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SAMS Logo 25 yearsRabbi Rafi’s words to the community this week can be found towards the bottom of this page.

This year – 2015 – is a very special one for SAMS.

Our community was started in 1990, which means that this will be our 25th anniversary year. Over that relatively short period we have grown from services in front lounges of members’ houses to where we are today, at the very heart of the South Hertfordshire Jewish community. A truly phenomenal story.

To celebrate, we have already held a number of activities during the first half of the year aimed at including all parts of our community, such as the a Jazz Brunch and 25 Friday Nights, and we have more events planned for the coming months including:

  • Silver Jubilee Quiz
  • Children’s 25th Party
  • Silver Jubilee Garden Party
  • Silver Civic Ceremony
  • Silver Anniversary Party

SAMS is a lively, warm and welcoming Jewish community within the Masorti movement, offering a centre for Jewish life in St Albans and the surrounding area. SAMS Members can also join our busy Facebook page – click the icon on the left to join and access the page.

As a member of SAMS, you enjoy many ways to lead an active Jewish way of life: through education for all ages and a variety of services, activities and events throughout the year. We are a community that supports each other, reaches out to each other, worships, celebrates and learns together and helps each other lead a better life … and we have a lot of fun.

Our website tells you all about SAMS. Whether you’re a member, thinking of joining us, interested in Masorti Judaism or considering moving to the St Albans area and looking for a synagogue, please have a browse and then come along to see us in person!

When you decide you want to visit the synagogue, please call us on 01727 860642 or send an email using our contact form on THIS PAGE.

Rabbi Rafi’s weekly words
Shabbat 17th and 18th July 2015

Rabbi RafiWe have entered into a period of our calendar called the “3 Weeks”.  It signifies the time between the 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av, two fast days that commemorate tragedies in our history.  The 17th of Tammuz recalls the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the 9th of Av the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples (along with a host of other calamities).

This week’s portion, Mattot-Massei, is always read during this time period and it is once again set up with a powerful message that dovetails beautifully with the calendar.

We read about the land that Israelites are about to conquer in Canaan and how it will be apportioned.  At the end of the description two tribes, Reuben and Gad, propose to Moses that they be allowed to remain behind.  What is interesting about their request is the language they use.  “We will build here sheepfolds for our flocks and towns for our children.  And we will hasten as shock-troops in the van of the Israelites until we have established them in their home, while our children stay in the fortified towns because of the inhabitants of the Land.  We will not return to our homes until every one of the Israelites is in possession of his portion.  But we will not have a share with them in the territory beyond the Jordan, for we have received our share on the east side of the Jordan.”

What is so striking is the highlighted language.  That in spite of all the exhorting of Moses to create a unified people, on the eve of the settling of the land, two tribes have separated themselves from the whole.  We learn, at this period of history that we are commemorating, the reason for the calamity that befell us was because of the hatred within ourselves, the fracturing of our nation into individual units only concerned with their personal or selfish needs.

When we lose our cohesion, we lose our connection with one another; when we lose our purpose, we are nothing more than a pack of individuals that will destroy ourselves.  Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy.  Moses comes to remind us in response to the tribes, not once but twice, that we are not twelve tribes or six hundred thousand individuals, but one nation, united in purpose and vision.  When we lose sight of that, disaster always follows.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Rafi

If you have any questions about SAMS or you are interested in joining our community, please call us on 01727 860642 or complete the form HERE to send us a message.