A VERY DIFFERENT SIMCHAT TORAH – 22nd Tishri 5781 (10th October 2020)

As with other congregations, this year sadly we were not able to come together for our normal High Holiday celebrations, neither were we able to meet for the happy festival of Simchat Torah. (Giving of the Law)

However, whilst we may be only a small community, we pride ourselves on being adaptable to whatever is thrown at us. Thus, on Shabbat 10th October our Simchat Torah service went ahead anyway, held remotely via Zoom.  Of course, we could not have congregants parading around singing and dancing with the Sifri Torah nor could we have the traditional blessing of the children under a Tallit at the conclusion of the service. Nevertheless, we made the best of it, choosing to focus on what we could, rather than what we could not do.

Louis led the service, when it came to reading of the Torah, Louis took one scroll out and stood swaying with it, whilst Janice, in keeping with the festival, played some traditional Hebrew music. With only Jan and Louis at the physical service, which was broadcast from the conservatory, it was decided the only practical option was for Jan and Louis to read the two Parsha’s. Thus, by default, Louis was Chatan Torah reading Devarim and Jan was Kallah Bereshit reading Bereshit.

So, whilst not ideal circumstances, Simchat Torah was celebrated. Attendance via Zoom was very good, and we were given to understand that the service was enjoyed by those who were present.


Amanda, a founder member of Tikvah Chadasha, has been on council since our inception, and is currently the Shul’s secretary.
Amanda was due to run the London marathon in April. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the London Marathon was delayed. Thus, on chilly, wet Sunday 4th October many people, Amanda included ran the 26.2 miles using designated & approved routes local to them. The route that Amanda ran in Brentwood and the surrounding villages was hilly and, on such a wet day, very muddy!

Having run half marathons in the past, this was Amanda’s first full marathon. Running on behalf of of VICTA, a small, but national charity that empowers children and young adults who are blind or partially sighted. VICTA uses activity based learning as a positive setting for social interaction. For blind & partially sighted young people, involvement in team-based activities can be positively associated with social acceptance & a sense of belonging. VICTA work hard helping young people to question any limiting presumptions they may have.
Choosing VICTA is close to Amanda’s heart. He dad has had sight impairment as a result of a childhood accident. Amanda’s little niece Elena, also has sight issues due to a condition she was born with. So it was clear to see why Amanda chose VICTA.

Our community are very proud of Amanda’s achievement, and wish her a hearty muzeltov. Perhaps 2021 will see her run the route normally designated for the London Marathon. Watch this space.

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