First-ever Eishet Chayil Shabbaton at Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue
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Monday 27th January 2020

Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue celebrated its first ever Eishet Chayil Shabbaton last month with scholar-in-residence Rebbetzen Emma Taylor. 

The Shabbaton began with ladies lighting candles at the home of Rabbi and Mrs Davis. They then gathered around Emma, who spoke about the beauty of Shabbat.

After dinner, the room swelled to capacity as more people joined in. There were plenty of men at this Ladies' Shabbaton!  Then Emma spoke about three people she has been inspired by : her husband's grandmother who was the late Judge Myrella Cohen, the biblical Chana and the Klausenberger Rebbe, who established Laniado Hospital. 

The next day during Shacharit, ladies were invited into the Shul Hall for Parsha Pearls with Emma. Close to eighty women attended this session. Basing her talk on episodes in the life of Jacob in the parsha, Emma showed how relevant the messages are that we learn from the Torah. 

After the Kiddush, the Eishet  Chayil Lunch began with Emma giving a beautiful talk on ideas from the song Eishet Chayil which men traditionally sing to their wives at the start of Friday night dinner. Emma skillfully showed that the qualities the Woman of Valour is praised for are in fact personality traits that both men and women should work on:  commitment to family, loyalty, hard work and having a close bond with God. 

The lunch then moved on to the tributes to the honourees. Rebbetzen Nechama Davis spoke about Marcia Wohlman, giving a glimpse into what has made her into the energetic, dedicated and competent member of  our Shul that she is, and how she  has made it possible for our community to have Bereavement Support. Then Jes Waldman totally blew everyone away with her magnificent tribute to her grandma, Edna Schneider. We heard all about Edna's life, and particularly her dedication to our community, especially what goes on in the shul kitchen! 

All in all, it was an amazing Shabbat. Emma set the tone, with her uplifting and interesting talks.  As one man commented to me afterwards, "She didn't make the men feel like second class citizens. Everyone was valued. Everyone felt comfortable."

But the fact that so many people took part is what really made it an incredibly successful shul event. We look forward to running similar Shabbatonim in the future!

By Nechama Davis