Sunday, 26 January 2014


How quickly the days go!  My last post was Thursday, and now already it's the end of Sunday!

Friday started with a visit to Kol  HaNeshama synagogue to study the Torah portion for this week, which was Mishpatim - Exodus 21:1 - 24:18.   In only an hour long session we didn't get through it all but we decided that it was the foundation for all laws, that the thought which stood out most for us and which appeared twice in the reading was 

'Now a sojourner you are not to maltreat, you are not to oppress him, for sojourners were you in the land of Egypt'  Ex. 21:20

'A sojourner you are not to oppress: you yourselves know well the feelings of the sojourner, for sojourners were you inn the land of Egypt.'    23:9

and the at the end of the Parashah, Ex. 24:9-18  the encounter with G-d, first the elders and then Moses - the covenant renewed:

'Then Moses took the account of the covenant and read it in the ears of the people,
They said:  All that YHWH has spoken, we will do and we will hearken!
Moses took the blood, he tossed it on the people and said:
Here is the blood of the covenant that YHWH has cut with you by means of all these words.'  Ex. 24:7-8

We felt that amidst all the rules and seemingly possible bad happenings very much as we see things going wrong today, , although we can't change everything, or sometimes anything, we are to take  responsibility for what we can do where we are, and a quote I'd like to share with you: 

A person takes “responsibility of an I for a You” (Martin Buber, 66) or as Buber labels it “love.” Love as response denies love as merely feeling or intention and insists upon effective response— a responsible response.' (quoted from Ron Baker's Mishpatim Parashah commentary

You may find the Bible  translations I'm using a bit unusual, they are taken from  a translation of The Five Books of Moses, with commentary and notes by Everett Fox.  It's the only one I have with me other than a small Schofield Reference Bible 

Torah Study Group gave me the opportunity to meet with a small number of members of the synagogue congregation, one to one, and to hear their views and concerns at the present time.  
Then off to the bakery to buy pastries for Sunday morning's meeting at 9 a.m with Prof. John Pawlikowski, on a visit from Chicago  - more of that later. 

A quick coffee and snack and then back home (Ratisbonne Centre) for some washing, ironing, and getting ready to welcome Shabbat.  Another beautiful time of worship followed by shabbat supper.  

Had a short Skype with Ruth, Jeremy and Emily but not particularly good connection.   Wanted to speak to them as today would have been Peter's 68th birthday - so a day which touched my heart with sadness but also gratitude for all we shared.   I tried also to get a call to Edward but the connection didn't hold.   I'm having trouble since I changed to an Israeli simcard as I have lost some of my numbers but I think with Thailand it was probably just a poor connection, I shall try again. 

Saturday:  Now this really is a day of rest, a sabbath, a day to spend time with G-d so that he can spend time with me.    The streets are more or less silent.    As last night also, lots of people making their way to the synagogues, how encouraging is that, so much prayer, oh, and then of course the call to worship from the mosques - even more prayer in this amazing city. 

The weather was extraordinary, like a beautiful summer day in the UK, so picnic packed I was off to the park to sit in the sun with a book.  

Sunday:  Big day: my first proper Bat Kol meeting at Maureena's.   Start time 9 a.m., caught the bus around 7.30 to  get there just after 8 to help  prepare.   This has got to be a dream, Prof. John  Pawlikowski, Director of Interreligious Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, Prof. Hami Verbin,  Head of Religious Studies at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Maureena Fritz, founder of Bat Kol!   How many books, lectures, articles, how much theology is embodied in these three.   Don't panic, concentrate, we need minutes of this and I'm taking them!   Deed done, all written up:  I just had to write up  the notes  before doing my blog cos I was all jittery about it.

The meeting finished, I made my way back to Ratisbonne via the post office to post a birthday card to my friend Violet (hope it gets there in time) then a stop at the supermarket to make sure I keep body and soul together.  Still not always sure what I'm eating!   I forgot that what I buy at the supermarket I then have to carry up the hill!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

My thoughts this afternoon were with the ChA+ team as they made Christingles at the Your North Somerset event in the Winter Gardens.   We had such a good time and made lots of contacts last year when we did it, so the event was very much on my heart and in my prayers today.

Full day in the office tomorrow so I need to close now, but more will follow tomorrow. 

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