Twinning is about bringing communities together to share experiences, best practice and to build new relationships and friendships.
We are fortunate to have numerous Orthodox Jewish communities in the UK operating under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi – each one of them special and impressive in different ways. Yet, we often miss out on opportunities to take part in a wide variety of activities together, establish links across our congregations, and share enriching Jewish experiences which strengthen our Jewish identity and enhance our personal and communal lives.
We want as many of our communities as possible to twin with one another. Every community and every member can take part: adults of all ages, youth groups, Bar & Bat Mitzvah children, choir members, women’s’ groups, welfare group members….. Everyone! By holding joint programs with your twinned community, you can develop together and inspire each other to grow.
You can read more about how Twinning has impacted the communal landscape as well as the individual communities involved in this article.
“Meeting the congregation in Norwich helped me understand the problems facing smaller communities, and how our support can help.”
“This Shabbat with Pinner confirms that events such as this help to keep the flame of the candles alight. It has left me more enthusiastic than ever.”
The benefits of twinning with another community
- Develop a wide range of shared communal activities, expanding what you offer to your members
- Teach your community how to give and support another community
- Share your particular traditions and community customs
- Forge links with other Jewish individuals and families
- Gain access to more resources for your members (e.g. weekly Parasha sheets from your twinned community)
- Support each other
- Share best practice
It is totally up to communities to determine how the twinning relationship will work.
There is plenty of room for creativity in how best and how often to join forces. This will be determined by both communities that have twinned. Joint activities can be social, cultural, educational or religious in nature.
Here are some twinning ideas you may wish to consider:
- Invite your twinned community for a Shabbat
- Join together for festivals
- Invite each other for particular programmes or a milestone event in your community
- Create joint youth programming
- Join together for major or minor educational activities
- Join via Skype for shiurim or lectures
- Share weekly or monthly newsletters/updates and Divrei Torah (which can be distributed to your members or incorporated into your own newsletter)
- For communities that do not have a Rabbi, gain Rabbinic support if you are twinned with a community that has a Rabbi.
- A small group of people can spend Shabbat in the twinned community to help lead services and singing etc.
- Join together for a day out
- Join together for a Jewish heritage trip abroad
- Join together for a Chesed project
- Generally be there for each other…
How to start twinning?
- Please get in touch with the CCE department at the Office of the Chief Rabbi, either by email or by calling: 02083436309 to register your community’s interest in twinning and by letting us know if there is a community you have in mind to twin with. Typically a large community will twin with a small community but this doesn’t have to be the case.
- CCE will help to match your community with another.
- Identify someone in your community to take on the role of Twinning Liaison Officer (TLO). Please let us know at CCE, who your community’s TLO will be.
- Be in touch with the TLO of your twinned community and provide them with a profile on your community, to include various details, i.e. how many members you have, events and activities that take place, the services you run, including details of how many people attend. Include details of what your community might be able to offer to another and what your community hopes to gain from twinning. Provide thoughts on any ideas and suggestions you have for twinned events and activities, etc. If there is a particular reason you have asked to twin with that community (if relevant), explain the reasons.
- Once you have received the profile from your twinned community, please get in touch with them to arrange the initial meeting/discussion with a view to organising your first event together. All twinned events and activities must take place with the agreement of the Honorary Officers and the Rabbi.
- Raise awareness of the project in your synagogue. Involve your Synagogue members in general in twinning, keeping them informed of the decision to twin with another community and the plans you have. The relationship will hopefully develop and all members should have the opportunity to participate and also suggest possible activities. Display information and photos from your twin and perhaps set up a small group to help progress the relationship. It is best to correspond regularly and keep your own congregation informed of progress.
- The extent to which communities will interact will vary but it is expected that there will be at least one joint event per year (hopefully many more!) and that twinned communities will be in touch at least once a month (via the appointed twinning liaison officer in each community).
- There is a short online twinning evaluation form which needs to be submitted by each TLO after each twinning event. This is because we would like to keep track of the twinning project to ensure it is continuing to deliver benefit to both communities and to give support where needed.
- This feedback is shared with the TLOs and Rabbi (if applicable) and is most useful for communities in ascertaining the success of each event and how best to further develop and enhance twinning.
Twinning advice and support from CCE
CCE assists by connecting communities. We take into consideration the community’s demographic, geographic location and if there is a natural twinning partnership due to personal links (which is sometimes the case).
CCE helps communities to develop their twinned relationship, as well as assisting with developing suitable programming to enjoy and participate in together. We offer support to communities, providing ideas on how to start and maintain twinning.
CCE has funds available specifically for twinning events. One application for funding may be submitted per twinned event (on behalf of both communities). An application to CCE for a twinned event should include the income and expenses jointly for both twinned communities. Applications for funding for twinning are considered on a case by case basis.
You may apply to the CCE’s fund for twinning here.