ShabbatUK 2016 at St Albans
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Tuesday 15th November 2016

Expressions of surprise and delight mingled on the faces of the nearly 90 participants in the Great Hertfordshire Challah Make (November 10, 2016) when Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, preceded by the Shabbat UK bus, dropped in unexpectedly at St Albans United Synagogue, the host shul for the event. St Albans, one of the most northerly outposts of the United Synagogue empire as well as one of its smaller communities, was one of only three calls made by Chief Rabbi Mirvis on the eve of Shabbat UK; the others were to two of the US’s largest congregations: Elstree & Borehamwood and Stanmore. 

The Chief Rabbi began his visit by congratulating organisers Rebbetzen Alli Sturgess, of St Albans Synagogue, together with Rebbetzen Tanya Garber, of neighbouring Shenley United Jewish Community,  on their achievement in putting the event together, going on to tell the assembled the challah bakers:  “I was so impressed by the efforts being made here,” he said, “that I felt I had to come and see them for myself.” 

The sold-out event brought together men, women and children from the Welwyn Garden City and Luton communities as well as St Albans and Shenley to mix and knead their own challahs in preparation for ShabbatUK. 

ShabbatUK at St Albans featured a four-course Friday night dinner after the service, and a sushi kiddush following the Shabbat morning service. Each was enhanced by lively discussions inspired and led by both Rabbi Daniel and Rebbetzen Alli Sturgess.

Participants were asked to consider the three most important points for a successful community from a list embracing welfare, social events, shul services, cheder, interfaith and adult education. 

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis welcomed a group of enthusiastic children aboard the Shabbat UK bus when he paid a surprise visit to the Great Hertfordshire Challah Make  on the eve of Shabbat UK.  Seen with him are (left, front) Rabbi Garber, of the Shenley United Jewish Community, as well as co-organisers of the event: (right, front) Alli Sturgess, of St Albans United Synagogue, and (behind) Tanya Garber, of the Shenley United Jewish Community, with their children.

Co-organisers of the Great Hertfordshire Challah Make, (left) Tanya Garber, of the Shenley United Jewish Community and Alli Sturgess, of St Albans United Synagogue, with their children.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis chatted to Rabbi Daniel Sturgess, of St Albans United Synagogue, when he dropped in unexpectedly at the synagogue for the Great Hertfordshire Challah Make.