Twelve members of the Whitefield Hebrew congregation set off to Fleetwood over the bank holiday weekend with the aim of catching a kosher fish, to use its head to adorn the Rosh Hashanah table, fulfilling the age old high holiday custom!
Community director and keen fisherman, Mychiel Balshine organised the trip, and together with the help of Captain John, the group set sail in a large fishing vessel, with baited rods, all raring to go.
The scenery was lovely, the Lake District could be seen in the not too far distance and Blackpool Tower stuck its head over the horizon in the opposite direction.
Some of the group, such as Tony Calmonson, were seasoned fisherman, for others however, it was a first time experience.
Rabbi Ephraim blew the shofar (A tradition throughout the Hebrew month of Elul), he told the captain it was to attract the fish, and attract the fish it did, with many great specimen being hauled in! Catch of the day went to young Ben Kaivanto, who only celebrated his bar mitzvah just over a year ago in Whitefield Shul, catching a huge Tope (a species of shark) which he struggled to hold still for the photo due to its large size.
Despite the fun and abundant catches, none of the fish hooked were actually kosher, lacking the required sign of fins and scales. We didn’t think having the head of a shark on the table would be a good New Year’s omen! They were therefore all safely returned to the water, possibly never to be seen again.
Mychiel said this will certainly become an annual trip and he can’t wait until the next one!