“Finial”? Isn’t that a typo?

Torah Finials

Pretty much the ultimate Torah finials in my opinion. The distinctive design originated in Amsterdam and was perfected in London. This pair from 1705 are on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Similar pairs still in regular use in London have the bells and crown in gilt.

In naming this blog (and its accompanying newsletter) I was thinking mainly of Torah finials – aka Rimonim – that beautify the Sefer.

The Spanish and Portuguese Jewish tradition of London, with which I grew up, has some amazingly beautiful antique silver finials; not to mention melodies, customs, and a tradition of common sense and tolerance, all of which I consider essential “finials” (so to speak) to Jewish observance.

So I hope you will agree with me that “A Finial Word” hints successfully at these things, and is a suitable name for a blog about “thoughtful and elegant Jewish observance.”

At a time when religious Judaism is tending to become less tolerant, less thoughtful, less beautiful, and less inspired, I hope that “A Finial Word” will be able to weigh in with some – well – finial words.

But “A Finial Word” (deliberate indefinite article) is very different from what you would find on a blog called “The Final Word”. I see my words as starting point rather than anything else, and I will be delighted if they give you food for thought, if you have a comment or correction to make, and even if they result in your thinking about something and coming to a totally different conclusion to mine.

I would sum up my aim in the words of Rodolphus Agricola:
“ut doceat, ut moveatut delectet” (“to teach, to move, to delight”).

About me


Married to Simha with five married children and five infant grandchildren. Originally from London – and still very much a Londoner at heart – but living for the last 30 years in Israel and loving it. I work in Israel as an information developer (technical writer) and graphic artist, but also combined this with functioning as Visiting Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in Bevis Marks in 2012 and 2013.

In fact it was the termination of my period as Visiting Rabbi (yeah, that was stupid of them) and the pending deletion of the Bevis Marks Blog that I had started and maintained (doing that was worse than stupid), that prompted the creation of “A Finial Word” – so there’s another hint right there.

Companion sites

In addition to this site, I also have three websites dedicated to more specific interests:

London Sephardi Music
The beautiful musical tradition of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community of London is the subject of a sister website, which includes many MP3 recordings, and is still growing on a regular basis.

London Sephardi Minhag
A companion website dealing with the customs of “The London S&P”.

Jewish Table Singing
Texts, analysis and recordings of a wide range of Jewish Pizmonim (table songs), both Western Sephardi and Ashkenazi, but with an emphasis on the former.


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