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Summer of Love

Yesterday was Tu be’Av, the 15th of Av, a celebration of Love in ancient times, when the young maidens would go out into the fields dressed in white, singing and dancing in the vineyards, and calling out to the young men, ’Lift up your eyes and see whom you choose for yourself.’ Following on just a week after the dark fast day of Tisha b’Av, this ancient SummerFest (a biblical Glastonbury?!) marks a joyous reconnection with nature and a stepping stone along the journey of comfort and restoration that leads us towards Rosh HaShanah, just 6 weeks away.

During this summer month of August, let us make the most of the weather, and the opportunity to reconnect with friends in gardens and outdoor spaces whilst observing the current guidelines of social distancing to stay safe. Like those ancient young maidens who went out to sing and dance in the vineyards, let us celebrate our own SummerFest of love, connecting with nature, relishing delicious, wholesome food that will sustain us in good health, and making time for the joy of moving our bodies – whether that’s following Boris’s call to get on our bikes, remembering to go for a walk, or taking our walking frame or wheelchair for a spin round the park or garden.

I am off to spend a few weeks with my family in Manchester and to enjoy two mini staycations with my mum, in North Wales and the Yorkshire Dales, (lockdown restrictions permitting!) Student Rabbi Tali will be covering for me while I’m away, so you’ll be in safe hands.

In the meantime, I do hope you’ll join us to celebrate the Bar mitzvah of Benji Harrison this Shabbat, who has family joining us from Brazil, Israel, Australia and Sheffield – a truly international simcha, and a joyful expression of the wonders of loving connection!

Shabbat Shalom! Stay Safe and Be Well,

Rabbi Lisa