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.