Our Move to Stanmore Hill. Update 2

During the current lockdown our overriding priority has obviously been the welfare of our members and providing (virtual) “space” to come together as a community.

However, we have not lost sight of the huge opportunity that remains ahead with the move from Bessborough Road to Stanmore Hill.

So we thought it would be a good time to reassure you that we are all still committed 100% to the move and that we are learning a great deal, earlier than expected, from this enforced period of being without a permanent physical home.

We don’t know what the “new normal” will be but, inevitably, it will change expectations, and adjustments will need to be made. Harrow Council also has other priorities at the moment so the legal stages involving them and the developers have slowed down.

What has changed is our perception of what a modern synagogue needs to provide. It is likely that we will reconfigure our design parameters to upgrade the technological capabilities to provide better streaming and screening facilities. We have been provided with an unexpected opportunity to see how an interim period can operate using technologies, which could now become permanent features of our community going forward. For example, Hamakom has started its online religion classes which include breakout sessions and one-to-one tuition. We are also providing tablet computers with simple instructions, and a pack including a charger and internet connector – these for members with no previous internet connection or experience of using a computer. Our Zoom social activities are proving highly successful. So all these are positive lessons to take with us.

What we don’t know is how the property market will settle down, how developers will respond, and when Harrow council planning activity will get back to normal. These are the uncertainties that we face, not least not knowing when or where in-shul activities and services can resume. Meanwhile our property working group is still moving the project forward and trying to meet the timelines despite the changed working environment.

We will endeavour to keep you informed in the forthcoming weeks and months, but meanwhile please ensure you make good use of the various new ways of staying together and sharing together as a community.

April 30, 2020