Yearly Archives: 2018

80th Anniversary Brochure


Next year Belsize Square Synagogue will celebrate our 80th Anniversary. We are already planning several communal events to mark this special milestone and we do hope that you will be able to join us at as many of these celebrations as you can. Some of the dates so far include:

  • Communal Friday Night Shabbat UK Dinner on 1st March
  • Civic Service on Sunday 24th March
  • Communal BBQ in June/July
  • Community Fun Run on 23rd June
  • Auction of Promises on 7th September

To complement our commemorations, we will be publishing a colour brochure that will contain interesting written and pictorial content on the past, present and future of our remarkable community. The Brochure will be sent to all our members and will also be available on our website and at all events associated with our 80th Anniversary.

As part of our continuing fundraising program we are also seeking sponsorship for the Brochure. There are a number of different ways for you to help, whether simply expressing good wishes from family or friends, acknowledging children or grandchildren, through to full page and business advertising.

Click here to download a menu of different sponsorship opportunities and we would be extremely grateful if you could take a few moments to have a look at it, hopefully choose an option and return the form.

Please let us have your advert/greeting no later than 16th December.

We would also be grateful to any members who have business or other contacts whom we might be able to approach to advertise in the brochure, please do let us know through the office.

Thanking you in advance for your support and if you would like any further information regarding the Brochure please don’t hesitate to contact Michael and  Kitty Brod, or of course our CEO Lee Taylor in the synagogue office .

Mitzvah Day 2018


Mitzvah Day this year was a huge success as we entertained the elderly of our community, visited a local care home to meet the residents and helped clean Keats Community Library. We also collected food for the Camden Food Bank, clothes for the Separated Child Foundation and toiletries for the homeless.

Cantors Gala Concert


On the 14th October, our synagogue held a concert featuring four cantors and the Belsize Square Professional Choir led by Benjamin Wolf. Bringing the finest cantorial compositions, cantors Paul Heller, Gedalya Alexander, Robert Brody and Yohel Heller took us through a journey from eastern to western European tradition.

We heard a wide range of tonalities, each cantor having a particular timbre. The concert displayed the broad spectrum of emotions contained in cantorial music, from sadness to joy, and even comedy! Through a mix of solos and duets, the participants shared with us their passion, authenticity and tremendous generosity in their singing.

Our musical committee would like to thank the cantors, Musical Director and musicians for this wonderful event.

Pictures courtesy of Paul Rowland.

WJR Refugee Appeal Cards

We have all seen the terrible images of refugees forced to leave their homes and risking all to seek safety elsewhere.
Now instead of buying your host the usual gifts, like flowers or a box of chocolates, you can give them a gift card that shows you have donated to the World Jewish Relief’s refugee appeal. The card’s artwork is shown below.
The minimum suggested donation is £10 per card. They can be purchased through the synagogue office or by clicking here.



If you would like to know more about WJR’s appeal click here



Rosh Hashanah Message from Board of Deputies

Rosh Hashanah Message

Marie van der Zyl – President, Board of Deputies

September 2018 / Tishrei 5779

5778 will be remembered as the year that the Jewish community came together to say ‘Enough is Enough’ to antisemitism.

It was unprecedented and heart-warming back in March to see so many people from all parts of the community join like-minded non-Jews and parliamentarians to stand in front of the Palace of Westminster to protest against the antisemitism that, staggeringly, is tolerated in our country’s official party of opposition.

Several aspects of this protest were meaningful. I was gratified by the speed with which we, the Jewish Leadership Council and other partners, devised and executed the idea. We were overwhelmed by the response from the 2,000 people who travelled to Westminster at 24 hours’ notice, including more than 30 MPs from Labour and other parties, and friends from the Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Hindu communities. Never has our community made a more powerful statement that we will not tolerate antisemitism in the Labour Party. Perhaps most important of all was the near unanimity with which we spoke. And it is this unity which we as a community need as we go forward to face challenges such as this.

Although the overwhelming majority of the community were behind us in our protest against antisemitism, there are issues which do divide us. Of course, we will never agree on everything but there is a right and a wrong way to disagree. For example, when the Kaddish for Gaza event took place following the Hamas-sponsored violent protests at the border with Israel, nobody was more appalled than me. However, the tone and tenor of some of the comments aimed at the protesters has bordered on hateful and abusive. Such ferocity does nothing to advance the argument but rather discredits the point being made and leaves our community in a less civil place.

While we must fight against hate, prejudice and injustice, much of my work as President of the Board of Deputies is in promoting projects which work for a positive outcome. My first action as President after my election in May was to travel to Manchester for discussions with leaders of northern communities and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, then on to Glasgow and Edinburgh for talks with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and


discussions with my Scottish Jewish colleagues.  I intend to be a leader for all Jews of all denominations across the country and none of us is more important than any other.

We also need to reach out beyond our community which is why I have prioritised interfaith work, in particular, creating links with Muslim partners. This summer, for the first time, the Board of Deputies hosted an interfaith Iftar for senior Muslims and Jews including the Chief Rabbi and I have travelled the country meeting Muslims from Leeds to Luton and points in-between. Jews and Muslims have much in common and my objective is to create relationships which will strengthen us all and fight the prejudice and ignorance which has divided us in the past.

This was also the year that in the United Kingdom we celebrated our crucial role in the creation of the State of Israel, with celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, culminating in the Parliamentary Balfour Reception, attended by many ministers, MPs and peers. And in this 70th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel, we have been promoting a dialogue for peace between Israelis and Palestinians through Invest in Peace. This project, undertaken with Christian communities, is interfaith work at its most meaningful, tackling difficult issues positively and head on. We are determined that, rather than import the Middle East conflict, we should work together to support a constructive conversation towards reconciliation.


Those of us who love Israel were delighted that the Duke of Cambridge undertook the first official Royal visit to the country. It would be hard not to be touched by his moving message in the Yad Vashem guest book. And the goodwill and friendship in his speech at the Ambassador’s reception left an impression on all of us who were present. A key message of the visit was about the importance of engagement. In addition to supporting coexistence with the young Israeli and Arab footballers, the fact that President Rivlin and President Abbas felt compelled to offer messages of peace in their meetings with the second in line to the British throne was a real tribute to the enduring ‘soft power’ of the British monarchy. This was clearly a man with a genuine warmth and friendship for the Jewish people and, going into 5779, amid all the political turmoil we have encountered this year, the image of the Duke, both at the Western Wall and, playing football on the beach, gives me wonderful memories to take into the new year.


May this Rosh Hashanah bring you, your families and all of Am Yisrael health, strength and peace.

Marie van der Zyl

**Carol Cohen, Deborah Cohen and Robert Sacks are Belsize Square’s representatives to the Board of Deputies. If you would like to discuss any matters relating to the Board of Deputies with them, please contact the office for their contact details**

We’re Hiring!


A wonderful opportunity for an enthusiastic and dedicated individual to help create a fun and welcoming environment for the youth (aged 7 -18) of Belsize Square Synagogue (BSS); a unique, fascinating and inspiring independent synagogue, which is neither Orthodox nor Reform and is located within this lively and bustling area of North-West London.

Job Summary:

To lead, inspire and to connect the youth with one another.  To do so by being responsible for the development and provision of social activities for the Synagogue’s children and young people. To work at all times within the Jewish ethos of BSS so as to build a sense of community within the youth of BSS to help provide an opportunity for both spiritual and social development. The Youth Leader is an integral part of BSS, to facilitate social and personal development and to build the confidence of young people and to help young people expand their religious experience. It is essential that the youth leader is highly visible within the community.

Principle Responsibilities:

  • Develop and run activities
  • Work closely and look to develop our post bar and bat mitzvah teens outside of the current educational structure
  • To develop and lead contact programmes for BSS youth involved in further education
  • Organise and develop external trips including the annual weekend away residential camp
  • To be involved in sports activities of the Synagogue
  • To attend religious services, particularly on festivals where young people are involved
  • Attend synagogue when there are high numbers of youth in attendance
  • Attend Sunday morning Cheder (Sunday school) sessions on a regular basis to assist the Headteacher in the capacity of youth development.
  • To work with external bodies as requested
  • To take responsibility for marketing and market research
  • To act as a pastoral professional to young people


Administrative responsibilities:

  • Develop a yearly plan with social-oriented events
  • To be involved in both long- and short-term budget-setting
  • To attend Youth Committee meetings and other Committees as requested
  • Keep up to date and abreast of legal requirements relevant to youth


Person Specifications:


Certificate or Diploma in Full time Youth Work or equivalent


The candidate should have spent at least one year working within youth work, either professionally or as a volunteer, either pre or post qualification.


The following should be demonstrated:

  • Group work ability with young people aged between 7 and 18
  • Excellent communication skills
  • An ability to listen and motivate
  • Ability to plan and execute events
  • Knowledge of the aims and values of BSS and Judaism in general
  • Organisational and administrative ability
  • Ability to work out of hours
  • Full driving licence.
  • Enhanced DBS checked

37.5 hours per week, including most weekends, some evenings and Jewish holidays.

For further information/application pack contact Lee Taylor on 020 7794 3949 or

Salary: £23,000-25,000 per annum

Closing date 8th July 2018