Welcome

Welcome to the the largest and most inclusive shul in Hendon.

Within our community you will find a full range of activities for all ages and lifestages within a vibrant, modern orthodox framework. This pack highlights just a few of the activities that take place regularly on the Synagogue campus and I am sure that you will find something here for you.

Our synagogue has served the community for over 60 years and has seen many changes both within our membership and beyond. Throughout that time, Hendon United Synagogue has adapted to meet its members needs in a huge variety of ways.

Weekly Parsha

VA’ERA

SEDRAH REFLECTIONS BY PERRY BURNS The ‘magic’ of Va’era

Sticks to snakes: Water to blood: frogs from nowhere.

To our eyes this appears astonishing. Seemingly it is a magic contest where Moses performs miracles as an emissary of HaShem, and Pharaoh’s mechashfim (sorcerers) then match them using ‘magic’. Our immediate reaction is that it was sleight of hand, prestidigitation or a conjuring trick by which they were able to convince Pharaoh and the members of his Court that they were replicating Moses’ demonstration of Divine power. The Rambam agrees. He says that sorcery is sheer nonsense to which no rational person should give any credence, and that the accounts of astrological ‘forces’ are fabrications, invented to control the masses and extract from them money and allegiance.

But surprisingly he is alone amongst the commentators. Rashi, Ibn Ezra and especially the Ramban take the existence of magic as a real phenomenon. They go to great lengths to explain different kinds of enchantment, divination, witchcraft, necromancy and the presence of shedim (demons). Whilst the Abarbanel sides with Rambam in saying that Pharaoh’s sorcerers were using sleight of hand, he goes on to say that they achieved their results by harnessing the supernatural forces mentioned by the Ramban and Rashi.

The Torah’s prohibition (Devarim 18:9-13) of shoel ov veyidoni (consulting witches) may indicate the acceptance of these powers as real. However, it may be trying to protect us from falling prey to beliefs which Rambam states are designed to part fools from their money.

Magic may or may not be real but it is generally accepted that the magician’s favourite incantation – “Abracadabra” – is an Aramaic phrase, meaning “It shall be created as I have spoken”.

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Our Rabbi

Rabbi Ginsbury

Rabbi Mordechai and Judy Ginsbury joined Hendon United Synagogue in February 1999. Prior to this they had spent nearly 14 years as Rabbi and Rebbetzen of the Prestwich Hebrew Congregation in Manchester.

During their tenure with us they have endeared themselves to the Community with their warm, intelligent and welcoming approach and have enhanced and furthered Hendon’s reputation as a dynamic and vibrant Kehilla.

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