SHABBATUK

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY JC RE­PORTER

SHABBATUK SAW syn­a­gogues and or­gan­i­sa­tions across the coun­try hold hun­dreds of events rang­ing from chal­lah makes be­fore the sab­bath to com­mu­nal Fri­day night din­ners, and, hav­dalah con­certs on Motzei Shab­bat (Satur­day night).

The Great Mu­si­cal Chal­lah Make, held last Thurs­day in the run-up to the sab­bath, at­tracted close to 1,000 peo­ple to Al­lianz Park in north west Lon­don. The event was or­gan­ised by ed­u­ca­tional and out­reach or­gan­i­sa­tions Seed and Chazak. Reb­bet­zen Joanne Dove of Seed took to the stage to help par­tic­i­pants pre­pare their batch of dough, and singer Avi Kraus and band Soul Flame en­ter­tained the crowd with live mu­sic.

Rabbi Yitsy David of Chazak told the gath­er­ing: “The en­ergy and power in the room tonight is pal­pa­ble.”

Reb­bet­zen Dove, who spear­headed the first Great Chal­lah Make in Lon­don in 2014, said: “It was ex­tra­or­di­nary to look out into the hall and to see hun­dreds of women of all ages and com­mu­ni­ties who had come to­gether to cre­ate unity in our com­mu­nity.”

Stu­dents from schools across Lon­don, Leeds, Manch­ester, Liver­pool and Glas­gow took part in com­mu­nity and school events. The youngest reg­is­tered vol­un­teer was three years old who put fly­ers on every chair for 1,000 peo­ple in Kin­loss United Syn­a­gogue.

To cater for the needs of par­tic­i­pants with spe­cial needs, schools, syn­a­gogues and com­mu­nity cen­tres held in­clu­sive events where chal­lah makes with sign-in­ter­preted as­sis­tance to en­able all par­tic­i­pants to knead and braid their chal­lot.

ShabbatUK worked with sup­port char­ity The Ju­dith Trust to cre­ate an in­clu­sive chal­lah-mak­ing guide to be used at the chal­lah makes across the coun­try. The recipes were laid out in the guide with ex­pla­na­tions, pic­tures and direc­tions.

Both Nor­wood Kennedy Leigh fam­ily Cen­tre and Gesher School for chil­dren with spe­cial ed­u­ca­tional needs, hosted Chal­lah Makes for stu­dents.

Penny Toubkin of sup­port char­ity Lang­don in Manch­ester said: “ShabbatUK brings the com­mu­nity to­gether in a unique and mean­ing­ful way.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis paid tribute to a “quite ex­tra­or­di­nary” ShabbatUK, as over 1,000 UK Jews came to­gether on Satur­day night for the fi­nal ShabbatUK event, a Hav­dalah con­cert.

He told the con­cert-go­ers at the Wat­ford Colos­seum that this year’s ShabbatUK had seen “close to 500 chal­lah makes, peo­ple pre­par­ing for the largest ever shul din­ners, thou­sands of peo­ple pre­par­ing for home hos­pi­tal­ity events and ex­tra­or­di­nary shi­urim and lec­tures with talks given by some of the most out­stand­ing minds in the Jewish world”.

Rabbi Mirvis added: “ShabbatUK is no or­di­nary fix­ture in the Jewish cal­en­dar. It is a phenomenon which in­spires so many Jews across the coun­try re­gard­less of af­fil­i­a­tion or level of re­li­gious ob­ser­vance. I have been so in­spired to see how this year, parts of our com­mu­nity who have never pre­vi­ously taken part, have cel­e­brated at events around the coun­try. My sin­cere hope is that peo­ple take the mes­sage of ShabbatUK to heart, to be­come more in­spired, proud and com­mit­ted Jews.”

He also urged those who had taken part in the ShabbatUK cel­e­bra­tion not to for­get “that there are another 51 Shab­ba­tot in the year”.

The au­di­ence en­joyed per­for­mances from the Port­noy Broth­ers band, as well as from the Mac­cabeats, the Jewish acapella group.

The cel­e­bra­tion was al­most cut short, how­ever, when fire alarms in the venue were trig­gered and of­fi­cials pre­pared to evac­u­ate the crowd. Au­di­ence mem­bers re­ported smelling smoke, how­ever, the source of the burn­ing was found and dealt with, and the or­der to evac­u­ate was can­celled.

Ash­ley Blaker, the re­li­gious Jewish co­me­dian, was com­pere for the evening. He en­ter­tained the au­di­ence by de­scrib­ing how he had made fun of Shab­bat UK as part of one of his com­edy rou­tines last year, af­ter which he was asked to host the event this year. To laugh­ter from the crowd, he said he hoped to re­peat this tech­nique with the Royal Va­ri­ety Per­for­mance.

Speak­ing to the JC, the Mac­cabeats said that they were “very ex­cited to be part of… this very spe­cial week­end which unites Bri­tish Jewry”.

An­thony Arnold won the “Meet the Mac­cabeats” com­pe­ti­tion on the JC web­site en­abling him and his wife Su­san to en­joy free tick­ets for the Hav­dal­lahUK con­cert.

PHOTO: MARC MOR­RIS

JC com­pe­ti­tion win­ners Su­san and An­thony Arnold with the Mac­cabeats at the Hav­dalah con­cert

PHOTO: MARC MOR­RIS

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