01 Jun 2021

Coming out of Covid – a message from the CEO of the S&P Sephardi Community

Coming out of Covid – a message from the CEO of the S&P Sephardi Community

As we start to come out of lock down and optimistically into a more ‘normal’ world, now seems the opportune time to reflect on the past year; to consider our successes, our challenges, how we served our community and what we have learned and still must learn about how to provide our membership with meaningful support, combining spiritual guidance with pastoral care.

COVID-19 has had a profound effect on our Community as it has on many others. When the pandemic imposed upon us all a new way of life, we were faced with the unthinkable – most of our vital activities and services were shut down overnight; people could no longer congregate in our synagogues, and the older members of the community could no longer attend our well established and well attended Friendship Club. We were all concerned, uncertain and unsure of what the future held and yet we knew that we had to find ways, and quickly, to work together to provide our members with the care and support they needed, whilst keeping them connected to the unique community to which they belong.

Yet whilst Coronavirus presented us with extraordinary challenges, out of crisis the S&P Sephardi community found the energy, determination, and creativity to ensure members remained connected to the unique ethos, culture and values of the oldest Jewish Community in the United Kingdom. From online Shahrit, Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdalah services to children’s events and weekly discussion groups; from Intergenerational events to virtual tours of Bevis Marks Synagogue to delivering letters and goody bags to our entire membership we all found these ways and more to keep in touch with each other and to ensure the continuous connection of the heritage and values for which this community stands.

As we emerge from this difficult time, we know we must learn from our experience of the past year as we build and strengthen our community for the future which will, no doubt, come with its own set of challenges. We look ahead with considerable optimism for our synagogues and look forward to welcoming back all our members and friends with a renewed sense of respect, care and support.

 ‘The darkness that has enveloped the entire community can be illuminated with determination, faith and strength and it is my belief the S&P Sephardi Community has a renewed sense of resolve which will stand it in good stead for the future’.

David Arden, CEO