US Chesed News

US Chesed Conference goes virtual
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Monday 14th September 2020

The United Synagogue’s Chesed department held its fifth annual conference last week but with a significant difference from previous years. With the restrictions due to the ongoing pandemic preventing an in-person conference from taking place, the United Synagogue held a virtual conference, with 100 participants attending.

The evening started with a short inspiring video from Chief Rabbi Mirvis, followed by a talk from Baroness Barran MBE, Minister for Loneliness. The Minister said she receives more correspondence on this topic than any other, and emphasised that while there is still a considerable stigma attached to admitting to loneliness, it is ok to say that we feel vulnerable, and COVID-19 has made that more acceptable.

The participants then began Zoom sessions on their chosen topic, which included subjects such as ‘We all need to look after our Mental Health’, ‘Adapting to the changing world of work’ and ‘Has COVID-19 led to an epidemic of domestic abuse?’

Michelle Minsky, Head of United Synagogue Chesed, said: “I am so glad we were able to meet, albeit virtually. Of course, we lost the chance to chat to people in other communities, who are often the source of great, practical ideas, but on the plus side, others joined this year who had not been able to before. I hope that the positive ideas that came out of the programme will help us all as we moved forward to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “There is no doubt that our Chesed Conference is one of the most significant events on the United Synagogue calendar, and this is because ‘chesed’ as a concept is so central to our identity and ethos.”