From the Chair of Council


          The new Chair – Steve Wynne at the synagogue AGM in November 2016


He started by thanking Rachel (Savage outgoing Chair of Council) and presenting her with a gift as a thank you for her two years as Chair of synagogue.  He also stated that he was pleased that she had decided to stand again as a Council member so that her knowledge and experience was not lost. 


Steve also thanked those members of who had stood down as they had completed their seven year terms, Angela and Sue and Simon who was taking a year off before perhaps returning.  Angela (Jacobs) will continue as Acting Hon Secretary for the next year.


The new Council has some challenges.  A change in the accounting formula, new governance rules, the continued maintenance of our building and a need to bring in new members for us to continue to survive.


From the outgoing Chair of Council - Rachel Savage 

I expect this will be my last column as Chair of Council. I intend to stand down at this year’s AGM in November. I have enjoyed my two years as Chair, though I admit the job has not been without its problems. I also write this with the High Holy Days just passed and, by the time you read this, Sukkat and Simchat Torah will be behind us for another year as well.

One of the things I have spent some time thinking about as Chair is the question of what our synagogue is for. We have many members who may come once or twice a year for the High Holy Days – maybe not even then in some years. We offer burial rights through the JJBS, which is a service rightly valued by many members. But I wonder whether that is enough.

 The synagogue offers many other services and activities, though often the take-up is low. It is wonderful that the cheder has increased from only 2 children when I took up my role as Chair to 10 children enrolled for this academic year. But that is still only a small proportion of the cheder-aged children of our members. The take-up of our adult education classes is also relatively low, though those who attend enjoy the classes and get a lot out of them.

For regular shul goers, a sense of community is one of the most important things the synagogue provides. But I wonder if people who do not come to shul regularly would like to share in that community more than they do. Are there programmes that we do not provide that would interest people who do not currently make the shul a big part of their lives?

I have asked for feedback in many of my columns over the past two years and rarely got any. (Though I must offer sincere apologies to the one woman who contacted me about helping refugees more.

Yours was the only reply and I was hoping a few more people would get in touch so we could form a group. I still hope the synagogue will be able to do more social action activities in future. This is something I hope to work on when I step down as Chair and you will be the first person on my list to contact if we manage to get something going.)

This year the shul received a grant from the Movement for Reform Judaism to engage more with our younger adult population (around ages 21-35). We are still reviewing the outcomes of the project and hope to make some changes in response to people’s views soon. For example, we hope to reintroduce some form of family or children’s service in 2017.


Watch this space!


Sukkat Shalom continues to go from strength to strength and even as I expect to step down as Chair of Council, I hope to be able to maintain my support for the synagogue in other ways.


Happy 5777


Rachel Savage

Chair of Council


Tashlich 2017
Alex Slade & Andrew Golding were married in September in Blackfriars London Ec
Sukkah Building October 2017 

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