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Showing posts from October, 2011

Sermon Chol haMoed Sukkot

Sermon Sukkot Chol haMoed Leo Baeck College mailinglist / Birmingham Liberal Community Esther Hugenholtz
Embracing the Elements
I have a confession to make. I am a rather bad Dutchwoman, my love for tulips and cheese notwithstanding. The reason why I fail to live up to the hardy reputation of my countrymen is that I hate winter. I detest the cold that seeps into your bones and the darkness that shuts down the days. No matter how many scarves, hats, gloves and coats I put on, winter still overcomes me.
My discomfort for winter sets in during high summer. As soon as the 21st of June – the longest day of the year - has passed, I bitterly remark to myself that it’s downhill from here. The days will only get shorter and there is no cause for optimism until the year swings back to April.
I know I am not the only one. Frustrations with our dismal climate become all the more pronounced during Sukkot. While our fellow Jews in Israel are enjoying bright days and balmy nights in their sukkot, there is…

Kol Nidrey Sermon: From the Bottom Up

Kol Nidrey Sermon, Sinai Synagogue Leeds Esther Hugenholtz
From the Bottom Up
“”Why have we fasted if God does not see? Why afflict ourselves if God does not pay heed?” Because on the day of our fast we put our business first and force our workers to labour”. - Adaption of Isaiah 57:3
Alessio Rastani got what he wanted; his proverbial ‘fifteen minutes of fame’. And like most instant-celebrities, all he had to do was appear on national television. Rastani is nobody particularly remarkable. He is a minor City trader who emerged from oblivion through a well-timed and intelligent use of sound bites. Rastani’s main achievement was his ability to address the confusion about the current economic Crisis. Dressed in a slick grey suit and a too-fashionable pink tie, the well-groomed trader seemed to enjoy his place in the spotlight when interviewed by the BBC.
What was especially striking about Rastani’s account was not his articulate summary of the current malaise but his own glib, nihilistic commenta…