In a fresh approach to its Rosh Hashanah appeal, the United Synagogue is this year promoting a blood donor campaign in partnership with the National Blood Service.
At the US's Project Chesed, promoting responsibility towards others, director Candice Woolfson said: "We are asking people to make a different kind of pledge this year. Giving blood is a life-saving act. Every Rosh Hashanah we greet each other with the words: ‘Shanah Tovah - may you have a healthy and happy New Year.' This year our community can turn those words into actions."
In support of the appeal, a blood donor session will be held at Hendon Synagogue on November 9. Another session will be in Radlett on November 23 as part of the Joely Bear Appeal. Some shuls will be organising groups to attend donor sessions.
The initiative has been welcomed by St Albans resident Sharon Gold, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. The treatment left her depleted of the white cells needed to fight infection. She felt "very much better" after a blood transfusion.
"If people are thinking about giving blood I would say to them ‘just do it', as you never know what's round the corner. I was fortunate that blood was available when I needed it and so I know how important it is for people to give blood if they can."