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Chanukah Guidance

Dear friends,

As the Chanukah is fast approaching we would like to share with you a few bullet points about the right way to fulfil this beautiful mitzvah

  • Chanukah begins on the evening of Sunday December the 6th - 25th of Kislev and continues for eight days; that means that the first lighting of candles (1 candle + Shamash- additional candle) will take place this Sunday evening, and the last lighting of candles (8 candles + Shamash) will take place on the evening of next Sunday, December the 13th.  
  • It is permitted to work during the days of the Festival of Chanukah; however women do not work and don’t do housework for at least the first half hour of the candles' burning. This is their time to take rest and think about women’s role in Jewish history generally and their impact in the struggle against the Hellenism in particular.
  • There is no obligation to have festive meals; however it is customary to celebrate by eating special meals anyway, because of the fact that the dedication of the Temple and Altar took place during Chanukah.
  • It is customary to eat milk foods because Yehudit, daughter of Yochanan the High Priest, was taken to be defiled by the Greek ruler Holofernes. She fed him cheese (to make him thirsty) and wine (to quench his thirst); and after getting him drunk she killed him. This was one of the events that sparked the Maccabean uprising. Food fried in oil is also eaten to commemorate the miracle of the Menorah. Latkes and donuts are the most common foods. Don’t overdo it!! Health comes first!!
  • It is customary for every member of the household to have one candle on the first night and an additional candle every night (1-8).
  • Any type of oil is acceptable for use in the menorah; however, it is best to use olive oil
  • The menorah should be similar to the Menorah in the Temple; refrain from using electric lights or gas lamps.
  • The light should be clear, and the wicks should not flicker
  • Regular candles are also acceptable, providing they have a single wick.
  • If a number of people are lighting in one household they should make a slight separation between their menorahs so that there is no confusion to the observer as to the number of candles.
  • Ideally, the Menorah should be placed outside the house to the left of the entrance. Since anti-Semitism was so common throughout Jewish history it became customary among may communities to place the Menorah inside the house, near the entrance or on the table. In many families it is the custom to place the menorah in a window facing the street.
  • The Menorah should have all the candles or wicks on the same level, none higher or lower than the others.
  • It is customary to have an additional candle (the shamash) with which to light the other candles and in order to use it's light.
  • The shamash should be placed in a way that shows that it is not one of the Chanukah candles.
  • Place first candle on the extreme right of the Menorah. On the second night add a candle on the left. Light the newest candle first and proceed to the right.
  • The best time to light the candles is straight after dark. In Leeds this time of the year it is around 4.30 pm.
  • It is obligatory to put in enough oil, or a long enough candle to burn for at least 1/2 hour.
  • If one forgot or was not able to light at the correct time, one may light as long as people are still awake in the house in which one is lighting.
  • One should prepare the wicks and candles etc. well before the time of lighting in order to light the Menorah at the correct time.
  • It is best to light in the presence of many people in order to publicise the miracle. If the members of the household are not at home at the beginning of the evening, one should wait with lighting the candles till they come back. 
  • On the first night three brachot- blessings are recited. "Lehadlik ner shel Chanukah", "She asa nissim" and "Shehecheyanu".
  • On the other nights only the first two blessings are said.
  • On Friday afternoon, the Chanukah candles should be lit before the Shabbat candle-lighting time. They cannot be lit too early either. That leaves a rather narrow window of opportunity; the only time to light the Chanukah candles on Friday December the 11th is after 3.00pm and before 3.25pm.
  • After the Chanukah candles were lit, then the Shabbat candles should be lit.    
  • Remember to put in more oil or bigger candles on Friday, so that they burn 1/2 hour after nightfall.
  • When lighting on Saturday night, it should be done after Shabbat is out. On Saturday December the 12th it is forbidden to light the candles or to make any preparations for lighting the candles before 4.43pm.     
  • On Saturday night theHavdalah- the conclusion of Shabbat prayer, should be recited before lighting Chanukah candles (although there are different customs this is the prevailing custom in Leeds). In Synagogue the candles are lit before the Havdalah.
  • If one is going away during the days of Chanukah , they should consult with their rabbi in order to find the best way how not to miss this beautiful mitzvah.

during the days of the Festival of Chanukahh , they should consult with their rabbi in order to find the best way how not to miWishing you all Happy Chanukah!!!

Sponsor a Seudah

Dear Members,


If you wish to sponsor a Shabbos Seudahfor one or more of the available dates below, then please call me on (0113) 2662214 or please respond to this email. 


It is just £35 to sponsor a Seudah, they can be shared, and the quantities can be increased to suit your number of guests. 


Seudah’s can be sponsored for a number of reasons, some of which are for Yahrzeits, Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries and Bar or Bat mitzvah’s etc. 


Please confirm your date or dates as soon as you can to avoid any disappointment. 




Facebook ......


Etz Chaim is catching up with the times….we now have a closed Facebook page.

This group has been created to promote all the up and coming events at the Shul, so no one will be left out!

If you are on Facebook and you would like to be part of this, please invite yourself to join and I will approve you onto the list! Thank you Nicola.

6 GREAT ways you can Support your Shul!!

Dear Members,

There are 6 GREAT ways you can Support your Shul.

  1. Kiddush / Seudah.
  2. Whiskey
  3. Yahrzeit Plaque / Memorial Leaf
  4. Book Donations
  5. Booking a room
  6. Book and Gift Shop

Maybe you have a Special Birthday, Anniversary, Simcha or another occasion coming up this year!?  Maybe you haven’t booked anything yet!? Please let me help you, and make your occasion a happy one and stress free Jwith your close friends, family and the congregation.

Please call me now on (0113) 2662214, or please email please pop into the Shul office at your leisure.

Why wait! Please BOOK the date now for a Kiddush or Seudah, and confirm the finer details nearer the time.  Dates are filling up, please book now to avoid disappointment.

If you are not able to get to the Bookshop on a Sunday 11am-12.30pm, please let me know and I can arrange for you to collect the items from the Shul Office during the week.

Etz Chaim now have a Facebook page, please request to be added and I will approve you…. Great way to find out what events and meetings are taking place in Your Shul.Happy to answer any questions you may have.

Many thanks for your continued Support as always, here to help.








Tree of LIFE

Etz ChaimOur synagogue whose name translates as ‘tree of life’now has its very own ‘Tree of Life’.

Situated in the Shul foyer, each gold leaf on its branches, will be a permanent reminder of a departed loved one.

Leaves can be inscribed with up to 12 words of your choice, and cost just £250 each.

Payment can be made over 10 monthly instalments of £25.

The tree is limited to only 100 leaves which can be dedicated.

So please place your order quickly.

For more details, contact the Shul office on Leeds 0113 266 2214 or please email

Please let me know if you are interested.

Or an alternative to this are the Memorial Plaques in Shul, which are £120.  They are put up each year on the anniversary of the Yahrzeit date.


Shechita update

The attacks on Shechita continue and increase. All of us need to be part of the defence. Follow the link and have the knowledge to answer when discussing with your colleagues or even when debating with your conscience.

Cemetery Images

You can view the headstone images for New Farnley, Louis Street and hilltop, using the links below:-

The link for the JCR-UK Leeds homepage is:


This includes links for both the Hilltop and New Farnley Cemeteries:

and view images of all of the headstones

DONATIONS TO SHUL ........ Thank you.

If you would like to make a donation to the Etz Chaim Synagogue, you may wish to put it towards one or some of the following:-

  • Sefah Torah - POA
  • Ohel Books - £10 each
  • Shiva Books - £10 each
  • Stone Chumash - £34
  • New Singers Siddur - £18 each
  • Artscroll Siddur / Machzor - £23
  • Basic Kiddush - £185
  • Special Kiddush - £345
  • Shared Kiddush - £92.50 / £172.50
  • Seudah - £35
  • Shared Seudah - £17.50
  • Whiskey - £20 a bottle

If you would like to donate a book or books, we are happy to insert a book plate in the front of it for you and any information you require in it.

Please call the office on (0113) 2662214 or please email and we would be happy to help you. 

You can now also transfer your payment by BACS online to:-

Account Name:- Trustees of New Central Vilna Synagogue

Sort Code:- 40-27-15

Account Number:- 71892347

Please email and let us know if you have made a donation online and what it is towards.

Thank you for your kind and generous support.

Sponsoring a Kiddush or Seudah

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SPONSOR ...... a Kiddush and or a Seudah!!

If you are interested in sponsoring a Kiddush or Seudah please call the Etz Chaim Office on (0113) 2662214 and speak to Nicola or Stanley and we would be happy to talk you through the different options and prices. 

There are many reasons for sponsoring a Kiddush or Seudah... some examples are for:-

  • Bar or Bat Mitzvah
  • Wedding / Auf Rufs
  • Wedding Anniversary's
  • Birthdays
  • Yahrzeits
  • General Donation towards a Kiddush

Even if it's a year away please get in touch and book the date in the diary.

Thank you for supporting your Shul.

Whiskey Donations please .....

Whisky Galore!

Are we the best shul in Leeds?  - Of course we are, but there is one thing keeping up from being perfect...and that is a decent malt whisky at Kiddush on Shabbat!

With your help this is going to change....we are now looking for donations to start the ball rolling.

We only need 52 bottles or so a year, so gentlemen (and ladies), if you want to mark a special occasion such as a Yahrzeit or birthday, or just donate for the fun of it, please contact the shul office.

Bottles are £20 each (the shul will do the purchasing).

Please contact the shul office with your donation.

Phone 0113 266 2214

Ready Steady Latkes

To make your own Latkes you will need:-

  • 2 lb Potatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Matza Meal
  • Oil for Frying

Peel the potatoes and onions.  Pass them through the funnel of food processor, or grate by hand.

Place the grated mixture in a colander or sieve to drain any liquid.  It is important that the mixture is not wet, as the Latke will not bind, and become spiky when fried.

Whilst this is draining, heat your oil either in a shallow frying pan or a deep fat fryer.

Place the drained mixture in a bowl and mix in the beaten egg, salt and matza meal.

This mixture is now ready to fry in small balls.

In a shallow pan this would take about 2 minutes on either side.  To deep fry, this should take about 3 minutes.  Drain on kitchen paper and eat as soon as possible.


These are lovely eaten on their own, or with meals like salt beef or viennas.  In America, people eat them with apple sauce and a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar.  They are also lovely with sour cream and chive dip, or creme fresh and smoked salmon.

Chanukah Doughnut Recipe

Chanukah Doughnuts

This recipe is really better made with milk and butter, but I have tried to make them with soya milk and tomor and they do work.  I'm sure you will prefer them washed down with tea or coffee, though.

125 ml milk

15g butter

250g strong White flour

1/2 sachets yeast or 2 teaspoons fresh yeast

Pinch of salt

225 g caster sugar

1 egg

strawberry jam

Oil for frying


Warm the milk and butter in a pan until the butter is melting.  Put the flour, yeast salt and 25g of the sugar into a large mixing bowl. Beat the egg into the milk, then mix it into the flour, mixing with a wooden spoon. Now with your hands, or a dough hook in a mixer, knead well.

The dough should be a smooth round ball. Put this into a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave it somewhere warm for a couple of hours, it should double in size.

Punch the dough down, then knead again.  Roll it out to 2cm thick and cut out circles with a 4cm cookie cutter.  Flatten the circles then put a tiny blob of jam in the middle, seal this with your hands and roll back into a circle.

Heat your oil, then fry on both sides, it should take about 4-5 minutes. Drain quickly on kitchen paper, then roll in the sugar to coat.

Etz Chaim Bookshop opportunity

IF YOU'RE interested in books – particularly those with a Jewish theme – then a great opportunity has arisen in the Etz Chaim Bookshop.

We need someone who can spare an hour-and-a-half on Sunday mornings (between 11am and 12.30pm) who can either help to run the Bookshop with another, or to run it solo on that morning.

If you're interested please contact Stanley Morris at the Etz Chaim office on Leeds 0113 266 2214.

Volunteers wanted


Gentlemen - your synagogue needs you!

We need your assistance in setting up a regular 52 week of the year ROTA. 

We require your help for the following days

  Mornings - Mon / Tues / Wed / Thurs / Fri

Evenings - Mon / Tues / Wed / Thurs

The more men who come forward to help out, the less often you will be asked to volunteer.

Please bear in mind that it could be you who goes to Shul for a loved one's Yahrzeit and are unable to say Kaddish due to a lack of a Minyan.  Please put your name forward to volunteer for the Rota.  You can state which day of the week you are available and whether you are available for the morning or evening service.  If you need transport to and from Shul please advise.  We will do our utmost to oblige.

Sarnie time at Gourmet!

Sunday is Sarnie Day

Freshly-made Hot Salt Beef Sandwiches

Delicious - and only £3.49 each


Freshly-made Coleslaw and Egg & Onion

Gourmet Foods, Sandhill Drive, Harrogate Road, Leeds

- the only supervised Kosher butcher in Leeds

Email Address - Please update the Shul Office!!

If you have an email address or your email address has changed! and you would like to recieve our weekly updates then please call or email the office.

(0113) 2662214 or

Thank you,

Etz Chaim Office.



Have you got news for us?

IF YOU have any good news to share with the Shul e.g. births, engagements, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, etc would you please inform the Shul office on Leeds 0113 266 2214 or email:

It would be lovely to think that we can share the good times with our members as well as the sad times. We can only do this with your help.

Wanted: Your stories and photos

THE NEXT issue of the Etz Chaim's award-winning newsletter, Shabbat Shalom, is looking for articles and photos for its next issue.  If you have any stories or pictures – or ideas for future items – then please get in touch by emailing: or you can call the shul office on Leeds 0113 266 2214 with details.

Shabbat Shalom has twice been named Synagogue Newsletter of the Year in national competitions organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and sponsored by the Jewish Chronicle.

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