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Annual Report 2012.indd - Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue

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<strong>Hampstead</strong> <strong>Garden</strong> <strong>Suburb</strong> <strong>Synagogue</strong><br />

ANNUAL REPORT<br />

2011/12 – 5771/72<br />

Norrice Lea, London N2 0RE<br />

Email offi ce@hgss.org.uk Website www.hgss.org.uk


Community Leadership 2011/2012<br />

Senior Rabbi<br />

Professional Team<br />

Rabbi Dov Kaplan<br />

Associate Rabbi Rabbi Anthony Knopf<br />

Youth & Community Rabbi Rabbi Marc Levene<br />

Chazan Avromi Freilich *<br />

Executive Officer David Sagal<br />

Office Manager Sharon Drucker<br />

Youth Workers Saul Gallick & Jonny Sherman (to July 2011)*<br />

Daniel Beder & Daniel Jacobs (from Sept 2011)*<br />

Book Keeper Brian Gray<br />

Rabbis’ PA Maddy Drucker<br />

ALC Head Teacher Chayli Fehler*<br />

Hebrew Classes Administrator Samantha McLeod *<br />

Facilities Manager Mark Gould<br />

* Denotes part-time<br />

Honorary Officers<br />

Chairman Keith Barnett (5)<br />

Vice-Chairman Neil Levinson (5)<br />

Financial Representative Jeffrey Davidson (4)<br />

Wardens Simon Johnson (5)<br />

Meyer Pearlman (5)<br />

Rene Anisfeld (5)<br />

Carolyn Bogush (5)<br />

Alexandra Davidson (4)<br />

Michael Goldstein (4)<br />

Danny Green (5) - Chair of Security<br />

David Grossman (6)<br />

Claire Lemer (4)<br />

Louise Norton (5)<br />

Simon Sadie (5)<br />

Board of Management<br />

In brackets ( ) = Out of 7 meetings<br />

Gideon Smith (5)<br />

Simon Taylor (4) Chair of Children<br />

& Youth<br />

Bernard Taub (5)<br />

Naomi Taub (4)<br />

Simon Weinberg (4)<br />

Michele Yamin Joseph (5)<br />

Chair of Nashim<br />

Representatives at The Board of Deputies<br />

of British Jews<br />

Mark Feldmann, Vicki Harris, Flo Kaufmann<br />

Clive Lewisohn, Vivian Wineman<br />

Condolences<br />

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

Florence Bloom<br />

Rose Katz<br />

Lily Miller<br />

David Steele<br />

Sandra Conway<br />

Gloria Kay<br />

Cypora Mond<br />

Mascha Tobin<br />

Maxwell Ettlinger<br />

David Kut<br />

Arnold Oppenheimer Benzion Wainstein<br />

Stanley Goldwater<br />

Victor Leigh<br />

Ronald Silverblatt<br />

Bernice Jacobs<br />

Edwin Lipman<br />

Gitel Smith<br />

Simon Jaffa<br />

Freda Mendleson<br />

Lily Stanley


A message from Rabbi Kaplan<br />

Since arriving in the <strong>Suburb</strong>, Freda and I<br />

have made sincere efforts to familiarise<br />

ourselves with the needs of the community<br />

and to get to know our members. Now, after<br />

working here for eight months, we feel that<br />

we have moved into an advanced learning<br />

stage and are excitedly making plans with the<br />

professional teams for the future.<br />

We have joined community members on<br />

chagim and at their family events. We have<br />

found a very positive degree of volunteering<br />

Overview<br />

Chairman: Keith Barnett<br />

am delighted to have the opportunity to report to<br />

I the Community on an enormously eventful twelve<br />

months. The past year has seen us put together a new<br />

ministerial team with the arrival of Rabbi Kaplan and<br />

Rabbi Levene, to join Rabbi Knopf and Chazan Avromi<br />

with the highlight of the year being, undoubtedly, the<br />

induction of Rabbi Kaplan and the rest of the team by<br />

the Chief Rabbi in February.<br />

It is true to say that we have all been re-energised<br />

by the plethora of events and activities that have been<br />

organised for all age groups over the past months. From<br />

the moment of their arrival, Rabbi Dov and Rebbetzen<br />

Freda have made their home a centre of activity and<br />

warmth, and both of them have been inspirational in<br />

the number of events which they have organised for the<br />

benefit of the Community.<br />

We also had the enormous pleasure of celebrating the<br />

Bar Mitzvah of Sariel Kaplan last February.<br />

Rabbi Levene and his wife Lisa have transformed our<br />

youth provision with boisterous energy and enthusiasm.<br />

Ably assisted, this year, by our youth workers, Daniel<br />

Beder and Daniel Jacobs, a range of activities for youth<br />

have been put in place. This culminated very recently in<br />

the weekend away for families with children in Bar/Bat<br />

Mitzvah years.<br />

We continue to enjoy the wonderful leadership of<br />

Rabbi Anthony Knopf and his wife, Carly. In his new<br />

role as Associate Rabbi, Rabbi Knopf has continued<br />

to work hard in delivering educational programmes,<br />

pastoral care, outreach and ministerial support. Rabbi<br />

Knopf is rightly achieving growing regcognition as one<br />

and giving which has left us truly inspired.<br />

However, HGSS being such a large and<br />

successful community, we are convinced that<br />

there is so much more to be done. We have<br />

tried to enhance activity in all aspects of life<br />

– education, prayer services, Jewish Holidays,<br />

and support. We are very optimistic that, if<br />

we make a community effort, so much more<br />

can be accomplished – for our families and the<br />

entire kehilla, for UK Jewry and for Israel.<br />

of the outstanding young talents in Anglo-Jewry.<br />

Chazan Avromi Freilich continues to inspire with<br />

his beautiful services. He and Rochelle have served our<br />

community admirably, exuding warmth, hospitality<br />

and affection for our members. As a community, we<br />

thoroughly enjoyed the thrill of seeing his son Dovi<br />

become Bar Mitzvah whilst, a few weeks later, being so<br />

saddened to learn of the passing of Avromi’s dear father,<br />

Rabbi Joseph Freilich kwz.<br />

As mentioned above, the Induction Service for our<br />

new ministerial team was an outstanding success with<br />

more than 400 people attending. A wonderful service,<br />

with the participation of the Kerem School Choir as well<br />

as inspirational addresses both from the Chief Rabbi and<br />

Rabbi Kaplan, created, I felt, a wonderful community<br />

spirit and, as Honorary Officers, we felt privileged to<br />

be overseeing a fabulous month of s’machot. Particular<br />

thanks for their help in organising the induction go to<br />

Alan Cohen, Hilary Halter, Naomi Taub and Hilary<br />

Pearlman.<br />

This has also been a fabulous year for the development<br />

of our Aleph Learning Centre. Under the energetic and<br />

inspirational leadership of Chayli Fehler, our classes<br />

have been transformed into a hub of educational activity<br />

every Sunday morning. The enthusiastic response<br />

of parents and children to the new programme and<br />

organisation of the Centre has been a true highlight in<br />

the development of the Community.<br />

On a structural level, we installed new security gates<br />

and CCTV cameras in accordance with advice received<br />

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


particular, to CST for the subsidy they provided towards<br />

the cost of these gates which protect both the School and<br />

the <strong>Synagogue</strong> generally. Danny Green and his security<br />

team have done a fantastic job both in overseeing these<br />

changes and arranging our security generally. Their<br />

efforts and dedication are simply outstanding.<br />

Members will also notice that we have begun to<br />

implement some of our communication strategy this<br />

year with a new logo, and new design of the newssheets.<br />

This is a continuing work-in-progress and we are well<br />

aware that there is much still to be done, particularly<br />

with regard to the improvement of the website and<br />

the redesign of the way we communicate with our<br />

members by email and generally. Simon Sadie and his<br />

communications team have put an enormous amount<br />

of effort into this and we are very grateful to them. The<br />

Norrice Leader has been enhanced and, in due course,<br />

will merge with Hagan to form our sole publication.<br />

Hilary Halter has done a fantastic job in presiding over a<br />

fabulous quarterly publication which is now double the<br />

size of its original publication. This takes a huge amount<br />

of effort and dedication and we are truly grateful to her<br />

and to the rest of the editorial team. In addition, this<br />

year will mark the final issue of Hagan which, in itself,<br />

has been a monument to the huge dedication of Shirley<br />

Kleiman and her late husband, Alfred kwz, who have been<br />

the driving spirit behind Hagan for more than three<br />

decades. Shirley is taking very well-earned retirement<br />

and is fondly held in the highest esteem by all of us.<br />

In order to accommodate our new ministerial team,<br />

during the year a number of property moves had to be<br />

implemented. We rented properties for the occupation<br />

of the Levene and Knopf families and both of these had<br />

to be prepared for their occupation. During the summer<br />

the Knopf family relocated from Norrice Lea in time for<br />

it to be made ready for the arrival of the Kaplans. All<br />

of these moves took a great deal of organisation and we<br />

are, particularly indebted to Steven Martin for all his<br />

help and advice as well as the practical supervision that<br />

he provided.<br />

David Sagal has continued to run every aspect of the<br />

administration of the synagogue with the able assistance<br />

of office manager, Sharon Drucker, Brian Gray and<br />

Maddy Drucker. Our office staff who work their socks<br />

off, are our primary interface with members and they<br />

go to huge efforts to ensure the smooth running of the<br />

<strong>Synagogue</strong>.<br />

Our caretaking team, under the leadership of<br />

Facilities Manager, Mark Gould, has often been<br />

stretched to the limit this year, with so many activities<br />

and with the constant need for the setting and resetting<br />

of various rooms as one event follows another. This has,<br />

additionally, included the set-up and support of the<br />

Rabbis’ accommodations. They carry out their duties<br />

with great enthusiasm and good humour at all times<br />

and we are very grateful to them.<br />

As ever, a huge number of volunteers make community<br />

life possible. Literally hundreds of members volunteer in<br />

all sorts of roles and seeing that kind of commitment on<br />

a daily and weekly basis is truly inspiring. We have our<br />

amazing Nefesh Network, security teams, kiddush rota,<br />

welcome rota, Shammas rota, service organisers, Children<br />

Services leaders and so many more. To everybody who<br />

has contributed their time, please accept our profound<br />

thanks on behalf of the Community.<br />

Calls on the Board of Management have been less<br />

demanding this year following the completion of the<br />

selection process. Nevertheless all Board members<br />

have taken on specific tasks and have effected these<br />

with great enthusiasm and dedication. I would like to<br />

thank all Board members for their contribution and, in<br />

particular, to register our appreciation of the work of<br />

Simon Weinberg and Bernard Taub who will be standing<br />

down from the Board this year.<br />

I have been extremely fortunate to have the<br />

opportunity to work with an outstanding team of<br />

Honorary Officers who work for the Community<br />

with dedication, enthusiasm, commitment, and,<br />

most importantly, good humour. This team is truly<br />

committed to the welfare of the Community and I am<br />

personally very grateful to all of them for their support,<br />

massive hard work, and comradeship. This year Meyer<br />

Pearlman stands down as Warden. Meyer has been an<br />

outstanding servant of the Community over the last<br />

four years. He greets members with a smile at all times<br />

and cares passionately about the running of our services<br />

and the Community as a whole. Together with Hilary,<br />

we wish the Pearlman family many more years of<br />

continued involvement with the Community as well as<br />

our deep gratitude for the amazing contribution which<br />

they make on a daily basis.<br />

This coming year promises to be an exciting one<br />

for the Community. A huge growth in the number of<br />

activities that we are providing across the board will<br />

inevitably place strain upon our administration and<br />

upon the building as a whole. Our challenge is to rise to<br />

this opportunity and support the huge range of events<br />

on offer. We are truly privileged to have an outstanding<br />

ministerial team under Rabbi Kaplan’s leadership which<br />

will presage a truly exciting period for the Community<br />

and I would urge all members to become involved, to<br />

offer constructive feedback and to enjoy, along with<br />

me, the privilege of belonging to a Shul that is really<br />

motivated, as we pursue our mission of learning, living<br />

and caring as a Community together.


Financial <strong>Report</strong><br />

Financial Representative: Jeffrey Davidson<br />

am pleased to report on the financial position of<br />

I our synagogue for the year ended 31 December<br />

2011.<br />

Subject to last minute adjustments, the accounts<br />

for 2011 will show a current account surplus of<br />

approximately £125,239, against a budget set to<br />

achieve £111,333. These figures are inclusive of the<br />

one-off property levy raised in the year to cover the<br />

cost incurred last year (2010) of the much-needed<br />

and extensive refurbishment of 8 Norrice Lea, at a<br />

cost of approximately £105,000. An unprecedented<br />

number of members and other guests will have<br />

passed through the doors of the Rabbi’s house<br />

in the past few months and so been able to judge<br />

first-hand how much the community has benefited<br />

from this expenditure. In the event, the levy has<br />

raised £74,188. Excluding this one-off income, the<br />

underlying current account surplus for the year<br />

was £50,751 against the equivalent budget of a<br />

surplus of £11,333. While there has been a number<br />

of variances against budget in both revenues and<br />

costs, which I shall be happy to explain in detail at<br />

the AGM, in brief terms the better than expected<br />

financial outcome for the year has been achieved<br />

largely as the result of office and other spending<br />

efficiencies, which more than made up for lower<br />

than expected property levy, membership and<br />

other income.<br />

Capital expenditure in 2011 has been more<br />

restrained than in 2010, but members will have<br />

noticed that the shul building is now equipped<br />

with new gates and greatly improved CCTV. This is<br />

the culmination of a long consultation with Kerem<br />

Schools, the CST and other security advisors. The<br />

net cost to HGSS of this investment project has been<br />

approximately £26,000 which will be spread over<br />

2011 and 2012. We are grateful to CST and Kerem<br />

for their generous contributions to the gross cost of<br />

the programme.<br />

We continue with planned investment in the<br />

fabric of the synagogue, most notably improvements<br />

to the youth flat, Rabbi Kaplan’s office, and the<br />

youth office.<br />

I reported last year that, in consultation with the<br />

HOs, the Board and the Finance Committee, I have<br />

put in train a professional and detailed operational<br />

and strategic review of the use of the building, how<br />

well it is serving us and the scope and opportunity<br />

for improvement, in relation to the aspirations<br />

of the community. The results of this review have<br />

highlighted a number of steps we will need to take<br />

in the future to ensure that the building continues to<br />

meet the needs of the community for the foreseeable<br />

future. It is quite possible that this will lead to plans<br />

extensively to remodel the existing structure.<br />

While all this is going on, the synagogue complex<br />

continues to be used increasingly intensively for<br />

services and other activities. This underlying<br />

increase in community activity within the building<br />

is a cause for congratulation although, inevitably, it<br />

places a heavy burden on manpower and resources<br />

to maintain our facilities to a high standard.<br />

Mark Gould, our facilities manager, together<br />

with his team of caretaking and cleaning staff, has<br />

performed tremendously throughout the year,<br />

considering the ever increasing pressures on them,<br />

and HGSS continues to be cited as a role model for<br />

other communities to follow in Health and Safety<br />

and the general standard of upkeep. My thanks to<br />

Mark and his team for making it all look effortless.<br />

While thanking our professional staff, I would<br />

draw your attention to two areas of cost which<br />

continue to rise: security and communal activities.<br />

At least in part, these costs have risen because we<br />

are finding it increasingly difficult to find members<br />

willing to volunteer their time, with a few notable<br />

exceptions on whose shoulders the burden of<br />

communal work seems continually to fall. This has<br />

meant that we increasingly find ourselves paying<br />

for services which traditionally were provided by<br />

volunteering members. Appeals have gone out<br />

frequently in recent months for members to volunteer<br />

just a few hours a year for these essential services,<br />

and I urge all members to approach the office or the<br />

HOs to find out where they can help out.<br />

2011 has seen another period of quiet continuity<br />

in the shul office under David Sagal’s management.<br />

Our Office Manager, Sharon Drucker, has continued<br />

to run the synagogue office efficiently, ably assisted<br />

by Brian Gray, our full-time bookkeeper and office<br />

assistant. The office now runs as a well-managed<br />

and integrated team of three, and we look forward<br />

to seeing their skills and energy enhance services to<br />

members into 2012.<br />

2011 has of, course, seen big changes in our<br />

ministerial team with the arrival of our Senior<br />

Rabbi, Rabbi Dov Kaplan, and our Youth and<br />

Community Rabbi, Rabbi Marc Levene, joining<br />

Rabbi Anthony Knopf, our Associate Rabbi. David<br />

Sagal has worked wonders to bed down the new<br />

team with office space and all necessary facilities,<br />

not to mention housing. To cope with the increased<br />

rabbinic output, Maddy Drucker has increased her<br />

role from one Rabbi’s part-time PA, to being the full<br />

time PA to the team of three Rabbis.<br />

The past year has seen big changes with our


Cheder, currently the largest within the United<br />

<strong>Synagogue</strong> family, which has metamorphosed<br />

from a traditional cheder into the Aleph Learning<br />

Centre. Further details of this are set out elsewhere<br />

within this annual report. From the financial point<br />

of view, we have taken advantage of these changes<br />

to implement wholesale upgrades to the way<br />

Cheder is accounted for and its finances managed.<br />

Traditionally, Cheder has been self-supporting,<br />

but we did not wish to miss this opportunity to<br />

review and update the whole operation, including<br />

a new and more relevant syllabus, and this has<br />

required additional resources. The additional costs<br />

associated with these moves are reflected in the<br />

results for both 2011 and 2012.<br />

The Finance Committee has been a useful forum<br />

for discussing financial issues which arise, both in<br />

terms of policy and operations, and I am grateful<br />

to the members of the committee for their ideas<br />

and support. I continue to welcome new members<br />

to the Finance Committee, which meets about six<br />

times a year, and I would be pleased to hear from<br />

members who feel they have the time and skills to<br />

make a positive contribution to our deliberations.<br />

The year ahead, 2012, will be an exciting one<br />

for us all and a challenging one from the financial<br />

point of view. The tremendous output from the<br />

ministerial team, together with ever-increasing<br />

building use and services to members, comes at a<br />

price, but it remains the unanimous view of both<br />

your rabbinic team and your HOs that qualitative<br />

growth in the community can only be nurtured<br />

through financial investment.<br />

Elsewhere for 2012, with the assistance and advice<br />

of my fellow HOs and the Finance Committee,<br />

I have worked to maintain and even reduce costs<br />

Services<br />

Chairman: Simon Johnson<br />

This year’s introduction of our new Rabbinical team<br />

of Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Knopf, Rabbi Levene and<br />

Chazan Avromi has seen a whole series of positive changes<br />

to the atmosphere, ruach and spirituality of our services.<br />

The Friday night services have seen the introduction of a<br />

few more songs and the resulting joyous atmosphere has<br />

been rewarded by much larger congregations, including<br />

more women and families joining us to enjoy the<br />

service. The 9.30 start for the Shabbat Morning service<br />

has become a feature throughout the year, and small<br />

innovations have been introduced, from Chazan Avromi<br />

leading the community in a communal recital of the first<br />

paragraph of the Shema through to Rabbi Knopf’s bite<br />

size introductions to significant prayers. And the fact<br />

where possible. However, the financial demands<br />

referred to above means that my budgets require<br />

an increase in shul income of approximately 3.5%,<br />

on average. As in previous years, I have increased<br />

all membership rates by the same fixed amount<br />

in order to reduce slightly the imbalance between<br />

members with seats and those without.<br />

In order for us to progress through this year<br />

with as little stress in the office as possible, I would<br />

again ask members to help by paying their shul<br />

and cheder fees promptly, taking advantage of the<br />

direct debit scheme where possible, and to be as<br />

generous as possible when making any donations<br />

or other voluntary contributions.<br />

As in previous years, many of our members<br />

made donations to the synagogue in 2011 to mark<br />

a special family simcha or in memory of loved ones<br />

who had passed away. This generosity is greatly<br />

appreciated and I do hope that we can continue to<br />

expect such contributions from members in 2012.<br />

As I have reported previously, the hire rates<br />

for the Max Weinbaum Hall have been reduced<br />

and remain very good value for a hall of its size<br />

and quality. I have now avoided increasing hall<br />

hire rates for four years, and I hope that members<br />

will regard the hall as an attractive and costeffective<br />

venue for their smachot. Some members<br />

have also taken advantage of the limited catering<br />

services we have established in the hall under our<br />

own supervision, including for Shabbat, and any<br />

members who would wish to take advantage of<br />

this should speak to me or David Sagal.<br />

As we progress through 2012, I am pleased to<br />

report that our financial position remains healthy, and<br />

that our income is meeting all our expenditure needs.<br />

that the community was able to come together on two<br />

occasions this year to celebrate the Bar Mitzvot of Dovi<br />

Freilich and Sariel Kaplan resulted in packed services<br />

and a warm and special atmosphere. This has been a<br />

year of positive change.<br />

Our religious services, for Shabbat, weekdays and<br />

festivals, continue to thrive. As we recognise that many<br />

of our members wish to participate in different types of<br />

service while maintaining a unified communal spirit,<br />

every Shabbat at least two alternative minyanim are on<br />

offer – the Hashkama Minyan is held every week, the<br />

Sephardi Minyan three times a month and the Chaverim<br />

Minyan once a month. Thus, on any given Shabbat, the<br />

main service, which still attracts large numbers most


weeks, along with the alternative minyanim and other<br />

activities, ensure that the building is used to its full<br />

capacity. We thank the organisers of all the alternative<br />

minyanim for their efforts.<br />

The Hashkama Minyan, which is held in the Landy<br />

Gallery most weeks, starts at 7.45 am and finishes at<br />

around 9.35 am. Average attendances are between<br />

60 and 70. This minyan is particularly useful to those<br />

members who like to attend children’s services with<br />

their families but who wish to daven first, to mourners<br />

in their year of saying Kaddish, to those who would<br />

like an aliyah to mark a special occasion but who<br />

cannot be accommodated in the main shul as well as<br />

to insomniacs. After each Hashkama service there is a<br />

sit-down kiddush, sponsored by one of the attendees,<br />

followed by a D’var Torah. While speakers are regularly<br />

drawn from the minyan, outside speakers are also often<br />

invited. Further information is available from Boris Ben-<br />

Ari, Jeremy Freedman, Brian Kobrin or Geoff Melamet.<br />

The Chaverim Minyan, which starts at 10 am and<br />

finishes about noon, is friendly, welcoming, relaxed,<br />

informal and inclusive, aimed at younger families and<br />

people who want to play a greater role in a service. It<br />

is conducted entirely by Chaverim members, giving<br />

individuals the opportunity to lead the service, lein or<br />

read a Haftara, often for the first time in many years.<br />

There is the added attraction of a regular cholent and<br />

kugel kiddush which helps people to mix, meet and<br />

continue the Shabbat experience. Rabbi Knopf attends<br />

these services and his short-and-to-the-point Divrei<br />

Torah are very popular. Further details from Shalom<br />

Haffner and Robbie Kastner<br />

The Sephardi Minyan, starts at 8.45 am and finishes at<br />

around noon, is held in the Landy Gallery three weeks out<br />

of four. Further details from Wardens David Yamin-Joseph,<br />

Ronnie Hanan or Victor Amar, President. They would like<br />

to thank everyone who has contributed, making these<br />

services so warm and the kiddushim so delicious.<br />

Almost every Shabbat there are B’nei and B’not<br />

Mitzvah as well as other smachot to celebrate. We are<br />

privileged and delighted to host this variety of happy<br />

events, although members should recognise that it<br />

does present challenges, especially when balancing the<br />

wishes of the celebrants with the interests of the rest of<br />

the community. There can be little doubt that this has<br />

contributed significantly to the demand for alternative<br />

minyanim. The absence from the main service of core<br />

members of the community is keenly felt, especially<br />

during Shacharit when attendance is often sparse.<br />

In response to this trend, the Wardens initiated the<br />

‘Kehillah Shabbat’ when we bring together all our<br />

minyanim (Hashkama, Sephardi, Chaverim and Youth)<br />

into one Shabbat Morning Service that celebrates the<br />

diversity that allows so many successful minyanim to<br />

flourish, while recognising that we remain one united<br />

community. The occasion also gives us the opportunity<br />

to recognise, and honour, publicly, the contributions<br />

of various specific groups of volunteers. We used the<br />

Bar Mitzvah of Dovid Freilich and a month later of<br />

Sariel Kaplan to have an extended Kehillah Shabbaton,<br />

where the whole community came to celebrate our<br />

professionals’ s’machot.<br />

Decorum, a recurrent problem, improved noticeably<br />

thanks to appeals from Chazan Avromi and Rabbi<br />

Kaplan. The problem is, unfortunately, frequently<br />

exacerbated when we have smachot. Guests sometimes<br />

do not respect or understand the standards to which we<br />

aspire. We would ask hosts to try and encourage their<br />

guests to respect these standards and, in particular, to<br />

help us in preventing unacceptable behaviour such as<br />

bringing mobile phones into shul or chewing gum during<br />

the service. We are still trying to improve decorum to<br />

acceptable levels on all Shabbat mornings whilst retaining<br />

a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. The community’s<br />

support in this regard will be greatly appreciated.<br />

Our Honorary Officers aim to ensure that all<br />

members, whether regular worshippers or not, enjoy<br />

their celebrations at our shul. The Wardens are also<br />

working hard to be inclusive and share aliyot amongst a<br />

broad cross-section of our male members but this is often<br />

not possible as a result of the number of smachot and<br />

yahrzeits. Our systems for identifying members who<br />

have not had aliyot for some time are also, unfortunately,<br />

less than perfect. We are working to improve them<br />

but in the meantime, please do not suffer in silence or<br />

allow others to do so. If you think it has been an unduly<br />

long time since you or any other member has had an<br />

aliyah, why not come and tell the Wardens. We will try<br />

and remedy the problem as soon as we can. Please do<br />

remember, however, that nearly all the aliyot will have<br />

been allocated by about 9.45 am in order to ensure the<br />

smooth running of the service.<br />

The Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services were<br />

once again bursting at the seams. There were five<br />

services: main shul, Max Weinbaum Hall, Sephardim,<br />

Youth and an explanatory/introductory service.<br />

This year, with our senior Rabbi, Rabbi Kaplan just<br />

arriving, this gave him the opportunity to daven in the<br />

Shul and Hall, while Rabbi Knopf was in the parallel<br />

service The Services in the Main <strong>Synagogue</strong> and Hall,<br />

where led by Chazan Avromi Freilich and Chazan Yossi<br />

Schwartz and were much enjoyed. Unfortunately for<br />

us, Chazan Schwartz has now taken up a new Chazan<br />

position, and we wish to thank him for three melodic<br />

years as Chazan Sheni.<br />

Our Explanatory Services on Rosh Hashana and Yom<br />

Kippur which have now been running very successfully<br />

for seven years were, once again, conducted by Rabbi<br />

Daniel Rowe of Aish, with over 160 seated and many<br />

more standing in a packed Landy Gallery. Every year,<br />

Rabbi Rowe is able to bring new ideas to a packed<br />

audience, while still conducting a shortened version of<br />

the service.<br />

Our late Kol Nidrei service for those assisting with<br />

security, with dependants at home, or those otherwise<br />

unable to attend earlier, was also well attended. This


year there was not enough demand for a separate 19-<br />

25’s service as many students had already returned to<br />

university.<br />

Once again, the Sephardi service was held in a<br />

luxurious marquee located in the Rabbi’s rear garden.<br />

This was full, with over 160 congregants sitting with<br />

their children and families. Guest Rabbi, Rabbi David<br />

Ben Yoav, added to the experience as did guest Chazan<br />

Yonathan Saliach.<br />

As in most years recently, there was a full house on<br />

Succot. The Family Hakafot on Simchat Torah night,<br />

was well attended and Rabbi Kaplan assisting with<br />

getting parents and children singing and dancing in<br />

the main shul. At the end of the Family Hakafot, the<br />

adults and the youth lead by Rabbi Levene (Youth<br />

and Community Rabbi) and the youth leaders joined<br />

together for their full Simchat Torah celebrations. The<br />

Simchat Torah Hakafot were successfully celebrated<br />

in the Hall. This allowed both men and women the<br />

opportunity to dance separately and also to socialise.<br />

This years Chatanim were Rabbi Kaplan – Chatan Torah<br />

and Chazan Avromi Freilich – Chatan Bereshit with lots<br />

of singing and dancing. Even the request for no alcohol<br />

in the shul was respected and natural spirits were high.<br />

Celebrations continued again with a fantastic supper<br />

party for our Chatanim which included singing, dancing<br />

and hilarious speeches.<br />

A new initiative this year for Chanukah, was to have<br />

a giant Chanukia in the front of the shul, and though<br />

Chanukah was late this year, Shabbat 25th December,<br />

Rabbi Kaplan hosted a sit down Shabbat lunch for over<br />

180 people and a Sunday 26th December, candle lighting<br />

extravaganza with food and music.<br />

Purim was action packed, with Keith Barnett leining<br />

in the Shul, Rabbi Kaplan and Freda introducing the<br />

Purim Story in a show, before Andy Kaufmann again<br />

leining beautifully for the family and children in the Hall<br />

and the Youth were lead by Hugo Davidson. Purim day,<br />

Jeffrey Davidson leined for the 1st Minyan, while Jeremy<br />

Freedman leined for Kerem School and the HGSS ladies.<br />

After the Leining, the Ladies were invited back to Rabbi<br />

and Rebbetzen Freda Kaplan’s home for a Champagne<br />

Breakfast.<br />

In preparation for Pesach, there were educational<br />

Children’s Services<br />

shiurim, organised by Rabbi Knopf, and, on Shabbat<br />

Hagadol, we had an Educational Shabbat with two guest<br />

speakers. Pesach services were busier than normal.<br />

For Yom Ha’atzmaut we held our regular celebratory<br />

service followed by a festive breakfast, organised by<br />

Nashim, accompanied by entertainment with singing<br />

and dancing by Kerem School and the Magic Moments<br />

youth from Shlomi.<br />

For Shavuot evening programme, there was<br />

something for everyone, with a communal dinner and<br />

community based speakers Amber Neerkin, Simon<br />

Sadie, Simon Durkin, Oli Anisfeld and Robert Glancy all<br />

talking on Ancient Wisdom for Modern times. Followed<br />

by our regular Tikkun Leil until morning with David<br />

Wolfson, Simon Weinberg, Clive Freedman, Vivian<br />

Wineman and Saul Gallick. On the second afternoon of<br />

Shavuot, we enjoyed another festive Simchat Hachag tea<br />

with a lively Question and Answer session with Clive<br />

Lawton and Rabbi Anthony Knopf.<br />

On Tisha B’Av, members came together for the<br />

reading of Eicha and Kinnot with explanations from<br />

Rabbi Knopf. During the day, in conjunction with Spiro<br />

Ark, We were fortunate to host Renata Kessler, who<br />

introduced her fathers Edmund Kessler – Wartime Diary,<br />

chronicling Lvov Jewry before and during the war..<br />

We take for granted the amount of time that many<br />

of our members devote to ensure that our services<br />

continue to achieve the highest standards. These include<br />

officiants, both religious and lay, ba’alei kriah, volunteer<br />

shammasim and participants on the welcoming rotas.<br />

We are indebted to them all. We would also welcome new<br />

participants, so if you would like to become involved in<br />

any aspect of the services please do contact the wardens.<br />

New Initiatives with a new Rabbinical team include:<br />

l Musical Carlibach Friday nights, with Chazan<br />

Avromi and Rabbi Marc Levene.<br />

l Weekday afternoon Mincha at 1.30 pm, this is<br />

possible, as we have over six men working in the<br />

building (including the Head of Kerem and Kerem<br />

Rabbi).<br />

l Shabbat morning prayers for Israeli soldiers and<br />

Israeli hostages<br />

l Explanations of prayers and Kaddish lead by Chazan<br />

Avromi<br />

Chairman: David Grossman Vice Chairman: Alex Bloom<br />

This has been another busy year with services<br />

enjoying an ever-growing attendance. On a typical<br />

Group 1: Pre-school and Nursery Ages 1 to 4<br />

Running from 11.15 to 11.45 am, this service provides<br />

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

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

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

divided into four groups:<br />

children really enjoy their first experience of Shul.


Group 2: Reception and Year 1, Ages 5 to 6<br />

Running from 11.15 to 11.45 am, this service builds on the<br />

songs and tunes of Group 1 and introduces the children<br />

to the format of the Shabbat morning service. We start<br />

to pray together as a group in Hebrew, familiarising the<br />

children with prayers like the Shema, shul tunes and<br />

learning about the Parasha of the week.<br />

Group 3: Years 2 to 3, Ages 7 and 8<br />

This service runs from 10.45 to 11.45 am with the<br />

emphasis on learning about content and how to pray,<br />

together with weekly discussions and a quiz on the<br />

Parasha. David Rodney and Benny Lemer have run this<br />

service successfully for over fifteen years.<br />

Group 4: Years 4 to 6 Ages 9 to 11<br />

Running from 10.45 to 11.45 am, this is a shortened<br />

version of the normal Shabbat morning service. It<br />

has grown significantly in size during the past twelve<br />

months – with, typically, 35-40 children attending.<br />

The Chagim represent a particularly busy time with<br />

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services attended by<br />

more than 500 people. There are specially prepared song<br />

sheets and mini machzorim featuring in all services.<br />

Children’s Events<br />

In addition to the Services, special events are organised<br />

to enhance the children’s enjoyment and make shul fun.<br />

• For Shavuot, we held our successful annual special ice<br />

cream kiddush in the Landy Gallery.<br />

• For Rosh Hashana, all the services were packed out.<br />

The service leaders worked hard to keep the children<br />

excited – and the parents quiet – and all finished with<br />

a special apple and honey kiddush. There was also a<br />

fun Family Tashlich Party in the park with activities<br />

organised by Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi<br />

Marc Levene.<br />

• On Succot, the services were followed by kiddush in<br />

the Succah. On Simchat Torah evening, the main Shul<br />

was again dedicated to families for the early part of<br />

the evening. This allowed children and their parents<br />

to enjoy the festivities in a safe and calm environment,<br />

singing and dancing with the Sefer Torah, lead by Rabbi<br />

Kaplan.<br />

• On Chanukah we had a special doughnut kiddush.<br />

• On Purim, we had a family Megilla reading in the hall,<br />

attended by over 450 children and their parents, with<br />

a Purim video for children to watch while they were<br />

listening to the Megilla.<br />

• We have also worked with Rabbi Knopf in organising<br />

a special call-up of children, in Shul, in the month of<br />

their birthday.<br />

Last year’s exciting initiative of the children’s squads<br />

has continued. A second group of 7-9 year olds learned<br />

Anim Zemirot as a group then led it in Shul, The Leining<br />

Squad graduated to become a Haftara Squad, and they<br />

performed in Shul on Simchat Torah. To this, we have<br />

added a Mussaf Choir and a Tefilla Squad. It gives a<br />

huge range of options for children to learn on a Shabbat<br />

morning. Thanks go to Rabbi Knopf, Eric Elbaz, Mark<br />

Summerfield, Avi Landenberg and Simon Johnson.<br />

The new Girls Squad is very well attended and geared<br />

towards women leaders in Jewish history and lead by<br />

knowledgeable mothers.<br />

Volunteers<br />

The children’s services and events are organised by a<br />

dedicated team of volunteers. As any parent who has<br />

attended any of the youngest two services will know,<br />

this is a far from easy task. I would very much like to<br />

thank everyone who has helped during the year for<br />

their hard work, support and commitment.<br />

We are always looking for more volunteers, not<br />

just to take the services, but to help plan, research and<br />

organise events. Please contact David Sagal in the Shul<br />

office, or David Grossman and Alex Bloom on Shabbat.<br />

Community Programmes<br />

In a community as diverse as <strong>Hampstead</strong> <strong>Garden</strong><br />

<strong>Suburb</strong>, it is important to provide a wide variety of<br />

educational programmes catering for the level and<br />

interests of the members. The excellent Shiurim that<br />

have taken place for a number of years continue to find<br />

appeal within the congregation. On Tuesday evening,<br />

there is Rabbi Professor Sacha Stern’s Modern approaches<br />

to Talmud Avoda Zara. On Wednesday evenings, Rabbi<br />

Hammer delivers his advanced Gemara Shiur whilst<br />

Rabbi Schischa teaches a class in Tehillim. On Shabbat<br />

afternoon, Rabbi Kaplan, Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi<br />

Cohen have given shiurim on a variety of halachic and<br />

philosophical topics which are open to those at all levels<br />

Rabbi Anthony Knopf<br />

of learning.<br />

As in previous years, the community enjoyed a biweekly<br />

summer Seuda Shlishit Programme, organised,<br />

by Rabbi Knopf, using Pirkei Avot (Ethics of our Fathers)<br />

as the central theme. Speakers included, Rabbi Akiva<br />

Tatz, Rabbi Livingstone, Charles Landau, Rabbi Rowe,<br />

William Kolbrener, Daniel Greenberg, Rabbi Dr Jeffrey<br />

Cohen, Rabbi Rapaport and Rabbi Dr Belovski. In<br />

addition, I produced a weekly Perkei Avot blog and<br />

implemented the theme throughout the spectrum of<br />

educational activities, including the Cheder, with a<br />

thought for the day, Children Services, with weekly<br />

themes, Kerem Y6, Hashkama and Sephardi Services


themed discussion groups and via the Beit Midrash<br />

programme.<br />

For Lag B’Omer, Rabbi Knopf with Dan Rickman,<br />

Brenda Osen and Louise Felder, organised an Educational<br />

Sunday, discussing The State of Israel, Jewish Religion<br />

and Anglo-Jewry, with guest speakers Anthony Julius,<br />

Rabbi David Mason, Joe Wolfson, Vivian Wineman and<br />

Keith Kahn-Harris.<br />

In September, the annual Professor Sam Cohen Memorial<br />

Lecture was delivered by Rabbi Dr Jeffrey Cohen<br />

Throughout the year, we ran a Medical Ethics Series<br />

for doctors. The programme included presentations<br />

from Dr Paul Bentley, (Neurologist), Mr Michael Davis<br />

(Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and Mr Gideon Lieberman<br />

(fertility) with halachic commentary and discussion<br />

from Rabbi Chaim Rapoport. Thanks go to Drs Jeremy<br />

and Jacqui Marshall for organising the series.<br />

The weekly Beit Midrash Programme has continued<br />

in popularity this year with numerous members of the<br />

shul coming on a weekly basis to study Torah. Those<br />

attending can choose to study with a partner or attend<br />

shiurim on the Parasha, Talmud and other topical<br />

issues. Thanks go to Victor Amar and Alex Drucker<br />

for giving the shiurim and to seed for helping to find<br />

learning partners for our members. New initiatives this<br />

year have included “How to . . . ” or themed topics being<br />

discussed in a group sessions.<br />

A Hebrew Reading crash course with Simon Rinkoff<br />

on Sunday mornings was well attended, as was a Jewish<br />

History Powerpoint Presentation.<br />

Rabbi Knopfs’ successful The Big Issue programme:<br />

The modern world through a Jewish Lens continued with<br />

Is Belief the Balm for Broken Britain? with David Levin,<br />

Ruth Gledhill and Rabbi Rowe. The second in this series<br />

was Friend or Boss? The Dilemma of Parenting with guest<br />

speakers: Debra Potel, Rabbi Jonathan Dove and Rabbi<br />

Grunfeld. In January, we started the next exciting series<br />

with Lies, D*** lies and the Media with guest speakers<br />

Natasha Pearlman, Adam Cannon and Rabbi Rowe.<br />

The subject in February the topic was How DOES She<br />

Do It? Juggling Working Life with a Successful Family Life<br />

with guest speakers Karen Mattison MBE, Emma Spitz,<br />

and Elaine Aarons. In March, with the subject Has Peer<br />

Pressure Fashioned our Children? guest speakers were<br />

Professor Helen Cowie, Kurt Browne and Rebbetzen<br />

Lynndy Levin<br />

Rabbi Knopfs’ How To series of shiurim that combines<br />

both educational and practical advice covered cleaning<br />

the house for Pesach, Shabbat Candles, checking for bugs<br />

and everyday parenting. There was also an increase in<br />

home Shiurim, hosted by like-minded members in their<br />

homes.<br />

With large Shabbat attendances, we have instituted<br />

educational opportunities at the end of morning services.<br />

These take place especially around the Chagim, either<br />

from the pulpit, or in other rooms. Over the course of<br />

the year, we have enjoyed Shiurim from Rabbi Danny<br />

Kirsch, Daniel Greenberg, Rabbi Daniel Rowe, Lindsay<br />

Taylor-Guthartz, Rabbi Shlomo Farhi, Maureen Kendler,<br />

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow and Rabbi Jonny Roodyn.<br />

The Shavuot programme Something for Everyone was<br />

a great success. After a Communal Dinner, our home<br />

grown speakers covered the spectrum of our community<br />

in age and commitment. At midnight the programme<br />

continued at the Rabbi’s house until the first Shacharit<br />

service at 2.46 am. On second day Shavuot, there was<br />

a festive tea with a Question and Answer session on the<br />

topic of the most important challenges for Anglo Jewry<br />

with Clive Lawton.<br />

On Tisha B’Av, members came together for the<br />

reading of Eicha and Kinnot with explanations from Rabbi<br />

Knopf and Rabbi Cohen. During the day, in conjunction<br />

with Spiro Ark, The Wartime Diary of Edmund Kessler was<br />

discussed by Anthony Polonsky. This gave a historical<br />

overview of Lvov Jewry. A big thank you to Nitza Spiro.<br />

Last year, Rabbi Cohen’s Shabbat morning shiurim<br />

were regular, eagerly anticipated and inspirational.<br />

These are now led by Rabbi Kaplan and continue to be<br />

equally successful.<br />

During the winter, we have continued the popular<br />

Friday night Divrei Torah from our members, and short<br />

Torah talks from Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi Cohen, now<br />

taken over by Rabbi Kaplan.<br />

In a new initiative, Rabbi Kaplan produced a Yom<br />

Kippur video message from senior spiritual leaders<br />

including The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Dayan Gelley.<br />

We look forward to continued support for the<br />

education programmes and to see them flourish.<br />

Social Activities<br />

This last year has seen much exciting social activity for<br />

young families and singles in the area:<br />

Yom Hazikaron with the Chief Rabbi and Magic<br />

Moments<br />

The Yom Ha’Atzmaut breakfast was a great success<br />

thanks to Nashim and Kerem school dancers for their<br />

entertainment and with the assistance of the Magic<br />

Moments Children from the town of Shlomi in Israel.<br />

Following last year’s successful Baby Blessing<br />

Ceremony, another was held in March this year. Rabbi<br />

Knopf invited new parents to bring their babies to the<br />

front of the Shul at the end of the Shabbat Service for a<br />

blessing and presentation of certificates – a very moving<br />

celebration, especially as there were 45 births in the<br />

community last year. Our <strong>Suburb</strong> Suppers scheme offers<br />

cooked meals for families celebrating the arrival of new<br />

babies – many thanks to co-ordinator Clair Rosen. Every<br />

new baby in the community receives a beautiful babygro<br />

featuring a picture of a baby and the words ‘Born to be<br />

active in HGSS’.<br />

Rabbi Knopf has organised New Members‘ welcome<br />

packs which include delivery of fresh challahs for<br />

Shabbat<br />

All Rabbis and their families continue to offer<br />

hospitality on Shabbat and festivals.


Chessed (acts of kindness by members of the Community)<br />

In addition to the Nefesh Network, this year our<br />

community has embarked on a number of initiatives to<br />

promote kindness and giving to others. With the United<br />

<strong>Synagogue</strong>’s Project Chessed, we have been collecting<br />

mobile phones, clothes and warm hats in a large collection<br />

box in the hall foyer. These are passed on to the<br />

relevant organisations.<br />

For the third year running, Sarah Callman and her<br />

excellent team organised a fantastic Mitzvah Day Event<br />

in the Max Weinbaum Hall.<br />

The HGSS Chessed Connection Committee also<br />

Youth<br />

Rabbi Marc Levene Chairman: Simon Taylor<br />

organised the preparation of the largest Jewish fruit<br />

salad, with whole families involved in preparing and<br />

distributing over 2000 portions to homeless shelters<br />

across London.<br />

Over the year, there have been two New Members’<br />

Evenings at 8 Norrice Lea where the Rabbis were able<br />

to mix with and get to know many of the new families,<br />

young and old.<br />

Rabbi Knopf has arranged for like minded people to<br />

join together for healthy activities like a monthly cycling<br />

Group and, in the spring and summer, a walking group.<br />

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

The Youth Service<br />

The Youth Service has, on the whole, been well<br />

attended with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere<br />

and we look forward to welcoming more participants<br />

in the future. The Youth Service is self-sufficient, with<br />

the youth leading almost all the leining and davening.<br />

Fitting the practice into their busy schedules is not an<br />

easy task and we are very proud of them for all their<br />

hard work and support. We have also had many themed<br />

kiddushim including, sushi, crazy crisps, dips, chocolate<br />

and ice cream.<br />

Over the Yamim Noraim and Succot, there were<br />

successful youth services, with all davening by youth.<br />

They did a fantastic job as always. On Simchat Torah<br />

we had two Chatanim, Ollie Collins and Ollie Anisfeld,<br />

and Eshet Chayil, Charlotte Jacobs. The annual Simchat<br />

Torah BBQ was enjoyed by over 100 people, and was the<br />

first big event of the year!! There was a great atmosphere<br />

and lots of meat.<br />

We also had an amazing series of Friday Night<br />

Onegs, hosted in different homes. They were a chance to<br />

hang out on a Friday night with a bit of singing and lots<br />

of food!!<br />

We have also introduced a new Shabbat ‘Breakfast<br />

and Musaf Service,’ which takes place about once a<br />

month. Breakfast, with a special guest speaker, starts at<br />

10.45 am and is followed by Musaf at 11.30.<br />

For Purim we had a wonderful evening with over<br />

120 youth turning out for evening of Chinese food and a<br />

fantastic magician. It was enjoyed by all and was a great<br />

success. Many thanks to Hugo and Jeffrey Davidson<br />

for leining the Megillah and to Josh Neerkin, Jake<br />

Summerfield, Sara Goldstein and Yona Greenwood for<br />

all their help selling tickets.<br />

Social Action<br />

Social Action (Chesed) activities have included fortnightly<br />

sandwich making for a soup kitchen in Stamford Hill<br />

by year 11. Our Youth also played an active role in the<br />

worldwide Mitzvah Day, visiting a residential home to<br />

entertain the elderly residents, and helping out at the<br />

soup kitchen for which they make sandwiches.<br />

Year 8 also came up with an amazing charity event,<br />

raising over £1200 for GOSH. With amazing leadership<br />

from Lucy Summerfield, Jody Franks, Olivia Mann, Gidi<br />

Ezra and Sam Kahn, about 200 people packed out the<br />

Max Weinbaum Hall for an unforgettable drumming<br />

extravaganza.<br />

Regular Programming<br />

Club 34 and Club 56 – These Clubs are the rebranded<br />

and revamped NTT and OTT – Club 34 for Years 3 &<br />

4 and Club 56 for Years 5 & 6. Special activities at Club<br />

have included fashion shows, sushi making, arts and<br />

crafts and much more.<br />

Learn2Lead – L2L is a two-year leadership programme<br />

for Years 9 and 10. We have had an impressive array of<br />

speakers and have also taught First Aid, Krav Maga (self<br />

defence) and Israel Advocacy. We have been very lucky<br />

this year by introducing the Tribe L2L Israel Experience,<br />

where we took 8 boys from year 10 to Israel for a week<br />

long leadership trip. It was absolutely fantastic and we<br />

are very excited for the lasting benefits this trip will have<br />

on HGSS Youth.<br />

L2L is also linked with the Duke of Edinburgh<br />

Awards as we offer the opportunity to do the expedition<br />

in a kosher-friendly way with JLGB.<br />

Bnei Mitzvah (Years 7 & 8)<br />

As part of a new strategy, much attention has been given<br />

to building up the younger years, especially with those<br />

celebrating Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.<br />

Thorpe Park – Chol Hamoed Succot saw 35 kids from


HGSS take to Thorpe Park for a great day and lots of fun.<br />

Pizza Master class – At the end of January, we held<br />

a pizza master class at Chestnut, where 25 kids learned<br />

how to make their own pizza from scratch. They then<br />

enjoyed then enjoyed eating them – lots of fun, and mess!!<br />

Club x – This new project was started for Year 7 only<br />

and was arranged to attract kids back into the youth, once<br />

leaving primary school. We held several sessions including<br />

one with a chocolate chef and a CST Streetwise activity.<br />

Dads and Lads – This is an old idea with a new<br />

perspective. Every Sunday morning we invite boys in<br />

year 8 with their fathers for a shacharit minyan and<br />

breakfast. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach<br />

putting on tefilin and navigating the morning service.<br />

Jonathan Collins Memorial with the Chief Rabbi Lord<br />

Sacks<br />

On Wednesday 21 March, we were honoured to be<br />

joined by the Chief Rabbi, who gave us an enthralling<br />

talk about the future of the Jewish Nation, followed by<br />

a Q&A. Over 200 people turned out in honour of the<br />

5th Yahrzeit of Jonathan Collins kwz, including over 50<br />

members of the Youth.<br />

Our Biggest Obstacles<br />

There have been two main issues which have made<br />

some events and programmes less successful than they<br />

had potential to be:<br />

1. Behaviour – There have been some serious behavioural<br />

issues this year in certain pockets of the Youth.<br />

Unfortunately, this has affected events and programmes<br />

and also the Youth Service. Some of this problem stems<br />

from the fact that the youth responsible do not have the<br />

appropriate understanding that, whether taking place in<br />

or outside the Shul, these are Shul events and a degree of<br />

respect and decorum is required.<br />

2. Lack of commitment – with every event, however minor,<br />

it has been a real struggle to attract good numbers. Most<br />

teens will not go to something unless their friends also<br />

do so which often leads to a deadlock where no-one will<br />

make the first move and agree to come. This is partly due<br />

to the perception the youth have of Shul events – not cool<br />

– and partly due to apathy. We feel that encouragement<br />

from parents would really help with this issue.<br />

Despite these issues, it has been a busy year, with areas<br />

of great success and some others with slower but steady<br />

growth. We look forward to more consistent successful<br />

activities and events with HGs Tribe next year.<br />

Kerem Schools<br />

Head Teacher: Mr R Felsenstein Deputy Head: Miss A Burns<br />

Chairman – Jonathan Goldstein (to Dec 2011) David Wolfson QC (from Jan 2012)<br />

It has been a year of development at Kerem. After the<br />

merger of Kerem House and Kerem School into one<br />

educational unit, the months leading up to September<br />

2011 involved the restructuring of the Kerem Early Years<br />

Unit to include Nursery and two Reception classes.<br />

The EYU outdoor area was developed to include new<br />

equipment to enhance speaking and listening and<br />

physical development and the world around the children.<br />

As a result of Kerem’s continuing popularity, demand<br />

for places in the Kerem EYU for September 2012, has<br />

again meant that it is taking a double form intake and<br />

admitting forty-eight children to the Nursery.<br />

We were delighted to welcome Rabbi Kaplan and<br />

his family to the community in September and have<br />

formed a wonderful partnership with Rabbi Kaplan,<br />

Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi Levene. Rabbi Kaplan is a<br />

regular visitor to Kerem and really inspires children and<br />

teachers; he gives a weekly shiur to Year 6, and Divrei<br />

Torah each week at our Kabbalat Shabbat Assemblies.<br />

We are delighted to report that Kerem’s Year 6<br />

graduates in July 2011 took up places in September<br />

2011 at Haberdashers Boys (five places), Hasmonean<br />

Girls (three places) Highgate (one place), Immanuel<br />

College (eleven places), JFS (two places), North London<br />

Collegiate (one place) and UCS (one place); Kerem’s<br />

pupils can be proud of their excellent achievements.<br />

During the year, Kerem has continued to involve<br />

itself in a number of community initiatives. Through the<br />

charity Tzedek, Kerem’s partnership with the Morning<br />

Star School in Ghana has continued, and Miss Burns<br />

was selected with two other teachers from this country<br />

to travel to Ghana in October. She visited the Morning<br />

Star School, and visited the three classrooms that Kerem<br />

helped to build. During the Succot term, Kerem raised<br />

£786 for Camp Simcha, and participated in its Toy Drive;<br />

three pupils accompanied Mrs Borman to Northwick<br />

Park Hospital to deliver toys to the children on the<br />

Paediatric Ward. Year 6 pupils were involved in very<br />

successful social action partnerships with both GIFT and<br />

Kisharon in 2011.<br />

A new and successful innovation in October was a<br />

Year 5 Shabbaton in the Lincolnsfield Centre in Bushey<br />

organised by Rabbi Spector; we hope it will become a<br />

regular fixture in the Kerem calendar. The recent Kerem<br />

School Shabbaton organised by the PTA incorporated<br />

a lovely Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday night,<br />

including a Dvar Torah by Chairman of Governors David<br />

Wolfson QC, and a Shabbat lunch which was attended<br />

by well over three hundred people. The children were<br />

involved in each part of Shabbat and prepared songs<br />

and Divrei Torah to share with the community.<br />

Kerem continues to play a dominant sporting role<br />

within Jewish and secular communities by winning<br />

Maccabi football and netball competitions for the<br />

different age groups, and the Jewish Schools’ Swimming<br />

Gala for small schools. Kerem has also been runners up<br />

in some competitions and has had a great deal of success<br />

in chess competitions.


This year has seen the arrival of Rabbi Kaplan and<br />

Rebbetzen Freda whose commitment to pastoral<br />

matters has been felt throughout the community.<br />

Together with them, Rabbi Knopf, Chazan Avromi<br />

and Rabbi Levene, Nefesh Network continues to feel<br />

the strength of a partnership which enhances what we<br />

do and helps to ensure that we continue to reach as<br />

many people in our kehilla as possible, to share happy<br />

moments as well as sad ones. Our volunteer force, which<br />

has yet again grown in numbers, report, again, how<br />

much they enjoy the relationships that they have made<br />

with fellow shul members. Similarly, we are constantly<br />

asked by those who have used the Nefesh Network, to<br />

pass on their appreciation for the support, warmth and<br />

companionship that has been extended to them by our<br />

Nefesh Network<br />

Chairman: Geoffrey Levy<br />

volunteers. We aspire to ensure that all members of the<br />

community can access a range of options – from the<br />

purely practical to, hopefully, providing comfort in the<br />

face of difficulty and sadness. We are greatly encouraged<br />

by the fact that year on year, more of you are ringing us<br />

when you feel that we might be able to help in some<br />

way.<br />

In the coming year, we would like to create an ethos<br />

in our community where no-one who would rather<br />

share a Shabbat or Yomtov lunch with others should<br />

find themselves on their own at home, where no-one<br />

who has to attend hospital should have to do so alone,<br />

and where no-one who struggles to get their shopping<br />

should do so without help. We can be reached on 8455<br />

0040 or email: nefeshnetwork@hgss.org.uk.<br />

Hebrew Classes/ The Aleph<br />

Learning Centre<br />

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

This year has seen one of the most significant changes<br />

at the <strong>Hampstead</strong> <strong>Garden</strong> <strong>Suburb</strong> <strong>Synagogue</strong> Cheder,<br />

with the exciting launch of the new Aleph Learning Centre<br />

(ALC) under the directorship of Chayli Fehler. The ALC<br />

brings a fresh approach to the Sunday Cheder, replacing<br />

the old, traditional format with engaging methods and<br />

exciting hands on activities ensuring that every child<br />

gains a strong sense of Jewish identity, a high level of<br />

Jewish Education and enjoys a positive experience in<br />

building the foundation for Jewish learning.<br />

To achieve these, the Aleph Learning Centre uses a<br />

new engaging curriculum, incorporating interactive<br />

study methods and extra curricular activities. A<br />

completely re-designed Hebrew reading programme<br />

accompanied with one on one reading tuition; structured<br />

lesson plans to build on content each year; and a variety<br />

of Educational activities at our ‘Funday Sundays’. The<br />

ALC is now one of the largest Hebrew Schools in Europe,<br />

with nearly 250 enrolled children. Further details on our<br />

new website www.alephlearningcentre.com which is<br />

regularly updated with general information, the latest<br />

pictures and other details.<br />

ALC Launch and New Hebrew Reading Scheme<br />

The new ALC was launched at our Chanukah celebration,<br />

where the children provided fantastic entertainment<br />

with a range of traditional and contemporary songs.<br />

As part of the launch, we introduced ‘Aleph Champ’,<br />

a popular Hebrew reading programme developed in<br />

the United States and adapted by Tribe for use in US<br />

Chedarim. Based on the martial arts motivational<br />

philosophy of colour-coded levels and testing, it<br />

encourages pupils to rise to the challenge of Hebrew<br />

reading by awarding them with coloured wristbands<br />

and certificates as they progress up each level. The<br />

aim is for every student to read Hebrew fluently and<br />

acquire a basic understanding of the prayers. A new<br />

multisensory Aleph Bet Programme for 4-5 year olds,<br />

was also introduced and helps build a strong foundation<br />

for Hebrew reading<br />

Funday Sundays<br />

The ALC offers a variety of ‘Funday Sundays’<br />

throughout the year which includes various workshops<br />

to prepare children for the upcoming Jewish festivals.<br />

These included the International Pre ‘Purim Funday’<br />

with circus skills, educational activities, and puppets<br />

shows for the younger children and the Pre ‘Pesach<br />

Funday’ with an exciting hands-on Matzah Bakery<br />

and Pesach related activities. In line with the vision of<br />

ensuring the ALC children are connected and integrated<br />

with the community, these Funday Sundays have been<br />

open to all children in the community.<br />

Challenge programme<br />

The Year 7 Challenge class has an engaging curriculum<br />

incorporating discussions, hands on activities related<br />

to Jewish practises and textual based learning. They<br />

organised a charity activity for Purim, enjoyed a visit<br />

to the Jewish Museum and a talk from an IDF officer as<br />

part of their Israel topic. Each week they are challenged<br />

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


GCSE Class<br />

Rabbi Hirsch has successfully taught and motivated Years<br />

9 and 10 students to attain high grades in their exams.<br />

Other Events<br />

The ALC organised a well-attended Family Shabbaton<br />

which included a Friday night dinner and special children<br />

services on a Shabbat. For yom Hatzmaut the children<br />

enjoyed Israel related activities and workshops including<br />

a stimulated? western wall where the children could write<br />

and post their prayers, a map of Israel challenge and the<br />

Social and Communal<br />

Lvov<br />

The Trustees of HGSS Friends of Lvov (Esther<br />

Tager, Rochelle Freilich, Madeleine Gottlieb and<br />

Gillian Freedman) are pleased to report another busy<br />

and successful year, supporting our twin community<br />

in Lvov, Ukraine.<br />

Our 14th annual chazanut concert took place in<br />

January. Sadly, for the first time since its inception,<br />

Chazan Avromi Freilich was unable to participate<br />

due to the loss of his father, Rabbi J Freilich kwwz.<br />

Cantor Yossi Schwarz kindly stepped in at very short<br />

notice to sing alongside our guest chazan, Yanky<br />

Lemmer of New York. They were joined by the<br />

Ne’imah Singers and pianist Raymond Goldstein.<br />

The performances were exceptional and net receipts<br />

were close to £65,000.<br />

Other initiatives included the twinning of Barand<br />

Bat-Mitzvahs in our community with those in<br />

Lvov (we are very grateful to our simcha families<br />

who responded so enthusiastically and generously);<br />

a screening in March of In Darkness, an Oscar-<br />

Nominated Polish film portraying Jewish survival<br />

in the sewers of Lvov during the Nazi invasion<br />

(this raised almost £5,000); and our annual cricket<br />

match in which, for the first time, the English (ably<br />

led by Rafi Saville) defeated the South Africans. We<br />

also benefited from ad hoc donations during the<br />

year (with special thanks to the members of the<br />

Hashkama Minyan who are always so responsive)<br />

as well as £10,000+ from the voluntary levy on<br />

members’ shul bills.<br />

Altogether, we raised close to £100,000 ($150,000+)<br />

in this period, with minimal governance costs. All<br />

funds are remitted direct to Brativ Sinov Israel, the<br />

Ukrainian Charity run by Rabbi and Rebbetzen Bald.<br />

We send at least $10,000 every month, with extra<br />

funds at Pesach and Rosh Hashana and whenever<br />

else they are required.<br />

We would like to express our gratitude to Simon<br />

Alberga and British ORT who arranged a charity Golf<br />

Day on 14 June at Coombe Hill Golf Club, enabling<br />

Felafel true or false fact quiz . Other initiatives include<br />

a musical tefillah assemblies to familiarise children<br />

with prayers so they can enjoy and understand Shabbat<br />

services and Parents Hebrew Reading Crash courses<br />

which were enjoyed by many parents.<br />

Chayli was supported by Chairman Daniel Shaw<br />

who stepped down after 3 years in December 2011 and<br />

now supported by Co Chairs, Jonathan Dimson and<br />

Joanna Johnson, as well as a dedicated Governing board,<br />

PTA and hard working Teachers.<br />

ORT to purchase much needed computers and IT<br />

equipment for Lvov’s Jewish School, allowing the<br />

teachers and pupils to access ORT’s programmes<br />

and its teacher training and education initiatives.<br />

The Trustees wish to record their heartfelt<br />

thanks to the Honorary Officers and the whole<br />

HGSS community for unflagging support in times<br />

of economic downturn and despite so many other<br />

charity requests. Without this support, the Lvov<br />

Shul, School and welfare programmes operated by<br />

the Balds simply could not continue.<br />

Finally, many thanks to Geoffrey Behrman who<br />

maintains our website. For further information<br />

please visit it: www.hgssfriendsoflvov.org<br />

The Book Circle holds regular monthly<br />

meetings where participants enjoy lively,<br />

entertaining and thoughtful discussion about the<br />

monthly book choice. This year the books have<br />

included One Day by David Nicholls, Winter<br />

Vault by Ann Michaels, The People of the Book by<br />

Geraldine Brooks. The Finkler Question by Howard<br />

Jacobson; Simon Montefiore and the legacy by Sybille<br />

Bedford, Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain, The<br />

Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal and,<br />

at a special evening to celebrate the life of Chaim<br />

Bermant we discussed Coming Home, the choice of<br />

his wife, Judy. We always welcome new members<br />

and enjoy the opportunity to expand our reading<br />

horizons – fiction and non-fiction, up-to-date<br />

modern or classic works. Further information<br />

from: familyfelders@gmail.com<br />

The Jewish Book Circle, continues to hold<br />

successful regular meetings and have discussed<br />

People of the Book by Moshe Halbertal, One People<br />

by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Modern Scholarship by<br />

Shalom Carmy, The Misunderstood Jew by Amy-Jill<br />

Levine and The Sages Vol 1. For more information<br />

from dan.rickman@gmail.com<br />

Nashim continue to ensure the success of social<br />

and communal functions. Under the chairmanship<br />

of Michele Yamin-Joseph, assisted by Ylana Roback


(Vice Chairman), Louise Norton (Secretary) and<br />

Miriam Kingsley (Treasurer), they are always<br />

eager to include more ladies willing to volunteer<br />

their time and services to enhance our community.<br />

We wish them Hatzlacha and thank them for all<br />

their hard work without which the shul could not<br />

function.<br />

Norrice Seniors continues to attract regular<br />

numbers for their monthly social, tea and<br />

entertainment. This year we have been fortunate<br />

to have excellent local speakers. We wish to thank<br />

the speakers and Leila Behrman for arranging this<br />

facility. The Norrice Seniors cater for all <strong>Synagogue</strong><br />

members who have achieved pensioner status –<br />

even younger on occasions. Please tell any of your<br />

family and friends, who might enjoy our social<br />

and cultural endeavours about our interesting<br />

programme. For further details of our future<br />

speakers, entertainers and excursions please<br />

contact the office. We are also able to arrange<br />

transportation via the Nefesh Network.<br />

Security<br />

Chairman: Danny Green<br />

My role as Head of Security commenced in January<br />

2011. I would like to note the full assistance and<br />

‘hand-over’ support from my predecessor, Paul Hanison.<br />

Norman Roback, with vast security experience, will be<br />

invaluable as my Deputy.<br />

HGSS Security is supported by the same nineman<br />

committee – all with great experience, with both<br />

CST and HGSS. The team has been extremely helpful,<br />

professional and hard working throughout the year,<br />

with special mention to Jeff Kagan for co-ordinating the<br />

Shabbat and Yomim Tovim volunteer rota. Sam Lipton<br />

joined the team in October 2011 and is now Security<br />

Liaison to Kerem and Kerem Early Years Unit. Sam is a<br />

long-standing CST badge holder, and served at a senior<br />

level within the organisation.<br />

The CST reported for the second successive year<br />

(2011), a decrease in recorded anti-Semitic incidents,<br />

since the record high of 2009. However, this is still<br />

the fourth highest year on record - the fall is due to a<br />

relatively quiet year of “trigger events”. However, the<br />

tragic events in Toulouse in March 2012, plus continuing<br />

escalation in hostility between Israel and Iran, only reenforces<br />

the need to remain extremely vigilant and on<br />

‘high alert’ at all times.<br />

It has been a very exciting year in terms of upgrading<br />

the HGSS security equipment and perimeters. October<br />

saw the installation of a new state-of-the-art camera<br />

system - incorporating 13 additional cameras, three<br />

additional monitors and a 16-channel digital video<br />

Norrice Nippers, a mother and toddler<br />

group, has proved very popular, with a weekly<br />

programme for babies and toddlers under the<br />

umbrella of Little Stars Music. This is a 35-minute<br />

structured programme that introduces music,<br />

movement and rhythm in a relaxed, themed, fun<br />

and informal atmosphere. There have also been<br />

successful Chanukah and Purim parties.<br />

The new table tennis club NLTT, started<br />

with an enthusiastic group of players and four<br />

tables in the Max Weinbaum Hall. This has now<br />

doubled in numbers and tables, attracting ten to<br />

seventy-year-olds, beginners and league players,<br />

all playing together. Our thanks to Adam Black<br />

and Lee Vandermolen, who organise and coach a<br />

spectacular demonstration match. Last month,<br />

the HGSS Table Tennis Team won trophies in the<br />

Inter-<strong>Synagogue</strong> Table Tennis Competition.<br />

Zumba at HGSS continues successfully to<br />

attract over 50 ladies dancing and exercising<br />

together weekly in the Max Weinbaum Hall.<br />

recorder. The system allows remote access via the internet<br />

and is fully monitored by CST.<br />

After more than a year of planning and applications,<br />

the new security gates and perimeter fencing have been<br />

installed. The new two front gates are 1.6 metres high. The<br />

security-coded pedestrian gates (and remote controls)<br />

allow members to gain access, when unattended by<br />

guards, and visitors must ring/ call from outside, where<br />

they can be viewed via the entry system.<br />

The plastic and wire mesh fence (rear of the building) has<br />

been replaced with “prison mesh”, which can only be<br />

cut with power tools. The rear gate from the playground<br />

into the park has also been replaced.<br />

The most important and significant item to report<br />

is that there were no serious incidents at our location<br />

throughout the year. This must NOT be treated with<br />

complacency. Our enemies continue to watch our<br />

building and how we operate; it is imperative to<br />

maintain good visual security cover at ALL times. The<br />

biggest security problem is maintaining a strong group<br />

of volunteers. The pool of “regulars” is ever decreasing,<br />

and we rely on the same (hard core) members of the<br />

community. In order to remain one of the best-protected<br />

buildings in North London, we need the FULL support<br />

of the ENTIRE community.<br />

I would like to thank David Sagal and his office,<br />

Mark Gould and his staff, Keith Barnett and the<br />

HO’s and all Rabbanim for their unwavering support<br />

throughout the year.


Recession Watch and JobShidduch<br />

During 2011 a number of members have benefited<br />

from our Recession Watch mentoring programme<br />

as well as from the JobShidduch employment website.<br />

Following the arrival of Rabbi Kaplan, with his support<br />

together with that of Rabbi Knopf and Rabbi Levene,<br />

there is a perceived need to refresh and relaunch both<br />

initiatives. There are some radical proposals under<br />

consideration by the Honorary Officers which will<br />

1992<br />

1994<br />

1996<br />

1998<br />

2000<br />

Status of Members<br />

Chairman: Jeff Durkin<br />

be publicised in the near future. These will make the<br />

initiatives more effective and relevant to the wide<br />

ranging needs and demographic mix of our Community.<br />

JobShidduch and Recession Watch will therefore<br />

continue to be valuable resources to the HGSS<br />

Community, clearly demonstrating the Board’s<br />

commitment to members’ welfare and wider concerns<br />

in bad times as well as good.<br />

Membership Statistics<br />

Adult Membership<br />

2002<br />

2004<br />

2006<br />

2008<br />

2010<br />

Membership has levelled out over the past eight years<br />

1200<br />

1000<br />

800<br />

600<br />

400<br />

200<br />

0<br />

Number<br />

Members by Age (Dec 2010)<br />

Children in age groups<br />

45<br />

Boy<br />

40<br />

35<br />

30<br />

25<br />

20<br />

15<br />

10<br />

5<br />

Girl<br />

Married<br />

Widowed<br />

Single<br />

0<br />

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

Divorced Approximately 50 children are born each year<br />

Number of Members<br />

300<br />

250<br />

200<br />

150<br />

100<br />

50<br />

0<br />

21-30<br />

31-40<br />

41-50<br />

51-60<br />

61-70<br />

71-80<br />

81-90<br />

91-100<br />

100+<br />

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