THE KOL NIDREI APPEAL 5780/2019
This year’s Kol Nidre Appeal has been directed towards raising money for three causes. As always, the first is our own unique place of worship and study – Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue. Our second cause this year is EAJL, the European Academy of Jewish Liturgy, and its new joint programme with the Conservative Yeshiva. The third is the Kol Nefesh Refugee Project.
1. Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue
About our own community, Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue, little needs to be said. If you are reading this, you already know well our caring, open-minded ethos, our wonderful musical services, and our deep commitment to learning and growing in all forms. You know how fortunate we are to have Rabbi Joel Levy, who challenges and inspires us, and Chazan Jacky Chernett, who has taught us the value and beauty of Judaism’s rich musical tradition. You also know that we are not a wealthy community, and that the income from each year’s Kol Nidrei Appeal is crucial for our finances. These annual donations don’t pay for extras, but help to cover our day-to-day operating costs while maintaining a small reserve that can be drawn on in an emergency. Thank you for your support in keeping us on an even keel.
2. The European Academy for Jewish Liturgy (EAJL)
The European Academy for Jewish Liturgy, founded by Chazan Jacky, provides competent lay individuals and groups with dedicated professional coaching and mentoring in leadership of Jewish prayer. The purpose of EAJL is to enable communities to sustain themselves, by inspiring and training leaders of Jewish prayer, and by teaching these leaders how to build a holy community.
The Conservative Yeshiva, of which Rabbi Joel is the director, was founded in 1995 and is under the academic auspices of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. It is the only yeshiva in Israel offering men and women the opportunity to explore traditional Jewish texts and practice in a completely open-minded and fully egalitarian setting. One of the purposes of the Conservative Yeshiva, like EAJL, is to facilitate the development of communities.
While the Yeshiva focuses on the academic side of texts and liturgy, EAJL puts more emphasis on the practical side, learning and understanding nusach and making it a real and living thing. EAJL and the Yeshiva, under the leadership of Chazan Jacky and Rabbi Joel, are now working to increase the bond between these two organisations, to enhance and develop joint activities.
So far, EAJL and the CY have run three 3-week intensive summer courses on the CY’s premises in Jerusalem. Participants study Talmud or ulpan in the morning and nusach all afternoon. It is an immersive experience, open to anyone. Attendees have come from all over Europe, North and South America, the UK, and Israel. Your donations will enable this programme to continue, and will provide subsidies for participants. They may also enable the program to be expanded into a one-year program. Integrating EAJL more fully with the Conservative Yeshiva will enrich and deepen the prayer experience for all of the Yeshiva’s students. Combining the skills of Chazan Jacky and Rabbi Joel will enable both organisations to develop people who are even more deeply connected to Masorti Judaism, and who can then develop communities all over the world.
3. The Kol Nefesh Refugee Project
The Kol Nefesh Refugee Project was founded a few years ago by Kol Nefesh members Cheryl Sklan and Tanya Novick. The refugees come from every trouble spot in the world, including the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan. The inevitable stress and heartache experienced by those who manage to seek refuge on these shores is compounded by an interminable asylum process, an onerous bureaucracy, and a lack of housing.
In addition to the weekly gatherings that are already hosted by Cheryl and other members of the community, there is recognition that Christmas is a particularly difficult time of year. Anticipating a day that could be very lonely, the plan is to provide a communal meal on December 25 – a relaxing afternoon, possibly with entertainment, and transportation, making it a special day that everyone can look forward to. The regular group of refugees comprises approximately 20 people, but there may be more for this occasion. Members are a mix of Muslim and Christians, but there won’t be any religious overtones.
Money raised for this project will be for food and entertainment. Any extra money raised will go into the general Refugee Project pot, covering travel costs and other things that are necessary for the refugee project. It’s worth noting that travel alone for 20 people coming from all over London can easily be £200/week.
For more on the KN Refugee Project, click here.
Please consider helping one, or all, of our chosen charities this year. And please be as generous as you can!