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Rabbi & Rebbetzin Liss

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July 15, 2021

Bat Mitzvah Challah Bake

Just some of the pictures and quotes from The Bat Mitzvah Group's Challah Bake!IMG-20210715-WA0011

"Thank you so so much Shuli for an incredible evening. We had the best time! And loved learning all the new braiding techniques. The challah is delicious!"
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"Thank you Shuli, we had a great time with you all!"
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Shuli thank you so much for arranging such a wonderful challah bake. L and I so enjoyed the evening.The challah tasted delicious. It feels so wonderful to be part of such a lovely community.IMG-20210715-WA0011
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Pastries
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Greetings in the Shul Magazine, High Points.

We are currently preparing the Rosh Hashanah 2021 edition of the Shul magazine, High Points.  We always include a section on community New Year greetings.

Would you like to include a personal or family New Year’s greeting this year?   If so, please send us your response as soon as possible and by no later than Monday 16 August 2021 to catch the copy deadline. 

Please specify in your response what size of greeting you would like to place. The suggested donations are as follows:
 

Single line.......£15

Quarter-page..£40

Half-page....... £70

Full-page.......£125


Examples from previous years can be seen by clicking here
N.B. the images alongside the greetings are applied randomly.
 

Please email your request and greeting text to office@highgateshul.com. The ways to pay are set out below.

Many thanks

Robert Gibber
Editorial Team

Ways to Pay


BANK TRANSFER
Acct Name: Highgate United Synagogue
Sort Code:   60-14-37
Account No: 78472733
Please add your surname and a description as the reference for the payment, for instance “CohenMagazine

Please email the office to inform us if you are paying this way.

CREDIT/DEBIT CARD
Please call the Synagogue Office on 020 8340 7655 to pay this way or fill in the remittance advice slip at the bottom of this page and return to the Office either as a scan or hard copy at your earliest convenience.

CHEQUE
Please make payable to United Synagogue and send it in together with a remittance advice slip to the Office at Highgate Synagogue, 57 North Road, LONDON, N6 4BJ. Please note that a charity voucher cannot be used to pay for a magazine greeting.

Please click the image below to obtain a remittance advice slip you can print.

Remittance Advice Slip

July 08, 2021

HIGHPOINTS MAGAZINE: BACK TO SHUL EDITION

Highpoints 2021

June 17, 2021

Bat Mitzvah Group Trip to the Mikveh

Just some of the pictures and quotes from The Bat Mitzvah Group's a trip to the Mikveh:

"As usual it was a beautiful and very inspiring evening! Thank you so much."

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"Thanks Shuli. It brought back happy memories".IMG-20210616-WA0008

"Thank you Shuli! A and I had such a fun and informative evening and it was lovely to see everyone".

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"Dear Shuli, I just wanted to thank you so much for organising yesterday's trip to thge Mikveh. L and I so enjoyed the discussion at the beginning and found the tour of the Mikveh very special. In fact to quote L she said she had found it 'uplifting'!"

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November 17, 2020

Can You Help Donate Food or Cosmetics To Our Supported Projects?

The Shul is aiming to support US Chesed and a project helping disadvantaged brides in Israel through donations of food and cosmetics.

The cut-off date for donations has now been extended so we will now have a Chesed collection box outside the Shul for you to drop off items into from 10.00am to 4.00pm Monday to Friday until the end of the month. Any donation, large or small, will be greatly appreciated and go towards providing help and support for others who need it so desparately. 

N.B. Anyone who would like to support the US Chesed project but are not venturing out can donate via the wish lists here and here.

Here are further details on the projects we are supporting:

US Chesed Cardboard Box

The US Chesed department gives out hundreds of food parcels weekly to those who need. Any food that can be donated will help them carry on with this important project. Please click here to see a poster which includes the list of items needed.

Cosmetic Collection

For a number of years, Rebbetzen Livingstone has been sending perfumes, creams and jewelry for poor brides in Israel. If anyone has some new or nearly new items (maybe unwanted gifts), could they please drop it in to the Shul in the box provided.

November 13, 2020

What Will Be With The Children?

The Children


What Will Be With The Children?

by Rebbetzen Shuli Liss


"I would never dare speak to my parents, the way you speak to me!"

"In the good old days, we played outside with old cardboard boxes!"

When we parent our children, we often look back at out childhood with fond (or not so fond) memories and take our cues from the experiences we had then.

Our childhood helped us form our identity, and our friends and family were instrumental in shaping our outlook on life.

Even though we know that we are living in different times, it's natural for us to revert to our own experiences when planning how to educate our children. However, the old methods are not working, as the challenges and opportunities for this generation are miles apart from what we were exposed to as children. 

Many parents are finding it hard to engage their youth with Judaism. Friday night dinners, Jewish football clubs, and cultural Jewish experiences are great but unfortunately not enough to guarantee Jewish continuity. In addition, during this pandemic, it is even harder for the youth to meet and create friendships with Jewish friends, thereby further alienating the children from their Jewish roots.

So, what is the solution?
 
Answer: I have no idea :)
 
Yet, the problem weighs heavily upon my shoulders, so I really wanted to try something!

The good news is that we, as parents, can bring Judaism alive in our own homes, with small manageable positive enhancements to our lives that will enrich our children's Jewish experience.

Children are looking for meaning and for joy.  We can help provide that. In order to help us all, we are hoping to start a WhatsApp group (broadcast only) with "Positive Jewish Parenting Tips" https://chat.whatsapp.com/Cj8EAgZAXO2JaPch71Xgtu. Each week, we will share some small idea that may help to reconnect our children and inspire the next generation to want to continue along our path. 

They don't want to identify as Jewish because of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, or just because their parents want them to. They might be embarrassed to be different from their friends, and some may even feel that marrying Jewish is somehow being "elitist".

They need to feel a unique sense of purpose and pride in the gift of being Jewish, and to understand their role in a multicultural society as Hashem's chosen nation, whilst still respecting other people.

I hope you will join, and together let us pray that deepening our own relationship with Judaism will have a positive effect on our future generations.

Shabbat Shalom
Shuli

P.S This group will be L'illui Nishmas (for the elevation of the soul) of Rabbi Saks, AH (Harav Yaakov Tzvi Ben David Arieh). He was an incredible human being who respected all and spent his life promoting and inspiring Jewish Continuity. We are heartbroken at his sudden passing. May his memory be a blessing.

November 02, 2020

When Things Go Wrong


When Things Go Wrong

by Rebbetzen Shuli Liss


Some days everything goes according to plan and we sail through the day. Most days, however, something goes wrong. Maybe a flat tyre, a lost shoe, a parking ticket, or frustration with the bank.

It's easy to thank Hashem when things go our way, but much harder when we encounter setbacks and difficulties.

Our rabbi's teach us "just as we thank Hashem for the good, so we should thank Him for the bad" (Talmud Berakhot 54a). That is an extremely difficult thing to do! We have our plans and our goals for the day, and are naturally disappointed when faced with problems along the way. How can we thank Hashem for them?

The first of our 13 principles of faith is "I believe with complete faith that the Creator, blessed be His name, is the Creator and Guide for all created beings. He alone made, makes, and will make all that is created."

Hashem loves us and even when we cannot see it, everything He does is for our good. The more we internalise this concept, the happier lives we will lead. There are so many elements of life that are not within our control and it is so much more painful to feel "unlucky" rather than know it may be uncomfortable but it is for my best, and designed exclusively for me.

A couple of nights ago, my sister was invited to a friend's triplet sons' bar mitzvah party an hour away from her home. They were only able to leave home late and every light they encountered was red. It was extremely frustrating as they wanted to make sure to be able to be there before the Simcha ended, so they could wish mazel tov. After a while of stressing about the red lights, my sister reminded the family that we should thank Hashem for what goes wrong.. so they all thanked Hashem for the next couple of red lights. The rest of the journey, the lights were all green!

Obviously, this is unlikely to happen with everyone's problems, but it was a lovely reminder that Hashem runs the world, and if we truly thank Him and trust Him, our lives will be much richer.

May Hashem bless you all and may we merit to see His goodness clearly.

Wishing you a lovely Shabbat.

Shuli

Why Didn't You Answer My Prayers?


Why Didn't You Answer My Prayers?

by Rebbetzen Shuli Liss


Last week, I wrote about how Hashem runs the world with kindness, and how even negative experiences in life are a blessing. When it comes to "red lights", those experiences are annoying or irritating but not devastating. Thanking Hashem for those minor difficulties in life is difficult, but possible.

Yet, there are some situations which are so much more painful - such as serious illness or the loss of a loved one. In these situations, there are no easy fixes or happy solutions, and living with them can be emotionally exhausting and unbearable. We may pray for recovery, but it seems that our prayers are not answered.

When I was young, my sister's father in law was ill with cancer. He was 56 years old and we all davened very sincerely for his recovery. The doctors were not hopeful but we knew that every prayer is powerful and many people in the community prayed for him daily. 

I was in university at the time, and was told that his situation had deteriorated. I prayed with all my heart during the afternoon services and on the way home, I prayed some more. When I arrived home, my parents informed me that he had passed away that morning. 

I was devastated. So many prayers. So many tears. Where did they all go? Were they in vain?

He was so young, and he left behind a wife and 7 children. I had truly believed that our prayers would help him recover.

For a while, I lost my connection to prayer and felt lost with my faith. Does Hashem really listen anyway? 

I asked these questions to a family  friend, who gave me the following response: 

"We cannot comprehend Hashem's ways, and they are always just and right. Each person lives for the amount of time that was correct for them. 

Every prayer is indeed powerful and has some effect on the world - although it may not be the one that we were hoping for. The doctors had given this man 6 weeks to live, and he lived for another 2 and a half years. Who knows if those prayers gave him a few more days or even minutes of life?

His family needed support during this difficult time, and the prayers may help them receive the support they need for the coming years. Those prayers also accompany this man on his journey to the Next World and help bring him merit there."


I found comfort in his words, and I'm sharing them with you now, for perhaps they may give comfort for those of you who have been through a difficult time recently.

It is encouraging to hear when someone's prayers were "successful", yet we all need Chizuk (strengthening) for those moments in life where it seems that we have not been heard.

As Rosh Hashana approaches, our prayers will be very different from other years. Some of you may not be able to come to shul and pray together with the community. The lack of atmosphere at home might make it difficult to connect to Hashem during prayers.

Let us try to strengthen ourselves and remember that every heartfelt prayer changes this world, brings us connection to the Creator, and opens up the heavenly channels of blessings, even if we cannot see it.

"May Hashem wipe away all the tears from all the land."

All the best,
Shuli

Out Of Control


Out of Control

by Rebbetzen Shuli Liss


Right now, we are living in a world full of turmoil. Things seem to be spiralling out of control; the corona infection rate is rising, America seems to be falling apart, the economy is in dire straits, and we sit in our homes worrying what will be.  

So, how do we handle this lack of control? There are a few different options open for us.
 
1. Hold on to the control even tighter - watch the news constantly, stockpile necessities and lock the doors.
 
2. Blame the authorities - "If it wasn't for China"  ... "it's all Trump's fault" (I'm not giving an opinion either way) ... "our government acted too late".
 
3. Try to ignore reality and live as normal - ignoring government health warnings and endangering the whole society.
 
The way Judaism looks at life, we have another option. Our Rabbis tell us that everything that happens in the world is meant to teach us something, and we should learn from it and try to improve our ways. Each individual in this world is responsible for its state as a whole. We need to look at what is within our control, and work our hardest to do what is right within.
 
On Yom Kippur, it is customary to take upon ourselves a commitment to improve in one area, to help us have a favourable judgement. 
 
I always wondered about this custom - what is the point? Who are we kidding? It feels like the headmaster turns up to the classroom, and everyone suddenly behaves beautifully. The headmaster is pleased, he walks out of the classroom and everyone starts talking again. Was anything gained?
 
The truth is that deep down, we all want to improve and become greater people. We want to know that our lives are meaningful and to build our own spiritual connection to Hashem. Yet, life happens and we are distracted by the various duties and work that we need to attend to.
 
These days are opportunities for us to reflect and make a small change that will help us reach our true goal. We are not fooling anyone by behaving better, we are reaching into our true selves and allowing our innate goodness to shine.
 
A man once asked his Rabbi what improvement he should take upon himself. The Rabbi told him to choose something small, so that he will be able to continue the improvement throughout the year, rather than aim high, and drop within a few weeks. The man thought about it and returned with a small change. The Rabbi told him to take that change and cut it into half. (We often overestimate!)
 
The Torah is our guidebook for life, and there are many different mitzvot that we could choose to make a small improvement.
 
The mitzvot are split into two categories: 
 
1. Between man and man (eg. loving one another, giving charity, being honest in business).
 
2. Between man and Hashem,
e.g, keeping Shabbat  (buying special treats for Shabbat)
kosher (trying to go to a kosher butcher or bakery) 
prayer (maybe say a small prayer each day - English is also good!).
 
When choosing an area to improve, it is easier to choose something of the interpersonal range, as those mitzvot make sense to us. We can see how these actions will effect the world.
 
It is harder to work on the mitzvot that are more "spiritual" and less "understandable". When we choose to reach out of our comfort zone and try a new mitzva - this brings us close to Hashem, as it shows that we trust in Him and will try to follow His laws, even when we don't understand them and can't see their positive outcome.
 
Whichever path you choose, any improvement is worthwhile and will have a positive effect on the troubled world that we find ourselves in, as we start the new year.

Wishing you an easy fast, and meaningful Yom Kippur.
 
May Hashem bless you all with a year of growth and success (and most importantly good health).
 
Shuli

P.S For those who are blessed with children (including married ones), below you will find a beautiful prayer for parents to say for their children, before Yom Kippur. 

If you would like some ideas of how to make Yom Kippur special (or manageable!) for your children, here are two videos with some tips.

For children (aged 0-11): https://youtu.be/Y5wz5kmT0QQ

For teenagers: https://youtu.be/Yf_lRQ27rA4

How Does It Work?


How Does It Work?

by Rebbetzen Shuli Liss


When we moved into our newly renovated home, it was incredibly exciting for all of us! The walls were freshly painted, the carpet was fresh and clean, and we were blessed with a beautiful new kitchen with all new equipment, and most importantly a Shabbat compliant oven!

The only problem was that we needed to find the instructions. Without them, the oven stayed beautiful and clean, but a little bit useless. All those special buttons, but no idea how to use it. We searched through the various papers amongst the packing boxes and were delighted when they were found. 

After reading them once, we worked out the basic instructions on how to use the oven, and then returned them to the messy pile of papers strewn across the busy kitchen. The oven actually has many more options of different ways to cook and bake, but only if I take the time to read through those instructions again, will I ever improve my culinary skills (rather than continually burn things - because I forgot about them in the oven!).

This Sunday, we are celebrating Simchat Torah. The day we finish reading the Torah and start reading it all over again. On this day, we sing and we dance with the Torah. Why?

The Torah is our "Life's Instruction Book", the best gift we could ever have asked for! Yet, it is often left sitting on the shelf. Life could be more, if we only take the time to read it. Many of us have read the Torah on a surface level, so it may be difficult to see how those words guide us, but just like a medical journal, although may seem unintelligible at first glance, the longer one studies it, the more wisdom one will find within it. 

Hashem gave us this gift, and it pains Him when we ignore it's instructions. Not for Him, but for us. Imagine watching someone in an escape room. You can see their mistakes, and know the right answers, but you need to leave them to play - you cannot tell them the answers. Hashem gives us free choice and a book of instructions. He wants the best for us and therefore guides us as much as He can, whilst still allowing us to choose our own path. We may not understand all of them (just as we don't always understand a doctor's medical advice), but if we follow them, we will see blessings.

If you can come to Shul, to see the Torah and thank Hashem for this gift - then please do make the effort to pop in! For those who are unable to come to Shul, you could find a Chumash at home, and hold it in your hand and do a little dance! This book is our lifeline! Hug it, kiss it, and ask Hashem to open your eyes to understand it and follow it. No matter where you are, Hashem hears, sees and wants a connection with you.

Wishing you a beautiful Simchat Torah.

Shuli