Yom Chamishi, 13 AdarI 5781
Ta anith Esther Thursday, 25 February 2021
'There is no need for a welcoming group - you are it'

The JC

With the Anglo-Jewish population increasingly concentrated in north London and the Hertfordshire suburbs, it is easy to forget that Jewish life exists, and in some cases thrives, in small regional communities.

Dividing her time between leading Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Community and overseeing outreach and development work at Liberal Judaism's London HQ, Rabbi Anna Gerrard has a special perspective on the pluses and pitfalls.

Rabbi Gerrard classifies a genuine small community as one of under 100 souls which requires financial and bureaucratic support. Those outside the capital can draw members from a 50-mile radius, "so there is the difficulty of getting people to the same place. You can't, for example, run a weekly cheder as parents are not prepared to drive their children on a two-hour round trip every week. You have to think quite creatively about how you run things, when you run things, even what time of day. Most small communities have a bring-and-share supper after Friday service while London communities might have it once every two months. It's partly because some people are travelling so far, it would be too late for them to get home for dinner.  Read more