St John’s Wood Synagogue & Saatchi ShabbatUK - Home and Away
Date Uploaded: 
Thursday 7th March 2019
The recently merged communities of St John’s Wood Synagogue and Saatchi celebrated two unique events for Shabbat UK although in two different places, both with great success!  

From Friday afternoon to Sunday morning, 120 members of the enlarged community met together at the Oatlands Park Hotel in Surrey for the community’s second ever ‘Away Shabbaton’, while those who were unable to attend the Shabbaton were treated to a full programme of activities in celebration of ShabbatUK, on home territory at St John’s Wood Shul. 
The Shabbaton, led by Rabbi Yoni and Dina Golker of St John’s Wood shul and Rabbi Mendel and Chai Cohen of Saatchi together with Youth Directors Josh & Avigail Reindorp, focused, appropri-ately enough, on the theme of ‘The World we build together’, with activities including ‘People who inspire us’ as well as how to be a great role model in the 21st century. Services were held in a garden room overlooking the beautiful lake and grounds of the hotel and all meals (including a splendid seudah shlishit high tea) were catered expertly by Jason Millan. With participants ranging in age from 2 months to 102 years, there was something for everyone, including a full range of supervised activities for children, a business ethics panel and a light-hearted lunchtime quiz. After shabbat, participants were treated to a great Melave Malka BBQ, accompanied by a magic show, fabulous Jewish tunes and dancing from DJ David Chernick and even an impromptu late-night zumba session for women!  
The Away Shabbaton was supported by the Chief Rabbi’s Centre for Community Excellence and the United Synagogue’s Living and Learning Department.  
The overwhelmingly positive feedback from Shabbaton attendees included: 
'I am proud to have attended and to have been part of an incredible experience: one I know that I have drawn strength and optimism from.'
'Speaking as a Shabbaton novice, I can can truly say that was an amazing weekend.’
'We really enjoyed the Shabbaton. It was beyond expectations! We really loved getting to know the community better.'

Back ‘at home’, St John’s Wood Synagogue’s Senior Rabbi, Dayan Ivan and Rebbetzen Rachie Binstock, along with Rabbi Yossi Binstock, held the fort with a ruach-style Friday night service and a joint Saatchi/St John’s Wood service on Shabbat morning. Services were led by Rabbi Yos-si, accompanied by the Kol Boi Band. Following a bumper kiddush, congregants were treated to three 10-minute TED talks including one by member Jessica Diner, Beauty and Lifestyle Director at British Vogue. Rabbi Yossi and the Kol Boi Band then led Kumzits for the whole community.  
The speaker at Seudah Shlishit, which was held together with the Anshei Shalom Sephardic minyan – the third community thriving on the premises – was Rabbi Moshe Levy of the Chazak youth organisation.  
Whether in London or Surrey, it was an inclusive and incredibly uplifting Shabbat UK for all mem-bers of the St John’s Wood community and a great success for both leavers and remainers!