Edgware United Goes the Extra Smile for ShabbatUK
Date Uploaded: 
Thursday 6th November 2014

What a weekend! Phenomenal doesn’t come close to describing the excitement generated by Edgware Shul’s participation in Chief Rabbi Mirvis’ fantastic initiative, Shabbat UK. From the day that the embryonic project first hit the press until the moment that the remnants of the last of our fireworks fell to earth our amazing organisers, led by Rabbi and Rebbetzen Lister and Rabbi and Rebbetzen Kurzer, worked wholeheartedly to make the event an inspiration. Every suggestion to enhance the Shabbat UK experience was poked and prodded, investigated and analysed, discussed and dissected, until it was apparent that a near-perfect programme of Shabbat entertainment, learning and davenning (not to forget eating!), all designed to appeal to the observant, the rather less observant and the soon-to- become observant, had been put together. 

We started on Thursday, 23rd October when our ladies joined 3,500 others at Allianz Park, and a similar number at various venues around the country, for the Great Challa Make. That more than 7,000 families can now sit down to home-baked challa at Friday night dinner is impressive enough; that a fair few of them couldn’t have done so just 24 hours earlier is testament to the evening’s success. 

And, talking of Friday night, the davenning at Kabalat Shabbat, led by Chazan Yossi Schwarz, was a joy for the gratifyingly large attendance. The Chief Rabbi gave a warm D’var Torah and this was followed by dancing round the Shul, and a dinner for which 250 people were “shoe-horned” into our Hall. Again, the Chief Rabbi spoke movingly and with deep conviction about his commitment to every member of Anglo Jewry, whatever his or her level of observance, and his hopes for Shabbat UK. 

Shabbat morning, marked as usual by eight lively services, provided something for almost every taste. The communal Kiddush was followed by a spellbinding (and very humorous) talk by Judge Rabbi Shlomo Kreiman on how he reconciles his life as a Chasidic Jew with his judicial duties, and a highly colourful lunch for 200 in the Shul Hall. The colour was provided by balloon animals on each table (well, it was Shabbat Noach!) – courtesy of Bradley Bronson - and an imaginative display entitled “Shabbat – A Journey Through the Ages”, the brainchild of the Kurzers. 

Shabbat afternoon was designated as a time for learning; led by the Edgware Kollel, the Kehilla enjoyed shiurim by Rabbi Lister and Rabbi Kurzer with the keynote talk by Rabbi Y B Lieberman. This led into Mincha, a Seudah Sh’lishit, Ma’ariv and Havdalah, following which the children came into their own with a Kids’ Havdalah and a session of Motzei Madness at which waffles and soft drinks went down a treat, fireworks rocketed skywards and there were games galore for all to enjoy. 

The inspirational and moving weekend could not have been more successful and grateful thanks are due to everyone who had a hand in its organisation.