Annual Report 2012.indd - Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue

Annual Report 2012.indd - Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue

Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue


2011/12 – 5771/72

Norrice Lea, London N2 0RE

Email offi Website

Community Leadership 2011/2012

Senior Rabbi

Professional Team

Rabbi Dov Kaplan

Associate Rabbi Rabbi Anthony Knopf

Youth & Community Rabbi Rabbi Marc Levene

Chazan Avromi Freilich *

Executive Officer David Sagal

Office Manager Sharon Drucker

Youth Workers Saul Gallick & Jonny Sherman (to July 2011)*

Daniel Beder & Daniel Jacobs (from Sept 2011)*

Book Keeper Brian Gray

Rabbis’ PA Maddy Drucker

ALC Head Teacher Chayli Fehler*

Hebrew Classes Administrator Samantha McLeod *

Facilities Manager Mark Gould

* Denotes part-time

Honorary Officers

Chairman Keith Barnett (5)

Vice-Chairman Neil Levinson (5)

Financial Representative Jeffrey Davidson (4)

Wardens Simon Johnson (5)

Meyer Pearlman (5)

Rene Anisfeld (5)

Carolyn Bogush (5)

Alexandra Davidson (4)

Michael Goldstein (4)

Danny Green (5) - Chair of Security

David Grossman (6)

Claire Lemer (4)

Louise Norton (5)

Simon Sadie (5)

Board of Management

In brackets ( ) = Out of 7 meetings

Gideon Smith (5)

Simon Taylor (4) Chair of Children

& Youth

Bernard Taub (5)

Naomi Taub (4)

Simon Weinberg (4)

Michele Yamin Joseph (5)

Chair of Nashim

Representatives at The Board of Deputies

of British Jews

Mark Feldmann, Vicki Harris, Flo Kaufmann

Clive Lewisohn, Vivian Wineman


We are sad to report the deaths of the following members and wish their families long life.

Florence Bloom

Rose Katz

Lily Miller

David Steele

Sandra Conway

Gloria Kay

Cypora Mond

Mascha Tobin

Maxwell Ettlinger

David Kut

Arnold Oppenheimer Benzion Wainstein

Stanley Goldwater

Victor Leigh

Ronald Silverblatt

Bernice Jacobs

Edwin Lipman

Gitel Smith

Simon Jaffa

Freda Mendleson

Lily Stanley

A message from Rabbi Kaplan

Since arriving in the Suburb, Freda and I

have made sincere efforts to familiarise

ourselves with the needs of the community

and to get to know our members. Now, after

working here for eight months, we feel that

we have moved into an advanced learning

stage and are excitedly making plans with the

professional teams for the future.

We have joined community members on

chagim and at their family events. We have

found a very positive degree of volunteering


Chairman: Keith Barnett

am delighted to have the opportunity to report to

I the Community on an enormously eventful twelve

months. The past year has seen us put together a new

ministerial team with the arrival of Rabbi Kaplan and

Rabbi Levene, to join Rabbi Knopf and Chazan Avromi

with the highlight of the year being, undoubtedly, the

induction of Rabbi Kaplan and the rest of the team by

the Chief Rabbi in February.

It is true to say that we have all been re-energised

by the plethora of events and activities that have been

organised for all age groups over the past months. From

the moment of their arrival, Rabbi Dov and Rebbetzen

Freda have made their home a centre of activity and

warmth, and both of them have been inspirational in

the number of events which they have organised for the

benefit of the Community.

We also had the enormous pleasure of celebrating the

Bar Mitzvah of Sariel Kaplan last February.

Rabbi Levene and his wife Lisa have transformed our

youth provision with boisterous energy and enthusiasm.

Ably assisted, this year, by our youth workers, Daniel

Beder and Daniel Jacobs, a range of activities for youth

have been put in place. This culminated very recently in

the weekend away for families with children in Bar/Bat

Mitzvah years.

We continue to enjoy the wonderful leadership of

Rabbi Anthony Knopf and his wife, Carly. In his new

role as Associate Rabbi, Rabbi Knopf has continued

to work hard in delivering educational programmes,

pastoral care, outreach and ministerial support. Rabbi

Knopf is rightly achieving growing regcognition as one

and giving which has left us truly inspired.

However, HGSS being such a large and

successful community, we are convinced that

there is so much more to be done. We have

tried to enhance activity in all aspects of life

– education, prayer services, Jewish Holidays,

and support. We are very optimistic that, if

we make a community effort, so much more

can be accomplished – for our families and the

entire kehilla, for UK Jewry and for Israel.

of the outstanding young talents in Anglo-Jewry.

Chazan Avromi Freilich continues to inspire with

his beautiful services. He and Rochelle have served our

community admirably, exuding warmth, hospitality

and affection for our members. As a community, we

thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of seeing his son Dovi

become Bar Mitzvah whilst, a few weeks later, being so

saddened to learn of the passing of Avromi’s dear father,

Rabbi Joseph Freilich kwz.

As mentioned above, the Induction Service for our

new ministerial team was an outstanding success with

more than 400 people attending. A wonderful service,

with the participation of the Kerem School Choir as well

as inspirational addresses both from the Chief Rabbi and

Rabbi Kaplan, created, I felt, a wonderful community

spirit and, as Honorary Officers, we felt privileged to

be overseeing a fabulous month of s’machot. Particular

thanks for their help in organising the induction go to

Alan Cohen, Hilary Halter, Naomi Taub and Hilary


This has also been a fabulous year for the development

of our Aleph Learning Centre. Under the energetic and

inspirational leadership of Chayli Fehler, our classes

have been transformed into a hub of educational activity

every Sunday morning. The enthusiastic response

of parents and children to the new programme and

organisation of the Centre has been a true highlight in

the development of the Community.

On a structural level, we installed new security gates

and CCTV cameras in accordance with advice received

from the CST and the local police. We are grateful, in

particular, to CST for the subsidy they provided towards

the cost of these gates which protect both the School and

the Synagogue generally. Danny Green and his security

team have done a fantastic job both in overseeing these

changes and arranging our security generally. Their

efforts and dedication are simply outstanding.

Members will also notice that we have begun to

implement some of our communication strategy this

year with a new logo, and new design of the newssheets.

This is a continuing work-in-progress and we are well

aware that there is much still to be done, particularly

with regard to the improvement of the website and

the redesign of the way we communicate with our

members by email and generally. Simon Sadie and his

communications team have put an enormous amount

of effort into this and we are very grateful to them. The

Norrice Leader has been enhanced and, in due course,

will merge with Hagan to form our sole publication.

Hilary Halter has done a fantastic job in presiding over a

fabulous quarterly publication which is now double the

size of its original publication. This takes a huge amount

of effort and dedication and we are truly grateful to her

and to the rest of the editorial team. In addition, this

year will mark the final issue of Hagan which, in itself,

has been a monument to the huge dedication of Shirley

Kleiman and her late husband, Alfred kwz, who have been

the driving spirit behind Hagan for more than three

decades. Shirley is taking very well-earned retirement

and is fondly held in the highest esteem by all of us.

In order to accommodate our new ministerial team,

during the year a number of property moves had to be

implemented. We rented properties for the occupation

of the Levene and Knopf families and both of these had

to be prepared for their occupation. During the summer

the Knopf family relocated from Norrice Lea in time for

it to be made ready for the arrival of the Kaplans. All

of these moves took a great deal of organisation and we

are, particularly indebted to Steven Martin for all his

help and advice as well as the practical supervision that

he provided.

David Sagal has continued to run every aspect of the

administration of the synagogue with the able assistance

of office manager, Sharon Drucker, Brian Gray and

Maddy Drucker. Our office staff who work their socks

off, are our primary interface with members and they

go to huge efforts to ensure the smooth running of the


Our caretaking team, under the leadership of

Facilities Manager, Mark Gould, has often been

stretched to the limit this year, with so many activities

and with the constant need for the setting and resetting

of various rooms as one event follows another. This has,

additionally, included the set-up and support of the

Rabbis’ accommodations. They carry out their duties

with great enthusiasm and good humour at all times

and we are very grateful to them.

As ever, a huge number of volunteers make community

life possible. Literally hundreds of members volunteer in

all sorts of roles and seeing that kind of commitment on

a daily and weekly basis is truly inspiring. We have our

amazing Nefesh Network, security teams, kiddush rota,

welcome rota, Shammas rota, service organisers, Children

Services leaders and so many more. To everybody who

has contributed their time, please accept our profound

thanks on behalf of the Community.

Calls on the Board of Management have been less

demanding this year following the completion of the

selection process. Nevertheless all Board members

have taken on specific tasks and have effected these

with great enthusiasm and dedication. I would like to

thank all Board members for their contribution and, in

particular, to register our appreciation of the work of

Simon Weinberg and Bernard Taub who will be standing

down from the Board this year.

I have been extremely fortunate to have the

opportunity to work with an outstanding team of

Honorary Officers who work for the Community

with dedication, enthusiasm, commitment, and,

most importantly, good humour. This team is truly

committed to the welfare of the Community and I am

personally very grateful to all of them for their support,

massive hard work, and comradeship. This year Meyer

Pearlman stands down as Warden. Meyer has been an

outstanding servant of the Community over the last

four years. He greets members with a smile at all times

and cares passionately about the running of our services

and the Community as a whole. Together with Hilary,

we wish the Pearlman family many more years of

continued involvement with the Community as well as

our deep gratitude for the amazing contribution which

they make on a daily basis.

This coming year promises to be an exciting one

for the Community. A huge growth in the number of

activities that we are providing across the board will

inevitably place strain upon our administration and

upon the building as a whole. Our challenge is to rise to

this opportunity and support the huge range of events

on offer. We are truly privileged to have an outstanding

ministerial team under Rabbi Kaplan’s leadership which

will presage a truly exciting period for the Community

and I would urge all members to become involved, to

offer constructive feedback and to enjoy, along with

me, the privilege of belonging to a Shul that is really

motivated, as we pursue our mission of learning, living

and caring as a Community together.

Financial Report

Financial Representative: Jeffrey Davidson

am pleased to report on the financial position of

I our synagogue for the year ended 31 December


Subject to last minute adjustments, the accounts

for 2011 will show a current account surplus of

approximately £125,239, against a budget set to

achieve £111,333. These figures are inclusive of the

one-off property levy raised in the year to cover the

cost incurred last year (2010) of the much-needed

and extensive refurbishment of 8 Norrice Lea, at a

cost of approximately £105,000. An unprecedented

number of members and other guests will have

passed through the doors of the Rabbi’s house

in the past few months and so been able to judge

first-hand how much the community has benefited

from this expenditure. In the event, the levy has

raised £74,188. Excluding this one-off income, the

underlying current account surplus for the year

was £50,751 against the equivalent budget of a

surplus of £11,333. While there has been a number

of variances against budget in both revenues and

costs, which I shall be happy to explain in detail at

the AGM, in brief terms the better than expected

financial outcome for the year has been achieved

largely as the result of office and other spending

efficiencies, which more than made up for lower

than expected property levy, membership and

other income.

Capital expenditure in 2011 has been more

restrained than in 2010, but members will have

noticed that the shul building is now equipped

with new gates and greatly improved CCTV. This is

the culmination of a long consultation with Kerem

Schools, the CST and other security advisors. The

net cost to HGSS of this investment project has been

approximately £26,000 which will be spread over

2011 and 2012. We are grateful to CST and Kerem

for their generous contributions to the gross cost of

the programme.

We continue with planned investment in the

fabric of the synagogue, most notably improvements

to the youth flat, Rabbi Kaplan’s office, and the

youth office.

I reported last year that, in consultation with the

HOs, the Board and the Finance Committee, I have

put in train a professional and detailed operational

and strategic review of the use of the building, how

well it is serving us and the scope and opportunity

for improvement, in relation to the aspirations

of the community. The results of this review have

highlighted a number of steps we will need to take

in the future to ensure that the building continues to

meet the needs of the community for the foreseeable

future. It is quite possible that this will lead to plans

extensively to remodel the existing structure.

While all this is going on, the synagogue complex

continues to be used increasingly intensively for

services and other activities. This underlying

increase in community activity within the building

is a cause for congratulation although, inevitably, it

places a heavy burden on manpower and resources

to maintain our facilities to a high standard.

Mark Gould, our facilities manager, together

with his team of caretaking and cleaning staff, has

performed tremendously throughout the year,

considering the ever increasing pressures on them,

and HGSS continues to be cited as a role model for

other communities to follow in Health and Safety

and the general standard of upkeep. My thanks to

Mark and his team for making it all look effortless.

While thanking our professional staff, I would

draw your attention to two areas of cost which

continue to rise: security and communal activities.

At least in part, these costs have risen because we

are finding it increasingly difficult to find members

willing to volunteer their time, with a few notable

exceptions on whose shoulders the burden of

communal work seems continually to fall. This has

meant that we increasingly find ourselves paying

for services which traditionally were provided by

volunteering members. Appeals have gone out

frequently in recent months for members to volunteer

just a few hours a year for these essential services,

and I urge all members to approach the office or the

HOs to find out where they can help out.

2011 has seen another period of quiet continuity

in the shul office under David Sagal’s management.

Our Office Manager, Sharon Drucker, has continued

to run the synagogue office efficiently, ably assisted

by Brian Gray, our full-time bookkeeper and office

assistant. The office now runs as a well-managed

and integrated team of three, and we look forward

to seeing their skills and energy enhance services to

members into 2012.

2011 has of, course, seen big changes in our

ministerial team with the arrival of our Senior

Rabbi, Rabbi Dov Kaplan, and our Youth and

Community Rabbi, Rabbi Marc Levene, joining

Rabbi Anthony Knopf, our Associate Rabbi. David

Sagal has worked wonders to bed down the new

team with office space and all necessary facilities,

not to mention housing. To cope with the increased

rabbinic output, Maddy Drucker has increased her

role from one Rabbi’s part-time PA, to being the full

time PA to the team of three Rabbis.

The past year has seen big changes with our

Cheder, currently the largest within the United

Synagogue family, which has metamorphosed

from a traditional cheder into the Aleph Learning

Centre. Further details of this are set out elsewhere

within this annual report. From the financial point

of view, we have taken advantage of these changes

to implement wholesale upgrades to the way

Cheder is accounted for and its finances managed.

Traditionally, Cheder has been self-supporting,

but we did not wish to miss this opportunity to

review and update the whole operation, including

a new and more relevant syllabus, and this has

required additional resources. The additional costs

associated with these moves are reflected in the

results for both 2011 and 2012.

The Finance Committee has been a useful forum

for discussing financial issues which arise, both in

terms of policy and operations, and I am grateful

to the members of the committee for their ideas

and support. I continue to welcome new members

to the Finance Committee, which meets about six

times a year, and I would be pleased to hear from

members who feel they have the time and skills to

make a positive contribution to our deliberations.

The year ahead, 2012, will be an exciting one

for us all and a challenging one from the financial

point of view. The tremendous output from the

ministerial team, together with ever-increasing

building use and services to members, comes at a

price, but it remains the unanimous view of both

your rabbinic team and your HOs that qualitative

growth in the community can only be nurtured

through financial investment.

Elsewhere for 2012, with the assistance and advice

of my fellow HOs and the Finance Committee,

I have worked to maintain and even reduce costs


Chairman: Simon Johnson

This year’s introduction of our new Rabbinical team

of Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Knopf, Rabbi Levene and

Chazan Avromi has seen a whole series of positive changes

to the atmosphere, ruach and spirituality of our services.

The Friday night services have seen the introduction of a

few more songs and the resulting joyous atmosphere has

been rewarded by much larger congregations, including

more women and families joining us to enjoy the

service. The 9.30 start for the Shabbat Morning service

has become a feature throughout the year, and small

innovations have been introduced, from Chazan Avromi

leading the community in a communal recital of the first

paragraph of the Shema through to Rabbi Knopf’s bite

size introductions to significant prayers. And the fact

where possible. However, the financial demands

referred to above means that my budgets require

an increase in shul income of approximately 3.5%,

on average. As in previous years, I have increased

all membership rates by the same fixed amount

in order to reduce slightly the imbalance between

members with seats and those without.

In order for us to progress through this year

with as little stress in the office as possible, I would

again ask members to help by paying their shul

and cheder fees promptly, taking advantage of the

direct debit scheme where possible, and to be as

generous as possible when making any donations

or other voluntary contributions.

As in previous years, many of our members

made donations to the synagogue in 2011 to mark

a special family simcha or in memory of loved ones

who had passed away. This generosity is greatly

appreciated and I do hope that we can continue to

expect such contributions from members in 2012.

As I have reported previously, the hire rates

for the Max Weinbaum Hall have been reduced

and remain very good value for a hall of its size

and quality. I have now avoided increasing hall

hire rates for four years, and I hope that members

will regard the hall as an attractive and costeffective

venue for their smachot. Some members

have also taken advantage of the limited catering

services we have established in the hall under our

own supervision, including for Shabbat, and any

members who would wish to take advantage of

this should speak to me or David Sagal.

As we progress through 2012, I am pleased to

report that our financial position remains healthy, and

that our income is meeting all our expenditure needs.

that the community was able to come together on two

occasions this year to celebrate the Bar Mitzvot of Dovi

Freilich and Sariel Kaplan resulted in packed services

and a warm and special atmosphere. This has been a

year of positive change.

Our religious services, for Shabbat, weekdays and

festivals, continue to thrive. As we recognise that many

of our members wish to participate in different types of

service while maintaining a unified communal spirit,

every Shabbat at least two alternative minyanim are on

offer – the Hashkama Minyan is held every week, the

Sephardi Minyan three times a month and the Chaverim

Minyan once a month. Thus, on any given Shabbat, the

main service, which still attracts large numbers most

weeks, along with the alternative minyanim and other

activities, ensure that the building is used to its full

capacity. We thank the organisers of all the alternative

minyanim for their efforts.

The Hashkama Minyan, which is held in the Landy

Gallery most weeks, starts at 7.45 am and finishes at

around 9.35 am. Average attendances are between

60 and 70. This minyan is particularly useful to those

members who like to attend children’s services with

their families but who wish to daven first, to mourners

in their year of saying Kaddish, to those who would

like an aliyah to mark a special occasion but who

cannot be accommodated in the main shul as well as

to insomniacs. After each Hashkama service there is a

sit-down kiddush, sponsored by one of the attendees,

followed by a D’var Torah. While speakers are regularly

drawn from the minyan, outside speakers are also often

invited. Further information is available from Boris Ben-

Ari, Jeremy Freedman, Brian Kobrin or Geoff Melamet.

The Chaverim Minyan, which starts at 10 am and

finishes about noon, is friendly, welcoming, relaxed,

informal and inclusive, aimed at younger families and

people who want to play a greater role in a service. It

is conducted entirely by Chaverim members, giving

individuals the opportunity to lead the service, lein or

read a Haftara, often for the first time in many years.

There is the added attraction of a regular cholent and

kugel kiddush which helps people to mix, meet and

continue the Shabbat experience. Rabbi Knopf attends

these services and his short-and-to-the-point Divrei

Torah are very popular. Further details from Shalom

Haffner and Robbie Kastner

The Sephardi Minyan, starts at 8.45 am and finishes at

around noon, is held in the Landy Gallery three weeks out

of four. Further details from Wardens David Yamin-Joseph,

Ronnie Hanan or Victor Amar, President. They would like

to thank everyone who has contributed, making these

services so warm and the kiddushim so delicious.

Almost every Shabbat there are B’nei and B’not

Mitzvah as well as other smachot to celebrate. We are

privileged and delighted to host this variety of happy

events, although members should recognise that it

does present challenges, especially when balancing the

wishes of the celebrants with the interests of the rest of

the community. There can be little doubt that this has

contributed significantly to the demand for alternative

minyanim. The absence from the main service of core

members of the community is keenly felt, especially

during Shacharit when attendance is often sparse.

In response to this trend, the Wardens initiated the

‘Kehillah Shabbat’ when we bring together all our

minyanim (Hashkama, Sephardi, Chaverim and Youth)

into one Shabbat Morning Service that celebrates the

diversity that allows so many successful minyanim to

flourish, while recognising that we remain one united

community. The occasion also gives us the opportunity

to recognise, and honour, publicly, the contributions

of various specific groups of volunteers. We used the

Bar Mitzvah of Dovid Freilich and a month later of

Sariel Kaplan to have an extended Kehillah Shabbaton,

where the whole community came to celebrate our

professionals’ s’machot.

Decorum, a recurrent problem, improved noticeably

thanks to appeals from Chazan Avromi and Rabbi

Kaplan. The problem is, unfortunately, frequently

exacerbated when we have smachot. Guests sometimes

do not respect or understand the standards to which we

aspire. We would ask hosts to try and encourage their

guests to respect these standards and, in particular, to

help us in preventing unacceptable behaviour such as

bringing mobile phones into shul or chewing gum during

the service. We are still trying to improve decorum to

acceptable levels on all Shabbat mornings whilst retaining

a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The community’s

support in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

Our Honorary Officers aim to ensure that all

members, whether regular worshippers or not, enjoy

their celebrations at our shul. The Wardens are also

working hard to be inclusive and share aliyot amongst a

broad cross-section of our male members but this is often

not possible as a result of the number of smachot and

yahrzeits. Our systems for identifying members who

have not had aliyot for some time are also, unfortunately,

less than perfect. We are working to improve them

but in the meantime, please do not suffer in silence or

allow others to do so. If you think it has been an unduly

long time since you or any other member has had an

aliyah, why not come and tell the Wardens. We will try

and remedy the problem as soon as we can. Please do

remember, however, that nearly all the aliyot will have

been allocated by about 9.45 am in order to ensure the

smooth running of the service.

The Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services were

once again bursting at the seams. There were five

services: main shul, Max Weinbaum Hall, Sephardim,

Youth and an explanatory/introductory service.

This year, with our senior Rabbi, Rabbi Kaplan just

arriving, this gave him the opportunity to daven in the

Shul and Hall, while Rabbi Knopf was in the parallel

service The Services in the Main Synagogue and Hall,

where led by Chazan Avromi Freilich and Chazan Yossi

Schwartz and were much enjoyed. Unfortunately for

us, Chazan Schwartz has now taken up a new Chazan

position, and we wish to thank him for three melodic

years as Chazan Sheni.

Our Explanatory Services on Rosh Hashana and Yom

Kippur which have now been running very successfully

for seven years were, once again, conducted by Rabbi

Daniel Rowe of Aish, with over 160 seated and many

more standing in a packed Landy Gallery. Every year,

Rabbi Rowe is able to bring new ideas to a packed

audience, while still conducting a shortened version of

the service.

Our late Kol Nidrei service for those assisting with

security, with dependants at home, or those otherwise

unable to attend earlier, was also well attended. This

year there was not enough demand for a separate 19-

25’s service as many students had already returned to


Once again, the Sephardi service was held in a

luxurious marquee located in the Rabbi’s rear garden.

This was full, with over 160 congregants sitting with

their children and families. Guest Rabbi, Rabbi David

Ben Yoav, added to the experience as did guest Chazan

Yonathan Saliach.

As in most years recently, there was a full house on

Succot. The Family Hakafot on Simchat Torah night,

was well attended and Rabbi Kaplan assisting with

getting parents and children singing and dancing in

the main shul. At the end of the Family Hakafot, the

adults and the youth lead by Rabbi Levene (Youth

and Community Rabbi) and the youth leaders joined

together for their full Simchat Torah celebrations. The

Simchat Torah Hakafot were successfully celebrated

in the Hall. This allowed both men and women the

opportunity to dance separately and also to socialise.

This years Chatanim were Rabbi Kaplan – Chatan Torah

and Chazan Avromi Freilich – Chatan Bereshit with lots

of singing and dancing. Even the request for no alcohol

in the shul was respected and natural spirits were high.

Celebrations continued again with a fantastic supper

party for our Chatanim which included singing, dancing

and hilarious speeches.

A new initiative this year for Chanukah, was to have

a giant Chanukia in the front of the shul, and though

Chanukah was late this year, Shabbat 25th December,

Rabbi Kaplan hosted a sit down Shabbat lunch for over

180 people and a Sunday 26th December, candle lighting

extravaganza with food and music.

Purim was action packed, with Keith Barnett leining

in the Shul, Rabbi Kaplan and Freda introducing the

Purim Story in a show, before Andy Kaufmann again

leining beautifully for the family and children in the Hall

and the Youth were lead by Hugo Davidson. Purim day,

Jeffrey Davidson leined for the 1st Minyan, while Jeremy

Freedman leined for Kerem School and the HGSS ladies.

After the Leining, the Ladies were invited back to Rabbi

and Rebbetzen Freda Kaplan’s home for a Champagne


In preparation for Pesach, there were educational

Children’s Services

shiurim, organised by Rabbi Knopf, and, on Shabbat

Hagadol, we had an Educational Shabbat with two guest

speakers. Pesach services were busier than normal.

For Yom Ha’atzmaut we held our regular celebratory

service followed by a festive breakfast, organised by

Nashim, accompanied by entertainment with singing

and dancing by Kerem School and the Magic Moments

youth from Shlomi.

For Shavuot evening programme, there was

something for everyone, with a communal dinner and

community based speakers Amber Neerkin, Simon

Sadie, Simon Durkin, Oli Anisfeld and Robert Glancy all

talking on Ancient Wisdom for Modern times. Followed

by our regular Tikkun Leil until morning with David

Wolfson, Simon Weinberg, Clive Freedman, Vivian

Wineman and Saul Gallick. On the second afternoon of

Shavuot, we enjoyed another festive Simchat Hachag tea

with a lively Question and Answer session with Clive

Lawton and Rabbi Anthony Knopf.

On Tisha B’Av, members came together for the

reading of Eicha and Kinnot with explanations from

Rabbi Knopf. During the day, in conjunction with Spiro

Ark, We were fortunate to host Renata Kessler, who

introduced her fathers Edmund Kessler – Wartime Diary,

chronicling Lvov Jewry before and during the war..

We take for granted the amount of time that many

of our members devote to ensure that our services

continue to achieve the highest standards. These include

officiants, both religious and lay, ba’alei kriah, volunteer

shammasim and participants on the welcoming rotas.

We are indebted to them all. We would also welcome new

participants, so if you would like to become involved in

any aspect of the services please do contact the wardens.

New Initiatives with a new Rabbinical team include:

l Musical Carlibach Friday nights, with Chazan

Avromi and Rabbi Marc Levene.

l Weekday afternoon Mincha at 1.30 pm, this is

possible, as we have over six men working in the

building (including the Head of Kerem and Kerem


l Shabbat morning prayers for Israeli soldiers and

Israeli hostages

l Explanations of prayers and Kaddish lead by Chazan


Chairman: David Grossman Vice Chairman: Alex Bloom

This has been another busy year with services

enjoying an ever-growing attendance. On a typical

Group 1: Pre-school and Nursery Ages 1 to 4

Running from 11.15 to 11.45 am, this service provides

Shabbat, more than 150 children now attend one of the a wonderful introduction to Shul for the youngest

four services which are led almost entirely by volunteers children in our community. Led by parents, the service

to whom we are hugely grateful. The services are aims to incorporate as much fun as possible, so that the

divided into four groups:

children really enjoy their first experience of Shul.

Group 2: Reception and Year 1, Ages 5 to 6

Running from 11.15 to 11.45 am, this service builds on the

songs and tunes of Group 1 and introduces the children

to the format of the Shabbat morning service. We start

to pray together as a group in Hebrew, familiarising the

children with prayers like the Shema, shul tunes and

learning about the Parasha of the week.

Group 3: Years 2 to 3, Ages 7 and 8

This service runs from 10.45 to 11.45 am with the

emphasis on learning about content and how to pray,

together with weekly discussions and a quiz on the

Parasha. David Rodney and Benny Lemer have run this

service successfully for over fifteen years.

Group 4: Years 4 to 6 Ages 9 to 11

Running from 10.45 to 11.45 am, this is a shortened

version of the normal Shabbat morning service. It

has grown significantly in size during the past twelve

months – with, typically, 35-40 children attending.

The Chagim represent a particularly busy time with

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services attended by

more than 500 people. There are specially prepared song

sheets and mini machzorim featuring in all services.

Children’s Events

In addition to the Services, special events are organised

to enhance the children’s enjoyment and make shul fun.

• For Shavuot, we held our successful annual special ice

cream kiddush in the Landy Gallery.

• For Rosh Hashana, all the services were packed out.

The service leaders worked hard to keep the children

excited – and the parents quiet – and all finished with

a special apple and honey kiddush. There was also a

fun Family Tashlich Party in the park with activities

organised by Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi

Marc Levene.

• On Succot, the services were followed by kiddush in

the Succah. On Simchat Torah evening, the main Shul

was again dedicated to families for the early part of

the evening. This allowed children and their parents

to enjoy the festivities in a safe and calm environment,

singing and dancing with the Sefer Torah, lead by Rabbi


• On Chanukah we had a special doughnut kiddush.

• On Purim, we had a family Megilla reading in the hall,

attended by over 450 children and their parents, with

a Purim video for children to watch while they were

listening to the Megilla.

• We have also worked with Rabbi Knopf in organising

a special call-up of children, in Shul, in the month of

their birthday.

Last year’s exciting initiative of the children’s squads

has continued. A second group of 7-9 year olds learned

Anim Zemirot as a group then led it in Shul, The Leining

Squad graduated to become a Haftara Squad, and they

performed in Shul on Simchat Torah. To this, we have

added a Mussaf Choir and a Tefilla Squad. It gives a

huge range of options for children to learn on a Shabbat

morning. Thanks go to Rabbi Knopf, Eric Elbaz, Mark

Summerfield, Avi Landenberg and Simon Johnson.

The new Girls Squad is very well attended and geared

towards women leaders in Jewish history and lead by

knowledgeable mothers.


The children’s services and events are organised by a

dedicated team of volunteers. As any parent who has

attended any of the youngest two services will know,

this is a far from easy task. I would very much like to

thank everyone who has helped during the year for

their hard work, support and commitment.

We are always looking for more volunteers, not

just to take the services, but to help plan, research and

organise events. Please contact David Sagal in the Shul

office, or David Grossman and Alex Bloom on Shabbat.

Community Programmes

In a community as diverse as Hampstead Garden

Suburb, it is important to provide a wide variety of

educational programmes catering for the level and

interests of the members. The excellent Shiurim that

have taken place for a number of years continue to find

appeal within the congregation. On Tuesday evening,

there is Rabbi Professor Sacha Stern’s Modern approaches

to Talmud Avoda Zara. On Wednesday evenings, Rabbi

Hammer delivers his advanced Gemara Shiur whilst

Rabbi Schischa teaches a class in Tehillim. On Shabbat

afternoon, Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi

Cohen have given shiurim on a variety of halachic and

philosophical topics which are open to those at all levels

Rabbi Anthony Knopf

of learning.

As in previous years, the community enjoyed a biweekly

summer Seuda Shlishit Programme, organised,

by Rabbi Knopf, using Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers)

as the central theme. Speakers included, Rabbi Akiva

Tatz, Rabbi Livingstone, Charles Landau, Rabbi Rowe,

William Kolbrener, Daniel Greenberg, Rabbi Dr Jeffrey

Cohen, Rabbi Rapaport and Rabbi Dr Belovski. In

addition, I produced a weekly Perkei Avot blog and

implemented the theme throughout the spectrum of

educational activities, including the Cheder, with a

thought for the day, Children Services, with weekly

themes, Kerem Y6, Hashkama and Sephardi Services

themed discussion groups and via the Beit Midrash


For Lag B’Omer, Rabbi Knopf with Dan Rickman,

Brenda Osen and Louise Felder, organised an Educational

Sunday, discussing The State of Israel, Jewish Religion

and Anglo-Jewry, with guest speakers Anthony Julius,

Rabbi David Mason, Joe Wolfson, Vivian Wineman and

Keith Kahn-Harris.

In September, the annual Professor Sam Cohen Memorial

Lecture was delivered by Rabbi Dr Jeffrey Cohen

Throughout the year, we ran a Medical Ethics Series

for doctors. The programme included presentations

from Dr Paul Bentley, (Neurologist), Mr Michael Davis

(Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and Mr Gideon Lieberman

(fertility) with halachic commentary and discussion

from Rabbi Chaim Rapoport. Thanks go to Drs Jeremy

and Jacqui Marshall for organising the series.

The weekly Beit Midrash Programme has continued

in popularity this year with numerous members of the

shul coming on a weekly basis to study Torah. Those

attending can choose to study with a partner or attend

shiurim on the Parasha, Talmud and other topical

issues. Thanks go to Victor Amar and Alex Drucker

for giving the shiurim and to seed for helping to find

learning partners for our members. New initiatives this

year have included “How to . . . ” or themed topics being

discussed in a group sessions.

A Hebrew Reading crash course with Simon Rinkoff

on Sunday mornings was well attended, as was a Jewish

History Powerpoint Presentation.

Rabbi Knopfs’ successful The Big Issue programme:

The modern world through a Jewish Lens continued with

Is Belief the Balm for Broken Britain? with David Levin,

Ruth Gledhill and Rabbi Rowe. The second in this series

was Friend or Boss? The Dilemma of Parenting with guest

speakers: Debra Potel, Rabbi Jonathan Dove and Rabbi

Grunfeld. In January, we started the next exciting series

with Lies, D*** lies and the Media with guest speakers

Natasha Pearlman, Adam Cannon and Rabbi Rowe.

The subject in February the topic was How DOES She

Do It? Juggling Working Life with a Successful Family Life

with guest speakers Karen Mattison MBE, Emma Spitz,

and Elaine Aarons. In March, with the subject Has Peer

Pressure Fashioned our Children? guest speakers were

Professor Helen Cowie, Kurt Browne and Rebbetzen

Lynndy Levin

Rabbi Knopfs’ How To series of shiurim that combines

both educational and practical advice covered cleaning

the house for Pesach, Shabbat Candles, checking for bugs

and everyday parenting. There was also an increase in

home Shiurim, hosted by like-minded members in their


With large Shabbat attendances, we have instituted

educational opportunities at the end of morning services.

These take place especially around the Chagim, either

from the pulpit, or in other rooms. Over the course of

the year, we have enjoyed Shiurim from Rabbi Danny

Kirsch, Daniel Greenberg, Rabbi Daniel Rowe, Lindsay

Taylor-Guthartz, Rabbi Shlomo Farhi, Maureen Kendler,

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow and Rabbi Jonny Roodyn.

The Shavuot programme Something for Everyone was

a great success. After a Communal Dinner, our home

grown speakers covered the spectrum of our community

in age and commitment. At midnight the programme

continued at the Rabbi’s house until the first Shacharit

service at 2.46 am. On second day Shavuot, there was

a festive tea with a Question and Answer session on the

topic of the most important challenges for Anglo Jewry

with Clive Lawton.

On Tisha B’Av, members came together for the

reading of Eicha and Kinnot with explanations from Rabbi

Knopf and Rabbi Cohen. During the day, in conjunction

with Spiro Ark, The Wartime Diary of Edmund Kessler was

discussed by Anthony Polonsky. This gave a historical

overview of Lvov Jewry. A big thank you to Nitza Spiro.

Last year, Rabbi Cohen’s Shabbat morning shiurim

were regular, eagerly anticipated and inspirational.

These are now led by Rabbi Kaplan and continue to be

equally successful.

During the winter, we have continued the popular

Friday night Divrei Torah from our members, and short

Torah talks from Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi Cohen, now

taken over by Rabbi Kaplan.

In a new initiative, Rabbi Kaplan produced a Yom

Kippur video message from senior spiritual leaders

including The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Dayan Gelley.

We look forward to continued support for the

education programmes and to see them flourish.

Social Activities

This last year has seen much exciting social activity for

young families and singles in the area:

Yom Hazikaron with the Chief Rabbi and Magic


The Yom Ha’Atzmaut breakfast was a great success

thanks to Nashim and Kerem school dancers for their

entertainment and with the assistance of the Magic

Moments Children from the town of Shlomi in Israel.

Following last year’s successful Baby Blessing

Ceremony, another was held in March this year. Rabbi

Knopf invited new parents to bring their babies to the

front of the Shul at the end of the Shabbat Service for a

blessing and presentation of certificates – a very moving

celebration, especially as there were 45 births in the

community last year. Our Suburb Suppers scheme offers

cooked meals for families celebrating the arrival of new

babies – many thanks to co-ordinator Clair Rosen. Every

new baby in the community receives a beautiful babygro

featuring a picture of a baby and the words ‘Born to be

active in HGSS’.

Rabbi Knopf has organised New Members‘ welcome

packs which include delivery of fresh challahs for


All Rabbis and their families continue to offer

hospitality on Shabbat and festivals.

Chessed (acts of kindness by members of the Community)

In addition to the Nefesh Network, this year our

community has embarked on a number of initiatives to

promote kindness and giving to others. With the United

Synagogue’s Project Chessed, we have been collecting

mobile phones, clothes and warm hats in a large collection

box in the hall foyer. These are passed on to the

relevant organisations.

For the third year running, Sarah Callman and her

excellent team organised a fantastic Mitzvah Day Event

in the Max Weinbaum Hall.

The HGSS Chessed Connection Committee also


Rabbi Marc Levene Chairman: Simon Taylor

organised the preparation of the largest Jewish fruit

salad, with whole families involved in preparing and

distributing over 2000 portions to homeless shelters

across London.

Over the year, there have been two New Members’

Evenings at 8 Norrice Lea where the Rabbis were able

to mix with and get to know many of the new families,

young and old.

Rabbi Knopf has arranged for like minded people to

join together for healthy activities like a monthly cycling

Group and, in the spring and summer, a walking group.

Youth Workers: Saul Gallick and Jonny Sherman (to July 2011) Daniel Beder and Daniel Jacobs (from Sept 2011)

The Youth Service

The Youth Service has, on the whole, been well

attended with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere

and we look forward to welcoming more participants

in the future. The Youth Service is self-sufficient, with

the youth leading almost all the leining and davening.

Fitting the practice into their busy schedules is not an

easy task and we are very proud of them for all their

hard work and support. We have also had many themed

kiddushim including, sushi, crazy crisps, dips, chocolate

and ice cream.

Over the Yamim Noraim and Succot, there were

successful youth services, with all davening by youth.

They did a fantastic job as always. On Simchat Torah

we had two Chatanim, Ollie Collins and Ollie Anisfeld,

and Eshet Chayil, Charlotte Jacobs. The annual Simchat

Torah BBQ was enjoyed by over 100 people, and was the

first big event of the year!! There was a great atmosphere

and lots of meat.

We also had an amazing series of Friday Night

Onegs, hosted in different homes. They were a chance to

hang out on a Friday night with a bit of singing and lots

of food!!

We have also introduced a new Shabbat ‘Breakfast

and Musaf Service,’ which takes place about once a

month. Breakfast, with a special guest speaker, starts at

10.45 am and is followed by Musaf at 11.30.

For Purim we had a wonderful evening with over

120 youth turning out for evening of Chinese food and a

fantastic magician. It was enjoyed by all and was a great

success. Many thanks to Hugo and Jeffrey Davidson

for leining the Megillah and to Josh Neerkin, Jake

Summerfield, Sara Goldstein and Yona Greenwood for

all their help selling tickets.

Social Action

Social Action (Chesed) activities have included fortnightly

sandwich making for a soup kitchen in Stamford Hill

by year 11. Our Youth also played an active role in the

worldwide Mitzvah Day, visiting a residential home to

entertain the elderly residents, and helping out at the

soup kitchen for which they make sandwiches.

Year 8 also came up with an amazing charity event,

raising over £1200 for GOSH. With amazing leadership

from Lucy Summerfield, Jody Franks, Olivia Mann, Gidi

Ezra and Sam Kahn, about 200 people packed out the

Max Weinbaum Hall for an unforgettable drumming


Regular Programming

Club 34 and Club 56 – These Clubs are the rebranded

and revamped NTT and OTT – Club 34 for Years 3 &

4 and Club 56 for Years 5 & 6. Special activities at Club

have included fashion shows, sushi making, arts and

crafts and much more.

Learn2Lead – L2L is a two-year leadership programme

for Years 9 and 10. We have had an impressive array of

speakers and have also taught First Aid, Krav Maga (self

defence) and Israel Advocacy. We have been very lucky

this year by introducing the Tribe L2L Israel Experience,

where we took 8 boys from year 10 to Israel for a week

long leadership trip. It was absolutely fantastic and we

are very excited for the lasting benefits this trip will have

on HGSS Youth.

L2L is also linked with the Duke of Edinburgh

Awards as we offer the opportunity to do the expedition

in a kosher-friendly way with JLGB.

Bnei Mitzvah (Years 7 & 8)

As part of a new strategy, much attention has been given

to building up the younger years, especially with those

celebrating Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

Thorpe Park – Chol Hamoed Succot saw 35 kids from

HGSS take to Thorpe Park for a great day and lots of fun.

Pizza Master class – At the end of January, we held

a pizza master class at Chestnut, where 25 kids learned

how to make their own pizza from scratch. They then

enjoyed then enjoyed eating them – lots of fun, and mess!!

Club x – This new project was started for Year 7 only

and was arranged to attract kids back into the youth, once

leaving primary school. We held several sessions including

one with a chocolate chef and a CST Streetwise activity.

Dads and Lads – This is an old idea with a new

perspective. Every Sunday morning we invite boys in

year 8 with their fathers for a shacharit minyan and

breakfast. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach

putting on tefilin and navigating the morning service.

Jonathan Collins Memorial with the Chief Rabbi Lord


On Wednesday 21 March, we were honoured to be

joined by the Chief Rabbi, who gave us an enthralling

talk about the future of the Jewish Nation, followed by

a Q&A. Over 200 people turned out in honour of the

5th Yahrzeit of Jonathan Collins kwz, including over 50

members of the Youth.

Our Biggest Obstacles

There have been two main issues which have made

some events and programmes less successful than they

had potential to be:

1. Behaviour – There have been some serious behavioural

issues this year in certain pockets of the Youth.

Unfortunately, this has affected events and programmes

and also the Youth Service. Some of this problem stems

from the fact that the youth responsible do not have the

appropriate understanding that, whether taking place in

or outside the Shul, these are Shul events and a degree of

respect and decorum is required.

2. Lack of commitment – with every event, however minor,

it has been a real struggle to attract good numbers. Most

teens will not go to something unless their friends also

do so which often leads to a deadlock where no-one will

make the first move and agree to come. This is partly due

to the perception the youth have of Shul events – not cool

– and partly due to apathy. We feel that encouragement

from parents would really help with this issue.

Despite these issues, it has been a busy year, with areas

of great success and some others with slower but steady

growth. We look forward to more consistent successful

activities and events with HGs Tribe next year.

Kerem Schools

Head Teacher: Mr R Felsenstein Deputy Head: Miss A Burns

Chairman – Jonathan Goldstein (to Dec 2011) David Wolfson QC (from Jan 2012)

It has been a year of development at Kerem. After the

merger of Kerem House and Kerem School into one

educational unit, the months leading up to September

2011 involved the restructuring of the Kerem Early Years

Unit to include Nursery and two Reception classes.

The EYU outdoor area was developed to include new

equipment to enhance speaking and listening and

physical development and the world around the children.

As a result of Kerem’s continuing popularity, demand

for places in the Kerem EYU for September 2012, has

again meant that it is taking a double form intake and

admitting forty-eight children to the Nursery.

We were delighted to welcome Rabbi Kaplan and

his family to the community in September and have

formed a wonderful partnership with Rabbi Kaplan,

Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi Levene. Rabbi Kaplan is a

regular visitor to Kerem and really inspires children and

teachers; he gives a weekly shiur to Year 6, and Divrei

Torah each week at our Kabbalat Shabbat Assemblies.

We are delighted to report that Kerem’s Year 6

graduates in July 2011 took up places in September

2011 at Haberdashers Boys (five places), Hasmonean

Girls (three places) Highgate (one place), Immanuel

College (eleven places), JFS (two places), North London

Collegiate (one place) and UCS (one place); Kerem’s

pupils can be proud of their excellent achievements.

During the year, Kerem has continued to involve

itself in a number of community initiatives. Through the

charity Tzedek, Kerem’s partnership with the Morning

Star School in Ghana has continued, and Miss Burns

was selected with two other teachers from this country

to travel to Ghana in October. She visited the Morning

Star School, and visited the three classrooms that Kerem

helped to build. During the Succot term, Kerem raised

£786 for Camp Simcha, and participated in its Toy Drive;

three pupils accompanied Mrs Borman to Northwick

Park Hospital to deliver toys to the children on the

Paediatric Ward. Year 6 pupils were involved in very

successful social action partnerships with both GIFT and

Kisharon in 2011.

A new and successful innovation in October was a

Year 5 Shabbaton in the Lincolnsfield Centre in Bushey

organised by Rabbi Spector; we hope it will become a

regular fixture in the Kerem calendar. The recent Kerem

School Shabbaton organised by the PTA incorporated

a lovely Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday night,

including a Dvar Torah by Chairman of Governors David

Wolfson QC, and a Shabbat lunch which was attended

by well over three hundred people. The children were

involved in each part of Shabbat and prepared songs

and Divrei Torah to share with the community.

Kerem continues to play a dominant sporting role

within Jewish and secular communities by winning

Maccabi football and netball competitions for the

different age groups, and the Jewish Schools’ Swimming

Gala for small schools. Kerem has also been runners up

in some competitions and has had a great deal of success

in chess competitions.

This year has seen the arrival of Rabbi Kaplan and

Rebbetzen Freda whose commitment to pastoral

matters has been felt throughout the community.

Together with them, Rabbi Knopf, Chazan Avromi

and Rabbi Levene, Nefesh Network continues to feel

the strength of a partnership which enhances what we

do and helps to ensure that we continue to reach as

many people in our kehilla as possible, to share happy

moments as well as sad ones. Our volunteer force, which

has yet again grown in numbers, report, again, how

much they enjoy the relationships that they have made

with fellow shul members. Similarly, we are constantly

asked by those who have used the Nefesh Network, to

pass on their appreciation for the support, warmth and

companionship that has been extended to them by our

Nefesh Network

Chairman: Geoffrey Levy

volunteers. We aspire to ensure that all members of the

community can access a range of options – from the

purely practical to, hopefully, providing comfort in the

face of difficulty and sadness. We are greatly encouraged

by the fact that year on year, more of you are ringing us

when you feel that we might be able to help in some


In the coming year, we would like to create an ethos

in our community where no-one who would rather

share a Shabbat or Yomtov lunch with others should

find themselves on their own at home, where no-one

who has to attend hospital should have to do so alone,

and where no-one who struggles to get their shopping

should do so without help. We can be reached on 8455

0040 or email:

Hebrew Classes/ The Aleph

Learning Centre

Head Teacher/Director: Chayli Fehler Co-Chairs: Jonathan Dimson, Joanna Johnson

This year has seen one of the most significant changes

at the Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue Cheder,

with the exciting launch of the new Aleph Learning Centre

(ALC) under the directorship of Chayli Fehler. The ALC

brings a fresh approach to the Sunday Cheder, replacing

the old, traditional format with engaging methods and

exciting hands on activities ensuring that every child

gains a strong sense of Jewish identity, a high level of

Jewish Education and enjoys a positive experience in

building the foundation for Jewish learning.

To achieve these, the Aleph Learning Centre uses a

new engaging curriculum, incorporating interactive

study methods and extra curricular activities. A

completely re-designed Hebrew reading programme

accompanied with one on one reading tuition; structured

lesson plans to build on content each year; and a variety

of Educational activities at our ‘Funday Sundays’. The

ALC is now one of the largest Hebrew Schools in Europe,

with nearly 250 enrolled children. Further details on our

new website which is

regularly updated with general information, the latest

pictures and other details.

ALC Launch and New Hebrew Reading Scheme

The new ALC was launched at our Chanukah celebration,

where the children provided fantastic entertainment

with a range of traditional and contemporary songs.

As part of the launch, we introduced ‘Aleph Champ’,

a popular Hebrew reading programme developed in

the United States and adapted by Tribe for use in US

Chedarim. Based on the martial arts motivational

philosophy of colour-coded levels and testing, it

encourages pupils to rise to the challenge of Hebrew

reading by awarding them with coloured wristbands

and certificates as they progress up each level. The

aim is for every student to read Hebrew fluently and

acquire a basic understanding of the prayers. A new

multisensory Aleph Bet Programme for 4-5 year olds,

was also introduced and helps build a strong foundation

for Hebrew reading

Funday Sundays

The ALC offers a variety of ‘Funday Sundays’

throughout the year which includes various workshops

to prepare children for the upcoming Jewish festivals.

These included the International Pre ‘Purim Funday’

with circus skills, educational activities, and puppets

shows for the younger children and the Pre ‘Pesach

Funday’ with an exciting hands-on Matzah Bakery

and Pesach related activities. In line with the vision of

ensuring the ALC children are connected and integrated

with the community, these Funday Sundays have been

open to all children in the community.

Challenge programme

The Year 7 Challenge class has an engaging curriculum

incorporating discussions, hands on activities related

to Jewish practises and textual based learning. They

organised a charity activity for Purim, enjoyed a visit

to the Jewish Museum and a talk from an IDF officer as

part of their Israel topic. Each week they are challenged

with a ‘stump the Rabbi’ session with Rabbi Levene.

GCSE Class

Rabbi Hirsch has successfully taught and motivated Years

9 and 10 students to attain high grades in their exams.

Other Events

The ALC organised a well-attended Family Shabbaton

which included a Friday night dinner and special children

services on a Shabbat. For yom Hatzmaut the children

enjoyed Israel related activities and workshops including

a stimulated? western wall where the children could write

and post their prayers, a map of Israel challenge and the

Social and Communal


The Trustees of HGSS Friends of Lvov (Esther

Tager, Rochelle Freilich, Madeleine Gottlieb and

Gillian Freedman) are pleased to report another busy

and successful year, supporting our twin community

in Lvov, Ukraine.

Our 14th annual chazanut concert took place in

January. Sadly, for the first time since its inception,

Chazan Avromi Freilich was unable to participate

due to the loss of his father, Rabbi J Freilich kwwz.

Cantor Yossi Schwarz kindly stepped in at very short

notice to sing alongside our guest chazan, Yanky

Lemmer of New York. They were joined by the

Ne’imah Singers and pianist Raymond Goldstein.

The performances were exceptional and net receipts

were close to £65,000.

Other initiatives included the twinning of Barand

Bat-Mitzvahs in our community with those in

Lvov (we are very grateful to our simcha families

who responded so enthusiastically and generously);

a screening in March of In Darkness, an Oscar-

Nominated Polish film portraying Jewish survival

in the sewers of Lvov during the Nazi invasion

(this raised almost £5,000); and our annual cricket

match in which, for the first time, the English (ably

led by Rafi Saville) defeated the South Africans. We

also benefited from ad hoc donations during the

year (with special thanks to the members of the

Hashkama Minyan who are always so responsive)

as well as £10,000+ from the voluntary levy on

members’ shul bills.

Altogether, we raised close to £100,000 ($150,000+)

in this period, with minimal governance costs. All

funds are remitted direct to Brativ Sinov Israel, the

Ukrainian Charity run by Rabbi and Rebbetzen Bald.

We send at least $10,000 every month, with extra

funds at Pesach and Rosh Hashana and whenever

else they are required.

We would like to express our gratitude to Simon

Alberga and British ORT who arranged a charity Golf

Day on 14 June at Coombe Hill Golf Club, enabling

Felafel true or false fact quiz . Other initiatives include

a musical tefillah assemblies to familiarise children

with prayers so they can enjoy and understand Shabbat

services and Parents Hebrew Reading Crash courses

which were enjoyed by many parents.

Chayli was supported by Chairman Daniel Shaw

who stepped down after 3 years in December 2011 and

now supported by Co Chairs, Jonathan Dimson and

Joanna Johnson, as well as a dedicated Governing board,

PTA and hard working Teachers.

ORT to purchase much needed computers and IT

equipment for Lvov’s Jewish School, allowing the

teachers and pupils to access ORT’s programmes

and its teacher training and education initiatives.

The Trustees wish to record their heartfelt

thanks to the Honorary Officers and the whole

HGSS community for unflagging support in times

of economic downturn and despite so many other

charity requests. Without this support, the Lvov

Shul, School and welfare programmes operated by

the Balds simply could not continue.

Finally, many thanks to Geoffrey Behrman who

maintains our website. For further information

please visit it:

The Book Circle holds regular monthly

meetings where participants enjoy lively,

entertaining and thoughtful discussion about the

monthly book choice. This year the books have

included One Day by David Nicholls, Winter

Vault by Ann Michaels, The People of the Book by

Geraldine Brooks. The Finkler Question by Howard

Jacobson; Simon Montefiore and the legacy by Sybille

Bedford, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, The

Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal and,

at a special evening to celebrate the life of Chaim

Bermant we discussed Coming Home, the choice of

his wife, Judy. We always welcome new members

and enjoy the opportunity to expand our reading

horizons – fiction and non-fiction, up-to-date

modern or classic works. Further information


The Jewish Book Circle, continues to hold

successful regular meetings and have discussed

People of the Book by Moshe Halbertal, One People

by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Modern Scholarship by

Shalom Carmy, The Misunderstood Jew by Amy-Jill

Levine and The Sages Vol 1. For more information


Nashim continue to ensure the success of social

and communal functions. Under the chairmanship

of Michele Yamin-Joseph, assisted by Ylana Roback

(Vice Chairman), Louise Norton (Secretary) and

Miriam Kingsley (Treasurer), they are always

eager to include more ladies willing to volunteer

their time and services to enhance our community.

We wish them Hatzlacha and thank them for all

their hard work without which the shul could not


Norrice Seniors continues to attract regular

numbers for their monthly social, tea and

entertainment. This year we have been fortunate

to have excellent local speakers. We wish to thank

the speakers and Leila Behrman for arranging this

facility. The Norrice Seniors cater for all Synagogue

members who have achieved pensioner status –

even younger on occasions. Please tell any of your

family and friends, who might enjoy our social

and cultural endeavours about our interesting

programme. For further details of our future

speakers, entertainers and excursions please

contact the office. We are also able to arrange

transportation via the Nefesh Network.


Chairman: Danny Green

My role as Head of Security commenced in January

2011. I would like to note the full assistance and

‘hand-over’ support from my predecessor, Paul Hanison.

Norman Roback, with vast security experience, will be

invaluable as my Deputy.

HGSS Security is supported by the same nineman

committee – all with great experience, with both

CST and HGSS. The team has been extremely helpful,

professional and hard working throughout the year,

with special mention to Jeff Kagan for co-ordinating the

Shabbat and Yomim Tovim volunteer rota. Sam Lipton

joined the team in October 2011 and is now Security

Liaison to Kerem and Kerem Early Years Unit. Sam is a

long-standing CST badge holder, and served at a senior

level within the organisation.

The CST reported for the second successive year

(2011), a decrease in recorded anti-Semitic incidents,

since the record high of 2009. However, this is still

the fourth highest year on record - the fall is due to a

relatively quiet year of “trigger events”. However, the

tragic events in Toulouse in March 2012, plus continuing

escalation in hostility between Israel and Iran, only reenforces

the need to remain extremely vigilant and on

‘high alert’ at all times.

It has been a very exciting year in terms of upgrading

the HGSS security equipment and perimeters. October

saw the installation of a new state-of-the-art camera

system - incorporating 13 additional cameras, three

additional monitors and a 16-channel digital video

Norrice Nippers, a mother and toddler

group, has proved very popular, with a weekly

programme for babies and toddlers under the

umbrella of Little Stars Music. This is a 35-minute

structured programme that introduces music,

movement and rhythm in a relaxed, themed, fun

and informal atmosphere. There have also been

successful Chanukah and Purim parties.

The new table tennis club NLTT, started

with an enthusiastic group of players and four

tables in the Max Weinbaum Hall. This has now

doubled in numbers and tables, attracting ten to

seventy-year-olds, beginners and league players,

all playing together. Our thanks to Adam Black

and Lee Vandermolen, who organise and coach a

spectacular demonstration match. Last month,

the HGSS Table Tennis Team won trophies in the

Inter-Synagogue Table Tennis Competition.

Zumba at HGSS continues successfully to

attract over 50 ladies dancing and exercising

together weekly in the Max Weinbaum Hall.

recorder. The system allows remote access via the internet

and is fully monitored by CST.

After more than a year of planning and applications,

the new security gates and perimeter fencing have been

installed. The new two front gates are 1.6 metres high. The

security-coded pedestrian gates (and remote controls)

allow members to gain access, when unattended by

guards, and visitors must ring/ call from outside, where

they can be viewed via the entry system.

The plastic and wire mesh fence (rear of the building) has

been replaced with “prison mesh”, which can only be

cut with power tools. The rear gate from the playground

into the park has also been replaced.

The most important and significant item to report

is that there were no serious incidents at our location

throughout the year. This must NOT be treated with

complacency. Our enemies continue to watch our

building and how we operate; it is imperative to

maintain good visual security cover at ALL times. The

biggest security problem is maintaining a strong group

of volunteers. The pool of “regulars” is ever decreasing,

and we rely on the same (hard core) members of the

community. In order to remain one of the best-protected

buildings in North London, we need the FULL support

of the ENTIRE community.

I would like to thank David Sagal and his office,

Mark Gould and his staff, Keith Barnett and the

HO’s and all Rabbanim for their unwavering support

throughout the year.

Recession Watch and JobShidduch

During 2011 a number of members have benefited

from our Recession Watch mentoring programme

as well as from the JobShidduch employment website.

Following the arrival of Rabbi Kaplan, with his support

together with that of Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi Levene,

there is a perceived need to refresh and relaunch both

initiatives. There are some radical proposals under

consideration by the Honorary Officers which will






Status of Members

Chairman: Jeff Durkin

be publicised in the near future. These will make the

initiatives more effective and relevant to the wide

ranging needs and demographic mix of our Community.

JobShidduch and Recession Watch will therefore

continue to be valuable resources to the HGSS

Community, clearly demonstrating the Board’s

commitment to members’ welfare and wider concerns

in bad times as well as good.

Membership Statistics

Adult Membership






Membership has levelled out over the past eight years









Members by Age (Dec 2010)

Children in age groups
















1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Divorced Approximately 50 children are born each year

Number of Members


















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