I am a son of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Community of London, an orthodox community that was founded some 350 years ago by Menashe ben Israel, and is the oldest Jewish community in Britain. Although I've been to, and enjoyed, many different types of Jewish service over the years, it's also the custom I love best.
My wife and I brought up our family of five children, now enhanced by five children-in-law and nine grandchildren, in Israel. Where we live there is no community that follows this custom or uses any of the tunes from its beautiful musical repertoire. However, over the years I adapted many of them for singing at our Shabbat table, so many of these tunes are still very much part of our lives.
For the last decade or so I've traveled to Manchester, London, Philadelphia, and Lisbon to help lead high holiday services in the S&P minhag. These visits provided the impetus for me to refresh my own memory of the details of the beautiful tradition I grew up with, and to make it available to others who might find it of interest. In 2012 and 2013 I commuted regularly to Bevis Marks synagogue in London as their Visiting Rabbi, while continuing to live and work mostly in Israel.
You are invited to contact me with questions, suggestions, corrections, compliments or anything else (except spam), at:
jonathan.e.cohen [at] gmail.com