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Sussex Jewish Continuity

In 1994, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks published a book with a title that asked a question,Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren?This inspired the initiative to set up programmes of Jewish Continuity throughout the UK. Sussex Jewish Continuity (SJC) was set up in March 1997 with Ronnie Bloom as chairman together with an executive committee, with a… Read more »

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In 1994, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks published a book with a title that asked a question,Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren?This inspired the initiative to set up programmes of Jewish Continuity throughout the UK.

Sussex Jewish Continuity (SJC) was set up in March 1997 with Ronnie Bloom as chairman together with an executive committee, with a grant from the Ashdown Trust which was paid in four instalments over two years. The idea was that further funding would come from the local community once the project got off the ground.

The committee were able to secure premises at favourable rates for this operation in an office upstairs at Ralli Hall, employing Doris Levinson as a full-time co-ordinator and Fred Zartz as a part-time educator.  Both employees – Doris, who edited Sussex Jewish Newsand also had a regular slot on BBC Radio Sussex and Fred, who was a highly qualified and imaginative Jewish educator, resulted in Sussex Jewish Continuity having a very high local profile. They were responsible for a wide programme of interesting events, which brought a breath of fresh air into the community.

SJC was a lifeline to the community, including the unaffiliated.   Because of its neutral position and ability to reach out to a wider audience, SJC was able to initiate a great many projects ranging from an after-school club, to welcome packs for newcomers to the community and even a dating agency.   There was a young leadership group and a mini-Limmud, as well as a most successful Hebrew reading crash course and lunchtime speaker events.  A Passoverpantomime and a Kabbalat Shabbat meal were total sell-outs and much enjoyed by the local community.

However, two years later, in 1999, due to funding issues, an emergency meeting was called by the committee inviting all communal leaders and rabbis to discuss the future of the project. The urgent appeal for funds to continue this successful local project was disappointingly supported by only a small handful of people and it would not have been sufficient to secure the Jewish Continuity aspect of the organisation. Despite its obvious educational and social success, sadly SJC had to close due only to lack of funding.

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