We are Shir Hayim - Song of Life'. We adopted our new title in 1998 to better represent the spirit of our Community. Our services, while traditional, are a joyous affair. This is reflected in the entire community's joining in the singing of prayer, as well as the way all participate in the various aspects of the service.
Previously we were known as Hampstead Reform Jewish Community. We are a full constituent member of the Movement for Reform Judaism (formerly RSGB-Reform Synagogues of Great Britain) and the only Reform community in the Hampstead area.
Our community was founded in 1975 by a dedicated band of Reform Jews intent on creating a local group with an ethos of informality and religious commitment. We have achieved, and maintained, much of what they set out to do.
We are a small, friendly, caring community that meets every Friday evening at 6:15 pm and every Shabbat morning at 10.30 am, in our usual home
37a Broadhurst Gardens
We also celebrate all the Jewish festivals together. The High Holy Days and the communal Seder at Passover are high points of our year. (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Pesach Seder services are held in venues other than Hashomer House, so please contact us if you need further details.)
Services are always warm, and held in intimate surroundings. they are characterised by flexibility and respect for both traditional and modern Jewish forms. We allow families to sit together, and encourage all members to participate, without regard to gender. We welcome all visitors. We have recently introduced our own non-sexist version of the Reform Movement's Shabbat prayerbook.
We have occasional communal meals (Chavurah-style), as well as other types of social events.
Our adult education programme flourishes with a weekly group featuring 'Midrash without Moans' and 'Bible without Bruises'. We also have a weekly Jewish Preparation class for those wishing to convert to Judaism. Our Religion School restarted in January 2000, and flourishes in an intimate, fun-filled atmosphere.
Forthcoming Events at Shir Hayim
• Wednesday 13 January, Adult Education, 8 pm at the home of the Wobers, Midrash Rabbah on Genesis and the apocryphal Book of Ecclesiasticus, also known as Ben Sira (or even Ben Sirach), a book of Hellenistic Jewish wisdom. Ring or email Rabbi Larry for details.
• Sunday 17 January, Community Meeting, 3 pm, followed by a talk by George Rigal, returning by popular demand, on Genealogy 4:30 pm, at Hashomer House.
• Monday 18 January, Kabbalah Study Group, 8 pm at Rabbi Larry‘s home, exploring the Zohar. We will beginning a new text, so new students are especially welcome. Contact Rabbi Larry for details.
• Sunday 24 January, Cheder for children aged 5-13. Meets alternative Sunday mornings. Contact Rabbi Larry for details.
• Sunday 7 March, 11;30 am, Nash Ensemble with Eleanor Bron, at Wigmore Hall. Tickets are £12, or £10 concessionary. If you are interested in attending contact Edward Lazarus on 020 8452 7525 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets go very quickly!
Rabbi Larry publishes a 'crib sheet' each week which gives the Torah readings, plus typically one rabbinic and one Hasidic passage commenting on the parashah. These form the basis of our study at Shabbat services. If you would like a copy of the current sheet, please email him at the address given below.
We also publish a regular newsletter providing information about all our activities, and other events of communal interest. You are very welcome to come to any of them. For further information, contact:
Rabbi Larry Tabick (+44 20 if outside of the UK) (020) 8959 3129
Chairman: Michael Teper (+44 20 if outside of the UK) (020) 7794 8488
The Hampstead Reform Jewish Community
A Constituent of the The Movement for Reform Judaism