Masorti Judaism has received more than £70,000 in emergency funding — but its chief executive says it will need to raise more in the coming year.
Matt Plen told the JC that £50,000 from the National Lottery and £23,000 from the London Community Response Fund had “really helped us get through the immediate term”. However, the movement was “anticipating a challenging situation because of what looks like an impending recession and an increased demand for our services”
A few Masorti shuls have tentatively reopened, including the New North London and New London. Intensive planning was being devoted to the High Holy-Days.
“Most of our communities are not doing livestreaming on Yomtov,” Dr Plen said. “It’s possible that some of them are going to. Our rabbis have recognised that the need of particular communities might require that.”
The movement has not had to make redundancies, being able to furlough the majority of staff. Many have now moved onto the part-time furlough scheme introduced by the Chancellor.
There had been pay cuts of between eight and 12 per cent but Dr Plen stressed that the lowest paid had not had their salaries reduced.
Although members were continuing to pay their fees, he acknowledged: “I think we might expect to see more trouble with that in the future.”
Anecdotally, he was aware of a number of deaths due to coronavirus within the Masorti community, recalling “a wave of people being ill” at the beginning of the lockdown.
At New London, meanwhile, a spokesperson reported that the shul had reopened a fortnight ago “having made extensive preparations to ensure we were Covid compliant. We are having Shabbat morning services, slightly shortened, for up to 40 members.
“We are very much hoping to be able to offer some High Holy-Day services ‘in building’ in September.”