South Coast shul marks di­a­mond an­niver­sary


BOURNEMOUTH RE­FORM Syn­a­gogue has kicked off cel­e­bra­tions for its 60th an­niver­sary with the launch of a web­site.

The web­site, which was de­vised by mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, in­cludes in­for­ma­tion about the con­gre­ga­tion and its ser­vices. It is also be­ing used to link those con­gre­gants who live at a dis­tance from the town. Among its 700 mem­bers, the BRS counts those who live in Winch­ester to the east and past Dorch­ester to the west.

Rabbi Neil Am­swych, the syn­a­gogue’s min­is­ter, told the JC: “In­stead of al­ways ex­pect­ing our mem­bers to come to us, we thought it would help a lot of peo­ple if we went to them.”

He added: “We also wanted a site where peo­ple could com­mu­ni­cate with each other re­gard­less of whether they lived in the next street or 100 miles apart.”

The site in­cludes a fo­rum so that the Bournemouth-based Foun­da­tions Course, started last year by Rabbi Am­swych for mem­bers and pros­e­lytes, can be ex­plored on­line. Now long-dis­tance con­verts can study at home and at­tend ser­vices in Southamp­ton or on the Isle of Wight. Via the site, they can also ar­range a monthly lunch and study ses­sions with Rabbi Am­swych and his wife, stu­dent rabbi Jenny.

A chatroom has been set up so that younger mem­bers from Dorset, Hamp­shire, and the Isle of Wight can safely chat to one an­other.

“Our mem­bers can learn, share and so­cialise with each other with­out hav­ing to pay petrol or ferry costs,” added Rabbi Am­swych.

The BRS also hopes to es­tab­lish more “chavu­rah” groups, such as the one in Sal­is­bury which was be­gun in De­cem­ber. “If other Jews on the South Coast see what we are do­ing and want help in set­ting up their own group, we have the tools and the will to help, and are able to bring them into a larger fam­ily,” said stu­dent rabbi Am­swych.

Rabbi Tony Bay­field, head of the Move­ment for Re­form Ju­daism, com­mented: “Bournemouth is lead­ing the way with the Re­form Move­ment’s 2020 Vi­sion. It ac­cepts its re­spon­si­bil­ity for Jews in a very wide ‘parish’. It is reach­ing out to peo­ple where they are and re­spond­ing to their needs. Only this kind of open and sen­si­tive approach of­fers Bri­tish Jewry — par­tic­u­larly Bri­tish Jewry ‘out­side of the ghetto’ — hope for the fu­ture.”

Fu­ture events to cel­e­brate the com­mu­nity’s di­a­mond an­niver­sary in­clude a reded­i­ca­tion Shab­bat in June.


Some 90 peo­ple at­tended a cabaret evening or­gan­ised by Brighton and Hove Pro­gres­sive Syn­a­gogue. Among the 12 per­fomers were vi­o­lin­ist Hans Levy, who cel­e­brates his 80th birth­day next month. Pic­tured with Mr Levy is 15-year-old vi­o­lin­ist Tilly Kearey. The event, held at the shul’s Mon­te­fiore Hall, raised around £800 for syn­a­gogue funds

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