Who’s Who in Loughton Synagogue? Barbara Cohen – Shul Magazine 5775

We are delighted that so many new faces have been involved and ideas have been discussed and have already come to fruition. Our Shul belongs to not only the regulars but the Shul belongs to all of us to take it in the direction that we want it to be. Our biggest strength is Rabbi Zvi Portnoy and Orly. In their first year with us they have lived up to all expectations, worked incredibly hard and already installing the love of being Jewish and being part of this wonderful heritage into all of us.

Whilst upholding traditional values we have started to respond to the challenges of modern life; making what we do more current, more appealing and more fun to many more people.

Sitting around this table are the 14 volunteers, 14 members of the board of management that I have worked with this year. Michael Newman, Lewis Lane, Dennis Posner, Peter Leech, Ian Steinberg, David Viniker, David Galman, Barry Bennett, Lesley Adams, Meryl Citroen, Deborah Shulton, Ian Levene, Shirley Lane, Gary Grant and me Barbara Cohen all (apart from one) would like to continue the work that we have started and continue to work voluntarily on our Board of management. I would like to thank the present board for their hard work, for working so well together and of giving of their valuable time.

There is only one person from this year’s board that does not wish to be re-elected this year. Dennis Posner still wishes to carry on his tasks as a warden but not on the board.   We wish him mazel and thank him again for all his work, his dedication and brilliant ideas.

Lesley Adams, ran the Loughton Lounge group together with Stephen Goldstone and Barry Bennett a new group of adults with school age children. They had meetings together and plan to have their Loughton Lounge Party now in November. Lesley organised a Pesach desert demonstration and tasting session. It was well attended by about 80 people. She has organised a cooking eating evening for singles.

Barry Bennett, took on the responsibility of the Shul building continuing with the excellent work of Ivan Martin, helped Rabbi Zvi move into his home and latterly with membership. Barry attends many small meetings in between board meetings with Allan Kurt, where ideas are brainstormed and discussed. Allan Kurt now has taken over the Shul building, with vast experience in this field. He is also our table tennis coach as well as an active and capable participant in Shul services.

Meryl Citroen speaks honestly and openly at board meetings. She has organised 2 tots parties, one for Purim and has organised another for Shavout. We have had about 20 tots together with their parents in Shul partying with soft play equipment with Rabbi Zvi being present. It is people like Barry Bennett, Allan Kurt and Meryl Citroen who are the next generation of leaders in our Shul, they have bar/batmitzvah age children and younger. Let us include them in our new board for next year.

David Galman’s knowledge of business and local people and events has been invaluable for us.   He heads security along with Vince Goodman and a very informative evening was put on this year by head of security. 40 people attended.

Gary Grant plays an active role in the day to day running of the Shul including assisting David Green with our football incentive. David Green found his forte and we are very proud to announce that he together with Gary Grant coached 30 11 – 16 year old boys as part of Loughton Albion Football Team.

Ian Levene has been unwell this year however making a very good recovery. We are delighted that Ian chooses to continue his work with us on the board. He speaks his mind and advises on electronic and technical matters. He provided our shul office with office furniture recently and it looks and works better than ever. Together with Michael Newman and Allan Kurt, a revamped security system has now been purchased and will be up and running before yom tov.   Like David Galman, he has had a long experience of shul matters along with business experience.

Lewis Lane, has Loughton Shul very close to his heart. He is both positive and supportive to all with his feet firmly on the ground. He is a v ery hard working honorary warden. Gary Lewis a long standing member of our Shul, an experienced warden and part of the Warden Committee headed by Lewis Lane.

Shirley Lane is our Ladies Guild representative, in a unique position to see quite a lot of what is going on as she deals directly with congregants making a Kiddush, the caretaker, and has strong connections to the JLGB.

Roz Martin is also on the ladies guild, has been on the board for many years previously and has helped with security administration and she managed the selling of Judaica items in Shul.

Peter Leach, our honorary warden on the board, he has steady experience and knowledge at meetings and between meetings. Everything Peter says makes good sense in many fields.   Peter is responsible for the L’Chaim tree.

Michael Newman has showed complete commitment to the Shul and works closely with Rabbi Zvi and heads the religious side of the Board.   He has worked incredibly hard as Vice Chairman.   His integrity, wisdom and honesty are to be admired.

Everything Deborah Shulton touches she does well, a complete all- rounder, helps with the cheder, capable and efficient. A credit to the Shul. She takes excellent minutes at board meetings even when she is not there! She would like to get more involved with finance, which is very good news for Ian Steinberg and our new administrator, Sheryl. She is Sheryl Weintraub’s line manager and gives some of her precious time to being in the shul office.

Ian Steinberg is Honorary Treasurer. He is quietly looking after the accounts and carefully approves all finances and ensures that the revenue raised by membership fees are handled carefully.   He has worked closely with Frank Tiller, Michael Newman and our administrators.

David Viniker, honorary secretary, has remodelled the Shul website and heads the marketing group, of which we have fantastic ideas and input from Natalie Chevin and Daniel Kempner and Phillip Leigh.

What went on in Shul this year?  Highlights at Loughton Shul this year were: an evening featuring Fiyaz Mughal – a representative of the Muslim community, organised by Richard Cohen.   A farewell tea to the Arononovitz family, 140 people attended and there were some brilliant speeches from our youth: Emily Galman, Jack Shulton and Lewis Shine.   Eli Beer from United Hazallah came to our Shul, Deborah Shulton sourced a giant cheque and we presented him with our Kol Nidra appeal.   Rabbi Zvi organised a Channukah party extravaganza, along with a photo booth, a boxing ring, a bouncy castle and an entertainer.

We celebrated Channukah with 200 people and a giant menorah in Loughton High Street.   A very proud moment indeed and a Loughton Shul and Chabad initiative.

We had an Induction Rabbi Zvi Portnoy’s together with a wonderful choir and chazan, the shul was packed not only with dignitaries but also with about 70 of our congregation.

Phillip Leigh has been a constant sounding board for me, with his positive creative attitude he has helped to manage all the different levels and difficulties of problems and choices that I am often faced with. Ruth also is an extremely wise, honest and a hard working leader of the Ladies Guild.   I thank them both for their continued support. Thank you Reverend Jonny Lorraine and Sandra, to past Chairmen, Neil Bradman, Robert Laderman and Frank Tiller for their wise counsel. Phillip Leigh’s raising of funds for the window created by Charlotte Posner has been a great boost to finance which over 4 years will bring in £20,000. The Shul is looking magnificent, the windows create a lovely atmosphere and Phillip has plans to improve the ark and bimah area.

Our Ladies Guild, Elaine Austin, Sandra Lorraine, Alison Green, Millicent Newman, Simone Viniker do so very much by giving hours of their precious time to producing sumptuous feasts that we all enjoy.

Our calendar is a source of income too with advertising space. Shelley Posner and Merle Lewis have always had the task of the calendar. This year Sheryl did a wonderful job preparing the calendar and Alison Levy and Deborah Jacobs have sought new advertisers for our Calendar and Shul Magazine.   Shelley Posner and Pauline Witzenfeld head the Cooking with compliments.   Pauline organises the Shul gardens and in talks with making the area at the entrance to the Shul more appealing. Pauline, along with Barry Bennett and Ian Levene are on our membership committee.

The Shul magazine was produced by Michael Newman, the last one he is compiling, Richard Cohen and David Viniker are producing the next one. Our New Year magazine is meatier than ever.

Merle Lewis, our administrator retired this year after 30 years with us. She has worked devotedly and efficiently and has got to know the congregation very well.   We thank her very much. She worked very closely with Ian Steinberg, Michael Newman and me. Merle ensured that Sheryl Weintraub had a smooth hand over and is now our new administrator.   We are giving her our support and wish her luck in this very important role. She is working incredibly hard and we thank her for all that she does.

I would also like to thank our hard working caretakers Gerry and Joe who do so much for the running of our Shul. They make our lives smoother, easier and take much of the stress away from Shul life. Joe is having a knee replacement and we all wish him a speedily recovery.

We would also like continuity; we have had a lot of changes this year, a new Rabbi, a new chairman, many new board members, new groups, a new administrator. All this year.

For those of you that think that our Shul is turning into a community centre, how incorrect they are. Religiously there has never been so much going on with lads and dads minyans monthly, bi weekly sheers, explanatory Shabbat services, Mincha services on Shabbat afternoons. If anybody would like our Rabbi to do any more religiously or anything different he will be delighted to be informed.

We have started to create the Shul in a way that is inclusive, encouraging younger people to get involved and succeeding. I would urge you all to think about which direction you would like our Shul to go in. We encourage the love of having a shul that we can call our own, we encourage the increase use of shul, that increases a love of Judaism which is focused on positivity, friendship, support and knowledge.   If you would like to become involved please please let someone know, we would love to have you join our team. Share your expertise, everyone has expertise in something.

We will put Loughton on the map of being not only a pretty place to live but also boasts a Shul and community that would be the envy of many.

What are our intentions for next year? To continue and do more of the same! To ensure that the outside world knows about how good we are through word of mouth, through marketing and social media, our membership will grow and financial security will be enjoyed. In short, onwards and upwards; together, united in love and enthusiasm for putting into practice the best ideals of Judiasm.

Thank you to all of you that have been mentioned for making our Shul what it is today. Thank you for all your dedication, enthusiasm and hard work. Together we are creating a Shul that we can all be very proud of.