Thanet & District Reform Synagogue – Etz Chaim (TDRS)
THANET AND DISTRICT REFORM SYNAGOGUE IS A REFORM JEWISH COMMUNITY BASED IN RAMSGATE, KENT.
From not only the Thanet base of Ramsgate, Margate and Broadstairs but also Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable, Dover, Faversham and Folkestone, there are constituents across Kent and beyond. Its Hebrew name is Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) and there are members of Reform Judaism. It is a thriving, inclusive community with members and friends from a broad range of backgrounds. There are:
- Services every Shabbat and for all Festivals.
- Plenty of social events.
- A full range of life events from birth onwards.
- A range of learning opportunities, for both children and adults.
- Community engagement from inter-faith work to education involvement.
- People from a range of backgrounds, no matter what that background is.
TDRS is funded by its members and is run by the synagogue council. There continues to be close connections with local and national organisations and charities who TDRS engage with and support where possible.
- Cheder club
- Adult learning
- Thanet and District Reform synagogue has a long history of inter-faith work both locally and throughout Kent. It has strong relationships with other faith communities, and particularly in East Kent. Local Imams have joined them in services at the synagogue and Rabbi Cohen has attended services at local mosques. In addition local Christian individuals and groups have attended many services at the synagogue. Members of the community continue to be involved in inter-faith organisations to ensure the continuing positive relationships between faiths as well as strong levels is of understanding and respect.
- On Holocaust Memorial Day, the community is involved in number of inter-faith activities with community and faith leaders from across the spectrum. Over recent years, the members have been involved in an Holocaust Memorial Day inter-faith event at Canterbury Cathedral. As well as the Dean of the Cathedral and the Canterbury Imam, Rabbi Cohen shared in the taking of the service with many members of TDRS in attendance.
- TDRS continues to promote inter-faith work wherever it can and sees itself as central in promoting Jewish faith and culture in that shared and positive inter-faith environment.
- Outreach and Education
- School visits to the synagogue
- good relationship with the Jewish Society at the University of Kent and often welcome students from there whether it be for a shabbat service or High Holy Days.
- Open days at the Synagogue on occasion. These are normally very well attended. For instanc, there were special open days for Jewish Day of Culture.
- TDRS always seeks to reach out to the wider community. The area has some of the most deprived council wards in the country and so it is always keen to ensure it reaches out where it can. For instance, its involvement with local charities both with financial contributions and with offers of help is an ongoing process.
- Excellent relationships with local MPs and councillors
- Looking at how it impact as a community on the environment and how it can be an eco-synagogue.
- Ensure that it supports both Jewish and non-jewish charities whether working locally, nationally or internationally. Locally, there is an ongoing relationship with Porchlight and their excellent help with the homeless both nationally and locally. In addition there is support for other local organisations such as the Salvation Army have been well established.
- Over the High Holy Days there is a yearly Kol Nidre appeal that selects 2 charities to benefit. In addition members give food and shopping for local food banks and the homeless.
- Thanet and District Reform Synagogue are always looking outwards and are proud to support charity as and where they can both in time and with money.
- TDRS wants to ensure that the welfare of its members is at the forefront of its thinking. For that reason a Chesed program is run. Members have people to turn to, to help and to get support from.
- As well as its commitment to Chesed, Thanet and District Reform Synagogue has longstanding and close relationships with charities and organisations that protect and care for the vulnerable.