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The period of the High Holy Days is our culturally mandated time for reflecting on our lives. It provides an opportunity for turning over our core values and assumptions and pondering which areas of our lives we need to develop and work on.


Each year, Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue offers a unique ten-day programme of learning and thinking, “Bridging the Yamim Nora’im,” during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. As a community we take a pertinent theme and explore it in depth from a variety of perspectives.  Through this process we begin to allow ourselves to stop, think and re-order our priorities; to reconnect to our deepest understandings of reality. We aim to arrive at Yom Kippur having done the inner work necessary to prepare for that great day of reckoning. The themes that we choose to address over the ten days tend to be universal; Rosh HaShanah is the mythic birthday of humanity, not of the Jews. 

This Year's Theme:   Humility  Anavah


This year we will be exploring the theme of humility – in Hebrew anavah. For the rabbis anavah is a supreme moral, mythic and intellectual virtue; it is mentioned hundreds of times in rabbinic literature. The anav is a person who relates appropriately to the surrounding world and to the people they encounter. We will trace how the term anav starts as a description of the most downtrodden in society and ends being applied even to God. Using rabbinic sources, we will explore and reflect on how our picture of the world influences our sense of who we are and how we order our priorities.

Please join us for all or some of the shiurim this year! All sessions are stand-alone, requiring no background knowledge. We have an amazing programme which includes teachers from within our community as well as guest teachers. In addition, Rabbi Joel will be at all of the sessions, in person and on-line, ensuring that there is a constant conceptual ‘shape’ to our ten days of learning.  Full details are here.

Schedule of Events 

Drashot by Rabbi Joel  over this period will all follow the theme of humility - Anavah.

Erev Rosh Hashanah (Sept 15th, 6:30pm)

We start with an Erev Rosh Hashanah service followed by a potluck  communal meal. Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish that has a meaning for the coming New Year.  Rabbi Joel will introduce the theme of Anava, humility. 

1st Day Rosh Hashanah Sept 16th, 9:00am
Service at The Larches
Alternative session a
t ~11:45 on Moses and Korach, with Nahum Gordon

2nd Day Rosh Hashanah Sept 17th, 9:00am
Service at Jack Block House, including the Shofar service, followed by a communal lunch, study and Tashlich

Monday Sept 18th at 8pm (on Zoom)
Humility in Music, with Rebecca Miller, Susanna Cohen and Chazan Jacky Chernett
Rebecca, Susanna and Jacky will discuss the question of humility and music. Can there be such a thing? If so, what does it mean?

Tuesday Sept 19th at 7:15pm - A theatre visit to see The White Factory at the The Marylebone Theatre
After the show there will be a public discussion led by Rabbi Joel framing the play in the context of the theme of Humility

Wednesday Sept 20th at 8pm at Jack Block House
Greek vs. Jewish Notions of Humility,  with Rabbi Doctor Shmuel Lewis and Rabbi Joel Levy

A discussion on how our moral language sits within our broader cultural worldview, led by
Rabbi Joel with excerpts from a pre-recorded discussion with Rabbi Lewis.

Thursday Sept 21st at 8pm on Zoom
The Psychology of Humility, with Andrea Grahame

Tonight we will explore what humility means to us and how this may be reflected in our beliefs and opinions about ourselves and others. What does humility look like? Do we admire it? Aspire to it? Is this a sought after quality in our society today and in our leaders? Andrea will bring some ideas from psychoanalysis to help us to think more about this.

Saturday Sept 23rd at 8:30pm
We will watch the film 'Memories of Murder' and discuss it and humility with Rabbi Joel
(email for venue)

Erev Yom Kippur Sept 24th, 6:15pm
Service at The Larches

Yom Kippur service Sept 25th, 9:30am
Service at The Larches
Alternative session at ~1pm - Brian Chernett on Humility in Leadership

Full details on all learning sessions and services are available here. Shanah Tovah!
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