ShabbatUK 2016 at Pinner
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Monday 14th November 2016

Pinner was alight with glow sticks, waved aloft to celebrate Havdalah together. Every inch of space was filled with circles of dance, joyfully celebrating the end of a most uplifting weekend. More than 170 people came together to eat, drink and revel in the spirit of our community’s ShabbatUK conclusion.

Saturday Night Live - The Melava Malka was the perfect feel-good event to close what was a hugely enriching and successful third annual event at the Cecil Park synagogue.

Even prior to the festivities, food parcels and candles were distributed to members of the community unable to join in with the main event, so that they too could feel its magic. And highly acclaimed speaker Rabbi Daniel Rowe, Aish Executive Director, conducted an inspiring educational discussion entitled Shabbat The Revolution to kick-start proceedings.

Then as this special Shabbat drew in, the synagogue was filled with young and old, coming together for a most atmospheric Kabbalat Shabbat service, which was followed by a sushi Kiddush enjoyed by all.

Our Saturday morning service was accompanied by our very own Ruach Singers; a choir formed and ably led by our own Rabbi Bergson, whose melodies uplifted all who attended and provided the most spiritual of services. This was followed by a delicious hot cholent Kiddunch, which went down a treat.

In the afternoon we had an “Edjewcation” session, where 10 representative women who had been on the innovative Pinner WOW -“Woman of Worth” course for the previous eight months, told a packed hall the stories of their own personal journeys through life, to arrive at the Judaism they now practise in Pinner. And how varied and interesting they were, from a Czech childhood which had suppressed all religious expression, to a South African farmland upbringing, to a Reform member “marrying out” when she married a United Synagogue member!

Then of course the Saturday Night Live Programme; where table centrepieces of beautiful food parcel presentations, representing Pinner Community’s support for the Harrow Food Bank and Gift charities were displayed. More than £500 was also was collected on the evening, for these charities.

Guest speaker, Rachel Fink - headteacher of Hasmonean Girls School - was funny, eloquent and memorable, while the music was supplied by our talented Rabbi Bergson accompanied by the equally talented Stuart Izon on his keyboard, showcasing Hebrew favourites and show songs with which we all heartily sang along.

“This was, without a doubt, Pinner at its absolute best,” concluded event participant Merrill Dresner.

“Our community is renowned for its ability to come together and create the most special ruach, but somehow the magic of this weekend eclipsed even our own high standards. It was a Hallelujah moment where we palpably felt the togetherness of community and the sheer joy of our religion.”

And this sentiment is echoed by Rabbi Bergson, who was delighted by the shul’s efforts.

“If there is one word I would use to characterise the third ShabbatUK in Pinner it is 'Ruach'. The joy and sense of togetherness and celebration was palpable.

“ShabbatUK is an incredibly important vehicle for bringing the spirit of Shabbat to the people in all its majesty.

“I must of course pay tribute to the small army of volunteers who, once again, worked tirelessly on behalf of our special community to produce such an awe inspiring event.”