EAST LONDON AND ESSEX SYNAGOGUE – TWO YEARS OLD
On January 1st 2017, our new Synagogue came into existence and became the fourth largest congregation within Liberal Judaism. It was a very proud moment and the culmination of an idea that had first been proposed some twenty years earlier. There are certain areas of activity which I would like to explain the work of the Council and others over the last two years:
1. Administration – The sheer amount of work that had to be done to get our two previous organisations into one has been enormous. This has nearly been completed and those that have undertaken these tasks deserve our utmost thanks.
2. Minchag (Worship) – When two Synagogues, with over ninety years of traditions come together, there were bound to be differences in services. Both our Rabbis and our Rites and Practices Committee have combined the traditions to hold many different types of services over the last two years. From traditional to Rock, from Shelanu to Family, and many others, they have been enjoyed by well-attended congregations. Our High Holy Day services in particular have been moving and meaningful.
3. Care – Our Rabbis and our Care group contact and support those who may be facing difficulties in health or other areas. A group was set up to contact members ‘of a certain age’ and hopefully, this will be widened to the whole membership shortly.
4. Religion School – Our new Headteacher Paul Bloomfield has set up several initiatives within the Cheder. The assemblies for families are proving popular and the projects for each class are adding a focus among the children. In addition, Tots’ services and social gatherings led by Mich Sampson are proving very popular. We want to widen the range of activities available to our children in the coming months.
5. Property – We agreed when we voted for ELELS that the intention was for both buildings to be sold, and we would find a new home. As you will know from previous messages, this has proved a difficult task. A very highly qualified Property Action Group (PAG) was set up whose membership included a surveyor, estate agent, developer and property lawyer. They achieved the sale of the Perrymans Farm Road site, and have a buyer in place for this site. They have visited many sites and properties over the
last two years. You will know that only two warranted bids from ELELS. Unfortunately, we found that the pockets of property developers were much deeper than ours and our bids did not win. The search still goes on and PAG continues to do their utmost in this task. However, we must all be prepared to review our property strategy and look at all options available. Please be assured that at all times we will closely consult with all ELELS members, and meanwhile we ask you to contact the PAG through our Office if you wish to contribute to this process, or if you know of any appropriate sites or buildings.
All I know, and I spoke about this at the HHD services, is that our Synagogue is more than a collection of bricks and mortar, wherever we are located. Ours is, and must always continue to get better at being, a welcoming, warm and friendly non-judgemental community.
Of course, these are just a few of the areas of activity that ELELS is involved with.
If you have any questions, when you arrive at the meeting please write down questions in the foyer about any of these areas or any other topics that you would like to about the life of our Synagogue. We will try and group the questions under topics.
Of course, there will be opportunities to ask questions from the floor as well.
Chair of Council