Yom Kippur 2017

Yom Kippur is probably the most important holiday in the Jewish calendar and will be observed from the 29th – 30th September 2017. Many Jewish people will refrain from work, fast and/or attend Synagogue services on this day. Yom Kippur occurs on the 10th day of Tishri  (The seventh month of the Jewish year, during which many important holidays occur.)

The name “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement”. It is a day set aside to “afflict the soul,” to atone for the sins of the past year.  This day is essentially your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgement, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends.

No work can be performed during Yom Kippur and followers are obliged to refrain from eating and drinking (even water).  It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur.

Much of the holiday is spent in the Synagogue, in prayer. The services end at nightfall, with the blowing of the tekiah gedolah, a long blast on the shofar (an ancient musical horn made of ram’s horn).

There are two meals associated with Yom Kippur: the pre-fast meal and the break-fast meal. The pre-fast meal is known as seudah ha-mafaseket ( “meal of separation” or “concluding meal”). Some traditional recipe choices for the meal include: rice, kreplach (stuffed dumplings), chicken, or fish. Meals are usually prepared with minimum salt, as this could cause dehydration during the fast. It is important to drink plenty of water, of course. The break-fast meal usually consists of hi-carb dairy foods like sweet kugel (noodle pudding), bagels, quiches, soufflés, eggs and cheese.

 

Giving in the U.K – International Day of Charity 2017

As a nation, the UK ranks highly for charitable donations, we give more in overseas aid than most other developed countries. But as individuals, how much are we really willing to donate to charity?

The Charity Aid Foundation’s (CAF), latest survey suggests that despite growing economic uncertainty, we are still giving more than we have in previous years. The study also shows that women are more likely to give than men, the young are less likely to donate than the old and our favourite causes to give to are religious organisations, followed by overseas/disaster aid and medical research.

For some of us, counting pennies is a way of life and giving to charity takes some consideration. Worry not, because there are many ways to give that don’t include parting with cash.  Volunteering is a great way to help others by donating your time rather than your resources. Could you spare an hour a week to work in a charity shop? Or help out at a food bank? As well as bringing a little bit of hope into the life of a  stranger, it has been proven that charitable giving actually makes us happier! The same parts of the brain which light up when we are doing pleasurable things (e.g eating chocolate or watching Game of Thrones), also become more active when we give to others.

Giving can include simply donating unwanted items like that patterned tie you were given for your birthday but never wear, or the old baby clothes you have stored in the loft. What may be of no use to you could make the world of difference to someone else.

We can even give by simply buying the right products when we go shopping. By spending on Fair Trade products we are inadvertently giving by ensuring the third world farmers/producers are earning a fare wage for their work.  Similarly we can buy clothing from reputable manufacturers who don’t use underpaid factory workers to produce their items. By making small changes and doing a bit of research it’s amazing how big of a difference we could collectively make.

The CAF survey highlighted the fact that giving in the UK peaks in November. The run up to Christmas makes us all feel more generous and the big push on charity marketing campaigns also plays a role. However, it’s important to remember that like a dog; giving isn’t just for Christmas.  We can actively change lives during the other 11 months of the year too. If not for the disadvantaged, do it for the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get inside!

 

 

 

 

access-to-higher-education-diploma

Volunteer with ‘Talk English Project’ in Birmingham

Fircroft College will be delivering the NEW Talk English Programme in Birmingham. Funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Talk English is a volunteer led project, that offers a fantastic opportunity to develop English language skills for people with low levels of English within the local area.

The project will run a number of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses across community venues. It  will be taught by volunteer ‘Talk English Tutors’ and supported by volunteer ‘Talk English Friends’.

Sound interesting? Read more below….

Volunteer needed for Talk English Project in Birmingham

Make a difference.. become a Talk English Volunteer!

‘Talk English Tutors’ will receive

  •  Free training courses
  • Gain teaching experience
  • Develop new skills

‘Talk English Friends’ will have the exciting opportunity to facilitate a range of fun learning activities for people learning English and/or can support learners one to one , or in a small group within a classroom setting.

We are now recruiting for volunteer Talk English Tutors, Talk English friends and partners, If interested in volunteering for the project please register your interest HERE 

To find out more please get in touch with Neena Chauhan, Talk English Project Coordinator on 0121 472 2016 or via email       neena.chauhan@fircroft.ac.uk.

To find out more about Talk English visit www.talk-english.co.uk/birmingham