ShabbatUK 2016 at Woodford Forest
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Wednesday 16th November 2016

At Woodford Forest US in East London/Essex, ShabbatUK was celebrated in style on Shabbat itself and in the days and weeks leading up to it across the length and breadth of the wider Jewish community

Led by Rabbi & Rebbetzen Wollenberg and a small team of dedicated members of Woodford Forest US, the aim was to reach beyond the usual “shul crowd” and to bring the buzz of ShabbatUK to different segments of the community.

Events in the run-up to the big day included a grand challah make at the shul for over 225 people, including several new faces.  The atmosphere was fantastic and the challahs all turned out deliciously as well including a special gluten-free recipe.

There were further challah makes in Milne Court (a local Jewish Blind and Disabled facility), the lunch club at Redbridge Jewish Community Centre, MIKE youth training programme and at the local JLGB chapter.  In addition, Shabbat packs were personally delivered to the tenants in Milne Court, hospital patients at King George V and Whipps Cross hospitals, to lunch clubs around the region and together with “Meals on Wheels” deliveries.

There was a special kiddush on Friday night in Milne Court, as well as a Friday night communal dinner and full-day Shabbat programme in the shul featuring playwright and performer Rachel Creeger and visiting madrichot who ran a kids programme throughout Shabbat and a special ladies tefillah session which explored women and kaddish.

There was also a pre-ShabbatUK programme in the local schools, sponsored by the Chief Rabbi’s Centre for Rabbinic Excellence, a two-day Shabbat project for all of the classes in Ilford Jewish Primary School, a special assembly in Clore Tikvah and ShabbatUK packs were distributed to all Jewish primary school children.

The small group of dedicated volunteers were joined by the Rabbi and Rebbetzen’s seven children who stuffed Shabbat packs as well as helping to deliver packages at several locations.

Rabbi Wollenberg commented “My wife and I have always placed tremendous value on being there for the wider community.  We are thrilled that we have been able to provide such a wide-ranging programme and partner with so many different organisations within our community to deliver the ShabbatUK experience.  It is so important to think “out of the box” and to reach beyond the usual crowd of members which we are proud to have achieved on this occasion.  We look forward to an even bigger effort next year and plenty of similar programmes in the meantime.”