Jewish Kent Community Day - Report in

Beyond Bromley

Sunday 12 June was Jewish Kent’s Community Day. Held at the historic Chatham Synagogue this was their second such event but the first one since Bromley R S joined the Jewish Kent group.

Regretfully the numbers from Bromley even with the Judith Silver appreciation society were not quite as many as had been hoped for (need to practise my arm twisting) but those that made the journey found a warm welcome and an activity filled afternoon.

With stall and events in different locations not to mention the temptation of proper Cheesecake washed down with generous samples of Kosher wines from all around the world (thanks Amazing Grapes) it was hard to know what to pick out from the programme.

On their stall “Buy Jewish Stuff” sold a wide and interesting range of Judaica items and provided a great opportunity to stock up on those cards you’d normally have to schlep to Golders Green for.

For me to listen to David Herling relating the Issac B Singer story of the “Son from America” in the beautiful, atmospheric setting of the shul and then to hear Judith Silver singing in Yiddish stirred memories and thoughts of Grandparents and a world that even in my childhood seemed so distant and yet one that somehow now resonates with me.

The breadth and depth of our shared Jewish heritage was reinforced by Gabriel Lancaster’s shofar blowing master class (maybe next time we could have a shofar contest with our Bromley master – “it’s gone to a blow off!”) and Judith Silver adding Ladino to her extensive English, Hebrew and Yiddish repertoire.

I was sorry with all this going on that I didn’t have sufficient time on the stand where as the programme noted “Jewish Gen will be happy to discuss any aspect of Jewish genealogy.” Plenty here for a Cheder project.

It was also with heartfelt regret I missed Elkan Levy’s most intriguingly entitled “Mountains, Thunder and Cheescake” talk. I’m still getting a perverse pleasure in just imaging what it might have been about. Encore please.

Juliette Kaplan, Pearl in “Last of the Summer Wine Bringing” brought us into contemporary Jewish life with her entertaining account of “The Jewish Mother in the Media” which covered theatrical digs in a Rabbi’s house (“did you hear the one about the actress and the rabbi?”), the problems of eating Kosher when working in Butlins and matchmaking mothers and then continuing up to the pleasures of being a modern working Grandmother. Embarrassing for the kids, a thrill for the grandchildren.and also judging from Juliette’s Georgie a future role model.

As you may gather from the tone of this article the organizers and helpers that put on such an ambitious event deserve congratulating. All in all an afternoon well spent and one for next year’s diary. Watch out for the date.

Toby Allin

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Jewish Kent - Website last updated 18 March 2014