Chairman’s Letter – October 2015

 

Dear Members,

My last letter to you was sent before Rosh Hashanah. Re-reading it now, makes me realise what an exceptionally busy period it’s been. I seem to be saying that almost every month, but it’s true because the shul and the community is so vibrant. I do hope you all enjoyed the Yomim Noraim, the High Holydays, and are feeling spiritually refreshed. I hope you will all agree with me that the effort which was put in by so many people into ensuring that things ran well over that period was not wasted. I would particularly like to thank the Rabbi & Nechama, along with Tamar F for their very hard work, and this was noticeable outwardly by the wonderful banners which were made to ensure that everyone knew what was happening, when, and where in the shul premises. Behind this, you will appreciate that many people had input – including all those who were involved with Youth activities. We were so much better organised in this regard, in that there were specific rooms allocated with specific activities for different children’s age groups. It is always a very busy period for Moishe and Martine in the shul office, getting ready for this period, and trying to do 5 days work in 3 (as working members do too!), so thank you to them as well.

I hope you enjoyed the Breakfast Kiddush on 2nd day Rosh Hashanah. our Catering Team along with Craig and his staff, did an amazing job. They were working from 6am to ensure it was all ready for 10.30. Thanks to everyone who was involved. I have only had positive feedback.

SECURITY

Thanks to our unsung heroes, the Security Team and of course all of you who are on the Security rota. If you are not on the rota – please join. Any able bodied person, (male or female) of any age group can take a session, inside if you prefer. We also need people to volunteer occasionally for additional security sessions for other events at shul. Problems could just as easily arise NOT on a Shabbat or Yomtov. Please don’t leave it to the ‘few’.

We had 250 people at the Simchat Torah lunch, and to the best of my knowledge everyone enjoyed it. Our Chatanim, Eshet Chayil & younger recipients all really felt very special, and as I told them, everyone likes to be made a fuss of, occasionally. The Rabbi ensured that everything ran to time, the service finished at 12.15pm, and we ensured that the lunch and speeches did not run late. I hope you agree it was a wonderful ‘simcha’.

Mazal Tov to those members who have been, or are about to celebrate something special – a special birthday or anniversary, or a simcha. We have continued to have so many simachot, and many beautiful kiddushim to enhance our Shabbatot. Thank you to members for wanting to share their special occasions with the community.

Condolences to those of you who have suffered a bereavement, and I take this opportunity also to send the community’s sincere condolences to Monika, the shul cleaner, known to all of you, as her father passed away very suddenly, in Poland. She was of course in Poland for a week, but then came straight back to work. We all wish her and her family only happier times in the future.

Following my announcement in last month’s newsletter regarding the planned appointment of students as youth madrichim, I’d like to publicly welcome the first two to be appointed – Izzy S and Alex D, who started working at the shul just before Rosh Hashanah. They organised a lot of activities and were very well received. We are hoping to appoint 2 more youth madrichim soon, so that the load can be shared; there can be diversity of activities, and also they can cover every weekend shared between them.

Our more mature members will have noted that we have recommenced the Monday afternoon Games Session initially on an irregular basis. This came on the back of a comment I received that whilst we were putting a lot of effort into providing youth and children’s activities, we must not neglect our older members. I do hope many of you will come along to support the games afternoon. In addition of course there is the regular Coffee and Bagel morning; the History and Book Clubs and if there is any activity you feel you’d like to see, please let me know and we will consider finding someone to run it. (Or maybe you’d like to organise something yourself!!).

As you know, my emphasis has always been on communication – I am very keen to be open and transparent, even when what I have to communicate is not positive. Sadly therefore, I have to say I am still concerned and disappointed that some parents are, at times, allowing their children to ‘run wild’ (literally) on the shul premises. This is happening moreso on a Shabbat. We aim to be a very child friendly shul, welcoming young families. We want to see the children in shul, and we do not want to be a ‘shushing’ shul.

However we do feel that parents need to ensure they take control and not leave their youngsters unattended. There is a children’s service, as you know, at 11am for 30 minutes every Shabbat. The youth leaders will be around, and hopefully will organise activities to entertain the children wherever possible. Safety and Security are important, and of course we would prefer not to have children running around as we need to consider the comfort of other members who wish to have uninterrupted prayer. It would be appreciated if children are not allowed to walk in and out of shul during the Rabbi’s sermons as this is very distracting both for him and for his ‘audience’. I hope you will take this comment in the spirit it is intended. We want the shul to be a happy place for everyone.

Upcoming events 2015/16

Many of you will have seen the ‘flyer’ with a list of upcoming events running right the way up to Shavuot 2016. It gives you an idea of how much is happening, as well as the opportunity to make a note of dates for your diaries, well in advance!

Please note that we are soon to announce the details of the Yeshurun trip to Poland – led by Rabbi Chanan, 1st – 3rd May 2016. Places will be limited – watch out for the information. This will involve a visit to Krakow and Auschwitz. The price will include flights, transportation, accommodation, all meals and guiding. Once it is announced, please book immediately to prevent disappointment.

The 2016 Yeshurun Camping Trip will be held at the end of May – if you didn’t come on the last one, I can highly recommend considering it – it was the most incredible experience – Shabbat under the Stars. Hopefully there will be accommodation, as last time, for those who do not wish to sleep under canvas. Watch out for the more detailed information to be announced.

 

Friday Night Services

Rabbi Chanan, as mentioned previously, is very keen to try and attract more members to come along on Friday nights to the Shabbat service, especially as we are now into the autumn period when the service times are more acceptable. Friday night is, as you know, a short service of approximately 45 minutes, with lovely tunes and a unique atmosphere. It would be very special to have more of our young families come along with their children….watch this space, but feel free to come along anyway in the meanwhile – it happens every week, without fail!

MINYANIM

For some reason we have been struggling a little recently with our minyanim. Please consider joining our “Minyanairres Club”. You will always be made welcome. We are now having Mincha at lunchtime, currently 1.30pm but shortly reverting to 1pm & Maariv will remain at 7.30pm….through the winter months. Your support would be most appreciated, especially by those wishing to say Kaddish. If you never normally come midweek, attending a service once or twice a week would be so helpful.

SHABBAT UK

I’m sure by now you MUST all be aware that this weekend is Shabbat UK – initiated by the Chief Rabbi. This is held worldwide, and last year at Yeshurun it was a great success. This year we have aimed even higher with the most amazing programme of events commencing Thursday (this) evening (22nd) with the Challah Bake at Event City for the Ladies. The YMCA – “Yeshurun Mens Cholent Association” – will be donning aprons to make Cholent for the Kiddunch on Shabbat – to ease this process, we are also having a whisky tasting session at the same time! From Friday night right through to Saturday night, Motzei Shabbat, we have activities for all age groups. There are  special services, a cholent kiddunch, followed by ‘Yeshmud’ sessions; the ‘Trial of Abraham’, and an afternoon tea seudah, followed by Maariv and Havdalah. Then there is the Communal South Manchester Havdalah, with the Chief Rabbi, and Eli Tamir entertaining, at Hale shul.

A Yeshurun Shabbat UK Brochure has been printed which is spectacular, outlining everything that is going on. I really hope EVERYONE rises to the challenge to ‘Keep it Together’ and join in – even if it is not your regular habit. Come along, you won’t be disappointed. Thanks to Rabbi Chanan for leading and inspiring our Shabbat UK Sub Committee, and everyone involved. When you hear how good it was, don’t say we didn’t warn you!!

THANKS

On a personal note, can I thank all of you for your concern during my recent indisposition. I was unwell for a few weeks, and unable to attend shul during Succot. I am feeling much better now.

To aid my recuperation (!) Lesley and I are going to be away for 5 weeks from the 8th November, until the 14th December, last day Chanukah. During my absence, my Vice Chairman, Gail T (vicechairman@yeshurun.org.uk) will be available for any queries.

Meanwhile  I  wish  all  of  you  all  the  very  best,  a  Happy  Chanukah,  and  of  course  my  next Chairman’s letter will not be until December/ January!

(please do try and contain your disappointment…..)

Kindest regards

Tony Kaye

Yeshurun Chairman


Chairman’s Letter – September 2015

Dear Members,

I trust you have all had an enjoyable (if somewhat wet) August. The Rabbi and Nechama and the children have now returned from their camping holiday. For those of you who have also been away on holiday, I hope you feel refreshed and are ready to embark on the “spiritual refresher course” which is once again upon us so quickly.

Mazal Tov to those who have been celebrating in August – we have in the community shared quite a few special birthdays and anniversaries, and we must also wish hearty congratulations and ‘well done’ to our teenagers who are celebrating examination results.

I hope those of you who went on the trip to Buckingham Palace enjoyed your day out. I know the Rabbi did!

We are now in the month of Ellul of course, and Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Succot are almost here so the Gabbaim and the Shul Office team have been working hard to get everything together for the Yomim Noraim, trying our best to ensure all runs smoothly.

Service times have already been sent out, but of course are included with this month’s Newsletter. We are once again welcoming Chazan Newman who will be leading the services in the main shul, and Josh Caplan, who will be in the Shacter Hall on Rosh Hashanah. I am sure you will, as always, make them both very welcome. Please note the second service, for the youth, and anyone else who wishes to join in, will be in the Shacter Hall on Rosh Hashanah, and in the Beth Hamedrash on Yom Kippur.

The Rabbi has decided to hold a ‘Breakfast Kiddush’ on 2nd day Rosh Hashanah, which will take place at 10.30am, before the blowing of the shofar at 11am. This is quite an organisational feat, so we say a big thank you to our catering team, and Craig for pulling this together. We do hope to see many of you there! The service will commence earlier on that morning, aiming not to finish later than usual.

We have tried to make sure that children’s services are suitably organised, and this information will be circulated separately. The Rabbi & Nechama, along with the Youth Parents Committee, the Gabbaim and the Board have all been involved. Rotas have been arranged to ensure all the age groups have supervision at the designated times, and rooms specified for the various age groups. Notices will be displayed in shul to make this clear.

However, as mentioned before, we would ask that parents do take responsibility for ensuring they know where their children are at all times. Safety and Security are important, and of course we would prefer not to have children running around as we need to consider the comfort of other members who wish to have uninterrupted prayer. It would be appreciated if children are not allowed to walk in and out of shul during the Rabbi’s sermons as this is very distracting.

Simchat Torah is not until October, so there is plenty to do before then. However, please do give thought to coming along to those celebrations, on Monday evening 5th, & Tuesday morning 6th October. We will again be serving a L’Chaim, hot soup and a roll after the service on the Monday evening, and there will of course be a lunch on Tuesday after the service. As we did last year, we will be requesting that members notify us in advance if they wish to come to the lunch, for catering purposes. It is extremely difficult to cater when we have no idea how many people will be attending, as I am sure you can appreciate. As this is funded from your subscriptions, we want to ensure that it is managed cost effectively! We have considered at Board level, whether to make a small charge for this event, as many other shuls do, but we all feel it is not part of the ethos of our community to do so, so we have discounted this idea.

Hopefully you have all notified the shul office if you wish to offer or receive hospitality over the Yom Tov period. If not, please email or phone the office before Friday 11th September.

The new term for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah classes is now beginning, and I know the Rabbi and Nechama have put a lot of effort into the programmes, to make them valuable for the youngsters who are participating. Whilst it is not compulsory, we really would like all children who are in the preceding year to their Bar or Bat Mitzvah to take part. It must be worthwhile, and I would hope all parents will encourage their children to come along.

I would inform the community that a lot of thought and action has been taking place behind the scenes, to revitalise youth activity within the community. We have been considering each of four different age groups and how best to provide activities for them. Once again, the Rabbi and Nechama, along with the Youth Parents Committee have been working closely together on this, with the full support of the Board and Council. We are in the process of recruiting students from Manchester University to assist us. We will be announcing more about youth activities shortly.

We are also hoping to shortly recommence the Monday afternoon ‘senior’ games afternoon which was very popular in the past. This is to complement the activities in South Manchester for the ‘more mature’ members – Coffee, Bagel and Chat at Yeshurun, (which is very successful and attracts around 80 – 100 people every time), as well as Club Thursday which meets every Thursday afternoon at the Manchester Bridge Club on Palatine Road, in Didsbury – they also have very interesting speakers, and a sumptuous afternoon tea for a very modest cost.

The Rabbi has some ‘plans up his sleeve’ as he is very keen to try and attract more members to come along on Friday nights to the Shabbat service, especially as we are now moving into the autumn period when the service times are more acceptable. Friday night is, as you know, a short service of approximately 45 minutes, with lovely tunes and a unique atmosphere. It would be very special to have more of our young families come along with their children….watch this space, but feel free to come along anyway in the meanwhile – it happens every week, without fail!

Of course, don’t forget, and please note in your diaries, we are making lots of plans for Shabbat UK which is Shabbat 23rd / 24th October. See the flyers regarding this, including the Challah Bake at Event City which will be a massive event this year. There is something special for the men, on the Thursday night, 22nd October too. Please keep your diaries free for Shabbat UK @ Yeshurun. We want you to come along and be part of this very special communal Shabbat.

If you live outside the immediate area, consider staying over with a local family on that Friday night….I am sure many families will be happy to offer accommodation. The idea is to have a truly Shomer Shabbat, which will be inspirational and spiritually uplifting.

Thanks to everyone for their support of the minyanim during the summer period – we really do appreciate people making the effort to come along. I hope you will continue to do so, and become part of the regular ‘minyan club’ (that is how it feels). You will always be made welcome.

Please do donate generously, as you always do, to the Rosh Hashanah Yeshurun appeal, which supports national and local, Jewish and Non Jewish charities; as well as supporting the UJIA Kol Nidrei Appeal.

Finally, on behalf of Lesley and myself along with the Board and Council, I wish everyone a Shana Tovah, a happy and enjoyable Rosh Hashanah, with good health in the year ahead, and of course I hope everyone has an easy fast on Yom Kippur.

Kindest regards

Tony Kaye


Chairman’s Letter – August 2015

1 August 2015

Dear Member

I thought I would give a brief overview of recent and upcoming events before many of you go off on your holidays….

July has been somewhat quieter, and considerably wetter than June, but nonetheless celebrations have been enjoyed.

Mazeltov to those who have had simchot in the past month or so – including Lisa & Jonathan on Carly’s wedding, Suzanne and Jeremy on Joshua’s wedding; special birthdays of Harold S, Carol G, Malcolm J, and of course, if you were in shul last Shabbat, 8 of us celebrating our 60th birthdays in 2015 – the ‘1955ers’.

On Sunday it was Tisha B’Av, the Fast of 9th Av, and the event organised by the Rabbi was a great success – ‘A Morning or Mourning’ when considerable numbers turned up throughout the morning to take part in the various sessions as advertised. I would not wish to say that it was ‘enjoyed’ as it is the saddest day in the Jewish Calendar, remembering the loss of the Temple and various other events which took place in our history on the 9th Av. However, I am sure everyone would agree that Rabbi Chanan and Nechama put considerable effort into involving many more people than perhaps have been in the past. I hope that you fasted well, and recovered quickly –

it is a very long day for a fast, finishing so late in the evening.

At Yeshurun we are of course gearing up now for the Yomim Noraim and will be sending out information in the next few weeks regarding all the High Festival service times and other important information regarding the various services, and activities. We are again trying something different this year, in relation to the two services, so watch this space!

A lot of thought is going into how best to provide appropriate activities for the youngsters in the Community for the High Festivals. The Rabbi and Nechama, along with the Gabbaim, Youth Parents Committee and the Board & Council have all been discussing this. Arrangements will be announced in due course, once finalised.

However, we would also ask that parents do take responsibility for ensuring they know where their children are at all times, especially as we do have to consider safety and security, and the comfort of other members who wish to have uninterrupted prayer.

Please give thought to coming along to the Simchat Torah celebrations on Monday evening 5th and Tuesday morning 6th October. As we did last year, we will be asking people to notify us in advance if they wish to come to lunch, so we can cater appropriately. It would be a shame to be wasteful, and equally a shame if we were not prepared for the numbers.

In the month ahead, we have more simchot and I wish Mazal Tov to Susan and Elliot on Hannah’s wedding, Dawn & David on Matthew’s wedding, and to Judith & Arthur, Lesley and Stanley, and Elaine and Bernard who are making kiddushim for their special anniversaries. If I’ve missed anyone, I apologise.

 

Don’t forget, if you would like to offer, or receive hospitality over the YomTov period please contact the shul office, and Liaison will deal with this in the strictest confidence.

I hope those of you going to Buckingham Palace with ‘in-house@yeshurun’ have a wonderful day trip. I have been in the past and it is a wonderful experience.

A reminder that we are looking for all the hidden (and not so hidden) talent@Yeshurun. There is to be a “Yeshurun’s Got Talent” evening in November and the first rehearsal is on Sunday 6th September. If you cannot make that date or require more information please email  talent@yeshurun.org.uk. 

I hope that the weather improves for everyone, and that you have a restful and enjoyable month and of course we will be communicating with you in the next few weeks.

We really would appreciate support for the minyanim over the holiday period, especially as the Rabbi and his twins will not be around! We do have a number of Ovelim who wish to say Kaddish.

One final point, there will be no Chairman’s surgery this month.

With very best wishes to all of you and I look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Tony Kaye

Yeshurun Chairman


Chairman’s Letter – April 2015.

April 2015

Dear Member

I hope you are all enjoying the Spring weather….and also that you enjoyed Purim and Pesach…now a(distant) memory! The communal seder was a great success, as it was last year too, and I do hope that more of you will be encouraged to come along next year. We may move the shul seder to the second night, to encourage even greater numbers in attendance.

Every month when I start to compose my communal letter, I think how fantastic it is that there is so much communal activity, in so many different forms.

 

April and May are busy months at Yeshurun as you can see from this month’s newsletter. We are getting new members joining the community and a lot of interest, notably at the younger family end, which is great news. Rabbi Chanan and Nechama are networking actively to encourage people to come along, and hopefully to join our wonderful ‘kehilla’.

This week I (and many Yeshurun members) attended the wonderfully supported, emotional Yom Hashoah event, at Event City, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. There must have been over 2000 people there. It was heart rending, moving and stimulating. If you didn’t go, you missed something very special.

Next week it is of course Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Ha’atzmaut both of which are being marked by large events in North Manchester, and I hope that our members will join those two events, as advertised in the Shul Newsletter. But in addition, see the letter from Rabbi Chanan and Nechama inviting you to our Yeshurun ceremony on Wednesday 22nd April, in the evening.

Next weekend, 24/25th April, the Rabbi has organised YESHABBAT – a special shabbaton commencing with Friday night dinner, plus a special Shabbat morning service for young adults, with their own cholent kiddush! There are still places available if you are 39 or below!

Downstairs, in the main shul, also on 25th April, we have a visiting ‘Scholar in Residence’ Rabbi Grunstein, who will be speaking on Shabbat followed by a very special kiddush, in honour of Leonard Kaufmann’s retirement from the shul office and his 80th birthday.

Shavuot is now on the horizon, of course, and the Rabbi is busy organising the Tikkun Leil Shavuot event. You may remember, whether you came or not last year, that we had a magnificent event, supported by about 80 people most of whom had never been to a Tikkun Leil shavuot before. The Rabbi is keen to make it bigger and even better this year, but of course it relies on everyone’s support. It is on Motzei Shabbat 23rd May, into the early hours of the morning (!), starting with a communal dinner! Please diarise the date, and give it consideration…be open minded…and what have you got to lose? It is a Bank Holiday weekend too, so no early morning required after the event!! Watch for the ‘flyer’ with more details coming out shortly. You can stay for as long or short a time as you wish..no pressure. We hope to have interesting talks as we did last time, but with a different format this year.

Yeshurun is proud to be hosting the Annual Provincial President’s Conference (for all Shul Presidents outside London) this year on June 7th. The Chief Rabbi will be visiting us once again (twice in two months….how special for us). We are busy planning the event, and hope to be hosting presidents and vice presidents from all over the UK.

Another date for your diary is a speaker evening on Tuesday 23rd JUNE, when the Events

Committee have a high profile, Premiership Football Referee coming to talk….”Balls, Bangers and Barms”!! This should be a most interesting evening. If you are not enthusiastic about football, please still mention it to friends and relatives who are….I’m told Anthony Taylor is a great speaker, and it should be a fun evening for men and women!

The newsletter contains information on all the up and coming events over the next month, the Book club, the Coffee Bagel and Chat event amongst others, and don’t forget of course the regular daily and weekly activities – Gentlemen’s Discussion Group every Tuesday, SEED every Monday, and ‘Breakfast with the Judges’ every Thursday morning.

The new Yeshurun website will also be live imminently (I know I’ve been saying that for a while!) – just a couple of details to finalise. We will let you know as soon as it goes live. It may not be perfect, but we can make further adjustments once it has gone live. We are hoping to encourage members to view the website rather than being “spoon-fed” shul information. The newsletter and weekly announcements will have links to detail on the website. Service times, and details of all the regular activities will be there, with contact details.

The Shul AGM is coming up on Tuesday 9th June – another date for your diary. Please consider getting involved in shul activities and putting your name forward to come on the Shul Council…we need young blood within the organisation of the shul. Please chat with me or any member of the current Board or Council if you want to find out more about what is involved. It really is not onerous…there are just 9 council meetings per year.

In addition the LADIES GUILD AGM is also coming up soon, and I know they are also looking for new blood! Younger members would be most welcome on the Ladies Guild. We owe the Ladies in our community such a debt of gratitude for everything they do for the community. Please contact Marilyn Berg for more information, marilynberg25@gmail.com

You have now all received your shul membership invoices…It would really be appreciated if you could all sign up for direct debit payments asap. This will be much more cost effective for the community as a whole. I am sure you all use direct debit for paying other utility bills, and it will make our financial workload more streamlined in the years ahead. Also, your monthly payments will be reduced, as it will be payable over 12 months (rather than 10 by standing order).

(We were ultimately unable to include the cemetery maintenance fee within the annual subscription as it made things much more complicated for internal reasons).

…..and finally. You may remember when I took office as Chairman, there were three particular refurbishment projects I wanted to focus in the shul premises. Redecorating and recarpeting the ‘hall, landing and stairs’ (achieved through fundraising); recarpeting the Radiven Hall (I am delighted to announce that the new carpet was fitted this week, courtesy of the Events Committee, who are proud to have funded it), and finally the recarpeting of the main shul itself, which is the biggest project.

Thus…I am now on a fundraising mission to raise £10000 to replace the shul carpet (badly needed if you look carefully!). The better maintained, the more attractive we are to new members too. Any money donated to the shul for this purpose will be “ring fenced”. I would be very appreciative if all shul groups would donate proceeds to the ‘carpet fund’ until this project is complete.

I wish you all a very pleasant month ahead, and look forward to seeing you in shul or at any of the events mentioned, and of course on 25th April, at the kiddush to honour Leonard.

The one event I’m always pleased if NO ONE attends, is my Chairman’s surgery…but you are most welcome – the next one is SUNDAY 26TH APRIL 10 – 11am in the shul office. If no one comes, I take it as a sign that everyone is happy with everything!!


Chairman’s Letter – February 2015.

Howdy folks, from the sunshine of Las Vegas (visiting my son, Martin) and now Florida (visiting a Kaye cousin). Continue reading…