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KLS-Annual Report-17-18-ONLINE

Kingston Liberal Synagogue - Annual Report 2017 A review of our 50th anniversary year

Wider Community Wider

Wider Community Wider Community Exploring how we can work together towards bettering our society. Kingston Interfaith Forum KLS member Fleur Standring represents us on the Kingston Interfaith Forum (KIFF) where matters of common interest are discussed by representatives of the various local faith groups. One example of KIFF-supported interfaith cooperation is the annual Holocaust Memorial Day event organised by Kingston Borough. In the most recent of these the KLS choir made a well-received contribution. Interfaith Chanukah party In 2017, KLS also organised a very well attended interfaith Chanukah event at which members of several faith groups talked about how “lights” feature in their religious tradition and collaborated in the lighting of the KLS chanukiah before enjoying refreshments in our social hall. School visits KLS hosts visits from several hundred young people each year. Many of these come to attend one of the Holocaust Memorial Day workshops that we run jointly with Kingston’s orthodox synagogue. These workshops are designed to make teenage school children aware of the dangers of prejudice and racism. In 2017 our workshop coordinator Sandra Webber, was interviewed for local TV (available on YouTube). Groups of younger school children also visit us to learn something about Judaism as a complement to their school curriculum. Mitzvah Day KLS participates in “Mitzvah Day” each November when synagogue congregations do a good deed (“Mitzvah”) in their local area. In recent years, with Lilian Somers coordinating, KLS has been involved in • collecting toiletries and food for ‘Equinox’ a South London Mental Health Charity • collecting for the Kingston ‘Food Bank’ • helping with a late-season garden tidy up at Welcare House, a Charity supporting parents with young children • entertaining the residents at a local nursing home with a musical medley led by our choir director. High Holy Day Appeal Each year, at the time of the High Holy Day services, KLS members make a communal donation to a small number of nominated charities. Typically the selected charities will include one that is local to KLS, a UK non-Jewish charity, a UK Jewish charity and a charity in Israel that is pursuing social justice. In 2017 the 20 – KLS Annual Report 2017

Wider Community recipient charities were • Learn English at Home - a small local charity helping isolated people, including refugees and migrants, to learn enough practical, everyday English to communicate and participate in their local community • The Rainbow Trust, which supports families who have a child with a life threatening or terminal illness • Givat Haviva, working in Israel to establish Jewish/ Arab partnership projects in the social, educational and commercial spheres • KLS’s own 50th anniversary fund, whose ambitions include establishing a paved “garden” area that can be used for outdoor socials and services at the synagogue. East European communities For many years, KLS has been twinned with Simferopol’s Ner Tamid congregation in the Crimea. Financial support comes from our “East European Fund” which is used to support the renewal of progressive Judaism in countries of the former Soviet Union. Led by KLS member Linda Stone, we have also been developing connections with the town of Tabor in the Czech Republic, home to one of our Torah Scrolls prior to Nazi occupation, and with a US congregation researching another scroll from Tabor. Our annual “Czech Scrolls” service celebrates the rescue of our three Czech scrolls and commemorates their former communities. In 2017 we incorporated our observation of Remembrance Day into our Czech Scrolls service. Board of Deputies KLS supports the interests of the wider UK Jewish community through its representation on the Board of Deputies of British Jews. In recent years KLS has been ably represented by Gabriel Webber and Sam Alston, two of its young adult members. Liberal Judaism KLS is a constituent synagogue of Liberal Judaism (LJ), a leading denomination of progressive Judaism within the UK. It supports rabbinic training and its national office develops new LJ communities and supports existing communities. In 2017, it provided KLS with student rabbi support and fundraising assistance. Some KLS members also attended the LJ Day of Celebration. 21 – KLS Annual Report 2017

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