3CLJC held its first live annual Anne Frank service for three years at Saxon Hall, Hereford, on 11th June. We had several dignitaries attending, including Sarah de Bohan, the High Sheriff of Herefordshire; The Very Revd Sarah Brown, Dean of Hereford Cathedral; and Buddhist nun, Lama Tenzing Choesang.
The service also attracted 3CLJC members from all parts of the three counties and beyond, including Cheltenham, Ross, Monmouth, Forest of Dean, Dursley, Stroud, Nailsworth, Malvern, Hereford, Oxfordshire and Powys showing what a widespread community we are. It was a pleasure to have a congregation of over 80 people to fill the hall.
This was a very different service from many Shabbat morning services, as we were accompanied by a choir of children from Monmouth Prep school, conducted by Joe Walton, together with their accompanist, David Lawson. The choir sang to us in Hebrew, as well as songs in English and Swahili. We were also given a beautiful musical rendering on cello and keyboard of Ernest Bloch’s Prayer from Jewish Life, which provided the perfect backdrop for a period of reflection at the end of the Tefilah. Children from the school read some of the extracts from Anne Frank’s diary.
Rabbi Danny was delayed, as he had stopped on the way to assist with a road accident, but he arrived just at the right moment to lead the service. He made the most of the opportunity of the children’s choir being present, to ask them a range of questions about the Torah and elements of the Torah reading, and in doing so, also gave the rest of us some insight into what the Torah portion was about. In addition, he gave a brief but very relevant sermon on the topic of compliance and rebellion, reminding the congregation that each has its place within society and that, in matters of leadership, reliance on one sole figure is best avoided.
Two very moving elements of the service were Rosie’s reading of Anne Frank’s last diary entry, and Shelly’s performance of her own poem, written in memory of Anne Frank.