Joining the Belarus party
A NINE-STRONG Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue group visited Belarus to attend the bar-and batmitzvahs of youngsters from the shul’s twin community of Grodno and the neighbouring town of Lida. The celebrants had been hosted in Radlett in the summer for activities including a religious studies programme.
Headed by Rabbi David Mitchell and Belarus committee chair Paul Janes, the Radlett group started in Grodno, where bowler-hatted progressive rabbi Grisha Abramovich presided over Friday night and Shabbat morning services in which the teenagers had leading roles.
In Lida, the visitors witnessed the community’s first bar/batmitzvah services since 1941.
Rabbi Mitchell presented the celebrants with a bar/batmitzvah certifi- cate and a gift from the Radlett cheder. An array of Judaica was also handed over to the two communities.
“It was a profoundly spiritual experience to officiate at the ceremonies,” Rabbi Mitchell said. “It also made me very proud to be a rabbi at a synagogue like RBRS where many of our members worked so hard to offer the young people from Belarus a memorable visit during which they prepared for their big day”.