ShabbatUK 2016 at Kenton
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Wednesday 16th November 2016

ShabbatUK in Kenton was busy and it began on Wednesday Nov 9th with a Challah Make. This was led by Rebbetzen, Yehudit Black, who gave a demonstration in mixing and kneading the dough, as well as the different types of plaits/knots. As she showed everyone she explained the significance of braiding and talked about this special mitzvah for women. She spoke about making the bracha and how spiritual it is, giving a woman the chance for some private time with Hashem, and having in mind, women we know who are in need, or want children or want to be married.

We were tasked with making the rolls for a communal Shabbat lunch. The outcome were rolls of all shapes and sizes and some were too large as of course, once baked, they grew? However, they all looked lovely and the aroma was divine.

On Thursday night the hall was laid up for a communal lunch on Shabbat and with the ShabbatUK banner up and the bunting, the mood was set.

We were privileged to have as a scholar in residence, Rabbi Michael Pollak, who came with his wife and grandson. On Friday night after the usual services, people had their dinner at home or were eating together with other families. Afterwards, Rabbi Pollak gave a shiur at Rabbi Black’s home, and he spoke about Jewish attitudes to non-Jews, and this was most interesting and annotated with stories.

Shabbat morning saw the launch of a new weekly Shiur given by Rabbi Black on Parshat Hashavua, so it was about Avraham -  From where did he [Avraham] come and to where was he going.

Rabbi Pollak gave the sermon and also spoke after the service at the regular Shabbat Kodesh Programme slot. His theme was education. Kiddush followed this and then mincha before going to the hall for a communal lunch. Lunch was relaxing, tasty and plenty. Everyone sang zemirot, chatted with friends, and it was good to be together. Rabbi Pollack spoke again and by the time the meal was finished and everyone bentched, there was only an hour and a half left of Shabbat. Most people stayed in the building and there was an opportunity for more learning, so there was a session with Rabbi Black, followed by a seuda at which Rabbi Pollack rounded off Shabbat with a fascinating and  appropriate story with a message relevant only to that twilight time between Seuda Shlishit and the end of Shabbat. It was so refreshing.

ShabbatUK was something everyone looked forward to, and it is somehow very special to feel that unifying experience of everyone doing similar things to celebrate and observe Shabbat, everywhere.

Yes, Shabbat is for sharing.

We are grateful to the Chief Rabbi’s Centre for Excellence for supporting Kenton US in our activities for Shabbat UK.