October 05 2016 0comment

Message from the Chairman (Oct2016)

Ralli Hall – Message from the Chairman by Roger Abrahams As the Jewish New Year is upon us, I feel that it is probably a good time to reiterate the policy of B&HJCF at Ralli Hall concerning our set-up and the use of the accommodation by both our community and by the general public. Brighton & Hove Jewish Community Foundation is, as I am sure you are all aware, a Registered Charity and a Members’ Club, with paid-up members being eligible to vote at the AGM and to serve on the Board and Management Committee as trustees of the charity (this is now the case for all committee members of Registered Charities). There are also a number of Trustees for Sale, whose sole job is to suitably dispose of the assets of the charity in the very unlikely event that it should fail (G-d forbid). The ground floor accommodation, from the entrance hall to the stage, including the Magrill Lounge, the office and the Board Room, is designated as our Core Accommodation, where our Jewish community is given priority with regard to its use, subject to individual prior bookings. In this part of the building full account is taken of Shabbat and the Jewish Holy Days, when it is closed for general use, apart from Jewish Services, Simchas, Shabbatons and the like. Although we make sure that the accommodation is only used as above, we welcome suitable bookings from the general public at other times, which are then fixed once a deposit has been taken. We also welcome community meetings which are offered free of charge when they are not used commercially, apart from caretaking costs, or when outside funding is available. The Lunch and Social Club uses this accommodation for its twice-weekly activities, plus committee meetings and office space. It is now a separate charity, mainly for reasons of fund-raising, but the accommodation is donated by B&HJCF, apart from an annual payment to cover cleaning, caretaking, utilities and other on-going costs. The accommodation includes separate Kosher, but unsupervised, meat and milk kitchens, plus a vegetarian/ parev/fish kitchen (no non-kosher breeds of fish and sea food, nor meat products of any kind, are allowed) for the use of those who do not wish to, or do not qualify to, use the Kosher kitchens. All of the china, glassware, cutlery, pots and pans and implements, are kept separate as required, and those who wish to have supervised functions are invited to re-kosher the kitchen concerned prior to its use and can use their own equipment if they wish. We find that this system suits all our punters and seems to work very well in practice. There are also a number of other Ralli Hall activities, such as the Jewish Art Society (which uses the Portacabin in the car park as an Art Studio, apart from in the summer), Israeli Dancing, the Jewish Film Club, where those taking part are expected to be paid-up members of B&HJCF and where the provision of accommodation is included in their membership. We are also currently assisting our local Community by providing a new community amateur dramatics group – Top Hats – with rehearsal and show space, props, staging, lighting, for their proposed production, which is booked to be performed at Ralli Hall on 26 and 27 November this year. The remainder of the fairly extensive accommodation on the first floor, at the rear of the stage on the ground floor and on the lower ground floor, is used, in the main, as a vehicle to pay for the community use of the core accommodation, as the charity receives only a very limited amount of income from membership and no outside funding of any kind. Our magnificent building with its two Grade 2 Listed main elevations, was completed in 1913, originally as a Church Hall, is therefore paid-for by Room Lets, without the necessity of the community having to subsidise its running costs in any way whatsoever. This includes a number of long-term users, where we have legal agreements in place, plus ad-hoc room lets, where organisations of all sorts, but mainly in education, the arts and healthcare (as per our planning designation), rent rooms for either regular, or one-off uses. This has worked very well for a good many years. Ralli Hall was first opened as a Jewish Community Centre back in 1976 – and provides us, year on year, with enough annual income to keep our heads above water, including paying the staff, maintaining the building and, bit by bit, improving our facilities. Not bad, really! Well, that is enough for this month’s Message from the Chairman. This edition of SJN should reach you just as we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, so I would like to take this rather late opportunity to wish all my readers Shana Tova and Well over the Fast. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you at Ralli Hall.

rallihall

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