KLS celebrates the cycle of the year with services and events for all the major Jewish festivals and some of the minor ones too. Some of our highlights are below:
High Holy Days
Special services are held at the synagogue and in the mornings of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur there a choice between a family service, including activities to engage our younger members, or a more formal service, beautifully accompanied by our wonderful members’ choir. We also offer a creche at these services.
At the eve of Rosh Hashanah, we hold a 20-minute Sephardi-style seder where we enjoy fruits and other symbolic foods and a chavurah (shared meal).
Yom Kippur afternoon includes a Yizkor (memorial) service at which members can remember family members and other loved ones they have lost.
Sukkot and Simchat Torah
The solemnity of the High Holy Days gives way to the contrasting joyfulness of the following two festivals. We, particularly the children, decorate a sukkah (temporary booth) in the Kehillah Garden which we use for kiddush during the Sukkot period. Members bring food items particularly at this time to support our local Food Bank.
On Simchat Torah, the conclusion of Sukkot, we honour those members who have made a significant contribution to the KLS community during a lively service where we begin our Torah reading cycle all over again.
We light up the darkness of the middle of winter with our communal candle-lighting on the first night of Chanukah, members bringing their own chanukiyot, before enjoying sufganiyot (doughnuts) and latkes. Activities also include a friendly ‘fry-off’ competition for the best latkes, dreidel and other games.
On other nights we hold smaller candle-lighting ceremonies at a selection of members’ own homes. We also often invite other local faith groups to the synagogue on one night to share this festival of light over a chavurah supper.
The new year for trees provides an opportunity for ecological reflection and yet another excuse to eat, this time a seder with a range of fruit and nuts as well as different types of wines in honour of the festival.
This is when things get crazy as we read the Megillah (Story) of Esther with lots of noise and dressing up.
Early booking is essential to guarantee a place at our very popular communal seder for Passover. Using the Liberal Judaism Haggadah, Rabbi René leads us as we recount our ancestors’ journey out of Egypt and reflect on the key theme of freedom, before we feast. Participants must be prepared for plagues during the evening of fiery hail, locusts, buzzing flies, and frogs!