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Sussex Jewish News
19 August 2020

Sussex Jewish News article

As we start to emerge into a ‘new normal’ with the heaviest restrictions starting to ease, SJRC thought it worthwhile to look back at some of the initiatives our community has so enthusiastically supported.

Community Support Network
As lockdown took hold at the end of March, our welfare organisations launched a centralised network to support everyone who was self-isolating. We’ve shopped, delivered food, collected prescriptions, and sourced anything from matzah in Eastbourne to eggs when they suddenly went scarce. Some 30 ‘Happy Shoppers’ have tended to the needs of more than
50 grateful people via our WhatsApp group. A further 45 volunteers have phoned over 160 members of the community to chat and offer ongoing human contact during this period.

Nosh for NHS & Care for our Carers
From the outset we’ve also sought to reach out to those on the front line of this pandemic. We asked people to add extra sweets to their weekly shopping. This enabled us to deliver treats to appreciative staff at the Royal Alexandra, Sussex County and Mill View hospitals, the Martlets, the Emergency Services, carers at Hyman Fine House, Tikvah House, the Adelaide Nursing Home – as well as essential workers like police, bus drivers, postal workers and refuse collectors. One noteworthy collection at the end of June was devoted to staff and residents at shelters for those suffering from domestic abuse. On Shavuot, Hyman Fine House received special wine and nibbles and a mound of Cadbury’s chocolates during Jewish Care’s Purple Week.

Connecting the Community
On April 5th we launched Connecting the Community Zoom Chat on Sunday evenings to bolster community spirit both visually and interactively. These sessions enabled us to swap stories, exchange critical health care information and to hear a selection of guest speakers. We’ve welcomed Brighton’s MP Peter Kyle on the crisis’s local and national impact, Richard Woolfe, who captivated us with stories from his career in the TV industry, Hyman Fine’s Natasha Carson on lockdown at care homes, Chief Superintendent Nick May from Sussex Police and Gina Behar, retired Associate Chief Nurse at Brighton and Sussex University

hospitals, who spoke on Covid-19 and the NHS. Lesley Walker and Paul Wiltshire, both local teachers, talked about the challenges we’ll face when schools re-open. Judge Robert Rinder, barrister and TV personality, grappled with the wider societal affects of Covid-19, while Dave Rich, Head of Policy at Community Security Trust, spoke on the rise of antisemitism during the pandemic. Rev Shlomo Krieman, judge and United Synagogue minister spoke on the impact of coronavirus on communal worship.

Community Bake-In
This initiative was devised as a way for those self- isolating to contribute whilst staying at home. We held two ‘Bake-Ins’ in May and June, delivering fresh cakes and biscuits for community carers working for Coastal Homecare, Age UK in Crisis and Sussex Community Response Services.

Stretch & Flex
Local Pilates teacher Barbara Walman has been offering a welcome solution to aching, lethargic lockdown bodies, via a weekly Stretch & Flex session. Barbara is continuing her sessions into the summer so there is still the chance to join from 11.15-11.30 am every Thursday morning.

Face Coverings For The Community
As June arrived and the restrictions began to ease, SJRC received a special donation that enabled us to offer face coverings to all members of the community, first to synagogue members and then to anyone who requested them. As the thanks and positive feedback continue to stream in, we welcome the support and devotion from each and every one of you!