Chairman’s message 3 June

Chairman’s message 3 June

Dear Friends

I have spent the week looking at old photos and moving them from old style albums into photo books. It is a slow task but one in which I take great joy. I have been surprised at how I remembered the occasions but not all the detail and even more surprised at how many pictures there are of Synagogue events and my albums go back 40 years! The Bazaar in full flow (now Chanukah Market); brides outside the Synagogue arriving for their wedding; members taking in part in cabarets, quizzes, talks; the annual barbecue in a garden; bar and bat mitzvah celebrations; coffee mornings for new members; birthday celebrations; Cheder and Youth choir concerts; classical concerts; Cantorial concerts and I could go on. My sister-in–law recently sent me this which sums up beautifully what I am feeling, and I hope you are too. “My synagogue is open. It’s open every day because my Synagogue is not a building, it is the people who are helping each other and their community. It is the prayers for those who are struggling medically, financially and emotionally. My Synagogue never closed, it just opened in every home.”

Our Synagogue continues to thrive in many ways and last week we had 40 people participate in the Shavuot Tikkun Leil. We think that is a record number! Thank you to Rabbi Altshuler, Cantor Heller and all the speakers who made it such a success and of course to all of you who joined in.

This coming Shabbat we are celebrating the Bat Mitzvah of Daisy Kidson. Daisy worked hard with Caroline Loison to learn Hebrew and her Bat Mitzvah tutor, Susanna Freudenheim, to learn her haftarah, maftir and brachot and I hope that as many of you as possible will join the service on Shabbat to celebrate with her. I hope it will be as special for her and her family as it would have been in the Synagogue. As a Community we are very proud of Daisy.

We have another virtual Board meeting next week and we will continue to discuss what we are going to do for the High Holydays. No new guidance has been published by the Government Task Force but we do need to make some decisions. I will of course keep you informed.

One change that has happened with the easing of the lockdown, is that Edgwarebury Cemetery and Hoop Lane Cemetery have issued new guidance. The cemeteries will now be open to visitors ‪between 8am and 4.45pm on all days except Shabbat and festivals. The Cemetery have asked us to make it clear that they expect all visitors to strictly obey the current government guidelines. In particular, they expect visitors to be either individuals or members of the same household, and to observe social distancing at all times. This means that if you have had a funeral during the last few months attended by only a few mourners, they ask that you do not go in large numbers to visit the grave. Please also note that the admission of visitors to the cemetery will be restricted while a funeral is taking place in the grounds. The cemetery buildings including the prayer hall, tahara facilities, office and toilets will remain closed. However, outdoor hand-washing facilities do remain available. Stone settings still cannot take place and there are also restrictions on funeral attendance. Lee has the details.

If you are looking for an interesting lecture, Circle Sq. is a dynamic network that embraces life over 50 and was co-founded by our member, Nick Viner. The group hosts a series of events (currently online) that span a variety of interesting topics. As part of their Lunchtime Lecture series, the next event is ‘Painting with Glass’ with renowned stained glass artist, Ardyn Halter on Wednesday 10 June from 1.15-2pm. The event is free and non-members are welcome. If you would like to participate then you will need to register (

You might also like to know that the Wiener Holocaust Library is currently offering free virtual talks on Zoom. Our member Frank Harding is a trustee and the library staff have been to talk to us in the past. You do need to book a place and you can find them on ( ).

Last week I asked for volunteers to help with the website project. We are still looking for “ honorary photographers, please do think about this and contact Lee if you can help (

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


Click here for full information on how we are operating.

Gardening Tips

From Henny Levin

  • The continuing hot sunny weather is marvellous for some plants and the lack of rain is taking its toll on others. As John has mentioned on numerous occasion in his gardening tips, watering morning and evening is best BUT water is precious so, if possible, point the jet of water at the base of your plants so that the water trickles down into the ground to feed the roots. If sprayed on the leaves, the sun might scorch them and the roots will get very little water.
  • Your grass may be dry, scorched and looking very yellow. This is natural in this weather. Don’t worry, grass is very hardy and will grow back either when it rains or later in the year when the sun is not so relentless. Do not use any Feed and Weed products as it may kill the grass which is already struggling. The proliferation of leaves on the ground are the plants and trees saving themselves by shedding some of their leaves so that they require less water to survive for the future.
  • Dead heading can be quite therapeutic. Doing it early morning or when the sun is going down helps the plants to retain their sap. Many plants will have a second and even a third flowing if you deadhead. Keep what you have cut off in a compost bin or, if you don’t have one, a plastic bag tied up. It will make good compost in the future.

From John Alexander

  • Keep newly planted annuals and seedlings moist.
  • Remember the Chelsea Chop – cut back floppy late flowering perennials to make them sturdy, e.g. Echinacea and Sedum.
  • Clip box and topiary yew to keep them tidy.
  • Tie back climbers such as sweet peas, clematis, honeysuckle and roses.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs.
  • Bearded Iris benefit from dividing clumps every three years, about six weeks after flowering.