Saturday, April 20, 2013: All hail the Chief!

I walk into Friday night services at Western Marble Arch Synagogue and who do I see?

CHIEF RABBI LORD JONATHAN SACKS!

AH!

Shock. Glee. Excitement. Speechlessness.

AH!

After davening, he gave a nice dvar Torah about the seemingly ridiculous laws (my words, not his) in this weeks Torah portion and how they are essentially commands to care for our environment.

So I got back from Scotland barely an hour before Shabbat and didn’t exactly make Friday night plans. I figured I’d be tired and wouldn’t want a late night at Chabad. Part of me was hoping I’d score an on-the-spot invite to Rabbi Rosenfeld’s for dinner. And part of me was just thinking I’d go home, partake in all required rituals, and go to sleep. But as I was walking home after services I decided that quiet evening at home wasn’t what I wanted. I had that in Cornwall last week and while I like quiet alone time, I wasn’t feeling it. So instead of walking home, I kept walking to Chabad and just showed up for dinner. Had a lovely time catching up with Devora and Rabbi Lew. Rabbi Lew just got back from Poland (mere hours before Shabbat) where he attended the opening ceremony of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, where the Gwoździec synagogue replica I am fortunate to be involved with creating is on display. He didn’t get to go inside, but I’m still so envious that he got to attend the ceremony!

This morning I got to hear Rabbi Sacks speak again. Today marks 10 years since my Bat Mitzvah and hearing Rabbi Sacks speak about the Torah portion I studied and read was definitely a treat. Talked about Judaism evolving from a hierarchichal religion to a religion of equality. Beautiful in theory, but if I had the opportunity I probably would have challenged that. However, I think he and I were thinking of two different ways to approach equality. But whatever. He’s a great speaker. And following the great speaker there was a great kiddish. Following the great kiddish I had a lovely lunch at home with Phil, Zane and GPod. Following the lovely lunch, I had a lovely nap, then attended afternoon services following by another really wonderful dvar Torah given by the Chief Rabbi about leadership, Moses, Aaron, Yitzchak Rabin, Margaret Thatcher, peace and justice, among other things. AND THEN AFTER HAVDALAH THE BEST THING HAPPENED.

I was walking out and Rabbi Rosenfeld asked me if I had met the Chief Rabbi and I said no and he brought the Chief Rabbi over and introduced Sarah Bierman from New York City who is studying at University College London this semester. And then the Chief asked what I’m studying and where I go to school and said that he knows Prez Fred(erick Lawrence) and will be giving a lecture next year at Brandeis. I then told him I’d see him there and thanked him for a great Bat Mitzvah anniversary, no better way to do chazara (review) on Parshat Kedoshim.

AND I found a direct route to Western Marble Arch that doesn’t involve walking along Edgware Road.

This was a successful Shabbos, in many ways.

Tomorrow John and I are avoiding central London because of the marathon. Brent Cross, Hendon, Hampstead Heath area. Details to follow.

 

xx

 

 

 

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