My article in the September Highlight concluded “Induction and welcoming teams are being set up and I very much look forward to BRS welcoming Rabbi Jason Holtz and his wife, Jodi, to Bromley next month.” Gosh, a lot has happened since then.

By the time you read this, Rabbi Jason’s Induction Service will have happened, although I think it might be considered as a confirmation of his position in the Bromley community rather than his induction.

In that same article I stated “our objective was to select a person with the understanding and commitment to safeguard the values of BRS, but with the vision and motivation to help take it forward to satisfy the needs and aspirations of future generations of members”.

For the first few weeks we were expecting to cut our new Rabbi some slack while he and Jodi found their feet in a new country and sorted out personal arrangements. However, from his day of arrival he has thrown himself into establishing a strong relationship with BRS. This display of commitment, vision and motivation has left some of us feeling quite breathless, so I am taking this opportunity to catch my breath and reflect on how, together with our selected Rabbi, we will satisfy the needs and aspirations of future generations of members.

Howard Thurman, the American theologian and civil rights activist, wrote “Community cannot for long feed on itself; it can only flourish with the coming of others from beyond, their unknown and undiscovered brothers”.

Thanks to the ethos and commitment of our founder members and the coming in of new members, BRS is now celebrating its 50th year. Our wonderful inheritance means that 2014 is not a commemoration of survival, but a celebratory marker of our community’s continuing evolution and growth. Not a time for self-satisfaction, but an

opportunity to move on collectively to serve the constant needs of our community of Reform Judaism. For this year we have created a brighter logo and are working hard on a re-launch of the BRS web site. Wi-Fi coverage for Highland Road is on the agenda. There is a fantastic programme of events, but continuing to attract new members and flourishing, and providing a heritage for the 100th party will not happen just through the efforts and abilities of a Rabbi and a few, dedicated committee members. It requires all of us to participate in shaping our community.

Participation can take many forms. We have recognised, maybe belatedly, the value of Social Media – scary for some of us, but an everyday communication tool for an increasing number. No doubt in a few years’ time the Facebook and Twitter generation will be sniffy about the adoption of a new fad technology and radical ideas will become conservative beliefs.

So please get involved with the 50th anniversary events planned for this year. Share your thoughts and ideas on what you want from BRS and how you think our House of Light should develop, for without your participation there will be no congregation and community for future generations to inherit.

“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm” said Henrik Ibsen

Well, more likely in a community of Jews, it should be “everyone will be prepared to give advice to the person at the helm” as the continuation of our good ship Beit Or’s successful voyage depends also on wide awake navigators and lookouts (although a few more oarsmen would be welcome).

Toby Allin, Joint Vice Chairman

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