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Some of you may know me and some may not, but by way of introduction (just in case you missed my previous message back in April), I’m Claire Hartley (nee Lerner) and I have been working for the past 2 months as Community Care Coordinator at SWESRS. My connection to the synagogue goes back some 30 or so years when I attended the cheder here and enjoyed making (and eating) many a marzipan fruit. Now you might think that starting a new job – actually a brand new role, is a bit tricky during a pandemic, but I think that in some ways there is no better time.

When I started back in April, I was delighted to find out that a volunteer phone tree had been established where 100 members of our synagogue family (including 20 wonderful dedicated members of the existing Care Team) offered to give up their time to call others, to buy their groceries, pick up prescriptions and post their letters. I think that our community responded brilliantly in this crisis as we tried to all support one another in the most uncertain of times.

Now as things have changed a little,  some of the daily restrictions have been lifted and some of us have benefitted from “bubbles” enabling us to see members of our family or closest friends. But of course, for many members of the synagogue, particularly those who are shielding, it is still really difficult. We are embracing the use of Zoom with all of our services going online, Rabbi Lisa’s regular check in and chat session, quizzes and lots of other interesting events held online and many in the pipeline – including the ‘Lunch Club reinvented- Tea at 2’ which will take place fortnightly from 23rd June. Of course this is all new to us, so if you have any great ideas of services, events or initiatives, that we could offer to benefit members, please do share – we would be most grateful - please contact the shul office in the first instance - admin@swesrs.org.uk or call on 020 8599 0936.

We will do our very best to support the community through these challenging times but this message does come with a plea, I urge you as a new normality resumes for many of us, please continue to make the phone calls you’ve been allocated and report back to me by email or phone on how people are doing. The phone calls really do make a difference, particularly to those without family and friends nearby. If you haven’t been able to volunteer, but now can, please do get in contact, you will be welcome with virtual open arms and I can be reached on  07935 158377 or by email to claire@swesrs.org.uk

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our synagogue, our community – our family

Shabbat shalom

Claire