Anna Dyson - Sinai Latest News - Sinai Synagogue

Anna Dyson - Sinai Latest News - Sinai Synagogue


As we approach the 70 th Anniversary of the establishment of Sinai Synagogue, it is easy to see how the

aspirations and foresight of our founders have left an indelible imprint upon our Community.

In 1944, Britain was still a nation at war, and while the true dimensions of the Shoah were yet to become

apparent, there was a clear understanding that the Modern World had not dealt generously with the

Jewish People.

And yet… a small, courageous and insightful group of Jews in Leeds understood the needs of the Jewish

People in those depressing (and soon to become ‘tragic’) circumstances. They understood that a radical

transformation of Judaism and Jewish life was required to face the years and generations ahead.

We, today, are their beneficiaries. We luxuriate in a vibrant Community which has been able to marshal

the resources to fulfil our founders’ dreams. We inspire our young. We teach an ancient / modern

tradition. We educate all our generations and we care about, and for, the landmarks in our journeys

through life.

This past year has brought us to the cusp of preparing ourselves to lay the groundwork for the next

generation of our Congregation who will see our Centenary. This has been brought about in 2 ways: by

considering the needs of our physical environment and our Rabbinic development in the next stage of

our growth.

None of these challenges are easy, and it is sad but not unusual for passionate communities to find

themselves in situations of friction rather than wholehearted agreement about the way forward. But this

is, after all, a Jewish Community….

After 16 years with Sinai, I am truly excited by our potential and our prospects. I believe that Sinai has the

wherewithal to embrace the development of our Rabbinic services by appointing an additional Rabbi to

broaden and enhance the quality of the Jewish education and life we espouse. And the prospect of being

able to bring about this progress in a functional, warm and embracing physical environment which will be

a pleasure for the next generation to inhabit, cannot be overestimated.

As we approach our 70 th Year, we must rediscover the passionate resolve of our founders. Did they ever

argue Of course they did. But did they ever lose sight of the objective of doing what was right for the

Community of Sinai and what the tradition calls “the sake of Heaven” No, they did not.

We can do no less.

Rabbi Ian D. Morris



2012 was a year of values, focus and delivery for MRJ. The arrival of Laura Janner-Klausner as Movement

Rabbi significantly raised the Movement’s profile in the media as well as in our communities leading

services, teaching and supporting lay leaders. Our hugely successful biennial conference, Chagigah,

attracted over 250 delegates and saw the launch of the L’Chaim adult education programme to help

members explore and articulate their Reform values. Numbers on RSY-Netzer’s Israel Tour and Day Camp

continued to climb and Shemesh summer camps were a huge success. Thirteen young adults are now in

Israel on the Shnat gap year programme and Jeneration attracted young adults to a variety of new term

events including a joint RSY-Netzer-LJY-Netzer ‘on campus’ weekend. Jeneration has organised regular

egalitarian services, dinners and discussions across the country to support our Reform students living

away from home.

At the beginning of 2013 MRJ announced a major restructuring to ensure the effective implementation of

its strategic plan. The post of Chief Executive was discontinued and, together with other savings, this will

enable more to be invested in Community development and articulating Reform values, in line with the

plan’s central goals. Looking forward, Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers has been appointed as MRJ’s new

Community Educator to help ensure Reform values are cascaded to all ages throughout our communities.

2013 promises to be another exciting year for MRJ and July will see the Music Conference return for all

those who have a love of Jewish music to learn from outstanding musicians from around the world.

Martin Dix

Communications Officer, MRJ


January 2014 marks the 70 years since the founding of Sinai Synagogue. Obviously this is a significant

milestone for us all and we plan to celebrate throughout the year.

A small team of volunteers is planning several events which, at this early stage, we hope will include a

Supper Quiz, Music, Interfaith, Civic Service, Arts and Crafts and concluding with a Dinner and Ball.

Each event will be organised and hosted by one of the individual interest or age groups within Sinai and

hopefully, we can all participate and have some fun, stretch our minds and pray together depending on

the circumstances. As planning continues we will use all the usual means to update you.

In the meantime, can I please remind everyone that there is one project that needs all your support as

soon as possible We plan to put together a booklet containing amusing or memorable stories which you

may either know about or have experienced at some time in the past 70 years. This will be especially

relevant for our more senior members. If you feel you need help in getting your thoughts on paper we can

offer some help so please don’t deny us your story. Nick Chapler-Smyth is co-ordinating this so please let

him have your thoughts soon. This will provide a legacy for the future. Let’s all work together to make

2014 a year to remember!!!

Carol Adams

Chair: 70th Anniversary Planning Group



In addition to regular Shabbat and festival services and commemoration of life cycle events

throughout the year, Sinai held the following events in 2012:

Special Shabbat Services

Holocaust Memorial Shabbat

Sanctuary Shabbat

New Members' Service and Kiddush

Torah Time services

Musical Kaballat Shabbat led by the Sinai Youth

Youth Shabbatons

Festival Related Events

High Holy Day singing rehearsals

Tu B'Shevat event including adult and children's Sederim

Purim Early Years dinner and activities

Shavuot Event

Chanukah Party

Chanukah Event

Succah Building Party with representatives from PAFRAS

(Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers)


Adult education market place

Learning Ladder Programme including: Judaism and Modernity; Conversational Hebrew;

Close reading of Torah; Talmud, The Original Wikki; How to Cook Jewish; Learning to Leyn;

Hebrew for Beginners; Non Shabbat Liturgy; Prayers and Blessings

Education and information sharing visits from Leeds City Council Equalities Team; Active Citizens

group; Schools and University groups.

Shabbat Study Lunches

Trip to Beth Shalom

Bar Mitzvah class (Makpetzah) weekend away

Early Years Hebrew Course

Community training courses: First Aid; Food Hygiene; Use of Defibrillator; CST training.

Holocaust in Art Workshops

Presentation by Arek Hersh MBE on his experiences in Auschwitz and as a survivor

Holocaust education information seminar

Chavurah Suppers

Catered by volunteers from the Community and with speakers including representatives from charities

supported by the 5773/2012 High Holy Day Appeal; Sinai members who had been part of the group

making a ‘Jewish Journey’ to the Jewish communities of Odessa and Kishinev; a visitor from Finchley

Reform Synagogue on the FRS project with their twin Community in Belarus; Avi Levi, from Israel on

‘Why does an Israeli guy sell Palestinian olive oil for no profit’and the Director of Windows for Peace in

Israel in conversation via Skype with a young woman in Palestine.


Interfaith Events

Three Faiths meetings

Jewish/Moslem Dialogue meetings

Windows for Peace meetings

Tzedakah/Tikkun Olam

Tzedakah Group to recommend High Holy Day Appeal beneficiaries

2012 World Jewish Relief winter clothes collection

Clothing and household items collection for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Big Bagel Brunch

Collection of food for PAFRAS

Tea party in the Succah and marquee for Sinai members and the LJWB Rainbow Project

Monthly Connexions lunches

Study Lunch in preparation for Mitzvah Day

Connections Chanukah Party

Great Jew-bilee Bakeoff social and fundraising event

Community and Social Events

Youth groups


Oy Factor and Purim Spiel performance by winners of the RSY Purim Spieloff

Youth Israel Tour

Community consultation meetings on the Building Project

‘Focus on Sinai’ membership consultation

Intra Communal Football and Cricket Tournaments

Sinai Book Club meetings

Embroidery Group meetings

Knitting Group meetings

Sinai Walking Group





Community Development Projects

Education and Youth

Interfaith and External Organisations


Membership Support

Membership Treasurer

Ritual and Synagogue Services


Sinai Publications

Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam




Honorary Treasurer

Honorary Secretary

Darren Stone

David Israel

Anna Dyson

Jonathan Lewis

Anna Dyson

Val Mogendorff

Elsje Prins

Sally Brown

Michael Barrie

Nick Chapler-Smith

Rachelle Sanderson

Nick Dyson

Michael Barrie

Matt Thornfield

Pippa Brook


24 th January, 29 th February, 27 th March

2012 AGM 24 th April


30 th May, 21 st June, 25 th July, 29 th August

3 rd October, 31 st October

28 th November, 19 th December


Welcome to this new format of the Sinai AGM report. For me, this is a small but significant example of

the progress we have made as a Community. We are proud of who we are and want to ensure that

confidence is expressed through everything we do and say.

We have had a strong Board and Executive that have been working together effectively as a team over

the past year. Thanks must go to all the Board members, who have fulfilled their responsibilities with

passion, commitment and hard work as you will see from their reports. The reports look in detail at what

has been going on across the Community. I am therefore going to reflect more widely on our progress.


We have some phenomenal people in our Community, both paid and volunteer, who put in hours of

goodwill, going above and beyond what can sometimes reasonably be expected, for the benefit of others.

When I have asked members and visitors what their experience of Sinai has been, the first words of reply

invariably include “warm” and “welcoming”. We should take great pride in that. We provide emotional,

spiritual and practical support for many people at what can be incredibly difficult times of their lives. The

value of such support is literally priceless and in some cases life changing for those involved. We must

remember that.

In terms of religious leadership, we are fortunate to have an experienced, well respected Rabbi in Rabbi

Morris who provides our Community with calm, thoughtful insight into how we can lead meaningful

Jewish lives. We have also had the added benefit of input from our Student Rabbi, Esther Hugenholtz,

since September 2011. Major progress has been made in recruiting an Assistant Rabbi. At the time of

writing this report, interviews are in mid-flow. The appointee will provide our Community with greater

spiritual and pastoral leadership, which will in turn widen our reach and appeal to existing and potential


In terms of finance and governance, we are much stronger now than 12 months ago. We have created the

role of Membership Treasurer, which has worked well and we have set up a Governance Committee.

On finance, Sinai has been operating at a deficit for some years. If Sinai were a business, this would not be

considered a success. However, Sinai is not a business; it is a religious charity. Our aim is to promote

Reform Judaism in Leeds in accordance with our core values of t’fillah (prayer), kiruv (welcoming/

outreach), limmud (learning) and tikkun olam (repair of the world/social action). As a charity with

significant reserves, we have an obligation to invest our funds wisely which is exactly what the Board has

been doing under the leadership of the Treasurer. There is no getting away from the fact that our

subscription income is down from that budgeted and this is very disappointing. However, the situation

could have been much worse without the role of the Membership Treasurer.

On governance, Sinai has incorporated as a charity bringing our structure into line with best practice for

charities. I am delighted that the group that have achieved this will provide on-going advice to the Board

on governance issues. These include how we can improve the training and support we offer Board

members and how we deal with constitutional matters including running of AGMs. This will provide our

Community with continuity and consistency in how we operate; this is critical when we have a Board

structure of members who often change.

Other major areas of development include the building. Redevelopment of the building has been on the

agenda for some time so I am pleased that the project is progressing and we are close to having a plan to

begin work on fundraising.

In the wider Community, we are playing an increasingly important role both in Leeds and nationally.

Within Leeds, we are making our voice heard at Leeds Representative Council and playing our part in

communal Jewish life, be it playing (and winning) the intra-Synagogue five-a-side football competition or

leadership in interfaith work. Nationally, we have excellent links with, and get great support from the

Movement for Reform Judaism. We are proud to be one of the first communities to be running the new

adult education programme, L’Chaim.

We are a vibrant, warm and inclusive Reform Jewish Community that has a very exciting future ahead,

and I am honoured to have led the Community as Chairman this past year.

Nick Dyson

Chair, Sinai Synagogue



Due to the lead time for the production of both the Audited Accounts and this Annual Report, I am in the

unusual position of having to write a Treasurer’s report without the benefit of audited financial

statements. I am therefore basing this report on figures derived from internal management accounts. As

these will not necessarily reconcile with our audited financial statements, when they are available, I have

refrained from providing exact figures. The focus of this report will be on our financial strategy and a

separate Treasurer’s report, which will be published within the financial statements, will focus on the

actual results of 2012.

I am sure it will not come as a surprise that our deficit increased in 2012, reflecting the wider economic


In analysing how the deficit differs from last year, the Board has spent some time looking at our income

and expenditure, at a reasonably granular level. There are both positive and negative key headlines from

this analysis:

Income is down in a number of areas, including subscriptions, donations and voluntary

contributions, and the 100 club

Costs have been tightly controlled and in many cases the actual cost incurred is lower than the

previous year

The net benefit of our first year of income from the solar panels (including the effective reduction

on electricity costs) is in the region of £4000, some £900 ahead of our conservative forecasts

Although a more detailed summary of the Synagogue’s financial performance in 2012 will be provided in

the audited financial statements, I think this is enough here to give an indication of the position. I want to

use this report to consider what we do about the position, and how we react to it.

Before I get into the detail, let us first remember that we are a religious organisation, and not a business.

Our goal, from a financial viewpoint, is not to make a profit or avoid a loss in any one year, but to achieve

long term sustainability – and that is the purpose of this report – to understand what has happened over

the year so that we can put in place plans to give our Community a long and sustainable future.

I will first focus on what we can do with regard to income. Throughout 2012, we have done almost no

fundraising activity. This was a conscious decision by the Board, given the expectation of wanting to raise

a significant amount of money to support the building refurbishment in the coming years, it is sensible for

the Community to have an appropriate, and comprehensive fundraising strategy. This needs to join up

each major initiative for which we might need to raise funds, so that we use our resources effectively,

avoid frustration on those members being asked to put their hands in their pockets, and provide the best

chance of raising sufficient funds to make our goals a reality. In simpler terms, we don’t want to ask for

£50 from somebody today when they might be prepared to give £500 tomorrow.

In 2013 it will be important that we get to grips with this fundraising strategy, and that the Board comes

up with options that can be implemented in appropriate timescales. We are already putting in motion

plans to revitalise the 100 club, with thanks to Ross Wigan who is taking on this activity, and I am

planning to write to everyone who has not signed a gift aid declaration to see if they are able to do so –

this would potentially increase our income with no direct cost to any individual.


The real, long-term solution (and I’m certainly not the first Treasurer to say this) is to increase our

membership. This always has been a challenge, but we need to continually look for ways of doing this.

I will return to this point shortly.

It has been my long held view that our most likely successful funding arrangement in the future is going to

be a continued reliance on legacies, as we have done over the last 10 or so years. I do not see this as a

negative thing – many charities use this funding model. In a time where many of us have significant funds

tied up in property for example, it can be easier to give very meaningful amounts through wills than

through donations we make in our lifetime. I expect a legacy drive will be an important part of our

fundraising strategy.

A major success in the year has been the control of costs. I think we can interpret this in two ways:

(1) those members who have the responsibility for different parts of our activities which incur costs

have taken seriously the need to spend funds wisely and appropriately and avoid waste, and

(2) although our income was down, we have not let this reduce the number and variety of activities

that take place within Sinai, nor reduced the service that we provide to our members

It appears to me that we have a number of opportunities ahead of us, not least of which is the proposed

recruitment of an assistant Rabbi. I said I would return to the point about increasing our membership - if

there is anything we could do that would have that effect, I believe that investing in additional Rabbinic

support that complements Rabbi Morris is the most likely way to achieve this.

If we can recruit a Rabbi who can appeal and reach out to a section of the Community that we are not

currently attracting, whether that be the unaffiliated, or disenfranchised, we start to offer something new

and of real value to people who we haven’t yet been able to reach.

The second big opportunity is that we currently have in the region of £670,000 in our bank and savings

accounts. Much of this money was allocated to different projects at the 2010 AGM, and we continue to

operate the plans that were agreed at that AGM.

Even at the current level of deficit, the funds allocated to the deficit ‘pot’ is sufficient to cover us for

another five years, and with our unallocated funds, at least another seven years… and that excludes the

funds we have set aside for Rabbinic recruitment and the building project .

Just as we invested wisely in 2011 in the solar panels, we need to look for other opportunities to do the

same going forward, and I think the Rabbinic recruitment and building projects have the potential to

benefit our Community even more… and to reach that key target of long term financial sustainability.

Matt Thornfield

Honorary Treasurer

Barry Paschali: Supervising Solar Panel Installation Energy Consultant on the Synagogue Roof



There were several new developments during 2012. Marcia Levy, our Administrator, retired and Heidi

Sizer took over, initially on a temporary basis, then, after a trial period, she took up the post permanently.

We are very grateful to Marcia for all her help and preparation in making the handover so smooth; and

we congratulate Heidi on her new role and the calm and efficient way in which she has taken on her new

responsibilities as well as continuing in her role as Sinai Bookkeeper.

As ever, we are so grateful to Andy Ingleby, our Caretaker, for his work in all weathers and often in

unsocial hours. His efforts in keeping our building clean and well maintained are so much appreciated as

is his work alongside Ken in the gardens and grounds.

2012 saw an increase in volunteers getting involved in the administration and governance of the

Synagogue. This includes a team of volunteers to staff the office on Thursdays and during Heidi’s holidays.

Many thanks to all the volunteers and to Janet Bromberg for managing the rotas. Thanks also to Hannah

Bloom and Barbara Levy who take minutes at Board meetings. Barbara is also chair of the newly formed

Governance Committee which supports and advises the Honorary Secretary and helps interpret the rules,

where needed. The Governance Committee has established a code of conduct and is currently

developing a training plan for new trustees and has established procedures for the 2013 AGM. The work

of all members of this committee is invaluable and very much appreciated.

Work on a staff handbook is on-going. This is based on a template provided by the Movement for Reform

Judaism and formalises personnel procedures and policies for Sinai. The Handbook should be completed

by, or shortly after, the AGM.

Throughout the year a great deal of work has been done to prepare Sinai for incorporation. This work

was largely driven by Dolf Mogendorff who worked tirelessly preparing papers and seeking legal advice.

Dolf has now taken on the honorary role of Company Secretary and will offer continuity and support to

the Honorary Secretary. I take this opportunity to thank Dolf and the other members of the Governance

Committee for all their help and support.

Thanks are also due to Simon Marcus for his work in producing this report and to all the contributors both

to this and the reports which will be on display for the 2013 AGM. I look forward to continue working with

all these volunteers, with Heidi and Andy and to encouraging more volunteers over the coming year.

Pippa Brook

Honorary Secretary


Membership Figures 2012

Paying member families 333 families = 558 people

Friends* 23

Associate members 19

Subscribers** 05

18-21 year olds 35

Under 18’s 76

New members 14

Deaths – Members 10

Bnei Mitzvah 08

Marriages 02

Members left/transferred 23

*Non-Jewish partner of a member choosing to join under this category

**A person who is involved in Synagogue activities but is not eligible to join as a full member and pays a

nominal fee


The Governance Committee first met in November 2012. I was flattered to be asked by the Board to chair

the group, and take my lead from those around me with a whole wealth of experience at all levels of Sinai

management for the good of the Community.

I see our role in the short- and the longer-term. For now, we need to make sure that transition to the

newly incorporated ‘Sinai Synagogue Leeds’ goes smoothly and with maximum members' participation

especially as we approach the inaugural AGM.

Beyond April, we stand ready to provide solid support to whoever takes on the onerous task of Honorary

Secretary and help them continue with the 'nuts and bolts' of good (and legal!) management of Sinai


Barbara Levy

Chair Governance Committee



The key issue this year has been about keeping the Sinai Community well informed. This year we decided

that rather than focus on individual aspects of communication, we should instead address our overall

strategy, in part because several aspects of our current tools are outdated and are no longer working

effectively, and more importantly, to address the issue of how better to connect with the membership.

This year, with the help of Julia Castle, I have drafted a brand new Communications Strategy. We held an

open consultation meeting in order to gather feedback and suggestion as to the strategy’s content. There

were some positive developments; however, much work will be needed before a final document can be


During the year, we have also taken practical steps in improving our communication with the

membership. We have now started publishing links to the Board minutes on the e-newsletter, and

reinforced the message on where hard copies of the Board minutes can be found.

We have also reviewed the effectiveness of the revamped e-newsletter, developed by editor Nick

Chapler-Smyth, and have recently introduced a new, user-friendly interface, “Constant Contact”.

There has also been progress in the way we communicate, and have found success with our Facebook

pages and Twitter.

A new ‘Sinai YouTube’ presence may also be on its way.

We have also taken the step of advertising internally for a volunteer to take on the role of a PR officer,

incorporating where possible, social media. However, there is still much to be done, in particular,

revamping our outdated website. Our draft strategy takes into account this very important area, along

with some of the more traditional methods of communicating – after all, there are plenty of us still

communicating by telephone and letters.

Overall, this year has been one of addressing some of the shortcomings of recent years, and looking

forward to a new age of communication.

Darren Stone

Portfolio: Communications



I am pleased to report that good progress has been with the refurbishment of the Synagogue.

This is entirely down to three key groups of people:

the Sinai Building Group (Michael Barrie, Nick Dyson, Michael Lewis (who joined after Naomi

Raanan left for university), Simon Marcus, Braham Myers and Judy Plaut

our advisers and consultants Wrigleys, Bauman Lyons and Deane Associates

the Sinai Board

In each of their roles they have approached the discussions and decisions with an over-riding sense of the

greater need of the Sinai Community, and with no self interest. They have researched issues before

deciding on them and shown their ability to listen to a range of options before making their choice. I am

also very proud to report that all key decisions on the refurbishment have been passed unanimously. A

real reflection of the confidence in these groups of people.

As such, I wish to acknowledge publicly the hard work, commitment and clarity of thought of these

people. They have made, what at first appeared to be a difficult issue to take on, a pleasure to be part of.

At the time of writing we have draft plans for refurbishment of the building which have prioritised those

issues highlighted by the membership, and framed within the principles set out by key stakeholders of

the building. These are being presented again to the key stakeholders for further feedback before a final

decision is made by the Board.

The refurbishment work had been designed in phases to ensure:

the most important and essential work (e.g. proper and equitable access for all members,

refurbishing toilets etc.) is carried out first and

we have time to raise the funds needed for the work. A full fundraising plan over three years has

been drawn up and will be presented in due course

Over the months I have been working on the project I have met with many people (both Sinai members

and non-members) about the building to seek advice and feedback on how best to proceed with this.

I am always happy to meet anyone who wishes to talk over the refurbishment.

You can email:

Please don't listen to rumour, half-facts or gossip: come straight to the source and I will endeavour to

answer your questions.

The Board has also agreed to work towards a Sinai Community weekend as part of our 70th anniversary

celebrations. I am looking for a member to coordinate the weekend and would suggest that anyone

interested contact me very soon as the prestige of organising this special event in our calendar will see

the role being taken up quickly.

David J Israel

Portfolio: Community Development



We have a good team of people working and volunteering within this portfolio. Our Director of Education,

Gwynneth Lewis, has been focusing on the overall picture of Education within our Community. She chairs

the Education Working Group, consisting of volunteers and paid staff, in ensuring the sustainable,

manageable and combined approach to all things educational at Sinai. One example of this coordinated

approach working was the decision to combine youth services for Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur,

creating informal family services for both occasions, with additional age appropriate activities afterwards.

In March 2012, we recruited an Early Years Coordinator, Sarah Glatherine. Her role is to figure out ways

to make the current early years provision sustainable, and explore other initiatives to appeal to our

families with young children. As a result, ShabbatTots (Friday morning play group) has seen a new format,

and we have a new set of volunteers helping its smooth running. TorahTime (Shabbat morning tots

service) has continued with improved support and resources for the volunteers leading it.

There is an Early Years Forum for parents to be involved in the planning of events and giving feedback,

and steps have been taken to ensure the health and safety of our younger members on site and in the


The Religion School continues on Saturday mornings during term time. Number of pupils is low - currently

12- which reflects the small number of members of the right age to attend, and out of those, a significant

number attend the Jewish primary school and choose not to attend our Religion School as well. The

majority of staff are our teenagers who have chosen to stay involved at Sinai after their Bar/Bat Mitzvah,

supported very effectively by Debbie Marcus, Yael Arbell and Gwynneth Lewis.

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah programme – Makpetzah – has continued with the same format as previous years: a

residential weekend at Herd Farm, preparation classes, and discussion groups with Rabbi Morris.

Julius Judah has continued, for a second year, in his role as our youth worker. There are opportunities for

our youth to stay involved after their Bar/Bat Mitzvah by becoming youth leaders (madrichim) for our

EOSY youth club. Julius has trained 5 junior madrichim this year and arranged a security session run by

the Community Security Trust (CST).

The EOSY youth club runs every other Sunday. Sinai has also hosted a northern RSY-Netzer residential

weekend for 9-12 years olds, and an RSY-Netzer Mazkirut weekend for older madrichim from across the

country. Much effort has gone into our hosting of the RSY-Netzer national ‘Purim Spiel’ competition which

Sinai won last year. Proportionally, Sinai representation at RSY-Netzer national summer events was good.

RSY-Netzer had 2 Israel Tour leaders from Sinai, and 5 participants in 2012. For Shemesh, the summer

camps, 5 madrichim were from Sinai, and we sent 6 participants.

Michael Barrie has responsibility for the visits by schools to Sinai detailed later in this report. Gwynneth

Lewis, Lorna Mitchell and Sally Brown have provided a diverse array of learning opportunities for adults,

under the Learning Ladder programme. There have been stand-alone talks, six and eight week courses

and Shabbat Study Lunches.

Anna Dyson

Portfolio: Education and Youth



General maintenance of our gardens and surrounding trees has continued throughout the year, in spite of

the very wet conditions. The memorial area to the rear of the Shul has been completed with the purchase

of two hard wood benches. We do hope that members will take advantage of the quiet and peaceful area

of our garden from springtime onwards.

The introduction of our new boundary fence made it difficult to get at our trees and bushes, which lay

outside the fence, for maintenance purposes, and, during the summer, a path was created, which made

this possible.

During the winter months, tree lopping and bush shaping has continued, with particular attention being

given to preventing our trees from growing over into our neighbours' gardens and one large tree to the

front of the Shul, which had extended out into the road, was trimmed. I extend our thanks to Andy, our

caretaker who is always a great help, particularly in this winter work.

Finally, in spite of the very wet summer, our roses have performed beautifully, giving us a wonderful

display right through to November. I should also record that a vase of six stems of ‘Wild Fire’, our new

mini rose to the right of the front main entrance to the Shul, won First Prize at this year's Shadwell Flower

Show, enabling us to win the coveted Silver Rose Bowl for the third time in the last ten years.

I trust that all our members are satisfied with the standard of work which has been carried out over the

past twelve months.

Should anyone have a question concerning our garden maintenance, then please do not hesitate to

contact me via the Sinai office, or in person at the Shul on Thursday, Friday or Saturday mornings.

Ken Ellis




2012 has been a most exciting year for our work outside the Synagogue.

We are affiliated to, and associated with many outside organisations, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

Movement for Reform Judaism

Sinai continues to be represented at MRJ by Rabbi Morris and Nick Dyson on the Council and Northern

Network, and by me on the Board. I am also delighted to report that Dolf Mogendorff was elected as a

Vice-President of the Movement in recognition of his work on the Board, as Chair of the Northern

Network and much more.

There have been several exciting initiatives within MRJ this year, but two I would like to draw to attention:

CHAGIGAH - the Movement Biennial Conference

Chagigah brought together 250 people from all parts of the country and a huge number of

speakers and presenters, including several from Sinai. We learned how to offer choices of service

style and bring these together with a single Torah service, and had the opportunity to experience a

wide variety of musical styles under the leadership of Cantor Zoe Jacobs, Scholar - in - residence was

Rabbi Golan Ben-Chorin, and who could forget the chance to hear the wit and wisdom of Rabbi

Lionel Blue There is nothing like enough space here to do justice to the whole conference which

was organised by Pam Goldsmith, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Sarita Robinson but please take

a look at the website: (


L’CHAIM - the new adult education programme

Chagigah also saw the launch of L‘Chaim - a new course for Jewish adults which has been designed

by Rabbi Josh Levy and developed by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Board member Jonathan


This course is intended to help Reform Jews articulate what their Reform Judaism means to them

from religious, educational and cultural perspectives, to help them put that into practice in a

meaningful way.

It aims to give participants the knowledge, tools and confidence to make choices to create their own

authentic Reform Jewish life. Sinai was a pilot Community as this course developed, with trial

sessions being led by Rabbi Morris and Judy Plaut and our input has helped shape the first two

modules to be created. The rest will follow over the next few years. We now have two trained

facilitators and will be launching the course shortly after Pesach 2013 as part of the Learning Ladder

programme. See our video advert:

MRJ has also completed its five year strategic plan and budget round to fund that plan. This has resulted

in several changes, and we will be sad to see the departure of Chief Executive Ben Rich who has been

instrumental in creating the strategy. We wish Ben well and thank him for his service over the past two



As we move to a more tactical phase, the Movement now needs to focus on delivery and will be led

professionally by Movement Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Community Development Director Pam

Goldsmith and supported by the Board.

We welcome Sarita Robinson to the Northern Region as Northern Communities Development worker and

as she lives in Hull, we expect to see her in Leeds very often.

Our Jeneration project (which is my portfolio on the MRJ Board) has become focused on delivery for

young Reform adults and Deborah Blausten has joined the team to lead that initiative. She is being

wonderfully supported by Libby Burkeman who has also joined us recently as Director of Informal

Education. Finally, I am delighted to announce that Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers will be joining as

Community Educator helping us deliver some of the services previously provided by the Leo Baeck

College’s Department of Jewish Education, as the college shifts to concentrate more on Rabbinic training

and higher degrees.

World Union for Progressive Judaism

As an MRJ affiliate, Sinai is also part of the WUPJ and its European Region, the European Union for

Progressive Judaism (EUPJ). Sinai members are very active in this body and one of our High Holy Day

appeal funds was for the Beit Shmuel campaign which is rejuvenating the WUPJ HQ in Jerusalem.

This centre will be well known to those who have attended Netzer’s Shnat gap year program or the Beutel

leadership seminars. For those who have not, I recommend a visit if you are in Israel – or even stay there

if you want to stay in the heart of the city, overlooking the Jaffa Gate in comfortable affordable

accommodation. Our members have attended several WUPJ events including the Union for Reform

Judaism (the American Reform Movement) Biennial Conference in Washington – where we had the

opportunity to hear President Obama speak, and the EUPJ open meetings in Vienna and Paris. Reports are

available on these events elsewhere.

Board of Deputies of British Jews

Sinai decided to take up our full representation on the BoD this year and in addition to long standing

Deputy, Marilyn Trovato, we are now also represented by Nick Chapler-Smyth.

Alyth member, Laura Marks, known to many for her extraordinary work on Mitzvah Day, was elected as

Senior Vice-President of the BoD. Laura has already made a major impact, with the BoD becoming much

more open and willing to recognise the concerns of all communities, as well as taking its social action

responsibilities much more seriously. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nick and Marilyn for

the time they give and for trekking to London every month.

Leeds Jewish Representative Council

In 2012 Sinai was represented by Michael Barrie, Sara Saunders, Dan Suckall and Marilyn Trovato.

We also have other Sinai members engaged in the Rep Council, including Rep Council Secretary, Keith

Ackerman, Robert Bartfield and Tim Friedman. We are grateful for their work ensuring that Sinai is at the

heart of Leeds Jewish activity.

Susie Gordon, in her role as Leeds Jewish Community Development Executive, continues to do excellent

work ensuring that information is available for those moving to or living in the city. She has launched a

new web site this year: which helps people find work, housing ,

social contacts etc.


Three Faiths Forum

Work has continued led by Rabbi Morris, Rev Charles Dobbin and Rasool Bhamani, with several meetings

on a variety of topics. This group strives to make contacts between local Jewish, Christian and Muslim

communities and is able to talk about social, religious and other differences, as well as the many


Other Interfaith Work

Sinai members are highly engaged in many activities in the Interfaith area and the Board has recently

approved membership of the Leeds Faith Forum. We will be seeking representation on this over the next

year and if any member is interested, please contact me.

Twinning and Partnerships

Sinai is still seeking to work out an effective way of doing this. We have created a partnership with

Temple Israel in London, Ontario, Canada and they are planning to invite Sinai members to join them on a

forthcoming trip to Israel. We are planning to work within WUPJ to expand this partnership to Israel, and

to Eastern Europe and hoping to continue initiatives during 2013.

Jonathan Lewis

Portfolio: Interfaith and External Organisations


This new portfolio aims to ensure there is an on-going active relationship between the Sinai Community

and Israel, through discussion spaces, celebrations and actions.

An Israel Working Group was established, co-chaired by Yaakov Atik and Anna Dyson. The IWG aims to

provide learning and cultural opportunities within the Community around Progressive Zionism, and proactively

engage with issues and events around Israel. There is a very good relationship with the

Community Shaliach, Gilad Amit.

So far, we have:

Hosted Rutie Atzmon, Director of Windows Channels for Communication. She led very interesting

discussions across the weekend including a Skype conversation with a Palestinian teenage

participant in the Windows programme.


Set up Israel Café – Sunday morning space to talk and learn about what’s going on in Israel. We

discussed within the IWG the proposal from a member to boycott the Co-Op. We recommended to

the Board that we should presently not be taking a stand one way or the other as the current focus

is on learning and engaging with the many complex issues.

Hosted one of Gilad Amit’s Community lectures on contemporary Israel.

Discussed fundraising and support for Windows Channels for Communication through our


Anna Dyson

Portfolio: Israel


Membership Support comprises both welfare, in the form of Connexions, and Membership.

As such, the remit is large. I will write about them separately.

The Connexions Team:

In addition to the monthly three course lunch, open to all members and catered by Liz and Bob Jacoby, we

organise an annual garden party and a Chanukah event. Maxine and Barry Brown hosted the garden party

yet again and made us so welcome in their home and garden. Jena and Morton Shapero again entertained

us royally at the Chanukah Connexions lunch, with old standards and music from the shows. We owe

grateful thanks to Maxine and Barry and to Jena and Morton.

We organise the High Holy Days phone calls – many thanks to Janet Bromberg for co-ordinating these, and

to the members who make the calls. This year, we hope to institute pre-Pesach phone calls.

Other activities range from hospital and home visiting to phoning members and giving lifts to Sinai services

and events when we are able to do so. Esther Hugenholtz, our student Rabbi, has been a welcome

addition to the team. She has visited members in Donisthorpe Hall, in their own homes and in hospital as

part of her duties while she is here.

Although Pat Falk stood down from leading the team in Spring 2012, I would like to thank her formally for

all she has done to support Sinai members. As so many of us know, she is a powerhouse – and is an

impossible act to follow!

All these activities depend on the generosity of members and friends who are able to donate their time.

Would you like to join us

We’re friendly, and we need you.



Our major project over the past two years has been ‘Focus on Sinai’, where all members were given the

opportunity to have their opinions heard on any and all aspects of life at Sinai, either at a meeting in a

member’s home, or at Sinai, over the phone or by email. The ‘Focus on Sinai’ report was published last

summer. It was made available to members both on the Synagogue website and, on request to the office,

on paper. Many recommendations and ideas have resulted from the report. These have been forwarded

to the appropriate teams and portfolio holders for comment and action. Your comments have been taken

seriously and many have already been acted on.

New and established members came to the morning service and stayed for Kiddush at last February’s

Members’ Shabbat, all enjoying the event and taking the opportunity to both participate in the service and

to stay and chat after. A special event in conjunction with this was the opportunity to enjoy the Learning

Ladder Marketplace. The Members’ Shabbat will be repeated.

Tea in the Succah was an innovation and took place on the Monday of Succot. It was a successful crossover

activity – Welfare and Membership – as members of the Community in Welfare Board homes were invited

to have refreshments in the Sukkah, along with members of Sinai. The atmosphere was terrific, and having

the marquee made it easy. You may have seen some photos and letters in the Chanukah 2012 edition of

the Chronicle. Certainly something to repeat.

New on the agenda is to plan other activities for 2013, such as an intergenerational games

afternoon. Would you be interested

We have co-ordinated hospitality for Shabbatot & Yomim Tovim on a small scale. Would you like to join

those members who host

Many other Sinai activities come under the broad heading of ‘Membership’ – from the Sinai Book Club to

the Walking Group; Chavurah Suppers to the Embroidery Group (examples of their work can be seen on

the back cover of this report).

As with any Community, members have a wide range of interests (in addition to services and studying).

What would you like to see happening What would you like to make happen

Thanks as always to all the volunteers, without whom our activities would be impossible, and of course to

Heidi Sizer and Andy Ingleby for their support. Without them our task would be much more challenging.

You are welcome to contact me via the Synagogue office if you have comments – and with your

volunteering offers!

Val Mogendorff

Portfolio: Membership Support



At the AGM in 2012 I was elected to the Board and have held the new portfolio of Membership Treasurer

since then. The Membership Treasurer works closely with the Treasurer and our Bookkeeper to collect

annual subscriptions. The subscription rate is set each year by the Board.

Our vision at Sinai Synagogue is to be a thriving Reform Jewish Community which provides an inclusive

and friendly environment that supports its members on their Jewish journeys and a policy is in place to

guide the Membership Treasurer in ensuring that all of us can be part of our Community even if a full

membership subscription is not feasible due to financial difficulties or hardship.

This year has seen hard economic times and as the recession continues to deepen, members of our

Community have had to make difficult choices in order to make ends meet. Requests for reduced

subscriptions have subsequently increased and been granted.

A recent audit shows that approximately 39% of our members are on reduced membership subscriptions

and this trend is continuing.

As a Community we are fortunate that some or our members are able and willing to pay over and above

their subscription rate. In addition some members who were on reduced subscriptions previously are

seeing a change in their circumstances and are able to pay a little more this year than in previous months.

As the Membership Treasurer, I have a couple of requests to our members to help ensure the smooth

running of our Synagogue. Please contact us sooner rather than later if you find that you are unable to

meet the full subscription rate so that we can come to an agreement which is fair and reasonable.

All requests for reduced subscriptions are dealt with in complete confidence. The sooner we can sort any

difficulties, the better we can plan our budget. Likewise, if your circumstances have changed positively

and you are able to make a full contribution once more, please let us know. Every penny helps.

I would like to thank Matt Thornfield and Heidi Sizer for their help and support in carrying out the

portfolio of Membership Treasurer.

Elsje Prins

Portfolio: Membership Treasurer



This year has been notable for simchas – weddings and baby blessings have cropped up amongst the

B’nei Mitzvah. It is so nice to see the Community expanding and the Shul being a central part of people’s

joyous events as well as their sad times.

We have also had the pleasure of our Student Rabbi, Esther, taking services, leading study sessions and

giving sermons.

It would be nice to have more participation. People have stepped forward to learn leyning and read

Torah or just to read from the Torah to mark a special event. If you would like to do this, please ask the

Rabbi or mention it to me and it can be arranged. If you need help to learn all or part of a parasha, that

can also be arranged.

The Wardens are starting to ask people to approach them if they would like to take part in the service in

any way, rather than just asking people who are marking a yahrzeit. We don’t always know about

birthdays, anniversaries or other celebration, so please let us know and the Community can share your


The Wardens have also had a discussion about dress code, which was brought up at the focus groups.

Although it is agreed in general that we would prefer people to dress appropriately out of respect for

Shabbat and the Synagogue, our preference would always be that people come to services and not feel

put off by a dress code. It will be suggested that invitations for simchas should mention dress code for

Shul. We will also ask people if they would like to borrow a tallit if they normally wear one and haven’t

brought one with them.

The High Holy Days were a fantastic example of teamwork, creating a meaningful and spiritual experience

for many people. Thanks are due to the Rabbi, of course, for his hard work in preparing and leading the

services and for his inspirational sermons. It was lovely to see lots of people agreeing to read Torah,

particularly our younger members. I hope this will happen next year and anyone who wants to, can let

me know and I will arrange it.

Thanks to the Wardens, the choir and all those involved in catering, education and the innovative idea of

making extra space by having a marquee outside, where the children’s services and activities were held.

Despite the rather inclement weather and lack of heating, the marquee was a useful addition and the

children’s services were much appreciated. Many thanks especially to Sarah Glatherine, Anna Dyson and

Gwynneth Lewis and their many co-workers, for their hard work in making this happen.

Rosh Hashanah lunch was much appreciated and enjoyed by all who attended.

Thanks must go to the phone team, who took the time to contact all the membership to wish them a

Shana Tova and to Val Mogendorff and team for looking after those who needed hospitality.

Thanks as always to Andy Ingleby for all his hard work preparing the Shul. Thanks also to the silver

cleaning team, who cleaned all the silverware in preparation, organised by Sara Saunders.

We are planning a full review of the High Holy Days organisation and planning before next September.

This will cover all aspects of the High Holy Days including services, education, catering, security,

membership issues and finance. A group has been convened with people involved in all these areas. If

you have any ideas, suggestions or aspirations for the next High Holy Days please let me know.


Succot saw more use of the marquee to entertain various groups of people, including an interfaith group,

Rainbow Project and a very successful BBQ organised by Rob and Sue Bartfield – many thanks to them for

making the Succah building a fun event for all. Thanks as ever to Andy, our fantastic caretaker and Dan

Suckall for their construction efforts.

Simchat Torah was a great celebration, with many children enjoying a pre-service educational and handson

event organised by Sarah Glatherine and team. More children than usual stayed on for the service and

enjoyed the fun and sweets! Congratulations to our Chatan Torah, Jack Coplin and Kallat Bereshit, Ruth


Chanukah was made more special by Sandra and Melvyn Freeman’s excellent latkes, together with

numerous doughnuts and hot dogs. Activities arranged by Sarah Glatherine, Gwynneth Lewis and Debbie

Marcus were enjoyed by many families, who learnt a lot about Chanukah and appreciated Lorna

Mitchell’s storytelling and Sarah Bordoley’s puppet show.

As I write, preparations are in place for a Tu B’Shevat Seder and then a very special Purim, hosting the

Purim Spiel, an RSY Shabbat Service and the week after, a Rabbi Ian special Megillah reading and Sinai’s

own ‘Oy Factor’.

Kashrut is part of my portfolio and supervision of external catering is carried out by one of the catering

team, ensuring all food is ‘suitable for vegetarians’ and fairtrade where possible. Food brought in to Shul

must be accompanied by a signed declaration that it has suitable ingredients and conforms to our Kashrut

Policy. We have had very little outside catering this year and most catering is done on the premises for

Kiddushim, Chavura Suppers and events.

Sally Brown

Portfolio: Ritual and Synagogue Services



The safety of our members, young people and visitors is of the highest importance to all of us at Sinai.

Consequently, with help and support of the CST (Community Security Trust) during the year, we erected

a border fence which has substantially increased the security of the building and anyone inside the

boundaries. At the start there were some teething problems in the operation of the controls and several

members experienced some difficulties in access. Adjustments were made and I am pleased to report,

that the new system is now working well and instructions relating to the fence are included in security

information. David Jackson and Roger Lawford kindly took responsibility for getting the fence installed

and it should be noted that former Sinai member, the late Richard Goldberg offered much time and

resource during the installation process.

I took over the responsibility for the Security Portfolio when David Jackson stood down from the Board

and I am pleased to record my thanks for his time and effort whilst holding this challenging post.

We were pleased to welcome Richard Bentley, Community Head of Leeds CST and Alex Webster,

Northern Regional Co-ordinator for CST, to a Board meeting in August and shortly after they attended a

Shabbat service and spoke to members of the Community about the importance of security and the

responsibilities of those on the security rota.

The need to continuously review and progress our security work was apparent and I was delighted to

welcome Emma Cohen to work with us on this and the day to day organisation. We have now established

a new Sinai Security Team (SST) of Emma and David Israel, both of whom are experienced in Community


At the time of writing Emma and David are working on the implementation of new systems and

protocols. We are most grateful to them for all their work and I am confident that we will continue to

see the successful implementation and maintenance of our security requirements.

Additional members to the security team are always welcome.

Please contact with any questions or concerns.

Michael Barrie

Portfolio Holder: Security


There is a long tradition at Sinai Synagogue of hosting visits from schools in the region. This has continued

since I took up this role in 2008 due to the retirement of the previous incumbents.

In 2012 I hosted 873 pupils and 163 adults from 26 schools and current 2013 numbers indicate a similar

outcome to last year.

Depending on the age and ability of the class, I cover diversity – who is a Jew Orthodox and Progressive

Judaism, the layout of Synagogues, artefacts, the Hebrew alphabet and language of prayer, the Hebrew

calendar, Jesus and the disciples, the tallit, the 10 Commandments and the 613 Mitzvot; the festivals and

Shabbat, the Everlasting Light, the Ark of the Covenant, Jewish history in the UK and notable Jews.

The highlight of visits is always at the end when we open the Ark, remove and undress a Torah scroll,

discuss the contents and answer questions. It is the ‘wow’ factor that we receive the most letters about.

My content matter being rather factual and thin on theology is mostly suitable for primary schools, whilst

Rabbi Morris covers visits by A Level and University students.

The nature and character of schools covers a wide geographical and social mix: local and from South

Leeds, from Rotherham, Wakefield and surrounding areas and the Yorkshire Dales. The furthest distance

travelled this year was by a school from Greystoke, a village in Cumbria, some 102 miles away.

Likewise, we host youngsters with a wide range of abilities ranging from ‘gifted and talented’ to children

with special educational needs, including some with severe mental and physical disabilities. I am very

grateful to the small band of former primary school teachers who help me with the little ones.

We are receiving more visits from schools with a high proportion of pupils from the Muslim Community

who are very interested in the Abrahamic connection of the two faiths.

I hope you have found this informative but we need your help!

Having celebrated my 39 th birthday – but not recently – we must start planning for somebody to follow on

and take ownership of this important role at Sinai and avoid the gaps in visits of the past. It is fun and

enormously rewarding in the knowledge that you are introducing Jews and Judaism to young minds and

perhaps forming attitudes that will remain with them.

I would be delighted to hear from interested members and invite them to sit in on a visit. The only

qualification required for hosting school visits is the ability to communicate with young people – if I can

do it, anyone can!

Please contact:

Michael Barrie




Sinai Chronicle

The Sinai Chronicle continues under the expert editorship of Val Mogendorff and is published quarterly.

In 2012 we introduced the facility to access the Chronicle via the Sinai website providing choice of access

and saving on printing, paper and postage.


The last twelve months have seen the newsletter morph from email to website and back to email. During

this process many changes have been made to its layout and content for the benefit of our readers.

At the beginning of 2012, the newsletter was edited using a programme called Joomla. This programme

had some shortcomings. To overcome these shortcomings it was decided to transfer the e-newsletter to

its own news website which allowed the editor to better manage links and attachments. Pictures and

leaflets had to be converted to attachments, but could be included and easily managed. This was a big

improvement on the Joomla email system, but still had it faults. Readers had to be informed that the

news website had been updated and provided with a link to access its content.

The need to access links and navigate the web posed some new issues. Although the news website was,

in general, well received and made life much easier for the editor, it was far from perfect. Therefore, it

was decided that we should go back to using an e-mail based distribution system for the newsletter and a

programme called Constant Contact was recommended. This programme is in use with several of our Shul

members, and came highly recommended by them.

Although I had for sometime been receiving personal e-mails from various Jewish organisations (including

the Israeli Embassy and Makor in Leeds) formatted and distributed using Constant Contact, I had not

considered Constant Contact for use by the Shul simply because it is a commercial programme product

and could have been too expensive for our budget - or so I thought.

Constant Contact is used via the Constant Contact website. Therefore, we are not paying for a software

licence, but only for a monthly usage licence. This has proved to be much cheaper for the Shul, and much

less expensive than I had initially expected.

The newsletter is now formatted and distributed using Constant Contact. So far, the new format has been

well received. The ability to include pictures etc. has made the newsletter much more attractive and a

more compelling read.

The news website continues to be used as a central repository for the documents and leaflets linked to

from the Constant Contact newsletter.

The editorship of the newsletter has now been handed over to Ruth Nutter.

Community E-mails

Community e-mails continue to be administered from the Shul office. No changes to this system have

been made during the past twelve months, although there may be some scope to use Constant Contact

for some of the regular e-mail traffic sent out from the office. This option has yet to be considered.


Notice Boards and Leaflet Displays

At a recent Board meeting it was decided that the notice Boards in the foyer are inadequate for the

amount of information that needs to be displayed. It was also agreed at that meeting that we purchase a

new portable free standing notice display for the foyer. So far, I have not been able to source this item

from an outlet where I can guarantee a reasonable compromise between quality and cost.

Foyer Screen

Under the management of Stephen Papillon the effectiveness and quality of the foyer screen displays

have continued to improve. In the longer term it is my hope that the screen will allow us to reduce the

number of leaflets left lying around and not taken or read. The screen is proving to be a very useful tool

for the dissemination of important information to our members and users of our Shul.

Nick Chapler-Smyth

Portfolio: Sinai Publications



It’s been a busy year for Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam. The Community has shown its commitment to

Tzedakah by raising more funds than ever and by becoming involved in an increasing range of activities.


At the last AGM, preparations were well underway for the High Holy Day Appeal 5773/2012.

In January, the Community had been asked to nominate charities and we were able to report that a

working group of Community representatives (representing the demographics of Sinai) were meeting to

establish the criteria to use in selecting the charities to support. Using these criteria the group

recommended the following five charities to the Board:

React is a non-religious charity which helps children who have terminal illnesses and come from

disadvantaged backgrounds

Interactive is a local inter-faith organisation which brings together young Jews, Christians and

Muslims through creative, social and sporting activities

The Leeds Jewish Blind Society works to improve the quality of life for local Jews with visual and

hearing impairments

The UJIA ‘New Beginnings’ project provides health services and welfare for some of Israel’s most

needy communities, including in some Arab towns

The World Union of Progressive Judaism Beit Shmuel Appeal will help a Community Centre for

progressive Jews in Israel

Thanks to Julian and Sheena Rawel, Linda Zack, Miranda Pell, Jenny Lewis and Pippa Brook for their work

on the group and to Geoff Turnbull for his input on equalities issues.

After Matt Thornfield’s rousing request for Community members to give £5 more than they did the

previous year, I am pleased to be able to report that, at the time of writing, we are on target to raise well

in excess of last year’s appeal.

Representatives of three of the charities (LJBS, WUPJ and Interact) have joined us for Chavurah suppers,

during which Community members got the opportunity to speak to members of the organisations about

their work.

For the High Holy Day Appeal 5774/2013 we have used the same nomination and selection process to

choose this year’s five charities and we will be announcing the chosen charities again at the AGM.

In addition to the High Holy Day Appeal, the Sinai Community continues to engage in fundraising

throughout the year. One such example was the Big Bagel Brunch, which was held on October 7 th which

not only raised some money for World Jewish Relief, but also gave people the opportunity to view a DVD

about the work of WJR and, as with all Sinai events, to get to know new friends in the Sinai Community.

Tikkun Olam

2012 started with some perishing weather.

In February it snowed, but this was nothing compared to the bitter temperatures in Central and Eastern

Europe, where vulnerable people were literally freezing to death. Residents of the former Soviet states

were facing winter temperatures almost ten times colder than we were.


Sinai responded to by co-ordinating Operation Winter Survival on behalf of WJR. Val Mogendorff led the

publicity for the appeal and the results were a large van full of warm clothing sent on its way to London –

for onward travel to the freezing, poverty stricken people, with help in transport from Jon Appleson and

the Berwin family.

The picture above shows Pat Falk and Raphi Isserlin preparing to pack Pat’s car full of donated items.

November 18 th marked Mitzvah Day 2012, organised for the Leeds Jewish Community by Sara Saunders.

The international event was based in MAZCC and Sinai members joined members of the Leeds Jewish

Community. Prior to Mizvah Day Tess Ackerman led a study lunch at Sinai to provide an opportunity for

people to explore what the concept of Mitzvah means to them.

We continue to honour our commitment to Leeds City Of Sanctuary in a number of ways. In November,

Sinai member Charlotte Rose co-ordinated a warm clothes collection for asylum seekers and refugees on

behalf of City of Sanctuary. On December 24th a small group of us, organised by Anna Dyson, visited

Angel Lodge in Wakefield.

Angel Lodge is a large Initial Accommodation hostel for asylum seekers. We learnt about the difficult and

varied journeys of people from many different countries whilst Bethany Castle epitomised the energy of

Sinai youth and entertained some of the children at the hostel with a range of circle games.

Since then there have been more visits and we have supported the work of the hostel by successfully

appealing, via Sinai’s Facebook group, for baby and children’s clothes to support individual residents at

the hostel in dire need. It is hoped that we will be able to continue to support Angel Lodge by hosting a

regular women’s group and children’s activities at the lodge.

Rachelle Sanderson

Portfolio Holder: Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam


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