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Updated: Jul 10, 2019

The Leadership Team - Debbie Danon, Daniel Mackintosh, Martin Dives, with Rabbi Daniel Lichman

We really do smile this much when we're together.

Last October, after almost a year of our residency with Shir Hayim community, we agreed that our futures as two communities had become entwined, and that we would start the process of becoming one community.

Thus began a beautiful, in-depth consultative process of defining our community values, vision, and a new name that would capture our purpose and aspirations. We facilitated three meetings (December 2018, May and June 2019) with over 50 people contributing more than 150 hours of their time - expressing ideas, refining words and ultimately trying to articulate what kind of community they want to belong to and build. Even in moments of tension and high emotion, there has been a deep respect between people, which has been so moving to me as a facilitator and leader of this community.

So here they are, the fruits of these conversations. We're 90% there, but still seeking input. If you have any thoughts, feelings, things that are glaringly missing, please email me at by Wednesday 17th July 2019.

OUR VISION: What we aim to create

*[Our New Community - Name TBD]* is an egalitarian Jewish community which seeks to build a generative space of connection, meaning, joy, healing and hope.

Despite living in a broken world of increasing disconnection, fear and social and environmental injustices, and where people are feeling fearful, apathetic, powerless, we actively build community to show that another world is possible. Anchored by Torah wisdom, Jewish rituals and relationship with each other, we engage in the practice of being more compassionate, loving and just human beings. Together, we are inspired and enabled to make an active contribution to the world we want to create.

THE 3 ANCHORS OF OUR VISION: What grounds and drives our vision


We believe that Jewish teaching and history offers us deep wells of life-giving wisdom that is alive and relevant today. By bringing this wisdom into dialogue with our own lives, we believe it can help us to remember who we are, to rediscover our humanity; and it can challenge us to return back into the world as more radically just and loving people.


We affirm that engaging in Jewish ritual intentionally and creatively enables our healing in a broken world. We hold sacred space to witness each other’s joys and sorrows. By singing, praying, meditating, learning, eating, playing, celebrating and mourning together, we believe we can transform brokenness into wholeness.


We affirm each other as friends and supporters, teachers and students, challengers and seekers. We welcome each other exactly as we are - Jews and non-Jewish allies, believers and skeptics. In relationship with each other, we can better replenish our spiritual, emotional and physical reserves, and grow as leaders of the world we want to see.

OUR 5 VALUES: How we realise our vision

TORAH: Torah - Learning and being in active conversation with ancient wisdom that holds, moves, informs and challenges us

CHESED: Kindness - Being ‘radically relational’: building a community of kindness, care and friendship; showing up for each other’s joys and struggles

TZEDEK: Justice - Acting with justice and compassion, working towards the creation of a more loving world; acknowledging the connectedness of our fate with the fate of other communities, British society and the wider world

KAVANNAH: Intentionality - Creating meaningful Jewish rituals that guide and build intention: engaging intentionally and creatively with Torah & Jewish practice to inspire meaning and connection in our lives

HINENI: 'Here I am' / Leadership - Believing that every one of us, Jewish or Allies, whatever our backgrounds, strengths and relationships with Judaism, has something of value to offer, and the power to make change.

NEW NAME OPTIONS: The final three

For some time we have been exploring the metaphor of the well or fresh spring as a place where people can gather, share, replenish themselves, and then return to the world renewed, whether physically or spiritually. We have also been playing with the word 'Hayim' - life, which both encompasses the generative, affirming quality of our community, and the holistic approach to all life's ups and downs to which we aspire. It also allows part of Shir Hayim's name to be incorporated.

Our final names reflect this conversation:

Ma'ayan Hayim - Spring of Life

Mei Hayim - Waters of Life

Makor Hayim - Source of Life (double meaning: both source as in water, and as in origin)

(And since a handful of Builders have since advocated passionately for a one-word name...)

Makor - The Source

Ma'ayan - The Spring

Whichever name is chosen will be followed by the tagline, 'A Creation of Shir Hayim & Willesden Minyan.'

Reflections? We'd love to hear them. Please email yours to me at by Wednesday 17th July 2019.

Here's to building a strong and nourishing community where people feel supported and challenged, and which they feel inspired to join and build.

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