A growing membership
the synagogue’s doors and spend countless hours making sure they can offer support to these people in need, all out of the kindness of their own hearts.”
On Sunday mornings at Menorah Synagogue, members offer tea and bagels in the foyers to congregants — some cheder parents, others coming for an adult education course, others attending a social action meeting.
“I came because I’d like to do something practical through the synagogue,” said one woman. “I’m not a particularly religious person, but I’ve got spare time to do something, so the idea of social action appeals to me. This is my only link with other Jewish people.”
Not everyone might come to shul on Shabbat or Yomtov morning. One of the programmes at Brondesbury Synagogue is an ice cream party for children on Shavuot.
“This is a chance for the cheder kids who’ve just come out of their non-Jewish schools to experience Shavuot,” said its rabbi. “Though it’s open to the whole community, that’s our key target group.”
When a young single man in Leeds felt there was little for his peers to do, he was able to start a new social group, Jewish Mean Time (JMT) at Beth Hamidrash Hagadol with the backing of its rabbis.
“The launch brought in about 150 participants,” he said.
“To maintain a level of 60 people on Friday night or Purim events for Leeds is massive and has superseded anything that’s gone before it… One of the reasons why JMT has succeeded is because of rabbinical involvement.”