Home > Community News > From the Presidents Chair – July/August 2017

Dear Congregants and Friends

Since I last wrote in this newsletter our country has experienced a number of horrific events including terrorist attacks in Manchester and London and the truly awful Grenfell Tower fire. Our thoughts go out to all those affected in these incidents, and we wish to extend our sympa-thies to those who have lost friends and relatives.

Whilst Norwich sometimes feels far removed from such atrocities, we must never be complacent, and I wish to applaud our security team, led by Michael Wolf, which has been so helpful in recent weeks. In particular the fantastic work of the extended team who were on duty at the Zemel Choir concert last week, supported by CST member from Cambridge and our own local police officers led by Sergeant Diane Woodage of the Earlham Police Station.

Interfaith has been the theme of the last couple of months, with two exceptional evenings highlighted, one in each of the Cathedrals in Norwich!

The Zemel Choir Concert was a wonderful event in which the 50 or so choristers gave their time to sing for us in the Catholic Cathedral having driven up from London. This was a truly memorable and moving occasion, both beautiful and poignant, and those members of the congrega-tion who were unable to attend missed something really special! The Choir are keen to work with us on further interfaith initiatives, and we will be considering this in the next few months. We were well supported by the committee members of the NHC and by the security team, who worked tirelessly all evening and in the days beforehand, to ensure that it was successful and without incident. We also had an excellent response from members of the public, with over 210 in the audience. We are grateful to the Cathedral team for all their help and support, with the organisation and the refreshments, and our sincere thanks go to Bishop Alan Hopes, Catholic Bishop of East Anglia, and to Canon Father Paul, Dean of the Catholic Cathedral. Click here for report and photos of the Zemel Choir.

The following week, at the invitation of Dean Jane Hedges of the Anglican Cathedral, a group of us were treated to Choral Evensong and a tour of the Cathedral in which Canon Peter Doll outlined many interesting facts including similarities between the architectural structure of the cathedral and the original temple. This was followed by a scrumptious tea, baked for us by Dean Jane Hedges’ husband Chris! Many thanks to Jane and Chris Hedges and to Peter Doll for facilitating this event. We will all be thinking about how to continue this interfaith conversation in the future.

Some members of the community have been busy on the digital front, and I would like to thank Hannah Lital-Goldfinch, for setting up a Norwich Hebrew Congregation Facebook page for us  https://www.facebook.com/NHCSynagogue/

We need more of our members to keep this active for us, so do log in and contribute, and share with your friends!  And Nick Simons posts regular updates on our website, so again, do have a look. Nick has posted the plans for the new building, for which planning permission is now granted. www.norwichsynagogue.org.uk.

Our building fund is progressing and we are now nearly 75% funded.  Many of you have helped in this respect, but Jonathan Dangour, in the publication of his two reflective books has raised an enormous amount of money. We are all grateful to you Jonathan for being such a proactive supporter of our fund raising! We are now working towards the establishment of the Norwich Jewish Community and Heritage Centre, and have been partnered in this endeavour by the Norwich Caste Museum. Hopefully within a year or so we will begin to see some action on this front!

Two other pieces of information: We have been invited to twin with Pinner again, this time by visiting them in London. Their members will host us and we will not need to pay for accommodation. We are looking at the Shabbat 1st/2nd December. If you would like to join in on this inter-esting and exciting weekend, do let me or one of the other committee members know. There is no limit to numbers so do think about joining in, I’m sure we can arrange lifts between us.

And finally, for those who were not at the AGM in May, the disbandment of NISS as a separate committee was agreed. This does not mean that we won’t be hosting social events, simply that the events will come under the management of the main synagogue committee, rather than duplicating committees when we are so few in number. We are looking to have a lively subcommittee which will focus on social events. We already have several volunteers for this, including Jessica Goldfinch who will be leading on the Balfour Centenary event, but we need your help here! Do think about joining this group, which will be organising a social calendar for the year. We are beginning to think about the Summer Garden Party, which will be held in the synagogue garden on Sunday 10th September. If you can contribute by helping on the day or in the planning of this or other events, please contact Poppy Simons on 01362 850515. With best wishes and happy summer holidays to everyone!