On March 30th 2011, 36 diverse communities came together to form North London Citizens – an organisation of local faith communities, schools and other civic institutions who will form new alliances to bring about changes in our communities for the common good.
FRS is one of several progressive synagogues supporting this initiative. It is the first time in the 22 years Citizens UK has been working around the country that there has been any strong Jewish voice or participation. We now have the chance to work together for the common good with local churches of all persuasions, mosques, other synagogues, schools, universities and colleges, immigrant and refugee representatives, unions, and other diverse community groups.
Key projects for Citizens UK have been
- Living Wage campaign (paying Londoners higher than the minimum wage to cover costs of living and working in London)
- City Safe Sanctuaries (retailers providing sanctuary for young people who feel threatened on London’s streets)
- Strangers into Citizens (granting amnesty to long-term residents who do not have regular papers, focusing on ending child detention)
- Anti-usury campaign (to end extortionate rates of interest being charged on credit cards and personal loans by unscrupulous providers)
The key projects for North London Citizens will be decided democratically once all member communities have conducted their own internal Listening Campaigns. FRS will shortly be launching its own listening campaign, and all are invited to join us in an evening of sharing stories and personal experience. We’ll identify challenges that are prevalent in our community, and share that information with other local communities. We can act more effectively when we build power through shared causes, and create alliance with like-minded groups.
Look out for opportunities to talk with members of FRS Social Action Group or join one of our ‘House Meetings’, express your views and get involved – we’ll be hoping to hear the things that drive you forward in life – the reasons you wake up each morning, and the things that move you to be the person you are.
To learn more & get involved contact FRS
Joint Chanukah Tea with the Al Khoei Foundation
On Sunday December 11th approximately 100 people enjoyed a warm and delicious Chanukah tea at FRS. We welcomed 25 members from the Al Khoei foundation into our community to light candles, sing and hear the story of Chanukah. So many members of the community enjoyed the opportunity to meet with such an open and interesting group of involved Muslims – we hope it will be the beginning of a relationship between our two communities.
Two students from Al Khoei sent us their own words about the afternoon:
“My visit to the Synagogue was a truly amazing experience. We were told the story behind Chanukah - an amazing and miraculous story. I found listening to the choir singing in Hebrew the best; not only was the singing impressively pitch-perfect but it was surreal to watch a group of people sing in harmony in such a beautiful and ancient language. As a former member of the choir, I believe in the power of music, and I found the Shalom/Salaam ensemble spiritually uplifting, it made me feel involved, although I really hope no one heard me sheepishly attempt to hit the high notes!” (Mariam)
“Through North London Citizens we got to meet members of FRS. We built a relationship, got to know each other – and each other’s religion. In August, FRS came to the mosque for Iftar (breaking of the fast) and in turn we were invited to FRS for Chanukah. Mariam and I have spoken briefly about our involvement with North London Citizens and how Islam is similar to Judaism in many ways, and we acknowledge and respect the differences. Overall it was a truly enlightening and just amazing experience. It will definitely be a memory I will never forget. Thanks for inviting me!” (Lamise)