While Sha’arei Tsedek remains a completely “virtual” community during the COVID-19 crisis, this page will serve as a resource for our members, with information on our services, learning programmes and a variety of other available offerings.

Please rest assured that no matter what your concern or question, our dedicated staff, Rabbinic Team and Council are here for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us either via our Facebook page, on Twitter, by email to info@shaarei-tsedek. org.uk or by calling 020 8445 3400.

These are fast changing times. We are reviewing our arrangements every day, and we will do all we can to stay in touch with you.


Sha’arei Tsedek Night Shelter initiative – UPDATE

During the current Coronavirus outbreak night shelters in Barnet, run by Homeless Action in Barnet, has been trying to keep running its normal service. However, this has been challenging for both the guests and volunteers. As the pandemic has worsened it has become harder to sustain the night shelter provisions offered within the borough and the current shelter provisions have been temporarily closed.

Speaking about the situation Amanda Weiss, Charity Operations Manager for Together in Barnet says: “I am very pleased and relieved to inform our supporters, that, as of Monday evening, all of the guests supported by the charity have been placed in temporary accommodation provided by the government in West London. Needless to say this is fantastic news”.

Our shelter was due to start in June and run until September. Unfortunately, this initiative is now temporarily on hold until further notice. Over the coming weeks and months HAB will be working in conjunction with the government to organise logistics of getting necessary essentials to the clients.

As a small charity these changes will pose some financial challenges to the organisation. If you would like to support Homeless Action in Barnet/Together in Barnet and make a donation please click here.

Alonim Kindergarten is staying open to support children of Key Workers during the Coronavirus outbreak

Released: 23 March 2020

Alonim has announced it is staying open to support children of key workers and those from working families. On Wednesday (18 March), Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said all schools would close on Friday until further notice. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in his daily conference confirmed the closures but said some schools would be kept open with a skeleton staff to provide support for children of key workers, including NHS staff, police and delivery drivers.

Roz Levenson, Head Teacher said: “It is essential that we support families so that NHS staff can work during this critical time. I am proud that the Alonim team can help”.

Richard Woolf, Chair added: “I am grateful to our teachers, security and caretaking staff who have volunteered to work so that Alonim can stay open. Thank you to everyone at this difficult time”.

Sha’arei Tsedek Caretaking and Security staff will continue to provide support whilst Alonim Kindergarten remains open.

Israeli Movie Night
Over the last decade Israel has emerged as a surprising powerhouse in the foreign film industry with many award-winning films and TV series. Unfortunately due to the CoronaVirus outbreak the UK SERET International Israeli Film Festival has been postponed. However, they are streaming films on a weekly basis every Thursday at 8.00 pm. For more details click here.

Reform Judaism – RJ:TV

RJ:TV is Reform Judaism’s interactive broadcasting platform for these challenging times. Each day RJ will provide a range of interactive programming that you are invited to join – from daily prayer services and adult learning sessions to fun for all ages and casual catch-ups. Click here for details.

RSY-Netzer -Remote Synagogue Youth

RSY-Netzer – Remote Synagogue Youth 

Programming for schools years 1-11 is provided by RSY-Netzer. Click here for more details and how to register for the programme.


Erev Shabbat: Fridays, 6.45 pm

Shabbat Morning: Saturdays, 10.30 am

Children & Youth

Virtual Religion School: Sundays,  9.30 am

Story-time for under fives: Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, 12 noon

Stories suitable for pre school children

Erev Shabbat Mishpacha Services: select Fridays, 4.00 pm

Virtual B’nei Mitzvah Group: Fridays, 5.00 pm


‘Start your week on a positive note – mental health well-being sessions’: Mondays, 12.45 pm

Join Therapist Ruth Dines for a short interactive mental health well-being session.

Tuesday Teatime with Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu: Tuesdays, 3.00 pm

Start boiling the kettle! Take a little break and join Rabbi Shulamit for a virtual cup of tea, chat and catch-up.

Book Club: monthly on Mondays, 3.00 pm

The next meeting is on Monday 1 June. Please click here for details.

Teatime Quiz: Wednesdays, 3.00 pm

Test your general knowledge and trivia from the comfort of your sofa. Join us for a fun quiz for all levels and abilities.

Adult Education

Midweek Group with Rabbi Colin Eimer: select Wednesdays, 10.00 am

Musical Parternships with Rabbi James Baaden: select Thursdays, 3.00 pm

‘Just One Word’ with Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu: Fridays, 3.00 pm

Exploring spirituality through one Hebrew word at a time.

Follow along with us: All our programming is hosted via Zoom.

Yahrzeit Guidance during the Coronavirus Pandemic

In these times, we are facing many challenges. In normal times, we light the yahrzeit or memorial candle at home on the evening before this date. In normal times we offer a mitzvah in the synagogue on the Shabbat immediately afterwards, so that you can honour the memory of your relative and recite kaddish in the community.

Very sadly, these are not normal times. Nonetheless it is ever more important to honour the memories of our loved ones in ways that strengthen our connection to them and to the community.

If you have a candle at home, then you have the option to light it on the evening before this date. Jewish tradition recognises that memorial lights were always made of a variety of different materials and even include electric tea lights nowadays. If you do not have a memorial candle in your home, please find a safe alternative that you can easily use. If you do not have a safe alternative to hand, my strong advice to you is to leave a physical space where you would normally light the candle, just for this year. We must remember that all our mitzvot, or commandments, and customs, are given to us to enhance our lives. We should not be making extra shopping trips at this time, or asking others to do this for us.

Indeed, lighting a memorial candle at the yahrzeit is a very recent Jewish custom. Until around the 1700s it was far more usual for Jews to fast on the yahrzeit, and to give tsedakkah to the poor. In fact, tsedakkah for the poor always was more strongly urged, because many people cannot fast safely. In these days, fasting is not a sensible act, since it makes us more vulnerable. But there are many many charities, including local food banks, that need your extra support at this time. I suggest you make your donation in memory of your loved one.

Finally, while it is not possible to offer each other the physical comfort of coming to synagogue, and joining in with kaddish, please let us know if you would like your relative’s name to be included when kaddish is recited when we come together online over Shabbat. I hope it will be helpful for you to know that myself, Rabbi Baaden and community members are thinking of you.

May God comfort all who mourn and wishing you long life.


Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu

Care Mails

Therapist Ruth Dines shares hints and tips on how to remain calm and positive during the current situation.  

Care Mail #1  Breathing Exercise to relax you

Care Mail #2 Relaxation Exercise – Grounding through the five senses: Sight, Hearing, Touch, Smell & Taste

Care Mail #3 Managing Negative Thoughts

In this short video Ruth shares some CBT strategies to help those of you who are experiencing negative, sometimes catastrophising thoughts, so you can learn how to ‘turn them down’ or even ‘off’, thereby helping you to focus on more realistic, even positive thoughts.

 If you have any questions after watching the video please don’t hesitate to contact Ruth, either by text or email (therapy@ruthdines.com) and she’ll be happy to answer any queries you may have.

Care Mail #4 – Self soothing exercise

Care Mail #5 – Grief and Mourning

Care Mail #6 – If you have suffered a loss. Part 1

Care Mail #7 – So what is happiness?

Care Mail #8 – Having a meaningful life. Tips and hints.

How to connect to ZOOM

You can join online from a computer or mobile device, by heading to www.zoom.us/join and entering meeting ID 583-189-9518. 

You can also join from a phone by dialling 0131 460 1196 and enter meeting ID 583-189-9518. You will only be able to hear the content and interact verbally. You won’t be able to view the content.

Tikkun Leyl Shavuot

Thursday 28 May – 4.45 pm – late

This year we will be joining with the Eastern Counties Association of Masorti and Progressive Synagogues and Southend, Cardiff, Bristol and Liverpool communities, to bring you a fantastic evening.

 Celebrate Shavuot with song, study, activity and more.

Participate the whole night or just when you want.

Links to all sessions in the programme can be found here.

Members: For Zoom links to each sessions please refer to your Shavuot newsletter.


4.45 pm – Tots Shavuot story and song time
Led by Mich Sampson

7.00 pm
1) How is the Torah like mother’s milk?
Led by Rabbi Zehavit Shalev, North Essex Masorti

In this session Rabb Shalev will discuss some interesting stories which compare Torah to mother’s milk and talk about how Jewishness is transmitted including the relationship between babies and their mother’s breasts, wet nursing, and the vexed question of weaning. BYOC (Bring your own cheescake)

2) Songs of Torah and Togetherness
Sing-a-long led by Mich Sampson


8.00 pm—Family Erev Shavuot Service and activity
Led by Rabbi Richard Jacobi, ELELS

Break for tea / coffee and cheesecake

9.00 pm ‘The Seventy Languages of the Jews’
Led by Dr Lily Kahn, Reader in Hebrew and Jewish Languages at UCL

This talk will introduce you to the rich variety of languages spoken and written by Jews over the past three thousand years, including not only well-known Jewish languages like Hebrew, Yiddush, and Ladino, but also less familiar ones like Chinese, Georgian, and Malayalam, all of which have a fascinating Jewish story to be told. No prior knowledge of linguistics is assumed.

10.00 pm
1) ‘Ruth and the other Messianic Mothers’
Study session led by Student Rabbi Tali Artman and Rabbi Warren Elf, Southend and Liverpool Reform Synagogues

2) Trees of Life: Poetry and Papercutting
Led by Rabbi Lisa Barrett, SWESRS and Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu, Sha’arei Tsedek

Connecting the trees of our own lungs, the trees in our forests and the Torah, our Tree of Life. Please bring paper, scissors, and coloured pens.

Celebratory Shavuot morning for all ages

Friday 29 May – 10.30 am – 1.00 pm

Join us on our creative community journey through moments of prayer and activities

Participate for the whole morning or just when you want


10.30 am – Welcome by Rabbi Shulamit Ambalu

Join via Zoom.

10.30 am – Family Fitness with Emma Godley 
Fun family fitness session with Emma Godly, Shaarei Tsedek member, and owner of Oxygen Fit Personal Training Club in East Barnet. Join Emma for a fun 35 minute intermediate workout to work off some of that cheesecake!

Join via Zoom.

11.00 am – No Bake Cheesecake workshop with Penny Beral of Catering by Penny Beral
Join Penny for a fun cheesecake making workshop. During this session Penny demonstrates how to make a no bake cheesecake and talks about her current involvement with ‘You Donate – We Deliver’ a charitable organisation creating meals for front line workers during the current pandemic. Feel free to join in or watch and make later. Join via Zoom.

Click No Bake Cheesecake by Penny Beral for a list of ingredients and equipment. Penny has suggested some alternative options if the main ingredients are not available.

Penny Beral biography

You can find some more dairy recipes from Penny here.

Baked Cheesecake by Penny Beral

Savoury Bread and Butter Pudding

Vegetable Frittata by Penny Beral

11.40 am – Paper Art for Shavuot with Ilana Eimer
Join Ilana and learn some fun facts about the history of paper cutting for Shavuot whilst making a simple, yet effective ‘paper flower wall hanging’ to decorate your home for Shavuot or simply watch and do later. Join via Zoom.

Paper Art Session

Paper session TEMPLATE

12.10 pm – The Blessing of Gardening with Rabbi James Baaden 
Join Rabbi Baaden on a journey through late spring, the first harvest, which is what Shavuot celebrates, via ancient times and the plants known as the “Seven Species”. Rabbi Baaden looks at what this specific season means to us outdoors, here in London, in our gardens and terraces and balconies, and in the natural world in general.  There’s no need to be a gardener or have your own garden.

Join via Zoom.