We remember our late friend Stuart with deep aﬀection and share great sorrow at his untimely passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Annie, Jo and Adam at this sad time. They will undoubtedly ensure that his memory lives on. Annie’s poignant tribute makes so abundantly clear how much our community will miss Stuart. I doubt that there is anybody at NLJC that did not have their photo taken by him at some point! We will miss him terribly. May his memory be a blessing.
As I contemplated what to write this month, my mind was blank. As our society reels from the eﬀects of COVID-19, it is an even greater challenge to ﬁnd moments of joy and things to give us comfort. But then a number of small yet signiﬁcant things happened today to give me hope.
Firstly, I recalled Katya Adler on BBC’s Today programme reading with her daughter The Stolen Orange by Brian Patten. This was the poem that had comforted her after her father died when she was a young teenager. He had taught her to ‘drink in those small joys around you’; like the shadow of the moon on a clear night or a rainbow reﬂected on a glass.
I was still, however, struggling for inspiration when I took our dog Rashi for a walk this morning. Then I spotted a swallow, my ﬁrst this year. This is an experience that always makes my heart beat a little faster. Shortly after, I heard the ﬂuting call of a blackcap in a hedgerow. Blackcaps, like swallows, are summer migrants, and arrive here in late March or early April. Their song is distinctive and captivating. Small moments of joy to drink in.
And then, just a few minutes ago, I received a lovely phone call completely out of the blue from someone who wanted to say how much they appreciated Rabbi Gershon’s oﬀer to invite members of both communities to our second night Seder. This once again reinforced the importance of our solidarity with each other point in these times of distress and isolation.
On which note, I should like to thank Miriam on behalf of us all for her beautiful suggestion that a weekly message of support is sent to the whole community. I was deeply moved by what she wrote last week, and it is my sincere hope that we will all ﬁnd some hope and inspiration from these messages in the weeks ahead. I hope that you have also found comfort in the phone calls that have been made to check in on members of the community. Thanks to Sarah Boosey for getting the ball rolling with this.
Please join us, if you can, for our ‘virtual’ Shabbat service on Saturday 18 April.
There will be an update on the rearranged AGM in due course.
Chag Pesach Sameach to you all,