Chairman’s message 27 August

Chairman’s message 27 August

Dear Friends

This email comes to you a day late as I usually write it on a Wednesday. Yesterday we took the decision to come back early from our one week holiday in Cornwall and so I was on the road all day. We cut the week short having experienced 70mph winds on Tuesday, thanks to Storm Francis and with more rain forecast for the rest of our stay. I have to say that I have never experienced anything like strong winds and standing on a hill, in the storm, was one of the most exhilarating and terrifying moments of this year. Mind you most of the year has been spent indoors, so actually the bar is probably quite low!

Still on the subject of activities I am constantly impressed at the range of sports and thrill seeking activities that Mrs Klopstick undertakes. We hear about them regularly from her husband, Fritz, in News From The Square. Last week both of them were concerned that there will be no “chauffer blasting” at the High Holydays. I would like to reassure them and any of you who were concerned that we have agreed arrangements for the Shofar to be blown. It will occur just outside the Synagogue in the open air but will be clearly heard by all those in the Synagogue or on BelsizeLIVE. I am so impressed with all Mrs Klopstick’s activities that I would like to invite her onto our Planning Committee, so that we can harness her ideas. Perhaps Fritz could pass this on?

Please remember that booking for the High Holydays closes on Monday so if you would like to come but haven’t emailed yet please do so. For those of you who do want to attend you will hear from Lee by Friday 4 September.

The Planning Committee met again this week and we have now agreed that we will be able to have a small choir in our Friday evening services as well as Shabbat morning. The first service will be Friday 4 September. Another step forward! Plans are almost complete for Succot and the following Festivals and I will write again about those next week.

I am also delighted to say that Kikar Kids is coming back to Belsize Square from 5 September onwards, once a month. We think we are the first community to find a covid secure way of putting on a children’s service. Kikar will still start at 11am but will now be in the hall. As with the main service everyone will have their temperature taken when they arrive and all adults will need to wear masks. Families will sit inside a personalised square. It will be different and yet very special for young people and their families to be together again – even if in a socially distanced way! All bookings will be through the office – if you have any questions please send them to Lee or Richard Pollins.

I have been sent information on a JW3 evening ,which might interest you. The event takes place on line on Thursday 10 September from 8pm.The host for the evening will be Tracy Ann Oberman featuring the following guests; Boy George, Stephen Fry, Simon Callow, Shappi Khorsandi, Jim Carter & Imelda Staunton, Mark Ronson, Jason Isaacs, G4 and others. Visit the JW3 website and look for the “JW3’s Big Night In” page to watch the show on the night, when it will stream live. They are asking for voluntary donations.

That is all from me but I wanted to thank everyone who has written to me about their troubles with their bin collections. I am about to go outside to see if the bin was collected this week. There are no gardening tips this week but please do read the piece below by Sonny MacDonald who was the joint 1st place winner of the Cheder Writing Competition.

Stay safe and stay well


Lock down by Sonny MacDonald

This year’s Passover was different. We weren’t going to our grandparents and seeing our cousins and eating the incredibly tasty dishes that my Grandma makes, or reading and singing altogether. Oh no – This year we were going to do it in a whole unique, new and exciting way.

It all started when we started the Zoom call. One by one, our family popped onto the screen. We were all fancily dressed up while our cousins wore casual jeans and colourful jumpsuits. Laid before the screen were plates of cinnamon balls, coconut pyramids, fruit, savoury dishes too. But standing majestically in all their glory were the two silver, detailed candles, like the King and Queen. We lit them and said the prayers, then opened the books. Images of Hebrew letters peered up at us, hopefully, as if begging to be read. Pictures of Moses and Israelites were also there.

After a few more pages, we came to the Seder plate. We ate the boiled egg in salt water, the parsley, the maror or bitter herb. It made my eyes water like a stream! We then ate the matzah with charoset which represents the cement the slaves used to build pyramids. Then we sat down and sang a song which was very funny as it kept going out of rhythm.

Then we focused on the plagues. We each had a mask to show the plague we represented. Now, my cousins are extremely energetic and sitting around must’ve felt like agony or holding up Mount Everest. So, the small one, Frankie, who is fabulous but frantic and funny, started running around my aunt and uncle’s dining room. What complete chaos and a total hullaballoo! This made my Grandpa furious, which made everyone else laugh. Then she mixed up the songs with random words which was even more humorous.

In the end, we were all contented, virtuous and cheerful. I never thought it would turn out to be so distinctive and fun. I just hope next year is better!

Sonny Macdonald