Mill Hill shows Eastern promise
MILL HILL East Jewish Community will be holding its first Rosh Hashanah services as part of the United Synagogue.
The young community, founded by thirtysomethings Josh Kleiman and Avi Gillis, has been holding services in a local youth centre and in members’ homes. Since affiliating to the US in March, membership has grown to 85.
Mr Gillis anticipated a congregation of up to 70 on Rosh Hashanah and around 100 for Kol Nidre. Mr Kleiman said “a big signal of intent” had been the recruitment of a rabbinic couple, Bentzi and Michal Mann. “It’s an amazing milestone for the community.”
Mill Hill East has been identified as an area of Jewish growth. Mr Kleiman attributed its attraction partly to cheaper property prices than in Hendon and Finchley. “It’s also easy to get into town. The new housing development, Millbrook Park, has brought many younger Jews to the area.”
Mr Gillis explained that he and Mr Kleiman had initially gauged interest “by flyering every house is in the area with a mezuzah. We gained lots of support from people who were unaffiliated but wanted to be a part of something. Because we are a small initiative, everyone feels that they have a role.
“We place a big emphasis on social action. We work closely with the local Jewish Blind & Disabled home. We often push tenants in wheelchairs to shul and even host services in their building. It’s very meaningful to both them and us.”
The community also hosts a fortnightly mother and baby group, educational events and a whisky club.
Members of the young congregation