Yisroel & Bicur Cholim & Stetziver Synagogue
351-353 Commercial Road, London, E1 2PS
Tel: 020 7790 2874 - Fax: 0871 661
6774 Over 100 years of service to our community - Founded 5663-1903
Using modern technology to bring old tradition to your home Photo
(Left): Catherine Yass (2000) -
Image (Right): Shul Pinkas (1903)
J TALKS EXCLUSIVELY AT
THE CONGREGATION OF JACOB
so much heritage on offer for those venturing east, why come to
our beautiful bijou shul?
magnetic welcome, David Brandes always instills in our tight and
loyal community, combined with such a stellar guest, created an
electric synergy of curiosity and expectation. A trickle of guests
soon became a grab-a-seat-any-seat throng, comprising our very own
colourful congregation, friends, oversees visitors, and newcomers
alike, all anticipating the arrival of Lady Jacobovits, the wife
of the late Chief Rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jacobovits.
entering the shul, you could instantly detect Lady Js presence
and strength of character. Exquisitely turned out, she sprinkled
the audience with her infectious zest; an avalanche of tales from
when her family were trying to escape during the war, tiny miracles
of survival, all punctuated by I need 20 hours to tell you
and You can imagine, as well as utterly hilarious references
to her visits to the Queen Mother in Windsor.
accompaniment was cleverly interspersed by way of a Desert
Island Discs theme, with Ruth Franks, (whose grandfather Samuel
Wolkind used to be the shuls Secretary, and whose father Jack
Wolkind, who used to be Chief Executive of London Borough of Tower
Hamlets, was Barmitzvahed in the shul), interviewing Lady J as though
she were the shows presenter Sue Lawley.
most poignant moment had to be when Barry Davis sang a myriad of
songs that included: Sheyiboneh Bais Hamigdosh To rebuild
the Temple Speedily, Ovinu Malkainu Our Father Our King,
and Oseh Sholem Bimromov He who makes Peace in High Places
of course we couldnt help but all join in for this.
His tone and pitch, the perfect accompaniment to Lady Js tales;
solemn, nostalgic, yet vibrant and alive. To Lady Js delight,
Cyril Hiller, our resident crooner, sang Swannee by Al Jolson, which
she told him she had very much been looking forward to. Good to
know she had a warning then... ha ha, Cyril, it was faultless!
audience were riveted. How could someone so composed, elegant and
personable, have not only survived devastating odds, but be such
an eloquent raconteur? When she spoke, she wasnt speaking
to the audience, but to each and every one of us, even checking
every so often, that we could all hear her ok she kept spilling
the water onto her lap, which we precariously placed by her, and
just the way she gauged the triviality of such a mishap by ignoring
it, made you question why we get so wound up by our little everyday
gripes, this happening while she was telling us about the shocking
reality of escaping the Nazis as a child in wartime.
her talk to overrun, she regrettably had to leave as soon as she
finished - to our rapturous applause, only broken by the appearance
of a humongous bagel-fest, bottomless plates devoured in an instant.
was such a privilege to have been there, meet her and hear what
she had to say; each and every one of us left with a little more
than we went with, a little more humility in our step, and magic
thoughts of Jewish pride. A tonic.