Chairman’s message 7 October

Chairman’s message 7 October

Dear Friends

You may remember my story in the Spring of being on the roof of our shed. Well, I haven’t had to do that again but we have now cleared it out. Our house is small and so everything that we don’t use but “may need some day” ends up in the shed. It took us a whole day to do and meant that we filled up the car with black bags full of things that went to the tip. Some of it was easy to throw away, broken plant pots, footballs with holes in them, dried up paint pots, cushions that were never going to recover from the damp. Some of it was quite tough, riding boots that I hadn’t used for 15 years and never would again but kept “just in case”; the lost opportunity of seeds that we had bought at a garden show years ago but never got round to planting, so the mice had enjoyed them instead; a broken children’s tent where, looking at it, I could still hear the laughter over many years. Yet at the end of it, we had space (which we are already filling up with new “may need them some day” items) and a great sense of achievement.

I watched our Succot services on BelsizeLIVE and was thinking that yet again they were, thank goodness, what I have always known our Synagogue to be. We have not filled up a metaphorical car boot and thrown parts of what we do away, so that we can fill up with the new. We have managed to embrace a “new normal “ while keeping our minhag and sense of community. Our Ministers and Choir have played a large and key part in that but so have you. You have watched the services and emailed with comments and thanks, you have volunteered, you have attended, you have read my emails (!!) and for that I thank you all.

On thanks I wanted to mention and thank Justyn Trenner, Carol Cohen and everyone who volunteers for Security. Justyn stood outside the Synagogue for most of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and he, with support from Carol, organised all the Security protocols. Without them we would not have been able to hold our live services. Thank you!

Now that the Festivals are almost at an end, please do send me information on things that you hear about that people might be interested to follow as the days get shorter. If you have ideas for Belsize Community events or speakers that we might be able to hold on Zoom then please send them in.

You will have seen the booking email for Erev Shabbat & Erev Shemini Atzeret on Friday 9 October, and Shabbat & Shemini Atzeret morning service (including Mazkir) – on Saturday 10 October. These are live services in the Synagogue and if you would like to attend please do book but they will also be streamed on BelsizeLIVE.

Our Simchat Torah services will be held on Zoom this year, this is the first time that we are doing this, so please do try and join us. Rabbi Altshuler and Cantor Heller have been working hard on the content of these services and of course on the Saturday we will also hear and honour our Chatan Torah, Stewart Kerry and Chatan Beresheit, Rabbi Altshuler. The services are on Saturday 10 October at 6.45pm and Sunday 11 October at 10am.

I wrote several weeks ago to say that we were hoping to open our Cheder after half term. Last week, we held a meeting to discuss this and made the difficult decision that we would keep BSS Cheder ONLINE for the moment due to the current uncertainty surrounding the Pandemic and the direction that it is taking. We will, of course, be reviewing this situation on a regular basis and we will keep you informed of any updates as and when there are any. We continue to have an innovative and engaging online Cheder, and Caroline Loison is constantly coming up with new ideas, so whilst we would all like to be back in the building I am very proud of our Cheder online.

I have been sent a link to a wide range of free podcasts from the last Limmud. It does seem that there’s something for everyone. The Limmud sessions are available here

The Wiener Library have a new online exhibition : The Persecution of Black People in Nazi Germany: Ronald Roberts’ Story. This exhibition explores the life of Ronald Roberts, born in Germany in 1921 to a white German mother and a Black British/Barbadian father. You can find it on the Wiener Library website at:

That is it from me for this week but I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to email me or Lee about the Festival Services so far and to also comment on my community emails. It is all much appreciated. Please keep doing so.

So for now, the gardening tips are below. Stay safe and stay well.


Gardening Tips

Just to remind you that whilst he is not an expert, John is happy to try to answer any gardening questions that you may have. Please email questions to Adam Rynhold at and he will pass them on.

  • Not wanting to trespass into Henny’s field (or allotment), Gardeners’ World is providing advice on what vegetable seeds can be sowed in October for next year’s crop of peas, salads, lettuce, broad beans and cauliflower. Check it out here.
  • Given the torrential rain of the past week the garden is too wet to plant bulbs other than in pots and containers. We’ll have to wait for a few dry days and perhaps even sunny spells. Until then keep any bulbs already delivered in open boxes in a dry and airy location. When planting, start with daffodils then hyacinths and tulips when its cooler.
  • Continue to keep the beds and lawns free of fallen leaves. Be considerate of neighbours if you feel it necessary to use leaf blowers or vacuums.