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by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Levy

Recently, I visited Clifton College, Bristol together with Mr Francis Mocatta, who was an old pupil, to meet pupils and staff of the college, visit Polack's House and address most of the Jewish students.

We had a very pleasant day and were courteously shown around by Mr Jo Greenbury, Housemaster of Polack's House.

Polack's House has as its motto: 'A Jewish House In An English Public School', and I chose that as a theme of the talk and discussion which I gave to the students. I explained how Sephardim had excelled at synthesising two cultures and gave examples of this from the lives of famous Jewish personalities like Shemuel Hanagid in Granada and Sir Moses Montefiore in London.

I emphasised, however, that for this synthesis to work it has to be made up of a great deal of Jewish education in addition to secular education. A token religious presence alone would not ensure Jewish continuity.

We had a lively discussion with many of the boys and girls participating.

Although there is no doubt that everyone is working in a very sincere manner to accommodate Jewish and religious studies, I could not help but feel that the Jewish input could certainly be much stronger in both quality and quantity. I believe that we should try to suggest to them that young, dynamic rabbis from Ohr Sameach and Aish Hatorah and other similar bodies be encouraged to spend Shabbat with them and inject a religious vibrancy which would be of great benefit to them.


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