Chairman’s message 9 September

Chairman’s message 9 September

Dear Friends

I read in the paper yesterday that Catherine Zeta-Jones, the actress, has collaborated with a company called Butterflytwists to design and promote a new line of vegan shoes. My first thought was that this was an act of kindness for vegan dogs and cats who might love shoe chewing (seriously, it was exactly that!!). Then I realised that actually these have been designed and launched with perfect timing, for all of us who do not want to wear leather shoes on Yom Kippur. Catherine will know about Yom Kippur as she is married to Michael Douglas whose father, Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, was Jewish. Michael’s mother was not Jewish and he had no formal religious upbringing from either of his parents but he identifies as Jewish. You may not know that Michael was the 2015 winner of the prestigious $1 million Genesis Prize, granted each year in recognition of professional achievement, contribution to humanity and commitment to Jewish values and Israel. He was recognized for his cinematic work and advocacy for disarmament as a U.N. Messenger of Peace. He directed his award toward projects promoting diversity and inclusiveness in the Jewish world. So on Yom Kippur as you deny yourself leather footwear, you could be wearing something that will later on in the evening make your cat or dog very happy.

On a more serious note, you will have seen on the Shabbat booking email yesterday that we have a few members who are not social distancing at services and are standing chatting to each other and the Ministers. I implore you to take the social distancing seriously, as hard as it may be on you. The government guidelines are very clear, no socialising is allowed before or after a service. With the spiking of the virus that we read about daily in the press, if we are reported for this as it has been visible on BelsizeLIVE, we could be shut down. Please think twice before you go up to anyone to chat.

We held out first live Kikar Kids service in the hall. We have created another milestone! It was a great success with five families participating form their own space, each family had musical instruments to play and the Shofar was blown from just outside the Hall for everyone to hear. Do watch out for more information about Kikar Kids over the High Holydays and on the first Shabbat in October. A huge thank you goes to Richard and Sara Pollins for making this happen.

I know you have already seen a number of emails about things that are happening this week but I wanted to remind you that tonight at 8pm we are hosting Councillor Georgia Gould – Leader of Camden Council, in conversation with our Belsize member, Councillor Neil Nerva. Councillor Gould will share information on the impact of Covid-19 on local communities in Camden and beyond. My thanks go to Neil for organising this event.

On Sunday at 11am we will have our annual Kever Avot when we gather at Edgwarebury Lane Cemetery to remember family and friends who are no longer with us.

Also this weekend we have the Bar Mitzvah of Noah Jacobson. He and his family will be in Synagogue and if you are not attending the service please do watch on BelsizeLIVE. Noah has worked hard for this day having his lessons on Skype and will share the maf. and haf. with us. As always, I am so proud of our young people and grateful to their parents for choosing to encourage and involve them in the Belsize Square Synagogue wider family.

Lastly, we all heard the Government announcement last night on social distancing and only meeting six people at a time. I will write again if this has any impact on our plans, for now we have no clear guidance

Gardening tips from John Alexander are back, Henny tells me that her vegetable gardening only really starts in the Spring.

That is all from me, 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.

  • Now September is upon us we are entering another busy period in the garden.
  • Make sure you’ve ordered your spring flowering daffodils, hyacinths and crocus for planting this month.
  • This is also the month to plant bulbs in containers for midwinter indoor displays of hyacinths, daffodils, crocus, amaryllis and the little Dutch iris. Some, like hyacinths, can be purchased already prepared for early flowering, others will need a few weeks in a cold dark place.
  • You can also plant new perennials outside later this month so order them now.
  • You can plant seeds of some hardy annuals directly into the ground now for flowering next summer. They may need some form of covering if we have a particularly heavy frost but it’s worth trying to get an early flowering next spring and summer. Try planting pot marigolds (they don’t need to be in pots, that’s just the name), cornflower, larkspur, honesty and some poppies – opium, Shirley and ladybird.
  • Keep your hanging baskets fed and watered.
  • With a warm spell ahead, keep plants, and particularly pots, well-watered and keep sprinkling slug pellets around.