Jewish Care residents attended the Remembrance Sunday service on 10 November at the Edgware Cenotaph. Leonard Finkle, 93, resident at Jewish Care’s Lady Sarah Cohen House in Friern Barnet, laid the wreath on Sunday on behalf of Jewish Care assisted by Pawel Moczulewski, Jewish Care’s Living Well Team Manager from the Betty and Asher Loftus Centre.
Leonard served as a trained nurse in the Medical Corps in India in 1944 -1945. He said, “What I saw on the front-line will always stay with me. My generation must remember.”
The ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Lieutenant of Barnet, Dr Sheila Gewolb LD, Revd Paul Reece from Rector St Lawrence in Little Stanmore, Chazan Schwartz, Edgware United Synagogue, Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue, , AJEX, Scouts and guides, army cadets, Hebrew Order of David and members of the local community.
After the service at the Cenotaph, residents went to Jewish Care’s Clore Manor home to attend a memorial service with songs led by Stephen Levy and soloist Rafi Posner and The Shabbaton Choir, a reading by a Jewish Care resident and Dr Sheila Gewolb DL Senior Vice President of Board of Deputies of British Jews led a prayer for peace and Rabbi Menachem Junik, Jewish Care’s Spiritual and Pastoral Leader also spoke. The service was followed by a lunch sponsored by the Hebrew Order of David.
Betty Shapiro, who is a resident at Clore Manor said, also shared her story this Remembrance Sunday. Betty, born Rebecca Shapiro, says, “I was married on 8th December 1940 at the start of the Blitz. The air raid sirens sounded just as our wedding ceremony finished so all the guests headed to the shelters and Harry and I, along with our parents headed home to enjoy their wedding lunch minus all their guests.
“As the war progressed and Harry went off to serve in the army, and I began working at the government stationary department sorting maps as part of the war effort. All the work was of course top secret due to the nature of the job.”
Betty’s work was carried out in an underground bunker near to the Tower of London. Eventually, working underground took its toll on Betty’s health and her asthma, the doctor advised she should stop working there and Betty returned to being a seamstress making dresses.
Terry Cramer, 92, who is a resident at Lady Sarah Cohen House was a Bevin Boy during the war. The Bevin Boys were young British men conscripted to work in the coal mines nearly 48,000 and their role the war effort was not fully recognised until 1995, 50 years after VE Day when Queen Elizabeth II mentioned them in a speech.
Terry says, “I was a Bevin Boy when I turned 18, I received a letter informing me that I was due to be called up for service. I had the option to put my name into a ballot to join the Bevin Boys, working in the coal mines to support the war effort. I had a few friends who were already serving as Bevin Boys, I thought it would be a good idea to join them. I was selected and joined up at 18.”
“I was sent to Woodhouse Colliery in 1945 and I served for one year in a mining area near Sheffield. I was discharged following an accident in the pit. The conditions were appalling. On the first day myself and 3 others were told to step into the lift shaft which would take us down into the mine. The lift dropped like a stone and two of the boys fainted on the spot. It was dirty, difficult work.
“For me Remembrance Sunday means freedom from oppression.”
Jewish Care’s Chief Executive, Daniel Carmel-Brown, said, “Many members of our community are ex-servicemen and women who showed great courage during the war, so that we can live in freedom today. It is inspiring to hear their stories and honour them and the memory of those, who have sadly, over the years, lost their lives.”