COVID-19 – Synagogue Closure

March 19th, 2020


For full details on the synagogue programme click here

Dear Members

As a Community we continue to face challenging and difficult times. During this period I will try to write with an update for you each week and this will be in addition to News from The Square. Now that we are all at home our virtual contact with each other is going to be so important.  So let me tell you what has been happening during the past  week.

The first thing to say is that Services will continue in the way that they were held last week. Although our Synagogue is closed, the Government has made a few exceptions and we can open for a BelsizeLIVE service. Please join us ( at 6.45pm on Friday evening to hear Cantor Heller singing our Kabbalat Shabbat service live from the Synagogue. On Saturday morning at 10.00am, tune in for our recorded Shabbat morning service including a sermon from Rabbi Altshuler. We are very excited that this week will be our first virtual Bar Mitzvah. During the Shabbat morning service, our Bar Mitzvah boy, Joey Sanders, has recorded his D’var Torah and Haftarah. Joey has done a fantastic job so please join us via BelsizeLIVE. Last week we estimate that about 500 people watched our two services many in family groups, but even if you are watching alone please know that you are part of the larger family who are all watching. We don’t know who you are as we can only see numbers on the system, but thank you!

Kikar Kids Services were a big success via Zoom, with eight families joining the live virtual service. Check out NFTS on Thursday for details of how to log in, this Saturday morning from 11am.

The Adult Discussion Group will also be using Zoom on Sunday morning during the regular slot from 10.00am. Details in NFTS tomorrow.

I have spent most of the time this week on video and phone calls with Board and Committee members. Your Honorary Officers are meeting once a week by video conference so if you have anything that you want us to consider please do email me ( The Board are considering things by email, so we continue as much as possible, as usual.

You will shortly receive an email from the Israel Committee about the cancelled dinner, please take the time to read it.

Through the Tikkun Olam Committee we continue to work on how we can support you and we are posting details of local support organisations in a number of Boroughs onto our website. If you need help please do contact them as well as the Synagogue. We thought it would be helpful for you to have that information in one place but it is not intended to replace what we can do.

Caroline Loison, Frank Joseph, Lee and I are currently working on how we can create a virtual Cheder. Caroline will be in touch with parents next week. In the meantime Pesach @ BSS Cheder is going ONLINE! This Sunday 29 March, Cheder will be ending the Pesach/Spring term with a  Mock-a-Choc-a-Seder – The ONLINE version! Parents of ALL children, regardless of whether you attend Cheder or not, are invited to join Caroline at 11:15am for an interactive Seder via Zoom. If you would like details, please email There will be story-telling, reading, plagues and some singing. Cheder Staff look forward to seeing you (virtually) on Sunday!

Rabbi Altshuler and Cantor Heller are also working on how we might hold a communal virtual second night Seder, so watch out for more information on this too.

I hope you all stay well and please do email with any ideas that you may have as we continue to develop as a virtual Community.