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Vayigash: Primary Colours (Sermon delivered at Hove Hebrew Congregation)

We are about to conclude the first book of the Torah and the family saga from Abraham to the twelve sons of Jacob that decides the future direction of our people: our trajectory and our values.

Throughout this story there has been a story of sibling rivalries: Isaac or Ishmael? Jacob or Esau? Historically, our sages see Ishmael as a metaphor for Islam and Esau for Christianity and these previous chapters were used later by rabbis to define Judaism’s complex relationship with other Abrahamic faiths. However, the final, chapters we have a battle for leadership and supremacy between the sons of Jacob. And this is where we see the final battle playing out and it is a character test. (more…)

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Chanukah 5777: Wembley Synagogue: The Three Crowns

Synopsis: Three Crowns and Chanukah

The consequences of the Maccabean revolt radically altered the course of history and led to a struggle for the future direction of both Judaism and the Jewish people; the ripples of which we still feel today. This session will look at the religious consequences of how this struggle between those arguing for the supremacy of the Keterim (Crowns) of Malchut (Kingship), Kehuna (Priesthood) and Torah brought about rabbinic Judaism as we know it today… and the Jewish vision for a better tomorrow.

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Princeton Lecture on Community Relations

Carob Trees

Lecture given at Princeton on 7th March 2016

Introduction

There is a story in the Talmud about Honi the circle-maker

Honi asked the man, “How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?”

The man replied, “Seventy years.”

Honi then asked the man, “And do you think you will live another seventy years and eat the fruit of this tree?”

The man answered, “Perhaps not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees.”

It takes a generation to transform communities and attitudes. Dialogue is the first step. From dialogue you have commonality. From commonality we can build communities together. (more…)

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​Lovell Interfaith Lecture, Winchester Cathedral: From Disputation to Dialogue

Lovell Interfaith Lecture, Winchester Cathedral, September 2012

From Disputation to Dialogue

Alexander Goldberg, Jewish Chaplain of the University of Surrey

winchesterfixI would like to thank Winchester Cathedral, Winchester University and the Lovell family for this opportunity to speak at the annual interfaith lecture. This is a Cathedral that I often visited as a child. Its history and architecture fascinated the schoolboy in me. In some ways my journey engaging with other faiths commenced here. As a young theologian at Manchester University, Canon Andrew White brought me here to meet with Donald Cogan. The former Archbishop was erudite; his knowledge of Hebrew and the Talmud left an impression on me. His message was simple and apropos to tonight: we need to understand each other, learn about each other or risk not truly knowing ourselves.

Tonight, with your permission, I want to use Winchester as a backdrop to some of the questions we have around inter-faith and inter-religious dialogue. (more…)

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