Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 5: Terumah

(Exodus 25:1-27:19)

Last week I wrote about a quite amazing letter of support I’d received from one Nelson Mandela. This has prompted outrage from certain quarters, by which I mean a rival synagogue where the Rabbi, Rabbi F, has nothing better to do with his time because his congregation has dwindled to two elderly ladies and that meshuggener with one tooth who walks along Golders Green High Street with the sign saying “The End of the World Is Nigh. Clearance Sale: Everything Must Go!”

Rabbi F insists there is no way the Nelson Mandela would write me such a letter. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 6: Tetzaveh

tetzaveh(Exodus 27:20-30:10)

What a wonderful week! “Happy are they that dwell in Thy house! They will ever be praising Thee!” And who are “they”?

“They” are not the editor of the Jewish Chronicle who insists I make it clear that I haven’t been receiving letters of support from Nelson Mandela. OK, oshamnu bogadnu, I made a mistake. On closer examination they’re from a man with terrible handwriting called Nathan Mandelbaum.  But they still count. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 7: Ki Sisa

ki sisa(Exodus 30:11 – 34:35)

It’s easy to criticize, to tell someone  “you’re no good”, “you smell like a drain”, “if your column doesn’t sort itself out in the next two weeks, I’m axing it, end-of-story”. But people who say such things, especially the last thing, should look at this week’s parsha, which deals with the Golden Calf.

Yes, I have occasionally lost focus in earlier columns, and yes, sometimes I have moved away from more traditional interpretations in favour of vicious name-calling and savage personal attacks, (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 8: Vayakhel

vayakhel2(Exodus 35:1 – 38:20)

First of all, let me make one thing clear: I am not racist. Some readers, no doubt friends of a particular “person” who’s my wife’s lover and a builder who’s a woman, felt my implying in my last column that the surname Mebolowayo-Lowenstein was a ridiculous name was outrageously racist. Mebolowayo is, of course, a perfectly acceptable surname (on its own) even if it is actually spelt Mplulmweno which looks as if someone’s spilt the Scrabble on the floor. The last thing I want is to cause offence and I want to reassure everyone, especially the editor of the JC and Jeremy, the producer of my forthcoming “Thought for the Day” on Radio 4, that I’m definitely not racist. I’m sure they think Lowenstein is a funny sounding name in Um-bongo-land or wherever. (more…)

Rabbi David Schneider’s Weekly Words of Wisdom 9: Pekudei

pekudei5(Exodus 38:21 – 40:38)

There is much to be said for spending night after night in a cramped synagogue storage cupboard. For a start, it puts you in touch with our ancestors living in the wilderness of Sinai. Like them, I’m bloody uncomfortable. And the dreams aren’t much fun either. The other night I dreamt I was being force-fed 12 dozen long-haired poodles only to wake up and find that a box had fallen open on one of the shelves above me and dumped a whole load of taleysim onto my face. That was two days ago and I’m still picking fringes out from between my teeth.

But the simplicity of life in a store cupboard can lift us up. (more…)

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