Dear Members and Friends,

By way of introduction, I’m Claire Hartley (nee Lerner) and have just joined SWESRS as a part time Community Care Coordinator, although my connection to the synagogue goes back a long way.

I have been a member of SWESRS since a very young age and my family is firmly embedded in the community. Some of my happiest childhood memories relate to my time attending the cheder and now, as an adult, having had both of my children blessed at the shul.

I live locally and am married with 2 young children – Alexander who is 4 and attends Clore Tikva school and Talia who is 2. I have just finished working for Jewish Care, after a decade in the fundraising department and was most recently employed as Fundraiser for East London and Essex. It is thanks to this role that I feel I have a good understanding of our local community, the wider Jewish community and of course, the vital services that Jewish Care and other organisations offer for those who need them most.

For some time, I have wanted to work in a more caring capacity, to try and support members of our community and whilst I can’t imagine that there is a more challenging time to start a new job,  I recognise that regardless of our personal circumstances, we are all finding these unprecedented times, most challenging, as we are adapting (temporarily I hope) to a new way of life.

There is definitely some light to be found amongst the darkness and I was so heartened to hear that in addition to the usual group of 20 dedicated care team members, there have been a further 60 members of our community who have signed up to volunteer in response to the synagogue’s appeal.  You have generously donated your time to phone members of the synagogue, offering a friendly ear and a kind word, as well as practical help, delivering matzot for Pesach, collecting prescriptions and helping with shopping.

Your commitment is really appreciated and makes a real difference to the day to day lives of our members, so I would like to thank you very much for all you have done and continue to do.

I have always felt proud to be part of the SWESRS family and no more so than today. I’m looking forward to being in regular contact with our very valued care team members, as well as our dedicated Covid19 volunteers.

I would like to thank Janine and Deborah, as well as Sue Jackson, for their brilliant work in coordinating our very critical appeal for help. I’m delighted to now be in post and able to pick up the baton. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you would like to talk about any concerns you have, find out more about local support services available at this time, or just for a friendly chat.

I can be reached via phone on 07935 158377 or by email to

Kindest regards,