On Saturday evening 15 December, the 8th day of Hanukah, Bevis Marks Synagogue hosted the S&P Community’s Choral Hanukah Service and Concert. This was a great success with over 200 people in attendance. The synagogue looked magnificent with all the candles and menorah lights lit. Rabbi Jonathan Cohen led the service and lit the menorah, and Eliot Alderman conducted the choir in the traditional S&P accompaniments to the service.
Following addresses by myself and Dayan Abraham, the choir – in excellent voice – performed some superb renditions of S&P favorites. An interesting new item in the programme was a delightful trio sung by Eliot Alderman, chorister Aaron Isaac, and myself, entitled “Hishki Hizki”.[audio http://www.shituf.piyut.org.il/audio/play/2861/Chishki_JC.mp3 ]
“Hishki Hizki” is a poem written by the chief rabbi of the S&P synagogue in Amsterdam, Rabbi Isaac Abohab de Fonseca, for its inauguration in 1675, and set to music in the baroque style by Jewish composer Abraham de Casseras. “From the days,” as I commented at the time, “when a chief rabbi might also be a poet.”
Recordings from the event can he heard online here:
Hanukah Service and Concert 5773 (2012)
Following the concert we repaired to the Succah area where we were regaled with delicious gourmet cream, custard and caramel-filled donuts and hot latkes.
Although – as I noted in my address – it is a time-honoured Hanukah custom to eat foods containing eight times as much oil as on other days of the year – in commemoration of the miracle – our doughnuts were remarkably and refreshingly light.
The winner of the Hanukah photo contest was Rabbi Jeff Berger, with the impressive photograph below.