Chairman’s message 7 May

Chairman’s message 7 May

Dear Friends,

This Friday is the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Just in case you didn’t know this fact, there were two V-Days that occurred during World War II, VE Day and VJ Day (Victory over Japan). VE Day stands for Victory in Europe Day on 8 May 1945, when the German Army offered a complete and unconditional surrender to the Allied Forces. There will be much coverage in the news and we will mark it in our Shabbat service. In the lead up to it I remember reading a recent newspaper article, which said that today, during this pandemic, the modern NHS is the equivalent of the World War II air force, army and navy. I agree and this has made me think about the bravery of those who continue to work with patients at the moment, whatever illness or need that they may have and who put themselves at risk each day. In our Community we have GPs, hospital based doctors in many specialisms, anaesthetists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, midwives, dentists, carers and many others. I would like to thank them for all that they are doing (you know who are you are) and when we stand up this Thursday to clap for the NHS, let’s all clap with those in our Community in mind.

This Shabbat, as well as marking VE day, we will be honouring Ruth and David Rothenberg. You will have read in Our Congregation that Ruth has just retired as editor of the magazine having worked on it for years and years and made it a truly enjoyable read. It is David’s 80th birthday and he has just stepped down from being a warden, a role he has carried out for many years. It is also their 55th wedding anniversary. We had planned a Kiddush to thank them for all they have done for us but now we send them a virtual Mazel Tov and Thank You instead.

I have been asked a few times over the last few weeks about what arrangements can be made if you suffer bereavement and want to hold a Shiva. Sadly, we have had a number of deaths in the congregation and some of our families have chosen to have shiva minyanim by Zoom which Rabbi Altshuler or Cantor Heller will conduct. One family had over 150 people tuned in for a Maariv service, rabbinic words, and shared memories by family and friends. Some families are also talking to Rabbi Altshuler about future services in person, in memory of the individual. If you are at all concerned about any of this please do contact Rabbi Altshuler at

With Shavuot fast approaching, Rabbi Altshuler is working on our annual Shavuot Tikkun. Full details of the programme will be sent out shortly but please add this to your diaries – the evening of Thursday 28 May.

I had some interesting information passed to me this week which was sent into the office.  One of our members has put together an anthology to raise money for a mental health charity and asked if we could publicise it. In the past we have had a policy to decline to publicise any charity fundraising other than if it related to charities that we as a Synagogue officially support. Your Honorary Officers and I discussed this request and we are aware that times have changed and there are charities working in areas that are important to us all during the lockdown. For instance those creating food for the NHS, or working with food banks, mental health, or people at risk. From next week we will therefore include a new section in News From The Square any information about initiatives that you are involved in, that relate to these type of charities. Please send information to

I have also had brought to my attention that there is an organisation called Paperweight which may be of interest to some of you. Paperweight is the Jewish community’s Citizens Advice Bureau and is there to support you through the current crisis if you need them. They offer free services for all those needing guidance on legal, financial and welfare issues. Their website is

Lastly, we have been contacted by UK Jewish Film. At the moment, whilst cinemas are closed, they have a large selection of films available to see online, so you can access Jewish content from the safety of your own homes. New material is added to the site all the time. All of the short films are entirely free to watch, but if you want to watch a longer new film then you will need to pay to rent it. You don’t have to pay to access the site and you can find it at

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


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Gardening tips

  • Lift tulip bulbs to minimize risk of disease in the early autumn. If you do not lift them then dead head them
  • Bunch up but do not tie or cut off daffodil leaves to allow them to die back without covering surrounding plants
  • Prune shrubs like camellias and forsythias that have finished flowering to give them time to grow new flowering stems for next year
  • The large leaves of alliums may be cut off to allow plants underneath to get light
  • Hellebores should be deadheaded