Interfaith and Camden Liaison

December 2020

During December there have been several Webinar meetings relating to Countering Extremism, Public Health and Security, which I have attended on behalf of Hampstead Synagogue. I have set out some of the information which I think is of interest to our community.

Combating on-line ‘inappropriate comments’ is difficult but not impossible. Everyone must take responsibility and not just ‘leave it’ to the media company or the government to act. There are many dangerous organisations around and it is important that we distinguish ‘hate speech’ from satire. When it is ‘hate speech’ we must take the appropriate action. Freedom of speech is not absolute, and we must take care when conspiracy theories are deliberately being sent out.

Regarding health all speakers have emphasised that, if we possibly can, should always stay indoors. 70+ year olds are the most vulnerable to Covid – men more so than women. We should avoid mixing socially and abide by the Covid restrictions. Although it is appreciated that these restrictions can affect our mental health, it is important that we all keep in touch with each other.

It is felt that vaccinations are the most important way of combating Covid. It is hoped that all those who are given the opportunity of receiving the vaccine will take it.

The security points that were discussed at these meetings I have sent to our security team to keep them updated. From the points made by speakers, Hampstead Shul, by abiding by the Covid restrictions, has done all it can to be safe and look after its community.

Tony Ostrin
Synagogue Interfaith Representative