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Thought for the Week: Faith Civilisations and the Final Frontier

On 19 September, Jews throughout the world will mark the start of the year 5781. I say “mark” rather than “celebrate”, because in Jewish tradition the celebration comes three weeks later when the annual cycle of reading the Old Testament – the Torah – is completed and the new cycle starts. The period running up to the New Year is for reflection rather than celebration in three ways summarized in three Hebrew words.

Teshuvah – literally “returning” – to ourselves, to God and to those around us. We promise to learn from our mistakes and to put them right where we can so that we can begin the New Year with a clean slate.

Tefillah – prayer, when we have an honest conversation with God about our innermost thoughts, wishes and resolutions. This helps us understand, review and renew our motivations and weaknesses.

*Tzedakah – justice. For Jews, there is a sacred obligation to combine our individual acts of justice to others into a communal act which is both powerful and generous. This is an integral part of how we can heal and repair the world – Tikkun Olam.

So, as we say to each other the traditional New Year greeting – “L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu” [May you be inscribed for a good year], we do so with #solemnity, as well as humanity and joy.

*Tzedakah is an interesting word in itself. As with other Semitic languages such as Arabic, to which Hebrew is so similar, the basic linguistic structure is founded on “roots”, ie basic combinations of three letters which can appear in different guises. So for example Z-C-R in its basic form means “remember”, and in its causative form “remind” [cause to remember]. Indeed, that causative form gives birth to a female noun meaning “secretary”, on the basis that a female secretary’s principal task is reminding her hapless male boss of things he should have remembered for himself! So the Tz-D-K root of Tzedakah spawns the word for “righteous”, as in the Arabic name Sadiq.

#Solemnity is another interesting – and highly appropriate – word. From the Latin “solus” and “annus”, so literally “once a year”!

Philip Goldenberg, member of the Jewish Faith 2. Woking Debates' next topic is 'Is it time to reverse privitisation?' and will take place via Zoom on Saturday 3rd October at 11am via Zoom.

2. Woking Debates look forward to your contributions which are really important to the discussion. For more information, and to obtain a link, please email: keithsc_2000@yahoo.com or visit their website

3. Members' Online Faith Services

4. Sign up to receive Woking Borough Council's Enewsletter here We cannot predict the future and as we are entering the ‘new normal’ with the possibility of a ‘local lockdown’ happening and a general air of uncertainty still prevailing, WBC understand the need to have a chain of communication open with as many people as possible to ensure that should the situation in Woking take a turn for the worse, they are able to get a call to action out to as many people as possible, in as quick a time as possible. The newsletter was developed during the height of the pandemic but as lockdown has eased, more general Council activity is starting to be included, thus meaning that moving forward into calmer climes, should you wish to remain subscribed, you will also be kept up to date with other news that may be of interest to you.

5. Churches Together in Woking held prayers on Sunday 31st May 2020 in Woking's Town Centre. ChristChurch, St Mary of Bethany, St Paul's, St Dunstan's, URC, New Life, Emmaus Road and Welcome Church are all included in the You Tube clip which can be viewed here

6. The Inter Faith Network shares Covid-19 messages and prayers from Faith Leaders here.

7. Community Foundation for Surrey have launched The Coronavirus Response Fund to support local charities and voluntary organisations that are assisting some of Surrey's most vulnerable people. Please see this link for further information.

8. Healthwatch Surrey is an independent organisation which empowers the people of Surrey to share their experiences of health and social care to help improve services. They particularly want to hear your experiences during lockdown and as we slowly see restrictions lifted. Every story really counts. They look forward to hearing from you. Use this link

9. One of our Trustees, Philip Goldenberg has written a book: 'Walking Through Different Worlds: Annoying People For Good'. There is a chapter describing the work Philip has done with Woking People of Faith.

10. Trevor Aldridge, Pianist / Organist for events in Woking and surrounding area is available for all faiths/secular, etc. Fees on request. Phone 01483 766112 for further information.

11. The Vocal Excellence in Ministry Choir Program has been put together by multi-award winning Gospel singer Rachel Kerr, who is the founder of Singercise. The online program has over 100 hours of material, 15+ different course and gives choir members 24/7 access to vocal coaching support and is heavily discounted for choirs. For more info, click here

12. Diabetes UK are looking for Community Champions in our area. You can help people in your community improve their health by taking diabetes seriously, inspire them to reduce their risk of diabetes, or manage their diabetes better - and build up your own skills and confidence. Diabetes UK will give you all the training and confidence you'll need to make a real difference. Email: communitychampions@diabetes.org.uk or phone 0800 138 1639 for further information.

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