Memories of the Minsk Ghetto – Talk at Finchley Reform Synagogue

📅 Sunday 19th May 2019

🕢 7:30pm

🗺 Finchley Reform Synagogue,
101 Fallow Ct Ave, London N12 0BE [map]

🎟️ Entry £7

An illustrated talk by joint editors Hilda Bronstein and Bett Demby will tell the story of a forgotten people who were held in a ghetto without walls.

Between 1941 and 1943, approximately 80,000 Jews lived in or passed through that place of terror; as a result of starvation, repeated brutal pogroms and transportations to nearby killing fields, most did not survive.

This book of memories, now in English thanks to a project run by The Together Plan Charity, shines a light on the little known plight of the Jews in the Soviet Union.

reserve tickets

Book tickets using the link below, or contact us on 0203 375 0656 or at london@thetogetherplan.com

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The Together Plan BNI Supper Quiz 2019

📅 Sunday 10th March 2019

🕢 7:00pm

🗺 Finchley Reform Synagogue
101 Fallow Ct Ave, London N12 0BE [map]

🎟️ Standard £28 | Friends £25

The Together Plan, in partnership with the Chipping Barnet BNI business networking group, are excited to present our annual Supper Quiz. Featuring a fully catered two-course meal (fish and vegetarian options available) and wine available to buy on the evening – both provided by BNI members – the event promises to be enormous fun.

Our last Supper Quiz made a huge impression with a combination of intense yet (mostly!) friendly competition, carefully crafted questions, surprises, laughs, and a great atmosphere. This year we are aiming even higher!

Ticketing Information

Each table seats 10 people. We encourage you to invite your friends to be on a table with you.

You do not need to book an entire table in a single booking – each member of the team can join the table when they book. If your group has fewer than 10 people, this is not a problem, as smaller groups can be seated together to fill a table.

If you would like to be on a table with specific people, please indicate this on your booking form. For example, if you write “Debra Brunner’s table” you will be seated with Debra Brunner and everyone else who is on a team with her.

Alternatively, if you do not mind which table you are seated on, simply leave this question blank.

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Book tickets using the link below, or contact us on 0203 375 0656 or at london@thetogetherplan.com

Film Screening – Russian Jews: Before the Revolution

📅 Sunday 20th January 2019

🕢 7:00pm

🗺 Radlett Reform Synagogue
[map]

🎟️ Standard £x | Concession £x

The Together Plan and Radlett Reform Synagogue present Before the Revolution, part one of a recently made trilogy telling the story of the Russian Jews.

A fascinating epic, Russian Jews follows their rich and complex history from 11th century through the collapse of the Soviet Union. Created and narrated by acclaimed journalist Leonid Parfenov, the trilogy highlights Jewish contributions to Russian and Soviet societies. The stories which Leonid Parfenov so masterfully depicts in the trilogy deserve a stage to be retold. Why was the phenomenon of Russian Jewry so significant for Soviet life, but just as significant for the anti-Soviet movement? Why does it continue to impact the post-Soviet reality in the countries of the former Soviet Union as well as beyond their borders? These and other important questions emerge from the trilogy to help engage its audience in this ever-important intellectual discourse.

Screenings of Part Two (1914–1948) and Part Three (after 1948) will follow.

reserve tickets

Ticket are on sale from Radlett Reform Synagogue, who are hosting the event. Book tickets using the link below. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Together Plan.

High Holy Day Appeal

On behalf of everyone at The Together Plan we’d like to wish all of our supporters celebrating Rosh Hashanah this week a Shana Tova u’metuka – a very happy and sweet new year.

This festive season is a particularly significant milestone for The Together Plan, as we look back on our first half-decade ahead of our fifth birthday on 10th October. We’ve achieved a remarkable amount in this short time, due entirely to the generosity of people like you: those who have given their money or time; donated unwanted clothes to our humanitarian aid project or volunteered for us; come along to an event or simply read our newsletter each week. We couldn’t have done it without you.

At this time of year, we are encouraged to reflect on our actions over the year past, and on the person that we would like to be in the year ahead. As communities across Belarus prepare to enter a new year, with all the achievements and challenges that entails, we ask you to help them realise their ambitions for 5779. There’s so much to do: the Minsk Ghetto Survivors’ Association will launch their first ever English-language book in late October; the enormous task of restoring the Great Synagogue of Slonim will get underway; the final touches will be put to a comprehensive, multi-denominational online liturgy and music resource; and communities across Belarus will continue to provide a much-needed cultural and spiritual home for their members.

For this reason, we’ve launched a High Holy Day appeal, which will run until the end of December. Donations of any size will be greatly appreciated and will make a huge difference to our communities in Belarus.

This Rosh Hashanah, will you help us make our vision for 5779 a reality?

You can donate online using the form below.

Donate online now

   

The Together Plan to use my personal data in order to process my payment. We will contact you to issue a receipt, and with any future communications you opt to receive at the next step. See our data protection policy. We receive 100% of all donations (less card charges).

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Pickle & Paint

📅 Sunday 20th May 2018

🕢 3:30pm

🗺 Finchley Reform Synagogue
101 Fallow Ct Ave, London N12 0BE [map]

🎟️ Standard £10 | Concession £8

Have you ever wondered how to pickle and why pickling was so  important in Eastern Europe? Do you know why we put stones on  Jewish graves and not flowers? And have you ever tried to turn a stone into a flower?

Come and join this family friendly Shavuot afternoon, join our pickling workshop, paint a stone and learn more about the Jews of Eastern Europe today. A community event for all ages.

Bring a pickling jar, green beans to pickle and a stone to paint (Information will be emailed on registration).

Paints, brushes and spices will be provided.

Finchley Reform Synagogue 101 Fallowcourt Avenue N12 0BE

Entry: £10.00, children under 16 and concessions £8.00

Includes tea and cake (including Belarusian cheesecake).

All proceeds raised will go to the FRS Belarus Project supporting the Jewish Educational Cultural Centre in Polotsk

reserve tickets

Book tickets using the link below, or contact us on 0203 375 0656 or at london@thetogetherplan.com

Download the FLyer

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Belarusian Cultural Evening at Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue

📅 Sunday 8th April 2018

🕢 7:30pm—10:00pm

🗺 Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue
118 Stonegrove, Edgware HA8 8AB [map]

🎟️ Standard £15 | Concession £10

10% discount for Friends of The Together Plan!
Sign up now to become a Friend.

Join us for a stimulating interactive evening of Belarusian culture in support of Jewish communities in Belarus and the former Soviet Union.

Written and created by three young people with a passion for Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Jewish and Yiddish culture, this live revue gives a fascinating and moving account of our collective history, achievements, hopes and dreams.

Join us on a journey journey through the rich history, culture and traditions of Belarus through poetry, music, film, history, Yiddish, and more. Sample Belarusian vodka, enjoy traditional delicacies including herring and hand-made pickles, and connect with like-minded people in a welcoming and informal setting, supporting EHRS’s Belarus Project in partnership with The Together Plan.

There will be a reception with traditional Belarusian drinks and snacks, tea & coffee, and light refreshments, followed by the main performance. The event will last approximately 2 ½ hours including reception and interval.

reserve tickets

To book tickets, please use the form below, or contact The Together Plan office on 0203 375 0656 or at london@thetogetherplan.com. For reasons of security tickets are not transferable. When booking tickets, please ensure the names of all guests are correct. We cannot guarantee your entry if your ticket is not in your name.

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Slonim Synagogue restoration project makes Belarusian headlines

Last week, The Together Plan was interviewed by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty about our project to restore the Great Synagogue of Slonim, Belarus in partnership with the Foundation for Jewish Heritage. Due to the building’s immense historical significance, the restoration project has been attracting the attention of media worldwide, featuring in the Guardian earlier this week. With this interview, the project makes its first appearance on a major news platform in Belarus itself.

The article in the original Belarusian can be found here: https://www.svaboda.org/a/29031958.html

the Slonim Synagogue is among the four most important historic synagogues in Europe. Restoration of the building may begin this year.

The 17th-century Slonim Synagogue is among the four most important historic synagogues in Europe in urgent need of restoration. Its conservation could begin this year, and within the next five years restoration work will take place. UK-Belarusian charity The Together Plan explains how a restored synagogue would promote the revival of Jewish community in Slonim and attract tourists to the city.

For more than 20 years the synagogue has been crumbling.

On 7th February 2018, in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament the question of the Slonim Synagogue was discussed. It has been identified as one of the four most important historic synagogues in Europe, among more than 3 300. Their restoration is currently being planned by the Foundation for Jewish Heritage.

The Synagogue in Slonim has been abandoned for 20 years already.

As reported in the Guardian, historian Simon Schama initiated a survey of all historic synagogues in Europe that still survive, rating them according to their significance. Restoration work is planned for the buildings of greatest historical value. The Slonim Synagogue is among the first.

The Great Synagogue in Slonim was built in 1635–1642 in the Baroque style. Today it is the oldest building in the city. In Soviet times, there was a warehouse of a furniture store; in an annex was a cafe. In the 1990s, the building was acquired by the state – but since then, its condition has only worsened. Located next to the market, the synagogue has suffered as a result of littering and vandalism.

In the last 20 years there has been a number of attempts to restore the synagogue. However, these largely yielded no results and the building continued to deteriorate. Only one construction project, to restore the badly damaged roof, was ever completed.

Artur Livshyts

“There have been attempts to restore the synagogue for a long time, including by the Slonimer Jews in Israel and other organisations, but nothing has changed. The synagogue is falling apart, and nothing is being done.” Artur Livshyts, head of Belarusian charity Dialogue and representative of The Together Plan in Belarus, tells Svaboda.

Dialogue and The Together Plan are engaged in discussions with the local authorities in Slonim on the possible reconstruction of the synagogue. In September 2017, they signed a memorandum of intent with the Slonim District Executive Committee.

“I really liked the attitude of the Slonim authorities to the project and to Jewish matters in general” said Arthur Livshyts. “They have been very active in their support.”

The Slonim Synagogue is one of the oldest in Belarus and is built in the Baroque style. As architect Galina Levina told Svaboda, the Slonim Synagogue provides a valuable insight into the history of religious life, art and architecture in Belarus.

“The Slonim Synagogue absolutely needs to be talked about. Its new rating only confirms this,” Levina said. “For us it has always been one of the most interesting synagogues. It is such a vivid example of the life of Slonim and Belarus throughout the centuries.”

A view of Slonim in the interwar period. Photo: National Library of Poland

Levina notes that the synagogue is noteworthy for the frescoes it contains. In the early 1990s, restorers from the Bastalia creative workshop worked in Slonim, making copies of all the paintings.

“The Slonim synagogue unique because such old painting are preserved here,” restorer Nikolai Zolotukha told Svaboda.

Also involved in the project is a British TV presenter, whose grandfather is from Slonim.

A long-standing interest regarding the Slonim Synagogue exists in the UK. In 2007, a film crew from the BBC visited Slonim to record an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? That episode of the family history programme would feature the famous British TV presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, whose ancestors came from Slonim and who visited with the film crew. Her grandfather was a rabbi in the synagogue until he emigrated in 1929.

Artur Livshyts meeting with the Mayor of Slonim, Oleg Targonski

In 2016, 27 representatives of the Kaplinsky family visited Slonim. Natasha and her uncle Simon Kaplinsky are two of several influential figures in Britain who have given their support to the synagogue revival project in Europe.

Simon Kaplinsky, Natasha’s uncle, is an influential civil engineer in Britain and is participating in the project for the restoration of the synagogue. He was one of the signatories of the memorandum with the Slonim authorities, having reviewed the technical documentation for the synagogue.

Artur Livshyts and Jonathan Clingman of The Together Plan believe that the synagogue’s planned restoration has already attracted a lot of attention to Slonim in the UK

However, the decision to identify the Slonim Synagogue as a priority for reconstruction had nothing to do with the Kaplinsky family.

“There was an independent study,” says Artur Livshyts. “The Kaplinskys’ story did not affect the decision. But it has turned out well that such influential people are participating in the project. “

The restoration of the synagogue could lead to the revival of Jewish community in Slonim.

What can a restored synagogue offer Slonim? Artur Livshyts believes that Slonim stands to benefit from the attention it now has in the UK. According to Artur, the city’s participation in this project could lead to a growth in tourism. It will also attract invtestment, including by those living in Slonim. One famous resident of Slonim was Michael Marks. After emigrating to the UK, he co-founded the well-known retail chain Marks & Spencer.

As well TV host Natasha Kaplinsky, Michael Marks, co-founder of British retail chain Marks & Spencer, hails from Slonim

The project has already generated interest in Judaism in Slonim. Before the Second World War, Jews accounted for 80% of the population of Slonim. Now, according to the census, there are only a few dozen among the city’s 50 thousand inhabitants. According to The Together Plan, once the synagogue’s restoration is underway, a Jewish community may reemerge in the city.

“We want to support such an initiative,” says Artur Livshyts. “There are a number of people in Slonim who with the support of the authorities have come forward to express their interest.”

As early as the summer of 2018, an international Jewish youth symposium will be held in Slonim, which will be dedicated, among other things, to the architectural heritage.

“We will continue to work on the project, even if a community does not appear in Slonim, but we would be glad to see the Jewish population of Slonim become more active,” added Artur Livshyts.

The first step: conservation of the synagogue in 2018

The plan for the restoration of the synagogues was announced at an event in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament. Influential politicians, scientists and celebrities participated in the event. Although many Members of Parliament have expressed support, Government funding for the project is not expected. A plan of action has been worked out for each synagogue.

Volunteers clearing the grounds of the synagogue in Slonim, 2017

The first stage of the restoration of the Slonim Synagogue has already been completed. At the end of 2017, the state of the building was assessed and urgent repairs identified. External structural supports will need to be erected to prevent the building’s imminent collapse.

“We hope to begin this conservation work within the year,” said Artur Livshyts. “I estimate that it will cost between 100 and 120 thousand dolllars. This is an achievable sum for such a large building. “

Now the search for funding for conservation begins. Asked when the synagogue will be completely restored, Livshyts does not give a precise answer, instead saying that this is a long-term project that will take at least five years. The final cost of the work is unknown, but we are talking about “millions of dollars”.

“I would not rush to give predictions. We need to take things one step at a time. These are not empty promises: we are working hard to realise these plans,” says Livshyts.

The Together Plan joins Minsk Ghetto survivors – and the families that saved them – to mark International Holocaust Memorial Day in Porechye

During the darkest years of the Holocaust, the small village of Porechye, south of Minsk, became home to forty Jewish children fleeing the Minsk Ghetto, whom the villagers adopted into their families at enormous risk to their own lives.

Today, in the run-up to International Holocaust Memorial Day, representatives of The Together Plan joined a commemorative delegation at Porechye for a ceremony of speeches, wreath-laying, and a recitation of the Kaddish in remembrance of the countless individuals who (unlike the Porechye children) did not survive. In attendance was the German deputy ambassador, Anja Luther; Chair of the Minsk Ghetto Survivors’ Association Frida Reisman; Maya Krapina, one of the Porechye children; two inhabitants of Porechye and Righteous among the Nations; and Ekaterina Kosmolskaya, director of the district’s Department for Culture.

Braving freezing conditions, the 40-strong delegation gathered at a roadside monument, before continuing to a nearby town, where we were joined by local schoolchildren. ‘I ask that the village of Porechye be known as the village of kindness, for nowhere else have I met such selfless individuals as in Porechye,’ said Ms Reisman. ‘When we arrived here, though just eight years old, we had become like old men and women,’ she added, now aged 83 and ablaze with life. The Together Plan provides support to the Minsk Ghetto Survivors’ Association in organising social  events and festival celebrations, as well as through our Aid Together humanitarian aid project.

After the commemoration, the delegation retired to a cafe for refreshments. Today, the traditional Jewish toast ‘L’chaim’ – ‘to life’, today of all days so fragile yet so precious – felt particularly poignant.

The Together Plan International Film Festival: Labyrinth of Lies

  • 📅 Wednesday 6th December 2017
  • 🕢 7.30pm
  • 🗺 Finchley Reform Synagogue
    101 Fallow Ct Ave, London N12 0BE [map]
  • 🎟️ Standard £10 | Concession £8

The Together Plan International Film Festival presents its final screening of 2017: Labyrinth of Lies.

Set 20 years after the end of the Holocaust, this compelling and challenging German film follows a young lawyer in his efforts to bring a former Auschwitz guard to justice. But in a time when the war is just a memory that most would gladly forget, he is forced to explore his country’s traumatic past and confront collective memory and guilt head-on.

As always, there will be delicious homemade cakes, thought-provoking discussion, and the chance to find out more about the issues raised in the film and the work of The Together Plan in rebuilding Judaism after the tragedies of the 20th century.

Watch the Trailer

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Friends’ Scheme Launch Reception with Frida Reisman, Minsk Ghetto survivor

please join us for the launch of our friends’ scheme

with special guest speaker

Frida Reisman

Holocaust survivor
Chairwoman, Minsk Ghetto Survivors’ Association

📅 Thursday 30th November 2017
🕡 18:30-21:30
🗺️ ORT House, 126 Albert St, London NW1 7NE [map]

We are delighted to invite you to join us for a drinks and canapés reception to celebrate the launch of our Friends’ Scheme.

We are very excited to be joined from Minsk by Frida Reisman (pictured right). Frida will be speaking to us about her experiences as a child living in the notorious Minsk Ghetto, as well as the impact of The Together Plan’s work on the lives of the Ghetto survivors, many of whom still live on the land the Minsk Ghetto once occupied.

There will also be the opportunity to meet The Together Plan supporters, volunteers and staff in an informal setting, and to learn about our vital work rebuilding community in the former Soviet Union.

For reasons of security advance registration is essential. RSVP online using the form below or by contacting The Together Plan office on 020 3375 0656 or at london@thetogetherplan.com.

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Or sign up online to become a Friend

Get closer to what we do. Receive priority booking for events and trips. Be invited to our annual Friends event. Explore your heritage with us. Access our private reference library including rare books. Engage on a personal and meaningful level. Build life-long relationships. Be part of our vision and our Together Plan family. All for just £4 a month.

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