If you wheel it, it is no dream: Tour de Shul

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSA DO­HERTY

FOR MEM­BERS of one syn­a­gogue there was only one thing to do when the Tour de France came to town — eat.

The rid­ers pass­ing through Es­sex on Mon­day were greeted by crowds munch­ing on kosher hot­dogs, burg­ers and cook­ies.

The Lubav­itch Chabad On The Hill Syn­a­gogue in Buck­hurst Hill was di­rectly on the route of stage three of the Tour, and the con­gre­ga­tion turned out to watch, and feed, at the same time

“They are do­ing the best thing Jews al­ways do — serve food and drink and have a great time,” said mem­ber Paul Grow­man-Marks, as he watched the lenght­en­ing queue at the kosher re­fresh­ment stall the shul had set up on the pave­ment.

“It is the only place in town that is do­ing kosher food, it has the best spot on the path, and it also has a minyan,” he said.

Spec­ta­tors equipped with um­brel­las and deck chairs ar­rived early to se­cure good po­si­tions be­side the crash bar­ri­ers.

Rabbi Odom Brand­man opened up the shul for the day to let them come in and have a look around — and take ad­van­tage of the fa­cil­i­ties dur­ing the long wait for the rid­ers to ap­pear from Cam­bridge.

“It is a great op­por­tu­nity to wel­come the com­mu­nity, and great that they want to come and watch the day’s events with us,” he said.

Out­side, stu­dent Daniel Ja­cobs, 16, was hop­ing to catch a glimpse of Bradley Wig­gins. “I want Wiggo to win” he said.

His enthusiasm was undimmed when told that the 2012 cham­pion was not com­pet­ing this year. “I still think it is great to be here and get a chance to see the race.”

For fa­ther and daugh­ter Gideon and Anya Or­son the day was marred by a group of on­look­ers ob­ject­ing to the Is­raeli flag they were wav­ing.

Anya said: “It wasn’t so much the flag, but what flag it was. They want- ed us to move and it wasn’t very nice.

But Mr Or­son, who works at the JW3 cul­tural cen­tre, was de­ter­mined not to let the in­ci­dent ruin their day: “It doesn’t make me feel un­com­fort­able,” he said.

And he was pleased that the syn­a­gogue had opened its doors. “For Chabad this is a chance to show people we don’t have horns, we don’t bite, we are a friendly and wel­com­ing com­mu­nity,” he said.

Paul Hill, from nearby Loughton, agreed.

Mr Hill, who was watch­ing with his seven-year-old daugh­ter Becky, said: “It brings ev­ery­one to­gether. We’re not Jewish but Becky’s had a look in­side the syn­a­gogue and got a hot dog. If you can see the Tour and teach your chil­dren about a new com­mu­nity, it is a win-win day out.”

PHO­TOS: JOHN RIFKIN

Rid­ers pass­ing the Chabad on the Hill Syn­a­gogue in Es­sex

Get­ting a good view

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