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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
What type of
The Synagogue occupies a distinct and significant position in Anglo-
Jewry. While Belsize Square Synagogue is a traditional congregation,
we encourage and support a pluralistic approach to Jewish practice
What form do
Services and Torah readings follow a traditional format. Men and
Services take? For
women sit together, there are three different choirs (professional,
example, can my
community and youth) and an organ is played during services.
whole family sit
The Service is almost entirely in Hebrew, with sermon and
explanations from the Rabbi in our English vernacular. Men wear
kippot (head coverings) and tal itot (prayer shawls).
We read the Torah in accordance with the triennial reading, i.e. the
Torah is read over the course of three years, as utilised in many
progressive congregations around the world.
Services are usual y of shorter duration than in Orthodox synagogues.
Do women have an
Women are members of our Board and Executive and take leading
active role in
roles in our communal organisation, having equal status with men in
We value our tradition yet try to ensure we remain relevant. Whilst
women do not have the same religious responsibilities as the men of
our congregation, Belsize Square is moving towards greater (or fuller)
participation for women, especially in the areas of being called to the
Torah (aliyot) and leyning (Torah reading).
Shabbat candle lighting is a regular feature of participation at the
commencement of the Friday Evening Service.
Girls are encouraged to celebrate Bat Mitzvah on the same basis as
Are Services held at
Shabbat Eve Services: 6.45pm to 7.45pm
Shabbat Morning Services: 10.00am to 12.00pm(noon), fol owed by
What time are
Festival Services also commence at the above times, with the
exception of the High Holyday Services and Family Services, which
may vary. Two days are observed for all Festivals.
Are Family events
Services and special prayers for Marriages, Baby Blessings, Wedding
or special Services
Anniversaries, Yahrzeits and other family occasions are arranged on
request. A communal Passover Seder is held in our hall.
: Yom Ha’atzmaut, Selichot
: Kristallnacht, Tisha B’Av, Holocaust Memorial
: Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim
Where are Services
High Holyday Services are held at the Synagogue, which seats 600 in
held on Rosh
the Main Service, 350 in the Hall for the Youth Services and up to 50
Hashanah & Yom
Can adults join a
We have established a “Community Choir” in addition to our
professional adult choir and any member may participate. The choir
is frequently involved in Services and occasional social performances.
Is there community
We encourage the use of our premises by other Jewish and local
organisations for our mutual benefit and place high priority on good
relationships within the Anglo-Jewish and local non-Jewish
community. There is an AJR (Association of Jewish Refugees) Day
Centre held in the Synagogue Hall, to which senior members of the
We are represented on the Board of Deputies of British Jews,
Camden Social Services and Zionist organisations.
Belsize Square is proud of its ties with the Israeli Embassy and has
Are there religion
Religion classes for children of school age are held every Sunday
classes for children?
morning from 9.30am to 12.30pm. There is a small annual charge for
Children have the opportunity to join the Youth Choir, which
regularly takes part in Bar and Bat Mitzvah Synagogue Services and
Are there facilities
Special Services for children are held on the first Shabbat of each
for very young
children at the
‘Kikar Kids’ (Kikar means square in Hebrew) commences at 11.00am
with two Services. One for 0 – 5 years olds and one for 5 – 9 year
olds. They are followed by a “mini-Kiddush” and occasionally, a pot-
luck lunch. The children sing prayers, songs and have a chance to
become familiar with the Torah and rituals.
A registered Nursery School (Keren’s Gan) for 18 months to 5 year
olds is available to members and non-members and is owned and
operated independently of BSS but meets daily on our premises.
What are the
After a period of preparation, Bnei Mitzvah are arranged which take
place during our Shabbat Morning Service. A one year programme of
learning prepares the child for B’nei Mitzvah. A Bat Mitzvah is
available to girls from 12 years of age.
On the anniversary of Bnei Mitzvah, the boy or girl is invited to take
Whilst we have an “independent” status, we are members of the
does the Synagogue
European section of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. We
avail ourselves of the Masorti European Bet Din.
On High Holydays, separate Children’s Services are held in which they
participate and the Adult Mincha Service on Yom Kippur is conducted
young people to
entirely by younger members together with the Youth Choir. Young
people are encouraged to join the Youth Choir and many go on to
learn how to lead Prayers and Leyn and/or chant Haftorah.
Can children join
Clubs are available for various age groups and meet regularly on the
youth clubs or
Synagogue premises, under the guidance of trained youth leaders.
Supervised club weekends away are held for all age groups at regular
intervals, as well as holiday and summer school activities in the
What social life is
Belsize Members Group
provides social events for all members of
the Congregation. The group arranges meetings between new and
long-standing members. Fundraising events are undertaken and
The Parents’ Association
of the Religion School assists in security,
organises fundraising events and arranges events around festivals for
The Israel Committee
arranges fundraising functions and cultural
activities, talks and discussion groups.
There are also a number of ad-hoc events and outings organised
Is there adult
A ‘Shiur’ is conducted by the Rabbi from time-to-time after Shabbat
Morning Services. Lecture courses are arranged on a regular basis.
Our Sunday morning discussion group is one of the longest-running
and most popular adult education activities.
What provision is
A Community Care Co-ordinator
is available whenever regular
there for social
welfare and care of
Special arrangements are made for those with financial hardship and
a flexible attitude is taken towards subscriptions for deserving cases.
Belsize Square Befrienders
is a group of dedicated members
, as the name suggest, keep regular telephone contact
A Bereavement Counsellor
is also available for immediate or long
What are the burial
The Synagogue subscription includes a payment for ground fees to
the Burial and Cremation Scheme through which arrangements for
have in place?
burial at Edgewarebury Lane Cemetery or Cremation at Golders
Green Crematorium are made. Funeral charges are NOT covered.
Is there a Burial
Our Chevra Kadisha
is a Society of men and women members who,
on a voluntary basis, are dedicated to the task of performing the last
religious rituals for the deceased, visiting the bereaved and attending
Shiva Services. It holds an annual Remembrance Service for the six
million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
How is security
A Security Committee arranges for cover to be available at many
arranged while the
internal functions. Volunteers, both men and women below the age
premises are in
of 60 years, are asked to undertake security duty on a rota basis.
Members, who have undertaken the Community Security Trust
Security Training Programme, act as supervisors. The Religion School
arranges its own security from amongst the parents, also on a rota
Are the premises
Our Hall is for hire and can accommodate 300 seated for lectures or
open for hire?
150 for dinner. Our kitchen is kosher, dairy only.
What are the types
Membership is available to all men and women of the Jewish faith
of membership and
over the age of 21 years. All have equal rights. A family subscription
where can I obtain
includes children under the age of 21. Special rates are available for
students and those over 75.
Subscription rates are reviewed annually. They can be obtained from
Where can I obtain
Our Synagogue Administrator will be able to answer most of your
questions or refer you to the most appropriate Official or Minister.
and to whom can I
Please forward Application Forms/details concerning membership to the fol owing address:
Address:__________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone No:_____________________________________________________________________ I am interested in:
Membership Religion School Youth Groups Nursery School Belsize Members Group Israel Activities Befrienders Adult Education Chevra Kadisha
Please detach and use this form to make enquiries regarding membership. Alternatively, contact our Synagogue Administrator on:- Telephone:
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