BLOG: Thank You Thursdays! #2
In response to the real difficulties being faced during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Jewish community has responded with great tenacity, creativity and resilience. One of the core commandments of Judaism is to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ – and we are seeing evidence of this teaching being actualised throughout the country.
In addition to expressing our gratitude to key workers every Thursday evening, we want to show our appreciation to those who have responded to the call to help their local communities through volunteering. Each Thursday, we will be highlighting a few individuals who have taken on the pioneering and caring Jewish spirit, so we can say ‘Thank You’ for their work on behalf of the entire UK Jewish Community and from all those who are benefiting from their efforts.
If you would like to recommend someone to be featured in upcoming weeks, please email our Community Engagement Officer, Lauren Keiles, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Thursday – May 14th 2020
Maya Glantz – New London Synagogue and RSY Netzer
Maya, 19, is making and selling tie dye tracksuits with all the proceeds being donated to The Felix Project, a charity feeding the most vulnerable in society. To order a tracksuit, you can contact Maya via Instagram (@mayaglantz). Maya also started another charity making specialised gift boxes for teenage Cancer patients at the UCLH where she was previously treated. If you are able to donate to this, please do so here.
Linda De Rose – Pinner Shul
Linda has been working tirelessly to shop for her neighbours and fellow Shul members. She is regularly calling lots of community members in isolation and is always doing all that she can to help those in need. She is truly wonderful.
Harvey Freeman, Robert Fogel and Leah Brand – Hendon United Synagogue
Hendon United Synagogue have created a buddy system by which volunteers are in touch with all members over 70. Harvey, Robert and Leah are all buddieds. Leah has researched and formulated a list of kosher local establishments that will deliver food which is then sent to the US head office and published each week. They have also established a WhatsApp group of volunteers. All volunteers are worthy of praise, with Harvey and Robert deserving special praise, always responding first to help.
Sonia Strong – Merseyside Jewish Community
Sonia was born in Magdeburg, made Aliyah at aged 4 in 1934 and then moved to Liverpool. She was a prime mover in the Womens Group campaigning for Soviet Jewry, previously WIZO doyenne and Chair of the Merseyside WIZO appeal. At nearly 90, the restrictions have put a temporary stop to her tremendous interfaith work but she has not stopped putting a smile on people’s faces as seen with her entry to the JNF’s Song Ha’atzmaut Competition.
Justine Hassell, Anne Phillips, Dawn Stoller – Barnet Synagogue
Justine is the first point of contact and has co-ordinated efforts to provide regular phone calls to the entire community including shopping services all whilst having a full time job! She contacts our bereaved with sensitivity and compassion and puts into action all practical measures needed. She has been developing new initiatives, ensures everyone is on task with a huge smile, sensible temperament and huge kindness.
Anne is a dedicated volunteer who has organised all the volunteer callers and recipients. Initially, she matched over 300 over 70s with a volunteer within the first week and has dealt with all action points which have come about following these calls to maintain and update our support database.
Dawn is our part time Shabbat co-ordinator who is now working way above her regular hours as the Food Provision Co-ordinator, organising food for community members over Pesach and arranging both shoppers and deliveries in order to minimise the communities movements and maximise efficiency and social distancing.
Rosalyn Graham/Skelker – Bushey United Synagogue
Rosalyn left her part-time job and started collating some items requested by the nurses at her local hospital. From working with her friend Sam to set up a gofundme page, she has now organised donations to the charity ‘Raise’ and has bought PPE and other essential items to donate to several hospitals. Rosalyn is coordinating regular donations from local community members, food suppliers and charities, leading to donations of 3000 custard tarts, 100 vegan salads and beautiful hand drawn letters for front line staff regularly turning up at her door. Rosalyn is involved with the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Chamber of Conscience’. Without the dedicated work of HM Chief Lieutenant of Hertfordshire Mr Robert Voss CBE, many charitable deeds through this wouldn’t have happened. Rosalyn has also helped with her Synagogues ‘Bushey Gives Back’ initiative, organised donations for the New Home Homeless Centre all whilst trying to help her son through his schoolwork.