An essential part of the training of future rabbis is teaching the ability to reach out from the committed core membership of a congregation into the wider community.
Those living close to the Lauderdale Road Synagogue, with its differing levels of religious observance, will find this a good environment in which to develop this skill. The S&P Sephardi community is not one that relishes having religion thrust upon it; and its rabbis deal with the relatively less-committed by first cultivating a sense of inclusion – in the hope that this will, in time, encourage the development of religious observance. The creation Bendigamos, which attracted large attendances for its main events, is an outstanding achievement of early students of the London Montefiore Semicha Course; and it is believed that synagogue attendance grew as a result of this activity – which may be critical for the long-term future of this and similar communities.
Montefiore Scholars are encouraged to devote part of their time to outreach activities into the community, whether at Lauderdale Road or in their own congregations, and to concentrate on younger members.
The Montefiore College also organises a programme of outreach programmes to smaller, isolated Jewish communities in the U.K.
The chosen weekends usually include religious services, communal meals and shiurim; and are staffed by current semicha students, semicha graduates and their teachers.
Our afternoon of learning was an absolute joy. To have considered our small community, 100 miles from London, worthy of this kind of enriching attention was so heartening that it gave a lift to all who attended.
A win-win situation both for the Community and the Semicha students.