Chairman’s message 8 July

Chairman’s message 8 July

Dear Friends,

I read an article this week in the Jewish Chronicle which reminded readers that you cannot use anything electrical on Shabbat. It went on to say that Rabbi Menachem Perl of the Zomet Institute for Halacha and Technology near Jerusalem, has adapted a standard thermometer with a mechanism that programmes the device to automatically take a person’s temperature every four seconds. The article continues that the design has split the Rabbinate in Israel on whether its use is permitted on Shabbat.

This invention is very relevant to dealing with Covid-19 but to me it is also representative of what we are trying to achieve in re-opening Belsize Square Synagogue safely. In our discussions in the working groups with the Ministers we are re-inventing our services, so that they will fit within the current guidelines. For now, we are not allowed singing as you know, and no congregational responses. We also need to ensure that our Ministers remain protected from the virus when on the Bimah. Those things really change what we are used to having in our services.

However, be assured that we are making progress. We have ordered our supplies which will arrive over the next two weeks: hand sanitiser and dispensers, masks, Perspex Screens to run along the front of the seating upstairs to protect those sitting downstairs, tape for the floor, signage and more. We have started the upgrade of our Wi-Fi and have replaced the streaming camera with a wide angled one. We have a security plan. We have a first risk assessment completed but it still needs adjusting. We have worked out how to use the car park safely, with the required social distancing. We have worked out a “flow” to the toilets (sorry about the pun!). We have created a strict cleaning regime that will be in place for all services. We have agreed a booking system for attendance. We are working hard and will continue to Zoom meet this week. I hope to have more news for you in next week’s email.

In the meantime, as you might guess, the Jewish Chronicle article prompted me to Google “Little known Jewish Inventions”. I did not know that Conrad Hubert (born Akiba Horowitz), who came to New York from Russia in 1891, invented the flashlight. Eventually he turned his American Electrical Novelty Company into the well-known Ever Ready Company, famous for its batteries. Nathan Goldman, born in Oklahoma in 1898 ran a wholesale food store in Texas. In 1936 he patented the shopping cart (the article says “enough Shlepping!”) and later the milk bottle rack. Lastly Robert Adler born in 1913, arrived in America in 1941. Overall, during his lifetime he was granted 58 patents for inventions, the most famous being the TV remote control.

This is, however, a Synagogue email and you will have read last week in News from the Square that we have been working on a Tisha B’Av Zoom service for the evening of Wednesday 29 July. This is the third year in a row that we will hold the service jointly with Rabbi Jeremy Gordon, Cantor Cotsen and members of New London Synagogue. Members of both Synagogues will participate in chanting the chapters of Eicha, Lamentations. If you would like to be included in the list of individuals who are chanting, please email Cantor Heller on

On Sunday 2 August at 11.30am we will hold the Tisha B’av Annual Memorial Service of the Chevra Kadisha at Pound Lane Cemetery. The prayer hall at the cemetery remains closed, so the entire service will be conducted outdoors by the memorial. Everyone is welcome and no booking is necessary. We will need to observe social distancing and wear masks and if you don’t want to stand please bring your own folding chair. It is customary to have a small collection at this service in order to replenish the Chevra Kadisha funds. As we can’t do this for safety reasons this year, please contact Lee ( if you would like to donate.

This Shabbat we will celebrate with William Rosenberg who is having his Bar Mitzvah as an adult. William never had the opportunity to be Bar Mitzvah at 13 but has now prepared all the parts – D’var Torah, Maf and Haf and prerecorded them in the Sanctuary. I hope you will all watch the service to support William. I am very proud to be part of a congregation that inspires individuals to do this and send William and his wife Julie, very best wishes on behalf of us all.

On Sunday, 12 July at 4pm you can join Caroline Loison for Zoom Dingbats v2. No previous knowledge necessary – all you need is the ability to read, a pen and a piece of paper to write your answers down! And don’t forget to bring a drink and some snacks with you… A quiz just isn’t the same without these!!! Contact for the Zoom login details and she looks forward to seeing you virtually on Sunday!

Gardening tips are below. Henny is taking a break as she tells me that this is the time to sit back and enjoy the allotment. She will however still answer questions. John is still sending tips in and will also answer questions. Thank you both!

That is all from me and as always please stay safe and stay well.


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

  • Clematis with large flowers which have finished flowering, can now be pruned lightly in the hope they may flower a second time this summer.
  • It’s not too late to plant autumn flowering bulbs such as Autumn Crocuses and Hardy Cyclamen. My favourite supplier is Bloms Bulbs who will post them to you.
  • Keep deadheading and putting out slug pellets.
  • Despite the cool, wet weather this past week, hanging baskets and pots still need watering.
  • We all know the expression ‘stop and smell the roses’. I looked up its meaning: ‘To relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.’ So go into the garden every day, or parks now that some of us are allowed out a bit more, and take pleasure in watching all the plants grow and the summer colours begin to show themselves. Enjoy and stay safe.