Thought for the Week 27 July

The last of the Jewish schools that are still in session will break this week for summer. Allowing for annual leave, we will be abbreviating the content in our Newsletter during the month of August. Thank you for your readership this year and looking forward to continuing in September.

This week the Rabbi was invited to attend a conference in Caux, Switzerland on the topic of Inclusive Peace. More than 100 participants from around the world attended.

The history of the Caux Palace Hotel, includes the rescue of 1600 Jewish refugees during WWII. Known as the Kasztner train which left Budapest on 30 June 1944, it was a ransom deal negotiated directly with Adolph Eichmann. For this and more fascinating material on the role of Caux in the post-war reconciliation process, please click here.

An interview with myself and one of the organisers of the Caux Forum conference, Johannes Langer, can be seen here. (Additional photos here and here.)


We live in a time where it’s easy to surround one’s self with views that are consonant with our own. This is analogously referred to as ‘living in a bubble’. The technology driving social media platforms is designed to enhance this. So when we search for something online, we find further offers of a similar kind automatically popping-up on our screen.

This may be useful for comparative price shopping but it’s more problematic when sharing opinions. Instead, our views are reinforced and the degree of support we feel gets amplified. Again, this may be perceived as advantageous, but in fact it is one identifiable cause for increased polarisation in our world. Inclusive Peace requires venturing beyond our bubbles to make space for those we disagree with.

One remarkable thing about our Rambam Sephardi community is its diversity. Recently we invited speakers with views and opinions that differed from the norm. And, thankfully, due to a special grant, in the coming year we hope to do more of this.

The aim is to foster dialogue and debate – in a respectful, intelligent manner – for the benefit of all. Lea Misan refers to this as Deep Democracy – a process giving space to minority views that may differ from our own, strengthening our sense of unity and communal purpose.

We hope you will again take the opportunity to join us in the 2017/18 season.