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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.

During the time normally given to our Rabbi for his sermon, on Shabbat (18th April 2015) and to help SAMS commemorate the liberation of the camps in 1945, we were inspired by some words spoken by the son and daughter-in-law of a survivor and SAMS member, Kitty Hart-Moxon.  Please click HERE to go to the web page containing the words we heard.

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 17th and 18th April 2015

Rabbi RafiThis week we are commemorating Yom HaShoa, Holocaust Remembrance day according to our Jewish calendar.  People have asked why we have two different days to remember the Holocaust.  Simply, Yom Hashoa was instituted by the Israeli Government in 1953 to commemorate the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (in fact, the actual name in Israel is Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah יום הזיכרון לשואה ולגבורה; “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day”).

The day in January, the 27th, was chosen by the UK Government and only started being celebrated in 2001. That date was chosen because it coincided with the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet Forces in 1945.  It is also dedicated to the remembrance of victims of subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

There is debate about which day should be used to remember the horrors of the Holocaust.  Some hold that because the month of Nisan is a time of joy, it is inappropriate to have a time of remembrance.  In that case, some Rabbi’s, including Ismar Schorsh, former Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), say that days of mourning already in existence should be used and this extra layer of grief should be incorporated.  Specifically, Tisha B’Av (commemorating the destruction of the two Temples and many other national tragedies) and the Tenth of Tevet, which commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem in the year 586 BCE by the Babylonians.

There are however many others who find that the scale of the Holocaust warrants its own day.  Perhaps because of our proximity to the event and the living relatives among us, I suspect many of us simply cannot fathom not having a separate day to remember the millions of victims of the Holocaust.  It is a day where in Israel, things come to a standstill, literally as seen in this clip.  It is a day where we pause to reflect on our past, the stories that are literally slipping away as the lives of those who survived are fading quietly into history.  It is an irreversible trend, but one in which we all have a part to play, to pick up that mantle and learn those stories so we can fulfil the pledge, never again.

This Shabbat, I urge you to come and listen to the family of Peter and Moira Hart, as they relate the story of Kitty, Peter’s mother.  It is not the story of what happened to her in the war, but a small taste of what she has accomplished since then.  Please come and take this opportunity to keep her and our, story alive and to pass it along to another generation.

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.