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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 will be holding a range of activities for the year ahead aimed at including all parts of our community and to celebrate all aspects of our community life. The events will be:

  • A Silver Jubilee Jazz Brunch
  • Silver Jubilee Quiz
  • Children’s 25th Party
  • Silver Jubilee Garden Party
  • Silver Civic Ceremony
  • 25 Friday Nights
  • 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 22nd and 23rd May 2015

Rabbi RafiThere are a variety of different answers given, ranging from compassion to love.  At varying times, God orders a census.  In this case, the surface reading would seem to indicate that the Israelites are about to leave Mt Sinai, so this count is purely an administrative task, to help organise the march.

However, reading a little deeper reveals a fascinatingly different interpretation. The second verse of the book reads:

“Take a census of the whole Israelite community” – שְׂאוּ אֶת רֹאשׁ כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

S’u et rosh–literally translated means, “Lift up the head”.  According to Ramban (not to be confused with Rambam), the word s’u is only used when the intention is to indicate greatness (that is, holding high one’s head).  The point here is not simply to have the number of every male of military age.  We are not interested in that number.  We are not concerned with counting everyone, but rather, in making everyone count.  The meaning is not in the numerical value, but in what those people represent.

My Rabbinate is not defined by those numbers of events that I had the privilege of participating in, but rather in the context and meaning that I was able to bring to those events, by the joy and simcha, comfort and meaning, inspiration and reflection that was created then and there in those moments.  The Israelites are not defined by the sheer number of their mass, but by the meaning each and every one of them are able to create, by being an active part of their community. By counting each individual, God is helping us to realise our own self-worth.

As we come to this weekend where we on the precipice of renewing our relationship with God and our covenant at Shavuot, let us remember the special place we each have, not just in the number of our accomplishments, but in the deeper meaning that was created by us being a part of it.

Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameach,
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.