Thursday, 12 April 2018

A Message From The Chair

For some time members have been telling me that on occasions they cannot hear clearly some of the readers on the bimah, even though the mikes are working. With that in mind I discussed the situation with Rabbi Yuval and the Executive, and it was agreed to explore the possibility of installing a new modern sound system, as was the case in the Schindler Hall. As I write this report the new system has just been installed, hopefully to everyone’s satisfaction, even though I am sure someone will say, “it’s too loud, turn it down”. Over the years, not only at SPS but at other venues, I have heard people shout out to the person talking “can’t hear you, speak up”. I find that response insensitive It puts the speaker off and is embarrassing for them. If there is a problem, a “sorry I am finding it difficult to hear you, would you mind speaking up” is a softer response, and does not make the speaker feel so demeaned. 

Southover, the organisation who use our site five days a week teaching children on a one to one basis, have extended their association with SPS. All the old portacabins by the side of the Schindler Hall are being replaced by brand new buildings, allowing Southover to gain more pupils and comply with Ofsted standards. Financially it also means that, importantly, we continue to have a steady stream of income from them. Inevitably, whilst the work goes on, there might be some inconvenience for people using the site, but it should not last too long until normal service is resumed. 

At the end of February and into early March, the “Beast from the East” engulfed most of the UK in a blanket of snow and biting easterly winds. There were a number of amber and red warnings, urging people not to make unnecessary journeys, and to stay at home. SPS was not immune from the problems that the snowy weather and minus temperatures brought to bear. So much so that Purim celebrations had to be cancelled, and Shabbat services were put at risk because the site was covered with snow and ice. On the Friday morning, with the best of intentions, it was decided to close the site. It was not something we wanted to do, but after consultation between Rabbi Yuval, two members of the executive and the site maintenance/ security officer, health and safety concerns were deemed to be a major problem. An e-mail was sent out to the membership explaining the dire situation we faced. Subsequently I received a number of emails and telephone calls questioning the decision. Most understood the dilemma we were in, but two expressed righteous indignation; amusingly, both hardly ever set foot in the Synagogue from one month to the next. Even though it was still snowing quite heavily, I checked the weather for Saturday which appeared to be slightly better. After conversations with Rabbis Jacobi and Keren, I took the decision to send another e-mail informing members we would do our utmost to be open for business in the morning. Twelve people attended and we had a very fulfilling service in the round. Thank you to those who braved the elements, but where were the other members who, surprise, surprise did not venture out. As the saying goes “there’s nowt so queer as folk”.

For the first time in the last few years we held a new members event. After the service on Shabbat morning 10th March we had an extended kiddush allowing council members and presidents to chat with the new members. It went very well and everyone seemed to be at ease with each other. Thanks to everyone, especially the lovely ladies of the House Committee who supported the exercise in communal engagement. Hopefully, if we get a steady stream of new members we can repeat the occasion next year. The first event in the 75th anniversary programme is nearly upon us, as at the end of the month a celebratory quiz is taking place. I am sure it will be well supported and a good and enjoyable time will be had by all. 

Robert Dulin 

No comments:

Post a Comment