Newcastle Reform Synagogue

newcastle reform

Newcastle Reform Synagogue – Ner Tamid

Address: The Croft, off Kenton Road, Gosforth NE3 4RE
Voicemail: 07971 853 102

Our Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) services begin at 8pm except on the last Friday of each month when we start at 6.45pm, usually followed by a Shabbat meal.

Shabbat morning (Saturday) services begin at 10.30am.
The first shabbat of each month is our Family Service beginning at 11am, with a service designed to be child friendly and welcoming to all generations.

School & Group Visits
Visits are hosted by a small team of volunteers. We give a basic talk, geared to the ages of our visitors, about Judaism, the Synagogue and what goes on there, including showing the Torah scrolls, demonstrating the use of ritual objects and any topics specifically requested by the organisation. This takes about one hour, and we encourage questions.

There is no charge for visits, but we welcome donations towards the cost of heating and lighting, as the synagogue has to be opened specially for visits.
Please email us at schoolvisits@newcastlereformsynagogue.co.uk

Current Status: Active

Date Formed: 1965

Ritual: Reform

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Just had a quick muse around the British Library while waiting for a meeting to start. Found some really old manuscripts to marvel at including the Kaddish and batch written in 1291 and word perfect to what we read today. Also a Haggadah and a book with the contents of the Torah in from an era pre-scrolls. Really interesting ... See MoreSee Less

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I’m back. Oh – you didn’t know I’d been away?

Needless to say I’ve been ‘galloping’ again. This time, a ‘later life’ visit to India, including the Golden Triangle and the Taj Mahal. This is the sort of trip I should have taken in my youth but perhaps, when I was young, I wouldn’t have appreciated the splendour of India. I would probably have roughed it a bit, stayed in hostels etc whilst this time I was cosseted to a great extent. Four and five star hotels and an air conditioned bus to transport us to the forts and palaces. Before I left, my family had joked that ‘air conditioning’ might mean opening windows but they were wrong. And how glad I was to step into that cool environment after a couple of hours in 45 degree temperatures.

India is a continent of great contrasts – of wonderful, beautiful buildings; of temples dedicated to the worship of a multitude of Gods; of a people whose kindness and generosity cannot be equalled. But it is also a continent of poverty, where some people live in tents constructed of wooden poles over which are draped plastic sheeting; where roads are poor and a journey of 200 kilometres, which might take 2 or 3 hours in England can take up to seven and where there is still leprosy and tuberculosis. The trip I was on was a guided tour, and from the moment I arrived until the moment I left, I was indeed guided, and by someone who was born & bred in India, who knew the history and how to make it come alive. I learned about the Maharajahs who ruled their provinces, some of whom had 3,000 concubines as well as several wives. [The Galloping Grandpa commented he had enough problems with one wife – cheek!] I was told about the caste system which used to exist and which is now outlawed, and I learned about how some marriages are arranged. In fact, our guide told us he and his wife only met one week before their wedding. I asked him how he felt about that and he replied that he had every confidence in his parents who had chosen his bride. Poignantly, he added that he told her on their wedding day that he would love her. It must be working, as they now have two children!

As we passed through one of the villages, we saw a procession, led by a young man dressed in a brocade coat and sitting on a beautifully decorated horse. It was a bridal party and we were invited to join. In actual fact, ten couples were marrying that day so the whole village was present. Our guide explained that having a multiple wedding spread the cost and probably most people were related and would have gone to all the weddings had they been held separately. The brides, each dressed in red and wearing gold jewellery given by her in-laws, were all seated on a stage which had been erected on a piece of land. Each bridegroom was brought in separately on his horse before the ceremony. Some of the girls looked very apprehensive; a couple looked bored and the rest were smiling.

Apart from the Forts….and by that I mean the Red Fort, the Amber Fort and the Golden Fort [and probably a rainbow of others], I was able to visit some of the villages and learn about the life of India. It’s possible to learn about the history of a country from a guide book and, of course, I did some reading before I left England. But nothing can prepare you for ‘real life’. As we travelled along bumpy unmade roads, we shared our journey with local buses, where people were sitting on the bus roof and hanging out of the windows – no air conditioning here. Camels pulling carts jostled for road space with wagons heavily laden with goods, their tarpaulin covered contents almost reaching the ground.

Young people on motor bikes, often Dad, Mum and a couple of kids, weaved their way in and out of the traffic, competing with tuk tuks, goats and cows. Buffaloes wandered hither and thither, leaving their calling cards so the streets were sometimes difficult to negotiate. In one of the markets I was able to stroke a young buffalo but when I put my arm around him for a photo shot, he decided I was getting too familiar and showed his disapproval with a head butt! I don’t blame him. We hadn’t been properly introduced.

And the noise! Indian drivers seem to use the horns excessively so you can imagine the cacophony of people shouting, animals making their presence known and the deafening sound of many, many car horns. Shopping was certainly a challenge. The bartering system is still alive and well in India and I think the shopkeepers would have been upset if we hadn’t tried to negotiate a better price. As we walked through the bazaars, there were frequent calls for us to go into the shops and ‘just look. No need to buy’. Of course, once inside there was a bit of pressure! I was able to buy a beautiful shalwar kameez to wear on the evening we enjoyed an authentic meal followed by traditional Indian entertainment and a bit of folk dancing. This last I found difficult, as the trousers of the shalwar kammez did not have any means of keeping them up…..other than a rough knot. And dancing whilst holding up your trousers is not to be recommended and is definitely not a pretty sight.

And so to the iconic Taj Mahal, considered to be the most romantic monument built in memory of a beloved wife. The white marble glows when seen in the early morning light and it was well worth getting up at 4 am to see the sun rise over the cupolas. Pollution has affected the building but there is a programme of cleaning, likened to a ‘face mask for buildings’ which is restoring it. It was hot but fairly quiet at 5 am – we had beaten the crowds so, yes, photos were taken on the Princess Diana bench.

Would I recommend a trip to India? Without a doubt but I would say it’s not for the faint hearted. You need a lot of stamina to deal with high temperatures, unpredictable plumbing and the thousands of steps you need to climb to reach the top of the various monuments. It’s worth it, though, for the views and the sense of achievement. The Galloping Granny did it so you could, too.
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When we were asked to represent NRS at a service in a Kenton church when the new Priest in Charge was being installed, we willingly agreed but really did not know what to expect. The Parish of the Ascension is on Creighton Avenue just up the hill from NRS so they are definitely near neighbours.

The welcome given to all the guests was heart warming and it was clear that there was a strong feeling that this event was special and that parishioners wanted to share their happiness with people across the community.

The service sheet gave us all the information we needed about the licensing of the Reverend Angela Plummer as Priest-in Charge by the Bishop of Newcastle (The Right Reverend Christine Hardman) and Installation by the Archdeacon of Northumberland (The Venerable Geoff Miller)

The hymns and readings all reflected the joy obviously felt by the congregation, and towards the end of the service the Area Dean invited representatives of the Church and the wider community to welcome the new priest. It was apparent that this is a busy and active church with a range of activities across the age groups. It was good to see so many children, with thriving Brownie pack and a Dance group. Community representatives (including Tony) were called up to give a few words of welcome. They included the local MP who as a child had attended Sunday School at the church!

The evening ended with a delicious buffet, all the food being carefully labelled. This gave us an opportunity to chat with many people previously unknown to us and we spoke briefly to the Bishop whose inauguration we had attended at the Cathedral.

It is interesting to reflect on how far and fast the Anglican Church has moved in appointing women clergy.

As this neighbouring Church had invited representation from NRS for this special service, we hope that in the future it may be possible to invite their clergy to an NRS event.
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On July 5th the Council of Christians and Jews North East Branch invites you to the 2017 Summer Interfaith Quiz Supper. It is being held at NRS at 7:15pm. Tickets are £10 per person including Brenda's Bountiful Banquet, celebrity compere and quintessential Quizmaster. For catering purposes please contact any of the following by June 30th. Email walter@total-accounting.com ... See MoreSee Less

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