes. The community was honoured by the attendance of our constituency MP Sarah Jones (Labour Croydon Central), who is pictured with Anthony Bond, President of Croydon Synagogue.
During November, Rabbi Roberts continued his lectures on the series “Contemporary Torah”, which were enjoyed by many.
In December, the Ladies Guild held a Craft Fair with many showing crafts made by them at home. These were then sold to raise money to help with items for the kitchen. Apart from the stalls there was finger painting for the children and nail art and hair styling for the teenagers.A Melavah Malka was held in January with Rabbi Brandman as speaker. This was very well attended and we all enjoyed Rev. Eli Sufrin singing followed by a most amusing talk by Rabbi Brandman.In February we have a showing of the film “The Freedom Writers” including a deli supper.In March there is the Gentleman’s quiz, which has been started because the Ladies’ quiz is so successful that they are jealous!
kehillas netzach yisroel
Over the past few months KNY has held a family bingo event on Shabbos Chanukah; relaunched the youth minyan with a new youth leader; continued the monthly Friday night learning programme; and held a sold out Friday night meal.
The shul is now looking forward to a sponsored ice skating event, a Purim party including a drum café and a motzei Shabbos discussion with Rabbi Roberts, focusing on a topical issue.
a tribute to chover leon topol, by michael kleiman
After living on the other side of Edgware and being members of the United, Susie and I moved to our current house in 1987 and joined the Yeshurun that year. By deciding to sit on the left hand side of the Shul as you walk in by pure chance I ended up sitting near and then across the aisle from our dear departed Chover Leon Topol (z’l).He was welcoming form the start and interested in where I was brought up etc and after a ‘gentle’ interrogation about my family –once we had established that my father had also grown up in Stamford Hill and davened at Egerton Road Shul he looked at me with that whimsical look of his and told me “you have got some decent background so you should be ok!”
This indeed was the case as when my Father (z’l) came to Yeshurun on many occasions he got on famously with Leon talking about the old days in Stamford Hill and the great Chazanim they had heard – and then of course commenting quite loudly between them about who was ever davening on the Bimah at Yeshurun at that time !
Being in Shul davening and involved with the running of Yeshurun meant everything to Leon and his knowledge of Nusach and structure of the Teffilahs was deep. Whether it was listening to one of the main set pieces over the Yomim Noraim like Unesaneh Tokef or the Nusach used by the Chazan when saying Birchas Cha’chodesh on a Shabbat morning Leon was always listening out to make sure it was being done correctly and to his liking.There was always quite bit of pressure on a Shabbat or Yom Tov morning when Leon would suddenly turn to me and say for example “what that the right tune for Kaddish after leyning on a Yom Tov morning?” – so I had to think quickly on my feet and go through the possibilities in my mind before answering –hopefully giving the right answer –but one look from Leon would let me know if I was right or wrong, with often him saying “ well what Nussach should he be using” – and then expecting me to sing it.
His love of Yeshurun and the Kehillah was heartfelt and he took immense pride in running the Yeshurun GEMACH fund which he did with complete discretion and ensured that anyone who needed funds would receive them .He was also an important member of the Selection Committee in appointing Rabbi Lewis after the retirement of Dayan Lopian (z’tl) with his knowledge and understanding of the appropriate ‘Semichas ‘ being crucial in this process
Leon was also the author of a detailed history of Yeshurun which was a difficult task digging out and putting together all the information and even spending hours trawling through the minutes of old Board of Management meetings covering the period 1946 to 1976 and which was published in 2006 to commemorate the Diamond Anniversary of Yeshurun
He gave wonderful service to Yeshurun being a Warden from 1987 to 1989, President from 1989 to 1992 then again from 1995 to 1998 and of course was
a prominent member of the Board of Mangement for many years
He was also for an extended period the Gabbai of the Yeshurun Yeshiva and Seminary Fund which has benefited many of the youth in our community allowing them to further their Jewish education
He was also held the position of Chover of the Shul and also Life President
One highlight for him was teaching his Grandson Jaimie to Daven with the correct Nuscah to lead the services over the Yomim Noraim in our Youth Service and then having the ‘nachas’ to see Jaimie don his Kittel and Daven for our Youth from the Amud on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur .He also taught Jaimie how to lead the service on Hoshanah Rabah morning -which is one of the most complicated Davenings to lead from the Amud –which made him very proud
Notwithstanding coping with his illness not being able to come to Shul regularly over the last 2 years was a huge blow to Leon as walking into Yeshurun every week – always smartly dressed with a wonderful collection of ties-was a huge part of his life. Not seeing him sitting in his seat at the end of the row also left a huge gap in the Shul and for those of us who sat near him we will miss him
We hope that the wonderful memories of Leon at Yeshurun will give some comfort to Madelaine and all Leon’s close family and friends at this difficult time
Lachen ba’aal harachamim yastirem beseser kena;vav le’olamim –veyitzror bitzror ha’chaim es nishmaso”
“Therefore may the Master of mercy shelter him in the shadow of his wings for eternity-and may he bind his soul up in the bond of life”
In loving memory of Chover Leon Topol –HaChover Ze’ev Ben Ephraim Reuven
The Yeshurun had a very successful Chanukah Roadshow organised by Rabbi Landau and enjoyed by many members