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Communal Tallit

Our Tallit is comprised of many panels, all created by members of the Community. Some of the panels were created at a retreat in Surrey many years ago when young and old were invited to express what our Community meant to them in a variety of media. Then, this year, Liberal Judaism invited each community to make a community Tallit for the Biennial Conference.

The end result is our beautiful and very special Tallit showcasing a patchwork of panels: Some are very simple in design such as the Chanukiah, which celebrates the festival and the fact that every year we have a Chanukah party. Another very simple one is the Magan David, the symbol of our faith but also a memorial to all those who had to wear their star in the ghettos of Europe and later perished. We also have a panel showing a simple scroll as we are custodians of a Czech scroll and regularly use a Dutch scroll, donated by one of our founder families.

The two central panels, the Noah’s Ark and the seder plate were designed by two of our newest and youngest members with help from their parents. The Noah’s Ark is a reminder of our favourite Torah mantle with a similar design which was created by our Cheder children at another community retreat. The Seder plate is a reminder of our annual communal seder – one of the highlights of our year.

Other panels depict Torah stories e.g. Jonah and the Whale, Moses at the parting of the sea, Abraham in his tent, the pillar of fire and the pillar of smoke and Jacob’s dream. We also have a Tree of Life, beautifully and lovingly made by our newest member. Another panel represents a key point in our calendar when we all gather at a member’s house to build, decorate and then pray together in the Sukkah. Finally we have a dove carrying an olive branch signifying “peace”.

Together and now collected on our Tallit, the panels represent the ways in which the Members of our Community identify as Jews, the Torah stories that we love, the festivals that we celebrate together and the ways in which we celebrate. Together they represent the shelter of Peace that Reading Liberal Jewish Community provides for us, our families, our friends and visitors.

The full version of this article is published in the September issue of LJ Today and can be found on