A thought for the community-by Rabbi Lee


Romford synagogue’s Rabbi Lee Sunderland is a man known for bringing all Faiths together. He is a man of peace that unites communities. Today he has written in the Havering Daily about the challenges we have faced recently.

I hope you are all staying at home and keeping safe and well. This is a strange and awkward time for us all. It poses many difficult and upsetting challenges for us all to have to accept. Indeed life may never be the same again.

If there is one defining symbol by which this period shall be remembered let it be the newly promoted Col. Tom Moore,(that needs no further comment), but also the many other Tom Moores who have gone the extra mile to look after others. 

Much has been rightly made of key workers, especially NHS and care workers, whose vocation it is to help others, and who are particularly vulnerable to catching this epidemic. Indeed too many have succumbed and lost their lives. But let us not forget that in one way or another we are all key people. 

Communities and organisations, family, and neighbours have put themselves out to help others beyond what would have happened just a few months ago. So that while we are isolated from one another we have actually had the opportunity to get closer. 

The Ethics of our Fathers – an ethical work of our medieval legislators–exhalts us to be good neighbours and friends as well as good people. These ideals are being emphasised now more than ever. 

Pesach, Easter, and now Ramadan are being celebrated in what seems to be cut back ways. Lacking the usual large gatherings that are customarily associated with them. I suggest quite the opposite. The emphasis on these festivals is not to celebrate them in great numbers but to make sure great numbers have the means to celebrate them. While having many people around the table to celebrate creates it’s own atmosphere, making sure people have the means to celebrate is what is really our duty. 

This year more than any other l can remember, people have gone out of there way to make sure others have what they need. And continue to do so. Indeed it is one of the few reasons for leaving our homes at all. 

We are all key people in the lives of those around us. If there is one lesson to learn from this sad time it is how important people are. One man may have captured the world’s imagination but we can be Col Tom’s Let this be the lasting legacy of these times. 

Many happy returns Col Tom. 

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