Purim at DHC

posted 16 Mar 2017, 08:37 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

Our 1st ever Rabbi-Led Purim Service by DHC member Ray Tate

 At 10 am it all began. We had gathered at Beit Shalom to celebrate our 1st ever Rabbi-led Purim service & reading of the megillah, including Lucy, who was joining us for the 1st time but was known to some of us.

The rabbi set the tone for those who had donned fancy dress by appearing as the enigmatic Miss Match (a clever play on the word mismatch) &  other costumes ranged from a walker - no guesses for guessing the identity of this member - to Gainsborough's masterpiece The Blue Boy,  dressing-gown clad members who reminded me of smoking jacketed post-prandial port in the smoking room for the men/chat in the library for the ladies in days gone by, to those who shunned fancy dress & turned up as themselves on the premise that their real-life fashion sense could be described as fancy. However my favourite was the yarmulke which came with a small, handsome, lovable Border Terrier attached underneath!!

The service began with a wonderful prayer chosen by Shirley & after some wonderful singing of several Purim Zemiros led in her usual understated manner by The RaBab all of which were totally new to me we were ready for the main purpose of the morning.  Speaking of days gone by earlier, we were provided with football rattles of the type which filled the crowded terraces when all games kicked off at 3 pm on a Shabbos & one listened attentively on the wireless for the results if one wasn't at the match. The Rav gave us the choice of hearing the whole Book of Esther or using the wonderfully devised Not the Ganze Megillah - But Enough To Know The Story summary of each of the 10 chapters. No prizes for guessing which version the assembly chose!! Each of us read out the summary of each chapter & there was some confusion over the cheering of Esther & Mordechai's names & the booing & football-rattle rattling to drown out that of Haman with one member in particular suffering from premature rattling!! Our leader was wonderful in reading out excerpts from the actual scrolled megillah when called upon & totally excelled when, as is the custom, she read the names of all of Haman's 10 sons who were hanged in one breath!! The highlight of this part was Jimmy reading out the final chapter -  a wonderful way to end this part of the proceedings. 

Then it was on to Beit Shalom's signature after-the-service camaraderie over food. As usual the ladies did us proud with cakes ranging from large chocolate ones to my personal favourite, chocolate crispies, & of course the traditional Purim delicacy of hamentaschen. All that was missing was a nice cheesecake, however that was remedied when Martin arrived with Joyce & the said cheesecake.

As if the intelligent conversation around the table wasn't enough our leader had prepared a quiz of 3 rounds to test our knowledge or lack  thereof which was done either as team or individually for Rounds 1 & 2 & only by oneself for the last round, the 1st of which  comprised 8 questions under the heading Silly and Serious Purim Quizette, the latter word not being a word, which I'll come back to in a minute or two & a representative question being - Who is never mentioned in the Megillah? a. G-d b. Hadassah c. Bess d. Esther The answer is of course G-D & Bess. Part 2  was a 30-word crossword , the best/worst  one being 17 across, Name Esther's father? With the 2 cross letters leaving the solution A--H--- the correct answer was A--H--- as we do not know, Esther having been brought up by her uncle Mordechai. At this stage Lucy & Peninah were a point ahead of myself & Mireiile so it was all down to the final round.

The Rav in her wisdom set us the task of finding all words of 3 or more letters in the word HAMANTASCHEN in 2 minutes with her phone being the arbiter of what constitutes a kosher word as opposed to CSW, Collin's Scrabble Words which contains every allowable word in Scrabble present in the form of your reporter. The sigh of disbelief was audible from everyone bar one, in fact, this affected one of our number so much that they thought it was ONLY 3 letter words to be found!! After 2 minutes were up yours truly read out his 53 words & those duplicated were crossed off to give a score.

Despite the  final result  not upsetting the form book I can categorically state a wonderfully, joyous time was had by one & all & if there was a better celebration of Purim at any shul of any of the many strands of Judaism worldwide I'd like to have been there. It only remained for the dishes to be washed, the left over food to be distributed & for us to wend our ways home. The 2 Purim customs of bringing  a half shekel raised £15 which was used to buy food for The Peoples' Kitchen in Newcastle which provides food for the homeless, and bringing food for the poor which Lucy & I put in the food box in Sainsbury's in Gosforth, were kept. Finally the average age of the kehillah  was lowered by Benjamin & Riley who sat quiet as church mice throughout the formal part of the morning making up for it in spades later especially with the large hat Joyce was wearing!!

Ray Tate

Chanukkah Party pictures

posted 2 Jan 2017, 03:35 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

 Martin , quizmaster
the Shul ready for the service
Party goers in the Kiddush room

Chanukkah Party 5777

posted 2 Jan 2017, 03:29 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

 For a short while it seemed like the advance group who had come early to decorate and set up ready for the party on the 28tht December were going to be the only guests, when suddenly the door opened to a stream of visitors which rapidly meant a 'full house'!  The tables were set up not only for eating but for Chanukkah party games and craft activities too. Many  thanks to Bess and her helpers for organising and preparing the fun which included a Chanukkah version of  'Kim's Game' which was won by her great-grandson Riley with a truly impressive recall of 12 of the 14 items on the tray.
There was an excellent mix of ages  amongst the guests including a sizeable number of children and young people and a baby. Everyone seemed to quickly find an activity or game that suited them and even the Chanukkah banner that has remained only partially coloured in for several years was finally completed. It will be put up next year hopefully!
 Of course there was plenty of tasty food including traditional Chanukkah fare, thank you to anyone who brought along items and to those who helped cook and heat the hot food. Judging by the (loud) buzz of conversation everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves hugely.
 The proceedings then transferred to the shul for a Martin Goldberg Chanukkah quiz. The guests formed into teams for the 3 rounds which included a question from last year that still nobody knew or even remembered the answer to! The winning team with 16 correct answers was 'Robertsons plus'. Bess then awarded prizes for the winners and runners up of the earlier party games and colouring competition before leading the candle lighting and a short service. The songs were accompanied by the clarinet and all the children and young people received, sweets,small toys and Chanukkah geld.
 Thank you to the magnificent team that cleared up so efficiently and quickly and to all who came along nd helped make the party perhaps the best ever of recent years.

Yom Kippur Appeal 5777

posted 8 Dec 2016, 03:36 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

A message from DHC chair, Bess Robertson,  about this year's Yom Kippur Appeal.

"It is with great pleasure that I have forwarded £616 to the Alzheimer's society today.

I would like to thank everyone for their donations and generosity this year.

The sum raised this year  is phenomenal from such a small community."

November Oneg

posted 8 Dec 2016, 03:35 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister   [ updated 8 Dec 2016, 03:35 ]

It was marvellous to be able to welcome 2 'first timer' members to join the now regular band of aficionados of the DHC oneg shabbatot. We welcomed in Shabbat at an evening service led by Ray  and  with Estelle able to be back in her catering social club role, preparations and service of the Italian inspired 3 course meal ran perfectly. Estelle's vegetable lasagne was the very best lasagne bar none that I have ever had. We had a choice of tasty and beautifully presented salads to accompany the main course. (Thank you Lee and Shirley) and were even able to enjoy wine with the meal thanks to some 'left overs' from the Kol Nefesh visit in August. It was a very convivial evening in excellent company. Having been using the term 'oneg' for some time now we were surprised to realise that nobody knew really what it meant! So I am really grateful to Anita for researching and sending me the following information;

" 'oneg' means "an informal Sabbath (or Friday evening) gathering of Jews in a synagogue or private home to express outwardly the happiness of the Sabbath holiday." It usually includes songs, a lecture and refreshment.

 This  exactly describes last Friday evening (Ray having  most interestingly covered the 'lecture' part helping us look in  detail at the wording in some of the prayers we read).

 As always thank you to everyone who came and again as always helped to make the evening, 'express the happiness of the Sabbath holiday'.

DHC rabbi at Liverpool Limmud! November 2016

posted 28 Nov 2016, 04:02 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

 Rabbi Dr Borts  was invited to speak at Liverpool Limmud . She talked about music in the British Reform Movement and also led some services whilst she was in the city.

Visit of former member of DHC

posted 28 Nov 2016, 03:58 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister   [ updated 28 Nov 2016, 03:58 ]

Roy Rubinstein  who has lived in Chicago for 40 years was in the UK on a short visit and wanted to see the 'new' shul. He was bar mitzvah in Victoria Rd but  recognised the reading desk and benches in their new home when in the company of his cousin  David and  Susan, he visited  at the end of October. He was pleased to hear that the community thrived and enjoyed especially seeing the photographs which included  relatives and many other people he remembered from his Darlington days. We enjoyed hearing about DHC and Jewish life in Darlington  in days gone by. 

Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

posted 28 Nov 2016, 03:53 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

        DHC was delighted to be able to honour Shirley Goldberg as Kallat Torah for 5777. Rabbi Borts and Chair Bess Robertson both spoke  about the great contribution that Shirley makes to the life and work of the community. She was presented with a certificate marking the occasion by Bess and also received a congratulatory letter from the Movement for Reform Judaism which the rabbi read at the kiddush which followed the service. Unfortunately our kallat Bereishit for 5777 Estelle Solomon, had been rushed into hospital the previous day (she is most thankfully now recovering at home) so it had been decided that the community would honour her next year all being well and in her much missed absence the congregation were all honoured as brides/bridegrooms of Bereishit and received a call up to the scroll  in pairs. There was much  enthusiastic singing and dancing with the aid and encouragement of musical accompaniment from David Biermann on violin and Peninnah on clarinet.  Due to a fall Rabbi Borts was unable to play her violin this year but we hope to have a trio next year. The congregation sang Adon Olam to a lively tune composed and played by David Biermann. We are hoping to add it to the DHC repertoire.

Sukkot 5777 at DHC

posted 28 Nov 2016, 03:50 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister

 Thank you to everyone who brought along beautiful greenery, fruit and flowers and helped in the building of the Sukkah. With so much help it was rapidly looking splendid and everyone attending had some fun with paper, crayons and glue making further decorations. It was good to see a lively bunch of youngsters enjoying the festival and assisting not only with the decorations but also the service. During an interesting study session led by Rabbi Borts, the adults thought about ushpizin  (guests)  they would like to have had be able to join us, the living community, in the Sukkah. Thank you to visitor Siggie for keeping an eye on the younger children during the study session. The congregation was just able to all fit in the Sukkah at the same time as we made kiddush before settling back in the dry and warm inside for a splendid 3 course meal ready prepared  by Estelle. Sadly due to ill health she was unable to be there in person to heat and serve on the day. Thank you to Aaron who stood in for her at short notice in the kitchen and of course to everyone who came and helped make  the festival a true 'season for joy'.

Yom Kippur 5777

posted 28 Nov 2016, 03:48 by Peninnah Pappworth-McAllister   [ updated 28 Nov 2016, 03:49 ]

Once again our tiny community was able to provide members and visitors with a full programme of Kol Nidre/ Yom Kippur services and a most  interesting afternoon discussion on why the book of Jonah is read on Yom Kippur.
 Many of us felt as if we had been on an immense  journey over the 25 hours of the fast and due to a timely session at Lifelong Learning on the structure of the services, were able to appreciate for the first time their place in the structure of the day. We had a comfortably full shul for Kol Nidre and unlike in most shuls I have been in numbers attending actually increased during the course of Yom Kippur!
Thank you to Rabbi Dr Borts for all her hours of hard work preparing not only challenging and thought-provoking sermons but also choosing options that allowed all the congregation present to feel engaged with the prayers, music, readings and study passages. The services were dignified, moving and magnificent.
 Thank you to our lay leader Ray Honeybourne for once again preparing and  leading the minchah service, to Estelle for providing us with tasty food to break the fast and of course to all those DHC members and visitors who supported the continuation of  Jewish life in our region by attending services and performing mitzvot not forgetting all those who lent a hand preparing the synagogue for the High Holy days including the team that prevented a re-enactment of Noah's Flood (or perhaps should it be Jonah's encounter with a stormy sea.?!) with some energetic team mopping.

1-10 of 118