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A rather odd thing is happening to me, as I think about my time at rabbinical school lengthens I am finding it harder and harder to remember when a particular event happened. The first year is relatively easy, if it happened in Israel then it happened in my first year. However, even then I am unsure if something happened in the first semester or the second one.
After that though I have hardly any idea if something happened in my second, third or now forth years.
I think this combines with the whole not being sure when I gained a particular skill. But all in all I am happy with my progress and with how the whole program is going. I am really enjoying working at Kingston Liberal Synagogue. This is where I am doing my 4th year placement.
I still have a lot of assessments to do. Although that said I have done quiet a bit already. I also still have some work to do for Limmud, despite the fact that it starts for me on Sunday. I am really starting to look forward to it.

4th Year

Oct. 13th, 2013 12:28 pm
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I am now really settling into my fourth year at Leo Baeck College, and it is a day of catching up, which includes posting over here on this particular blog. The fourth year really does feel very different from any of the three years that have proceed it. There is still a strong classroom feel to the program I am in school in classrooms three days a week, but there is nevertheless a feeling that we are being moved towards the practical rabbinate more and more. This is even reflected in the type of classes that we are doing. They have a much more practical feel along with the purely academic. So as well as classes on Bible, liturgy and the Midrash we also have classes on Mental Heath and Death and dying.
I am also enjoying my 4th year Internship which is taking place at Kingston Liberal Synagogue. my High Holy Day Placements this year were in Eastbourne Liberal Synagogue so I really feel that I am getting to know Liberal Judaism really very well. I am enjoying the practical elements a lot and can feel myself getting more and more used to it and more and more comfortable in my emerging role.
I have also settled into our new apartment which is much nearer the college which really makes a big difference in the mornings.

Looking forward, as well as my work with KLS I have a few other synagogue visits lined up mainly Lech Lecha visits but a few others as well. Then there is Limmud, where I am planning to present four linked sessions this year, which will be hard work in both terms of doing it and in terms of preparation.

Emily and I also find ourselves as the co-chairs of the student society which is both an important and worthwhile role but will also be an additional source of work. And as if we were not busy enough we are pushing ahead with our plans for 'Rabbinic Students for ProZion', so I can already tell that this year is going to be both very busy and hopefully very fulfilling.

About all that has happened outside of all that is that I celebrated my birthday. Lots of fun if a quite evening just hanging out with some friends at the local pub which we all like.


Aug. 23rd, 2013 10:43 am
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A thousand pardons for not posting sooner over here on this blog. A lot has happened since my last posting and I have been very very busy. Firstly I have pasted my 3rd year, this was despite the very large number of assessments I had in the last semester. My markers were nothing to write home about again due to the large number of essays I had to write.
I have also finished off my placement with Jewish Care including the post placement briefing. Ordination was lovely a really moving ceremony, this year it was held at NPLS so that was new. I also attended Kol-Bo the closing event of the year here at LBC, this year's theme was art and all in all it was very interesting. Albeit as always with Kol-Bo it came at a time when I, along with everyone else was very tired.
After that was the MRJ music conference, which was fantastic. Currently I am fully occupied with a mixture of HHDs., this year I am to be at Eastbourne (Liberal), my fourth year placement which is going to take place at Kingston Liberal Synagogue I am very excited about this and have already had lots of positive communication with Charley the rabbi there. But the biggest thing is that Emily and I are moving house, our new flat is really beautiful...much near to school, the tube and the shops. It is however, a lot smaller. But I am sure we will be happy there for the next two years. (We got a contract which runs for two years).
The big move was yesterday and we also Ikea.


Mar. 28th, 2013 09:53 pm
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This is my passover sermon I've posted it elsewhere and it was emailed out by Leo Baeck College so people may have seen it nevertheless here it is:

Speaking as something of a Limmudnik I have always found Limmud to be an intellectually stimulating experience: one that leaves me buzzing with ideas for many weeks after the conference itself has ended.
I normally endeavour to attend as many different sessions on as many different topics as possible. This past year I attended one session in particular that has stayed with me. Partly this is because it upset me greatly. It distressed me as a man, as a Jew, and perhaps, most of all, it distressed and troubled me as a passionate Zionist.
The session concerned was led by Rabbi Levi Lauer and concerned the plight of women who have been trafficked into Israel for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
This Passover is the 150th since the emancipation declaration by Abraham Lincoln which freed the slaves in the Southern States of America. It is also the 180th since slavery was made illegal in Britain and the British Empire.
If only things were as simple as that, and yet we know that they are not. Slavery remains a real and contemporary problem. Many of the consumer goods and clothes we use and buy are manufactured by workers in conditions which come close to slavery.
And even more troubling the trafficking of women and children for the purposes of sexual exploitation and slavery is endemic: it is a major problem in almost all industrialised counties but it is especially acute in Israel.
Partly, this is a result of geography. Israel's border with Sinai is a difficult one to police and as well as weapons, and drugs, armed gangs also smuggle women across the border. But it is not just a problem of geography it is also a political problem. In Israel security will always, and understandably, be given the highest of priorities and sometimes this means that things which should not be neglected, sadly, are neglected.
Rightly Israel is an open society, one to which asylum seekers are attracted and, moreover a country which facilitates Aliyah by Jews from across the globe. Criminal organisations have taken advantage of all of these factors in order to traffic women into Israel and then, often, onward to the rest of the world.
But things are far from being entirely negative. Israel has tough laws on its books to deal with the problem of human trafficking, it is simply a matter of finding the political will to enforce these laws.
This is where we Jews of the Diaspora can help; there is an established campaign to push this issue up the ladder of political consciousness in Israel. And all it takes is sending one email once a week!
If enough of us were to email enough members of the Knesset on a regular basis then the problem of trafficked women would no longer be a neglected one. If the leaders of Israeli society are convinced that we in the Diaspora care about this, then they will care about it more and accord it a higher priority.
We are currently celebrating Passover as a community. To my mind Passover, the Seder and the Haggadah are among the greatest and most enduring innovations of Rabbinic Judaism. The Rabbis of the Mishnaic period transformed what had been in its essence a cultic rite totally bound to the Temple into the home-based inter-generational celebration that we know today. They more than succeeded in their endeavours. With its subtle use of texts, songs and rituals Passover is, now, the near perfect mixture of communal and individual.
There is a tradition that one of the objectives of the readings, rites and songs is to gain a personal and embodied feeling of what the Exodus from Egypt must have been like: at least in part really to feel as if we personally had taken part in that momentous event. As if we had really been released from slavery in Egypt.
Peasch is the quintessential festival of freedom. Freedom is what it is really all about. Towards the end of the Seder it is a custom to sing, ‘We were slaves in Egypt', and then go on to declare that if the Eternal had not redeemed us from slavery we might still be enslaved.
This Passover we should all take the opportunity of thinking about those women and children who are currently enslaved and also take some simple steps and actions, even as simple as writing the occasional email, to create pressure for their cause to become high profile and main stream. We will only truly be free ourselves when none are enslaved.
Student rabbi Adam Frankenberg
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As always I am very busy, although I am managing just fine with the academics. In fact things are going so smoothly that I have already finished one of my essay that are due at the end of this semester. I am also hoping to have another two finished by the end of the week after next. This is because I have eight essays this semester. I am not sure I have ever had quite so many essay due at the end of single semester before. Its certainly unusual for graduate school.
I also feel that I am growing into my role as Gabi for the student-led services at Leo Baeck College although this is a lot of work.
Generally speaking I am happy with how things are going although, I do need to work hard nearly all the time to keep my head above water.
But its okay, its just that I don't have much room to breath...although things will get better soon because I have an almost empty week in which I can schedule all the meetings I need to do, urgently, and of course get ahead with my work.

The other interesting thing, at least to me, is how much I am enjoying our class on piyyutim (liturgical poetry) partly this is because we have a great teacher for it, but it is also because my Hebrew has just about reached the level where I can get something out of reading poetry (albeit only just).

But I am going to go now and catch up on some reading and rest up a bit.
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I have already blogged about this elsewhere but not over here on this blog. I find it interesting how the subjects in which I am interested in have changed since I started at rabbinical school. I would say that when I started my favourite subjects (and those to which I was most looking forward) were.

1. Chassidute and mysticism (I know that they are not necessary interconnected but I somehow have linked them in my mind).

2. Talmud

3. Mussar

I was not at all interested in either Homiletics or liturgy. I would now say that although I still really enjoy Talmud and am getting much better at it. My two favourite subjects are Homiletics and liturgy. This maybe because I have a bent towards the practical. When I started out as an undergraduate in Chemistry and Biochemistry I had thought I would enjoy the more theoretical elements the most. However I found I loved 'spectrographic methods' and natural product synthesis the most. So maybe this is merely the continuation of old patterns.

Anyway not much is new I study, work, sleep and fit the mundane obligations of necessity in as best I can. The boiler in the flat broke over the weekend which was fun but its mended now. I shall endeavour to be punctilious about keeping this blog updated. But no promises :)


Dec. 28th, 2012 02:05 pm
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I have just returned from Limmud which was amazing as always. I presented two sessions this year one on the Alienu, which I was pleased with and one on Judah and Tamar as Jewish Leaders that I was very pleased with.
It was also nice to meet with friends old and new from past Limmudim, and to have an opportunity to meet with so many new and interesting people. Then of course there were the sessions all the ones attended this year were good (although I was taking things a bit easy this going to limmud after a long semester at LBC), but three presenters stood out for me this year: Yeshua Engleman (great as always) Levi Lauer, and Ruth Arkush. Using the Limmud Chrevaruta booklet was also interesting especially having been involved with its production.

It was however, a bit different to be attending as a rabbinical student, I did feel a little on display at times.
Back in the flat now and am 'recovering' soon got to get on with essays and the like. But taking it very gently today.
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I am at the midway point. Wow, I really am not at all sure how to feel about this. Part of me is happy to have reached this point. And another part is thinking about how much it has taken to reach this point in terms of physical and emanational resources, not to mention the hard work and money expended and a little part of me is thinking about how much it will take to get from the midway point to the end.

But mainly I am simply enjoying have crossed yet another significant milestone. On another note I am getting ready and getting excited for and about Limmud, although I don't go there until Sunday. I haven't gone to Limmud for the last two years (last year I was just to tired and to stressed) and of course the year before that I was in Israel. It will be really wonderful to see my 'limmud friends' once more. I still have to finish my Limmud sessions and I am also involved with the chevaruta-project. (I helped to produce one day of this years booklet.)

So just 925 days to go.
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I am now doing my second placement with Jewish Care which is really settling down and one that I think will be really useful when I am actually a rabbi. Things at school are still going smoothly. All my academic classes are fine and I am really enjoying some of them and there are non that I really don't like.
Today I had a dentist appointment which was rather a long one (there is a lot of work to do. But apart from that all is well.
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Because its November its Shabbat Lech Lecha time. For these we go out across the country to various communities. Last week I was in Blackpool which is a Reform community and this weekend I was in Herefordshire at the HJC, which is a Liberal community.
In Blackpool I led the Friday Night service the one shabbat morning, read from the Torah and gave a sermon.
In Herefordshire it was just a shabbat morning service, reading most of the Torah portion and a sermon. But it proved a long and tiring journey and I really haven't caught up with my work so this week is going to be a bit rushed. Emily and I have our Jewish Care training day on Wednesday and there is the normal work for school as well as Limmud to get ready for.
So I am pretty busy.
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Not all that much has happened today. School was more or less uneventful we learnt some interesting sections of Bavli. Additional i had meetings and admin to think about. I still feel although things are proceeding along on a more or less steady pace and things are still under control.
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Today was a very long one, at least it felt long, but a rather good one. It started early with Dafi Yomi with my chavaruta partner Leah J., we did unusually well and got though nearly half a daf. Then there was a very pleasant morning service.
This was followed by Emily's and my class on the Prophets which was very interesting the article we had read was most interesting. After that came rabbinic literature we are still working though Kiddushin 2b its a complex Suguya but we are making progress. I had various meetings at lunch time (both formal and informal) and then a class on Medieval Jewish history. A short break followed by an extra-homilitics class. By the time I got home I was very very tired but after a bit of a rest I got on with some more work. (Looking at the rest of the Kiddushin text).
Tomorrow should be a much easier day but I am relaxed and fairly happy.
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So my peaceful weekend continue I got up latish on Sunday and did a bit of cleaning in sitting room and then I went to local park for a coffee and one of their giant cookies. I then came back to flat and chatted via Facebook/skype with various friends, which is always a nice way to spend sometime. I watched a little bit of cooking which made me want cakes really really bad so when Emily came back we went into North Finchley and I at least had some cakes along with another coffee, I was still feeling ill because that was more than enough to tire me out totally so I came back and had a sleep. I have also caught up with Daf Yomi the last couple of pages of Shabbat have been very interesting. So I am now ready for my study tomorrow with my chevaruta partner.
I am still eating my way though the food that Mum and Rebecca sent me for my birthday. I am more or less sorted out for next week certainly for the first part few days. Monday and Tuesday.
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Last night I had a lot of trouble sleeping, not that this is all that unusual for me, but even so last night was particularly bad. So I got up when I felt I could so about 6:45 and I did the various things that I had on my to do list. Including registering with an NHS dentist. So then I went back to bed and thought well I'm going to try self-hypnosis and see if I cannot do something about the pain in my neck, a literal pain by the way nota metaphorical one.
So I found a youtube video and I remember thinking this is never going to work, and then I do feel heavy though, and the next thing I know it was 1pm! So i guess that worked.
It was a lovely sunny day so I went to get Fish and chips for lunch for Emily and me. Although it was sunny it was very cold. Apart from that I did a little work for school and shortly I am going around to fellow students for Friday Night Dinner.
Apart from that all that I have done is chat with Tina on Facebook.
I am hoping for more sleep tonight and a proper Shabbat tomorrow.


Oct. 11th, 2012 11:41 am
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So this is one of my periodic posts about prayer, or more accurately in this case a post about synagogues.

Yesterday we had a comparative religions class for which we had an outside speaker. Patrick it was very interesting hearing about his personal spiritual and religious journey. One thing that he said made an impression one me. He was quoting Arch-bishop Williams who said to a particularly liberal colleague that 'membership of the church is corrosive and the only reason to remain a member is if it brings you closer to God'.

My first thought was can this be applied to Judaism? Would the statement. 'Membership of a synagogue (and or community?) is corrosive and the only reason for remaining a member is if it makes connecting with God easier' be true? And if the answer to this question is either yes or even partly yes. Then the follow up question is does it? Does belonging to a synagogue make forming a relationship with God easier or make that relationship better?

Both of this are interesting and challenging questions. Food for thought.
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Today is my birthday although my party was a few days ago. Today was a relatively easy day although at was just as well because I had almost no sleep. After the service I had my psalms lesson, today it was just me because both my classmates were away. The same was 145 so that made life a little easier.
Then we had rabbinic literature in which we were reading tosefta kiddushin, we didn't make to much progress but it was an interesting discussion. The class after lunch was comparative religion for which we had an outside speaker.
The really nice thing was that my classmates gave me a cake (a caterpiler cake :) and a really nice card.
Then I just came home and had a chat with my family via skype and did a few admin type jobs. Then it was an early night because I have important meetings tomorrow.
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Today was a short day, which is good because I was really tired right from the start. But it was one of those days when I feel as though I haven't learnt all that much. Partly this was because although it was a school day it was also Simchat Torah for the Orthodox and Massorti world. This meant that I didn't have my liturgy lesson.
So my only class was Codes, which as it was an introduction to the course was somewhat basic. But I am sure that it will go on to become a really good class.
The RA was meeting in the drawing room so I got to say Hi to Michael H, and to Mini as well as well as chatting up with Bobby Siliverman, and Larry Becker whom I have not had a chance to say hi too in ages and ages.

Although it was a non-remarkable day, I think that with all the stress and stuff that normally goes on having one normal and unremarkable day is, probably, a good thing.
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I am enjoying a Monday off, as we don't have class because its Simchat Torah (the festival which celebrates the giving off the Torah). Yesterday I went with Emily to see her lead the services for Erve Simchat Torah at Westminster Synagogue. But today I had a lie in which is such a blessing and for a hard pressed rabbinical student a great way to celebrate a festival.
Somewhat unusually I am not too busy at the moment, I am working on a possible sermon for Noah. If it doesn't get used (and I am uncertain if I am down to deliver it or not) it will be useful in future years as it is a good, but non-generic sermon.
I am also giving some thoughts to on going projects, at least two of which I had thought I was done with.
As always with days off it has been filled with admin type jobs. Later I am going to get my flu inoculation not fun but better than actually getting flu.
I also need to book some train tickets and do some other odds and ends. But all in all I am going to have a quite and productive day before the third year continues tomorrow.
On Friday night I went to a LJ (Liberal Judaism) Friday Night Dinner (largely aimed at young adults), it was fun and the food was excellent. The event was led by Benji a fellow rabbinic student (albeit he is in his 5th year).
Thats about where I am at the moment. In the middle of my rabbinic-training with things more or less under control.


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