Chairman’s message 24 June

Chairman’s message 24 June

Dear Friends,

I recently wrote about the uncertainty created for me personally by the lack of clear guidance from the government and I have to say that this continues. However, as more information comes through on the eventual re-openings of cinemas, restaurants, art galleries, my thoughts turn to events outside of my house, although I am still choosing not to participate. Somehow this makes it even harder, knowing that others are deciding to go to places and pick up some of their lives in the “new normal”. I have come across an event that I can do from home this week and which I think is very comforting. This Friday 26 June is National Cream Tea Day 2020! Cream teas have been enjoyed by the nation since 1662 when Portuguese Catherine de Braganza married Charles II, bringing the custom of drinking tea at court with her. In 1706, Thomas Twining opened London’s first tearoom and before long, a flurry of tearooms appeared across the city in competition with the traditionally male coffee houses. The Duchess of Bedford, tiring of the long wait between lunch and dinner, took this further and invented afternoon tea, inviting friends to her country house. By the middle of the 19th century, afternoon tea was an everyday occurrence; a spread of sandwiches, cakes, scones, cream and jam – the first hint of cream teas as we know them today.

Why, you may ask, am I putting this in a Synagogue email, other than to unhelpfully encourage everyone to increase the size of their waistline. I was struck by the fact that Cornwall and Devon have been arguing ever since the 19th century about the correct way of putting jam and cream on your scone. Devon typically spread the clotted cream first followed by the jam, the Cornish tradition is to spread jam first followed by the cream. I just wanted to say that since lockdown started I have heard of many reconciliations between friends who hadn’t spoken for years and between estranged family members. So in spite of all the uncertainty, I am filled with optimism that wonderful things can come out of such a difficult situation. Maybe this will be the year for Devon and Cornwall too!

I am sure that many of you will have seen the Government announcement on the re-opening of places of worship. We are still waiting for the official guidelines as newspapers are reporting inconsistent and different things. Can there be singing? Is there a 30 person maximum at services? It is not clear. The planning group will meet on Friday to consider what we know and ideas, coming from that meeting, will then be discussed by the Executive on Sunday. At this point I have no fresh news for you.

I know that many members have family and friends buried at Pound Lane Cemetery. The cemetery is now open by appointment only and you need to give 24 hours’ notice if you want to visit a grave. It is open Sunday – Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Anyone wanting to visit needs to call Andy on 020 8459 1635 to make the appointment. Social distancing rules will apply.

Edgwarebury Cemetery remains open to visitors but please check with the cemetery office (020 8958 3388) before visiting to ensure there are no funerals taking place at that time, as you may not be allowed in if there are. Any visit to a grave involving more than one household will be limited to 12 persons, and must be booked in advance through the cemetery office. Social distancing rules will apply. In addition, the cemetery is now open for stone setting ceremonies but there will be a limit on the number of attendees, as there currently is with funerals. Any stone settings which have been cancelled recently can be rebooked by contacting Lee (

This Friday, 26th June, we are going to hold a BSS Cheder Kabbalat Shabbat at 6pm via Zoom. Please join Caroline as we mark coming to the end of a fantastic (and somewhat challenging) Cheder. We will light the candles together, bless the wine and the challah, sing some Shabbat songs and enjoy a story too. Everyone is welcome – Cheder Pupils and non-pupils with parents, grandparents and extended family too. We look forward to seeing you virtually on Zoom. Please contact Caroline ( to get the login details if you do not have the BSS Cheder ONLINE ID and password.

You may have noticed that in our pre-recorded Shabbat services we have been using last year’s bnei mitzvah services, which include some of our young people chanting “maf and haf”. Two weeks ago it was a great pleasure to hear Ellis Wantman and this coming Shabbat 27 June, Freddie Jerome will be on our screens. It’s a pleasure to hear our young people and remember the fantastic job they did. Please do log in to watch the service.

Last Thursday Professor Paul Weindling gave a talk on Zoom about the Kindertransport from Vienna to the UK and I thought that you would be interested to know that we had over 50 people log in to hear him. I have written to thank him for giving his time to us.

Last week I included I a link to a rendering of Bridge over Troubled Waters and as a result I have been sent a link to Miriam Makeba singing Erev shel Shoshanim. This was recorded in 1965 and is very uplifting. Miriam Makeba (1932 – 2008), was nicknamed Mama Africa, and was a legendary black singer from South Africa. You can find it through this link:

On the subject of things to do at home, can I remind you that John Brook is offering Challah baking lessons on Zoom on a Friday morning. Please do book in by contacting Adam on

That is it for this week, stay safe and stay well

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Gardening Tips

Just to remind you that whilst they are not experts, both Henny and John have agreed to answer any gardening questions that you may have. Please email questions to Adam Rynhold at and he will pass them on.

From Henny Levin

  • We are now getting to the best part of the year, fruits are ripening and some are ready to eat. Vegetables are a little further behind developing their crops. There is nothing better that going into the garden or allotment to pick fresh strawberries, cherries or gooseberries at the moment. Rhubarb is nearly past its best but first potatoes can be dug up and enjoyed.
  • As we are having some rain, go for a walk in your garden with a hand trowel and fork and sweep up slugs and snails before they can get to your plants especially young dahlias. I throw mine over the garden wall into the street. There is no point in putting them in the bin. I tried that and they are such slippery characters that they can escape from anything. You can also use pellets obtainable from garden centres to control these pests.
  • There is still time to sow lettuce, rocket, radishes and spring onions and maybe also some carrots.
  • Feed your tomatoes and prick out the shoots between the main stem and their branches.

Below are some ideas for plants with variegated leaves which can be just as beautiful as flowers:

Varieties of coleus
Varieties of acers

From John Alexander

  • It’s still not too late to prune spring flowering shrubs.
  • Cut back to the ground the stalks of the last of your allium and bearded iris.
  • Stake drooping plants.
  • Dead head roses – especially after the beating they took in last week’s rain.
  • Start weeding before they set seeds – either by running a hoe over them or by pulling them out by hand.
  • Do not spray for greenfly or aphids any longer as the ladybirds have arrived to eat them.
  • Whilst the sun is shining this week, enjoy your gardens or parks – don’t fret about the garden chores, most can wait!