Message from our Hospital Chaplain

This is just a brief notice about hospital visiting.

It’s become obvious over the past couple of years that stays in hospital are becoming shorter; many are now either day or overnight cases.

This makes visiting difficult, and in many cases, impossible and  I have come to the conclusion that for most cases, visiting will shift from hospital to home.  So I’m suggesting that if you’re going into hospital or have already been discharged and want someone to visit you at home, just call  me and I will come over, or if you like, talk on the phone. My number is 01206 762213.     It would be helpful to have a partner in this, so any offers will be gratefully received.

Of course, if you want a hospital visit, just tell the ward staff and they’ll contact me.  I should say that this doesn’t stop your friends and family from visiting you, but I can visit at any time, not just during visiting hours.

Postponement of 50th Anniversary Event

It is with enormous sadness that the Committee of Colchester and District Jewish Community announce the sudden death of our beloved and respected Chairman, Roy Fox.

Under these sad circumstances we consider it would be inappropriate to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our Colchester Synagogue at the present time.

We have with regret decided to postpone the event to a date to be announced.

We thank you for your understanding and support at this very difficult time for our community.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Irene and the Fox family.


A number of local volunteer organisations could really use help. Here are some examples of organisations that I know something about; you may think of others.

  • Fresh Beginnings Migrant and Relief Centre – Among other things it offers advice and support on living in a new country, runs English classes, IT classes and maths classes for children.
  • Citizens Colchester (part of Citizens UK) – is a broad-based alliance of local organisations fighting together for social justice and the common good. The website has a large amount of information.
  • St Helena Hospice – or call 01206 931466. There are volunteer positions in over 50 roles from working in the garden to working in the shops. For more information either look at the website or call.
  • Home Start Colchester – Offer support and friendship for families with difficulties. Volunteering here could be a very fulfilling activity for someone willing to make a considerable commitment. Best to look at the website
  • The Foodbank –, needs warehouse volunteers, voucher co-ordinators, volunteers to meet clients and give out food parcels, chatting informally with clients.

If you’re thinking about joining any of these please let Roberta know.

Community Action Panel Meetings

Please allow me to introduce the Local Community Action Panel (LCAPs) meetings to you. These meetings take place in each zone in Colchester at least three times each year.

It is a panel to which residents as well as the Police, Safer Colchester officers and Councillors are invited to; so that the community get together face to face to discuss issues which affect the community. Local Community Action Panels work with the Community to address crime, anti-social behaviour and quality of life issues within the Borough. The panel serves to identify and achieve short, medium and long term solutions to local community needs.

Residents of Colchester are invited to come along to the meeting to raise any issues concerning you or your local community that need addressing.

Issues discussed could range from pot holes to speeding to safety in the community to just about anything which a resident feels very concerned about which affects the whole community or even a specific portion of the community.

As residents in Colchester, we would like to invite you to attend these meetings as and when you can.

We will be sending you invitations and updates to future LCAP meetings nearer to the time that they are about to occur.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could advertise these meetings to your congregation and also remind your congregation to try and attend these meetings should there be any community issues they would like to raise or just find out more information about.

For further information, please contact

Thank you

Kind Regards

Sandra Solomon
Community Services Projects Assistant
Community Services
Colchester Borough Council
Tel: 01206 507854
text phone users dial 18001 followed by the full number you wish to call.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Jewish Population


The aim of our research is to find genes that predispose to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (collectively, inflammatory bowel disease or IBD) in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, in whom these diseases are four-fold more common. We hope that by identifying such genes we will better understand the underlying cause of IBD, an important step towards improved diagnosis and treatment. Research to date has found over 200 genetic variants associated with IBD. However, they only account for a small proportion of the genetic predisposition to these diseases. We are looking for very rare, and perhaps family-specific variants, that will help explain why certain families and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a greater risk.

We are pleased to report that over 2,500 people have responded to our recruitment drive (internationally), of whom 1,890 have provided saliva samples. Thus far, we have sequenced the DNA from almost 500 sporadic cases (with no known family history of IBD) and almost 600 familial cases of IBD (individuals with one or more affected relatives). We are currently in the process of intensively analysing the results of the sequencing data and hope to have preliminary findings over the coming months.

Since our last progress report, we have written and contributed to a number of peer-reviewed scientific publications. Along with colleagues from New York, we have identified a mutation in a gene called CSF2RB which increases the risk of Crohn’s disease by approximately two times in Ashkenazi individuals. This work, published in the leading journal Gastroenterology, focusses our attention on a specific immune pathway and we are in the process of planning further laboratory work to understand the precise mechanism by which this gene and its abnormal function contribute to Crohn’s.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our research. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any information you would like to share with us or have any questions.

2. Funding for the Research

Despite the progress and success to date, partly due to the ramifications of Brexit, we are having difficulty in obtaining funding to continue this research beyond mid-2018. Professor Segal is currently applying for grants, which if unsuccessful, will necessitate the termination of the research. If you are aware of any potential sources of funding, we would be very grateful to hear from you.

3. Jewish Digest IBD Event

Jewish Digest (, the UK based Jewish IBD charity, has asked us to inform you of an event they are holding together with Camp Simcha ( On Wednesday 22nd February a panel of doctors, researchers (including us) and dieticians will be assembled to give talks on paediatric/adolescent IBD and to answer your questions.

Best wishes,
Elena Schiff, PhD
Adam P. Levine, MBBS, PhD
Tony Segal, FRS