Synagogue Support for Afghans

Last week, Rabbi Elchonon Feldman of the Bushey United Synagogue in Hertfordshire was contacted by Laurence Brass, Councillor for Bushey North, saying that some Afghan families had been placed in the local area and needed things like warm clothing, toiletries, toys and basic school supplies.

So, on Thursday 19th August, he sent a message to members of the synagogue community using its private Facebook page, and quickly saw donations start to overflow from the synagogue into the car park. On Monday he said:

“It went crazy. By the time Sunday arrived we had around
3,000 bags (of items) that had been brought to help out.”

Volunteers are now sorting through the donations to see where best to place items for the Afghan families, with anything left over going to other charities.

One local woman said she saw streams of people walking to the synagogue with bags items to donate. Rabbi Feldman said the plight of the Afghan refugees had struck a chord with the Jewish community because of their own history.

“There is a particular nerve that is hit when we hear about people
who are coming here without (anything) and who are fleeing much worse
 – how can you possibly turn away from something like that?”

Laurence Brass is a member of the synagogue congregation. He commented that the response was so significant that traffic was slowed down for three miles from Stanmore to Bushey as people sought to deliver their bags of donations. He said:

“In all my experience over many years working with the Board of Deputies
 and other organisations, I’ve never seen anything like it”.