For many of us, being a Jew is a social and cultural matter as well as a religious one. The synagogue calendar reflects this with a multitude of social events and a rich cultural life alongside the religious life. If being a Jew is for anyone about meeting Jewish friends and eating Jewish food or enjoying a Jewish joke then there are plenty to share this with at our events. And, from the age of a week or two right up to a hundred years, there is something going on in which members can join.
We begin with a mother and toddler group, which meets every week and allows mums to get to know each other, have a chat, and share their worries about sleepless nights, nappies and feeding, while the toddlers enjoy a cupboard full of baby toys. Once the children are a little older, the Ganon offers a couple of mornings of playgroup for infants while mums can enjoy a coffee and a couple of hours of child free shopping.
On Sundays the busy Café Chaverim is used off and on all morning as many parents stay for a chat, to catch up with old friends, to help around the building, or to join the adult discussion and parent's groups which meet alongside the always bustling cheder. The Kosher Shop is open every Sunday in term time for anyone who wants some Jewish food to stock up the fridge.
We offer a variety of activities for older members. Each week we start with a regular exercise class followed by lunch, and then on alternate weeks the Welcome Mat is followed by old time singing or the Social Activies are followed by play reading. These activities run all year round as we are aware that often holidays are lonelier than term times and certainly not a reason to stop seeing your friends or getting out the house.
In term time there are weekly adult education classes. In addition there is now a large array of activities, most of which are on a monthly basis - Book Circle, Duplicate Bridge Club, Film Club, Poetry Group, Singing Circle, the Fifth Friday gatherings for all those unattached in their 20s and 30s, and many more. Then there are one-off talks about anything from Chinese antiques to Israeli elections.