Mill Hill East Jewish Community held their inaugural Shabbat morning service last week, nine months after the first communal open meeting to discuss the potential of a community in the area.
Over 100 people attended the Shabbat morning service. The location was a local Youth and Community Centre, whose youth leaders are eager to partner on future volunteering programmes with the new United Synagogue-supported community
The children's service was in full voice for 30 kids and their parents. After a topical dvar torah given in the main service by local resident Sara Neidle, the whole community came together and enjoyed an Ottolenghi-inspired kiddush after the service.
Josh Kleiman, one of the founders said: "We couldn't have asked for a better response this Shabbat and we have received fantastic feedback from the attendees saying how welcomed they felt. We had a great turnout and there was a wonderful atmosphere. We look forward to many more services and seeing the community grow."
Since the initial open meetingin May 2016, numerous events have taken place in Mill Hill East, organised by the young community's 'working group' of organisers and led by co-founders Avi Gillis, 32, and Josh Kleiman, 30.
A combination of Friday night kabbalat Shabbat services, a summer barbecue, communal Sukkot supper Shabbat UK, Chanuka candle lightings and volunteering initiatives have all drawn in a varied audience over the past six months since the inaugural Friday night service.
The new community, is part of the United Synagogue's 'Communities of Potential' initiative. David Kaplan, Director of Community Services at the US, said ‘The overwhelmingly positive response to this first Shabbat morning service in Mill Hill East underlines the need for a new community in the area. We have been delighted to work alongside the local team and want to acknowledge the work of all the volunteers in turning the vision into reality.’
The Mill Hill East working group is committed to responding to local need and regularly sends online questionnaires out to their database asking for feedback. The next event is the upcoming Mill Hill East 'Winter Wonderland’ taking place this Sunday with 120 people signed up so far. Activities include face painting, soft play and children's entertainers.