Chairman’s message 29 July

Chairman’s message 29 July

Dear Friends

Another week has gone by and I am writing to you again. I am feeling very positive as I have finally had my hair done for the first time since Lockdown began. It is so silly that a haircut (and I have to admit colour as well) can make me feel so much better, but it does. I sat in the hairdressers thinking about how much we have all adapted to first of all the isolation, and now the uncertainty, and realised that there are a few things that I cannot change or adapt. Sewing – I couldn’t do this before lockdown and still can’t. Singing – I am still out of tune. Walking backwards – I still fall over. Cooked vegetables that aren’t soggy – an impossibility for me, as hard as I try. And yet, in the overall scheme of things these are not too important. What is important (at least to me) is family, friends, our community (you) and our Synagogue.

We are making progress in reopening and we are adapting to our new Synagogue “normal”. Last Friday night Rabbi Altshuler was in our Synagogue in person and on behalf of us all, I can say that we are all delighted to see him and Cantor Heller on the Bimah together. We know that we did not get the sound quite right and we are working hard on that for this coming Shabbat. The Synagogue was empty except for Ben Wolf, who was playing the organ, so Cantor Heller could still turn around for parts of the service. He will not be able to do that once there is a congregation in the Synagogue.

This coming Shabbat we will have our last rehearsal services and both Friday night and Saturday morning services will be transmitted on BelsizeLIVE. We will not be broadcasting an archived service on Shabbat morning, just the live one. We have a very small number of volunteers who will be attending so that we can practice how our security and exit arrangements work. It is possible that we may have to stop or slow down a part of the service or that you may see someone walk in front of the Bimah, these are all the things that we want to iron out. If you watch either or both services and have any feedback please do send it to me.

Please do not decide to just turn up this weekend, we will not be able to let you in. If everything goes well, you will be able to book in for services starting with Friday 7 August. Lee will be sending you an email on Monday and if you would like to attend, then please do watch out for it. We will still be transmitting on BelsizeLIVE for all of you who prefer to stay at home.

I have been in regular contact with Rabbi Mariner during this period and spoke to him today. He is not going out to Synagogue at the moment but sends his very best wishes to everyone.

I have already mentioned that the office has Siddurim which you can buy. We have books for Shabbat; the Festivals; Rosh Hashanah; Yom Kippur or you can buy a set. If you are interested please contact Adam Rynhold:

Last Sunday about 20 people joined Cantor Heller at Pound Lane Cemetery for our annual Tisha B’Av Memorial Service . It was entirely outdoors as the Prayer Hall is still closed and as always I found it very moving. We stood around the Holocaust Memorial for the service and I am attaching an old photo of it below. I did not take my camera with me but it has now been cleaned and restored and I want to thank Steven Bruck for working tirelessly to make that happen.

Holocaust Memorial

Tonight is our Zoom Tisha B’Av Programme and Service starting at 8:00pm with a Study Session with Rabbi Altshuler. This will be followed by a Ma’ariv (evening) service, Kinnot and Eichah (the book of Lamentations), led by the Cantor Heller, Chazan Stephen Cotsen and Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, both of New London Synagogue, with members of both congregations joining in. Adam Rynhold has already sent out an email with Zoom details on it. If you need it again please contact him:

That is all from me, everyone is busier as lockdown eases so I have not been sent any information on activities. Please do send me anything that you hear about.

As always please stay well and stay safe


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 John Alexander

  • It is just the right time to divide Bearded Irises if the clumps have become congested. It’s a slightly tricky procedure but detailed advice is available on the RHS website at
  • Dahlias need staking and the growing tips pinched out when they reach knee height to encourage bigger flowers.
  • Collect seeds to plant for next spring from Aquilegias and Poppies as they ripen. Keep them in a sterile and airtight container in a cool place or refrigerator.
  • Keep Agapanthus well-watered and fed now to encourage flowers next year.
  • Feed Dahlias and Roses.
  • Spray Box again to protect against the fatal caterpillars.