What an amazing month August was with the London Olympics creating an atmosphere that made us all proud to belong to a cheering, excited population filled with a national pride. Everyone agreed that the effort put into the logistics and organisation bore fruit so that all, Brits and foreigners alike, were united in their praise. Praise for the venues, the athletes, the trainers, the officials and, perhaps most of all, for the many thousands of volunteers who gave their time freely to help others. To give you an example of the roles played by many members of the US we are delighted to print articles written by two of our volunteers.
Our first volunteer, Shirley Scott, was chosen to be a London Ambassador located in Hyde Park. In her role she met and assisted visitors to London (foreigners and tourists from other parts of the country) pointing them in the right direction and assisting with their numerous and varied questions about London. As she says, ‘The atmosphere was unbelievable, and it was a privilege to be part of Team London Ambassadors …London was truly a world in one city’. Read her article and feel part of her experience.
Then turn to our second feature where, in her blog, Doreen Samuels describes how she became involved as a volunteer Gamesmaker and ended up as a Flash Quotes Reporter for the Badminton being held in Wembley. Meeting and interviewing winners and losers, then rushing to the newsroom to write short reports that were flashed round the world, by the end of the Olympics Doreen must have been as fit (or as exhausted) as the athletes themselves.
With the Paralympics now in full swing it is difficult to turn our thoughts to other matters. Yet most of us are doing just that as we look forward to the upcoming Yomtovim. For the majority of the Jewish population this will be a period of joy shared with family and friends, but for some Grandparents this time of the year accentuates the loss they feel in having been denied contact with the grandchildren they want to know and love.
The Grandparents Association in the North and West Midlands was formed specifically in order to assist and alleviate the grief of grandparents in this situation. In Contact Denied Lorraine explains the deep sense of loss felt by many grandparents, leading her to start a new group in London especially for Jewish Grandparents who find themselves yearning for contact with their children’s offspring. With its first meeting due to take place in Hendon on September 12, read our article for more details and contact information.
We all pray that our family members will be healthy, but where can we turn for support if one of them has learning disabilities or mental health problems? The answer is the Judith Trust. Founded in 1997, through its Inclusion Campaign the Trust works to ensure that those suffering from mental disabilities are able to be involved in the Jewish community, to become involved in volunteering and to be allowed to enjoy the shul service to the full. So please read Jewish Women Are All Different and, especially this month, welcome the less mentally able into your shuls.
For our final feature we turn to the shul magazine that will drop through your letterbox very shortly (if it hasn’t already). Do you look for your tickets and then put the magazine aside, or do you read it from cover to cover? Are you happy with the content or do you complain if it is not what you want? Either way, as you read The Trials and Tribulations of a Shul Magazine Editor, written by Glynis Kuzuk, spare a thought for the magazine editor who has spent hours and hours endeavouring to produce a magazine that will enlighten and entertain the shul readership with its in-depth articles and wit, its information on shul events and its book reviews, its articles on the Chatanim and its letter from the Rabbi. Would you like the job!!!
Following on, and with Yomtov outfits in mind, this month we offer our readers 10 Top Tips For Wearing a Hat Stylishly.
Don’t forget to look at our Future Events section for information on Rosh Chodesh Groups and other learning opportunities, plus details of the first meeting of the new Grandparents Group and much more, such as an evening at Hendon Synagogue on Juggling Work and Motherhood, How to Help Your Child Develop Positive Social Skills, and Encouraging Positive Attitudes to Food and Body Image in our Children.
Finally, JVN and Mitzvah Day are joining forces to host a reception to thank all the Jewish Volunteers who gave their time at the Olympics and Paralympics. We hope to announce the date and give more details in next month’s issue – so mark the first Thursday of October in your diary now.
We hope you enjoy reading this month’s issue and wish all our readers and their families a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year and Well over the Fast.
Ida Dyan (Editor)