8 months ago

KLS-Annual Report-17-18-ONLINE

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

Operations Administrator

Operations Administrator Council took the decision not to make a permanent appointment immediately to the position of Synagogue Administrator after Helen Mendelson’s departure in 2016. We wanted to wait until Rabbi René had arrived and could help select Helen’s successor. In the interim our Finance Manager Karen Nicholas and community member Frank Wuggenig held the fort admirably. We are very grateful to them. And the policy of waiting to fill the permanent role paid off – Diane Snapper, who joined us only in August 2017, has very quickly become a valuable and valued part of KLS. Publicity Barbara Richards continued to look after KLS press and public relations during 2017. We had coverage for our major events in both the Jewish and local press. Coverage in local papers and online publications keeps members in touch with events and provides good publicity in the local community and helps to attract new members. We hope that the publicity KLS is able to generate gives a picture of the kind of community we are, both to prospective new members and to anyone else interested in us. Press coverage 2017 • Kingston Synagogues unite for Holocaust Memorial Day workshops – article in Surrey Comet, 19 January • A whole weekend of celebration as Kingston turns 50 – article in Liberal Judaism Today, May. • Kingston reaches a liberal landmark – article in Jewish Chronicle, 30 April • Kingston Liberal Synagogue confirms its new rabbi – article in Surrey Comet, and Kingston Guardian, 16 October • Going French in Kingston – article in Jewish Chronicle, 20 October • Kingston Liberal Synagogue inducts new rabbi – article in European Union for Progressive Judaism newsletter, October • Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel inducted at Kingston – article in Liberal Judaism Today, October. We are also grateful to Jenny Woolfe for her two-page article on KLS in the Winter 2017 edition of Thames Ditton Today, the magazine of the Thames Ditton and Weston Green Residents Association. Social media The Twitter feed which Barbara set up as “KingstonLibShul” in November 2010 now has 301 followers, and has done 630 tweets. This carries our press coverage to a different audience and may eventually pick up a younger following. Most followers are local to Kingston, Esher and Elmbridge. The KingstonLiberalSynagogue Facebook page has 161 total followers, and 158 total likes. Andrée Frieze admins the page and keeps it fresh and current by regulary posting events and news. A private Facebook group, visible only to members who have joined it, has 86 members. It provides a useful means for members to share information within the community. Website The website continues to provide a public face for KLS to interested outsider and potential new members. The section “News” carries news of recent events at KLS, and “Galleries” has recent photos. The Google alert makes sure we pick up all mentions of KLS online. New members We are grateful that after a long period without a membership secretary, Mary Simmons agreed to take on this role. It involves liaising with people interested in becoming members and with new members, being a point of contact for any questions and introducing them to other members, particularly those who might share similar interests. The same applies to “friends” – non-Jews interested in being associated with KLS. The number of new members has been rising since Rabbi René‘s appointment and we are actively working to increase this. Weekly bulletin Members are kept regularly updated with news and upcoming events within the KLS community. What’s On @ KLS is emailed weekly to all members who have provided an email address. The email also lists people included on the coming week’s duty rotas. Event details are also posted on our website A few members not on email receive through the post about every two months a printed listing of upcoming events and a collection of the news that has appeared in the weekly emails over the previous month. A small number of the printed monthly listings are also available in the leaflet rack in the Mosaic Room. Kingston News Quarterly Jenny Woolfe has continued in the role as editor of the KLS quarterly magazine during 2017. She aims to mix coverage of major KLS events with articles and stories of Jewish interest sourced from the internet; which many readers don’t have the time, or the know-how, to find themselves. KNQ acts as a permanent record of members and events, to be used in future when, again, we celebrate a historic anniversary. Articles are positive and uplifting– something we all need in the present climate! We thank those members who submitted articles and would welcome many more! (Please write to 22 – KLS Annual Report 2017

Building maintenance Seymour Kelly took over the role in Council of Buildings officer from April 2017 onwards. This was followed by the appointment of Diane Snapper in the role of administrator and together they have been tackling the backlog in various maintenance areas. We are working on having policies and procedures in place for all areas of activity but we have started with Fire Policy and Procedures and are working through actions arising from a fire risk assessment that was undertaken in autumn 2017. Because of the size and age of the building there are always maintenance issues. Thanks go to Vili our cleaner and caretaker who continues to keep very high standards of cleanliness on the premises. Sanctuary improvement project We are currently assessing what improvements can be made to the sanctuary in order make it a more spiritual place to worship and enhance its atmosphere. This has generated a lot of interest and some interesting changes like the polishing of the ten commandments and the installation of a tallit holder. However now that we have our new rabbi in place we have decided to go back to the community to ask their opinions and will be organising a couple of open meetings in the next few months to find out what the congregation would like before taking toe project forward. Particular thanks go to Philip Lyons for creating the tallit holder, Linda Stone, Mary Simmons, Steve Farrer and Mark Woolfe for working on the ten commandments. Garden project The synagogue Council has given the go ahead for a garden to be created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of KLS. The new garden will provide a space for celebrating festivals, a social space for open air events and a venue for welcoming visitors to KLS. A plan has been finalised and a contractor has been identified. Funding is in place and we hope the work will start on the project in May 2018. The garden will rely on the participation and generosity of the community in providing planters, garden furniture and of course plants. Thanks to Steve Farrer who came up with the initial plan and design and to Yaara Kaplan and Vince Daly for their contributions to garden committee. Lettings Caterpillars Nursery continues to be the main user of the premises apart from KLS. The synagogue building has also been used an electoral polling station and as a venue for the Bridge club and Krav Maga. We are interested in finding further tenants for the venue when KLS is not in use to maximise use of the building and provide additional income for KLS. Library In the coming year the focus will be on the library and how it can be used more effectively by the community. Security Over the last year our members have undertaken nearly 200 security duties. They have supported Friday night services, Beiteinu, High Holy Days, HMD Workshops and many more. As impressive as this is, it highlights how much we rely on members to contribute their time and the fact that there are still many times when people are unable to support us shows that we still need many more people to help with this very important mitzvah. We extend a big thank you to all those that have given up their time to help us this past year, whose help is greatly appreciated. As we move forward, the challenge of keeping the synagogue safe for our members is not going to go away and as more activities extend the hours that the building is in use the need to reconsider how we maintain security is growing. It is for this reason that Andrew Mendelson has decided that after 10 years in the role of Security Officer the time is right for someone else to embrace the challenge with a fresh perspective and will be stepping down from the end of March 2018. We are very grateful for Andrew’s great contribution in this role over the last 10 years. Lock-up There are now 7 kind volunteers who act as a steward for the Shabbat evening service, and lock-up the synagogue after the Friday night service. We are always hoping to have new volunteers, and it is clear that the commitment (usually is less than once every 2 months) is not very onerous. We are grateful to Mark Woolfe (rota coordinator), Judith Osorio, Jenny Osorio, Lilian Somers, Frank Wuggenig, Richard Berman and Vince Daly for volunteering to do KLS Friday lock-up. Infrastructure 23 – KLS Annual Report 2017

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