Challenge Seminar and Knowledge Seminar now running concurrently this year. See www.seed.uk.net for further information.
"Life is what happens, while we are busy making other plans" (John Lennon)
It's true isn't it? Somehow the years fly by. Suddenly you find yourself introducing people as 'old school friends' and you feel a sense of relief when somebody else also remembers Ian Botham (you do remember him don't you? don't you?). Those long anticipated moments soon become memories.
It is the challenge of the 'unforgiving minute'.
Of course as Jews we are experts at time. You've heard of Jewish meantime? "What time is Shabbat?" "When is Pesach this year, early or late" (somehow never "on time") "What time does the do start? What time are you going to get there?" "If I just turn up, I'm sure he will squeeze me in between his 9.25 and 9.30am appointments".
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888) notes an apparent anomaly in the Jewish approach to time. The Jewish year changes with Rosh Hashonah in the month of Tishrei, 5760 becomes 5761 etc. Yet when we enumerate the months we always begin from Nissan, the month of Pesach, birth of our nation.
We find a similar inconsistency with regard to the counting of days. We are familiar with the fact that in Judaism the day begins from the evening before, Shabbat starts with Friday evening, not Saturday morning. Yet in the Temple, the unit of a day, always started in the morning, a sequence of daytime followed by nighttimes.
The Jewish calendar has a dual year, and it also recognises a dual day.
The year that records the passing of time begins in autumn and ends in autumn. The day that records the passing of days begins with evening and closes with evening. A silent acknowledgement that the most glorious of bountiful summers and midday suns, make way for the shadows of night. This is a world of transience. Yet within the tapestry of transience we can sew the thread of eternity. The year that commemorates the birth of our people begins and ends in spring. The Temple day was calculated from morning to morning, passing through decay and darkness, to revitalisation.
We have the capacity to transform the temporary, with the touch of permanence. By using our hours for spirituality we lift days, beyond time and create eternity.
It's a beautiful thought. Enshrined within the Jewish clock itself is the response to our greatest challenge. In the words of Rabbi Hirsch "To teach humanity to count and live from morning to morning and from springtime to springtime-that is the sum and substance of the Jewish message" (Collected Writings, The Jewish Year, volume II, pages 40 -42)
I recently had the privilege of addressing your community from the pulpit at the Barmitzvah of Ben Dreyfus, son of Danny and Michal. The Shul was packed and the atmosphere vibrant, and for me it was a very rewarding experience. Shul time is one example of taking some time out for self and family.
But in the time management matrix we need to add a larger square for 'eternity time', sometime each week dedicated to spirituality and Jewish learning.
We at Project SEED, have spent the last 20 years establishing centres of 'one to one' study in local synagogues, offering an hour of 'eternity time' at every conceivable knowledge level. There are many partnerships that have been going since day one. Strangers have become close friends sharing life's experiences together. And single passing hours have been transformed into pages of knowledge, sophisticated, tailor made education. Why don't you join us for an hour a week of 'eternity time' at your local SEED programme?
Rabbi Joey Grunfeld.
Contact SEED office: Rabbi Malcolm Herman on 0208 958 0820 Fax:
020 8958 0821 - and see the SEED website
If you would like to join a SEED
programme call Rabbi Malcolm Herman at the SEED
office on 0208 958 0820. Or send an email to