Chairman’s message 17 February

Chairman’s message 17 February

Dear Friends,

The weather is getting warmer and some of us are vaccinated and the schools may go back, so all in all things are improving. I came across an article last week written by three individuals who work for Potential Projects: Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter and Nick Hobson and it starts “…it feels as if the world we know is faltering… now more than ever it’s imperative to demonstrate compassion.” That made me sit up and think! Here are some points that I took from it that you may find interesting and which I am now trying to put into my day-to-day living:

  • Compassion is the quality of having positive intentions and a real concern for others
  • Compassion on its own is not enough it must be combined with wisdom
  • To have wise compassion you have to have compassion for yourself, don’t let yourself get out of balance, don’t self-criticise all the time
  • Check your intentions before you speak
  • Compassion is a trainable skill, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone
  • Develop a genuine caring for people’s feelings and well-being

Turning to the Synagogue, as you know we are represented on the Board of Deputies by three people. Sadly, both Robert Sacks and Carol Cohen are stepping down from their position as Deputies. Deborah Nerva-Cohen is continuing. It is so important that we have a voice in this forum and can raise key issues that concern us. Please can I ask you to contact Lee if you would like to explore what this involves and Deborah or Annette Nathan will be happy to talk to you about the detail. We need your help! In the meantime, can I thank Robert and Carol for all the work that they have done for the Synagogue.

I am so proud to tell you that in spite of lockdown and school disruption, our Holocaust Memorial Day Programme for schools is being delivered virtually and has been very well received. We have already delivered to South Hampstead High School and there are some other schools who would normally attend the Synagogue, who have also asked us to do the same. An enormous thank you goes to Peter Bohm who is the driving force behind this project (never taking a “no we can’t do it” for an answer), to Cantor Heller for spending hours putting together much of the material, to presenters Rob Nothman and Hilary Solomon, and everyone else involved.

Our member, Alisa Jaffa, is in conversation at AJR online on Thursday 4 March from 4-5pm. She will be talking about how her early experiences in Nazi Germany have affected her life and perspective, and what it feels like to give testimony for the AJR Archive. Please use the link below to register for the talk which is free:

World Jewish Relief have a number of online events over the coming months that you might be interested in –

I have had some enquiries about Pesach. More will follow in the next few weeks but we will be holding a Zoom Communal Seder on the second night, Sunday 28 March. Pop this in your diary.

Lastly can I remind you again that it is Purim next week on 25 February at 7.00pm. As I said last week it will be run by the children, with the children and for the children but held virtually. This promises to be a special event so please do plan to join us and send pictures of your fancy dress to Lee (

That is all from me for this week. Stay safe and stay well.