I have had a very adventurous week since my last email. Sadly, not a long trip to somewhere exotic but on my reduced horizons I ventured up a ladder and onto the roof of our garden shed to chop away the neighbours’ ivy that was taking over our green roof. What you may ask has this got to do with you. Well, sitting up there I realised that I had a different view on what I usually take for granted. The trees that seem tall were not so huge, the bushes that I don’t normally see on the other side of the fence were bright and lovely and the neighbour who I don’t really know looked up and waved. It made me think that this is a time when we have the chance to check and rethink our view of others before we come out of lockdown.
Speaking of views, many of you will have looked at the Synagogue website over the past few weeks. If you have done so recently I hope that you will have noticed some changes. Over the last month or so the Synagogue website has been undergoing a ‘spring clean’, with a small team of volunteers led by Adam Hurst spending time improving the menus and navigation, refreshing some of the pages that were a little out of date and also adding in new pages. There is still some more work to do but for anyone who hasn’t explored the website for a while I’d encourage you to take a peek.
We are also looking for some volunteers in two areas. Firstly, once we are physically open again, to become ‘honorary photographers’ to help refresh some of the photos on the website and then going forward take photos of our events so we can keep them up to date. And secondly if there are any lawyers with experience in GDPR we are planning a short project to review and refresh our current policies. Please contact Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are able to help in either of these areas.
In another area of work we have spent some time looking at our Safeguarding policies both for virtual and face-to-face meetings. The Synagogue has appointed Frank Joseph, Chair of the Education Committee, as our designated safeguarding lead for Cheder and Youth. Deborah Cohen, a Board member with experience in this area, is currently working on a safeguarding policy for adults.
Keren’s Nursery has been closed during this period of lockdown but in accordance with the Government guidelines will open again next Monday 1st June. We have been in discussions with them and they will be observing all the Government guidance on social distancing and will also have a strict cleaning regime in place. We have agreed with them which parts of the building they can access and they will not be able to enter either the Sanctuary or the Hall. Security will also be in place from Monday during the nursery hours.
I thought that you would be interested to know that throughout the lockdown our Conversion Class led by Rabbi Altshuler has continued every Monday night 7pm-8:30pm. Our students are still preparing for the Bet Din which consist of three Rabbis and is taking place by Zoom at the moment. The ritual obligations of “immersion/mikveh” will take place later when we are permitted to do so safely. I want to remind you that all congregants are invited to join the lessons, the current unit is on “Jewish History”. If anyone is interested in coming to the class, just email Rabbi Altshuler (email@example.com).
Lastly, please do remember that tomorrow evening at 7.30pm we will be holding our Tikkun Leil Shavuot. The programme is interesting and you will have received an email with the Zoom details. If you can’t find the email please contact Adam Rynhold (firstname.lastname@example.org )
That is all from me this week. As always, stay well and stay safe.
From Henny Levin
Having just been for a lovely walk in a woodland setting around Mill Hill, I enjoyed the sounds of the birds which inspired me for this week’s gardening tips.
- Have you ever thought about putting a bird feeder in your garden, balcony or screwed on an outside wall? They come in all shapes, sizes, fixtures and fittings from garden centres or on-line. The seeds can be purchased from the same sources.
- In our garden we see robins, green parakeets, gold finches, blue tits, magpies and pigeons. One can spend hours watching the little birds peck at the seeds when the coast is clear with the pigeons and magpies waiting patiently underneath the feeder for the bits that fall down. The birds come at any time to feed. Oh, I should have also included the playful squirrels who are so athletic and ingenious.
- A bird box can be so much pleasure to watch early morning or before sunset. We have one for blue tits. The chicks have just fledged but I have been watching for several weeks the parents flying back and forth with food for their babies. They are so careful before entering the nest with the food in their mouths, watchful and very alert to danger. It’s even better that watching the telly.
From John Alexander
- Prune late spring or early summer flowering evergreen Ceanothus after flowering to ensure a sturdy plant for next spring.
- Alliums are coming into their own now. After the colour has gone the seed heads can be retained for structural interest or cut for indoor flower arrangements.
- Aphids and greenfly are on the increase now with the warm weather before the ladybirds and wasps arrive to feast on them. To protect your roses and other flower buds, spray now with an insecticide, of which there are many, but I prefer Provanto Ultimate Bug Killer.
- Dig up and divide Daffodils if they have formed a big clump.
- Sow seeds now for summer and autumn flowering annuals. Sow directly onto soil that has been raked into a fine, crumbly texture. Keep moist.
- Don’t forget to water after the sun has left the garden and remember to water pots and hanging baskets daily.