ShabbatUK at Mill Hill was a marvellous opportunity to connect those involved with the Shul, as well as our two local Jewish primary schools, with all three locations playing host.
A Carlebach-style Kabbalat Shabbat service was enjoyed by the whole congregation after which over 450 guests enjoyed a full four-course traditional Friday night meal. Each table was adorned with paper flower decorations made by the children of Etz Chaim and Mathilda Marks Kennedy Primary Schools, many of whom were seated with their parents for the meal. Each table boasted hand baked challah made of the dough donated by many of our members who had the opportunity to attend the magnificent Challah Bake-Off at Allianz Park the previous evening.
The meal was enhanced by the singing of traditional zemirot and dancing, with more than 70 of our youth enjoying their own lively meal with singing and dancing.
Shabbat morning saw two services in the Shul – our Hashkamah early morning service was attended by over 50, followed by our traditional main service, with Mathilda Marks Kennedy School simultaneously playing host to the community with a special ShabbatUK Family Explanatory Service presented by Rabbi Malcolm Herman of Seed. These two services saw a combined attendance of over 750. With childrens’ services in both locations run by volunteers both the Shul and the School, even the youngest attendees were engaged and participating. The service at MMK was followed by a bumper communal meaty Kiddush including a whisky bar boasting 18 different types! With the sun shining, this lasted well into the afternoon as members continued to enjoy the communal spirit.
After our wonderful Bnei Akiva mardrichim ran a great afternoon of activities for over 60 children back at the Shul, and soon after Shabbat ended it was Etz Chaim’s opportunity to play host for a spiritual Havdallah ceremony attended by over 350, with musical accompaniment and lively singing followed by partying, a mass scavenger hunt and (more!) food . . . candy floss and snacks being the order of the day.
ShabbatUK was a fantastic chance to meet and engage with those connected with all three sites, and plans are already in place for next year’s ShabbatUK events and activities. We are also delighted to be continuing our Carlebach-style Kabbalat Shabbat once a month with a fantastic hot Kiddush to follow and plans are in place for a monthly Rosh Chodesh challah bake for the women of the community.
To read a message the Chief Rabbi about ShabbatUK, click here.