In response to the real difficulties being faced during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Jewish community has responded with great tenacity, creativity and resilience. One of the core commandments of Judaism is to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ – and we are seeing evidence of this teaching being actualised throughout the country.
In addition to expressing our gratitude to key workers every Thursday evening, we want to show our appreciation to those who have responded to the call to help their local communities through volunteering. Each Thursday, we will be highlighting a few individuals who have taken on the pioneering and caring Jewish spirit, so we can say ‘Thank You’ for their work on behalf of the entire UK Jewish Community and from all those who are benefiting from their efforts.
If you would like to recommend someone to be featured in upcoming weeks, please email our Community Engagement Officer, Lauren Keiles, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every week, Sasha and her family have been making the now legendary ‘Risner’s Chicken Soup’ and delivering it to local elderly and vulnerable people. At a time where everyone can be benefitting from this traditional ‘Jewish penicillin’, she has been working hard to bring a smile to many people’s faces.
Natalie has run a very successful donation drive and organised for the delivery of a multitude of items that were needed by staff and patients at the Royal National Orthopaedic hospital.
Jack has been the key to the community moving online and every member is now benefiting from this. He has made sure that the community Facebook group is up and running, organised the marketing of their online events and helped the less tech-savvy members to make sure they are able to access zoom. On top of this, Jack has been running Hebrew language classes for the community and is co-running some of the prayer services. He is a selfless person and does not realise the immense contribution he is making to community life.
Rabbi David has been a complete inspiration to our community. He has organised online Kaballat Shabbat services, online weekday minyanim, discussion groups, a Tikkun leyl, Talmud classes and so much more. He is compassionate, imaginative, energetic and a true mensch.
Katie has demonstrated inspirational leadership. In just a few days following lockdown, she devised and coordinated the communities ‘chesed’ response, ensuring that every member of the community was contacted. Katie and Hélène Cohen have been making regular follow-up telephone calls with community members to held ensure that the on-going needs of the community members are met. This has really brought the entire community even closer together. Katie has also organised for the services to be done via zoom allowing for some continuity for regular Shul-goers as well as enabling members who have previously found it difficult to attend to be able to reconnect with the community. Katie has also been recording the zoom services and making them into DVD discs to be posted to members of the community who are not connected to the internet, again ensuring that all community members can feel included during this time.
Since lockdown began, Linda has coordinated a team of volunteers to telephone the isolated, bereaved and those simply missing the community. As several of her regular volunteers are isolating, Linda is keeping in regular contact with them too, showing her warmth and care for everyone. When she is aware of someone new to be called, she first contacts them to assess the situation and then tries to match them up with an appropriate volunteer with whom she thinks a friendship may grow. Linda has done all of this while managing her own family’s health needs. She says, “Suddenly, over the telephone, I am getting to know members that I have never really known before. My circle of friends is constantly growing and this is so uplifting”. Linda uplifts us all.
Rabbi Cotton is going above and beyond to support all community members during this time as well as members of other Synagogues whom he cares for. He is regularly calling up many people to provide support to them during this difficult time.