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Communities that Care Conference

The first post Covid ‘Communities that Care Initiative Conference’ took centre stage at the new Finchley Reform Synagogue. The message, to encourage and build connections to promote wellbeing and inclusion throughout our Reform communities. 

With an ageing population in mind, ‘The Centre for Better Ageing’ shared ideas how to “do more of what we enjoy for longer in our lives”, and, along with Lynette Chazen from Alyth, considered the role synagogues can play in promoting social connections, volunteering and physical activity. 

Psychologist Dr Emma Ashworth researches the impact of Covid on young people’s mental health. She highlighted that self-care has become more important to them and that giving them active roles in decision-making helps their wellbeing. 

Dan Rickman spoke of connecting with male friends at a vulnerable time of life, and discussed with Rabbi Daniel Lichman how men can support one another and links to spirituality. With Shavuot approaching, Rabbi Daniel highlighted Boaz as a “role model for graceful and kind masculinity”.
Three communities shared their inspiring and inclusive projects. Manchester Reform’s successful BSL signed services, Finchley’s B’yachad which encourages those with learning and physical needs to take their own services and Edgware and Hendon Reform’s ‘Let’s Talk Initiative’ which challenges the stigma around mental health. 

Psychotherapist Ruth Dines, who volunteers for both MRJ and Sha’arei Tzedek Synagogue, asked ‘What makes us happy?’ The good news is that happiness – for instance promoting social connections, volunteering, and having a sense of purpose – are all available through your synagogue! 

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