Office of the Chief Rabbi

Etz Chaim, BHH and UHC shuls join forces for Shabbat Leeds

Event

The three Leeds communities joined forces for the multifaceted Shabbat Leeds, which succeeded in recreating the excitement and unifying spirit that defined their Shabbat UK events. Many attendees had never experienced a Shabbat quite like it, and after ruach-filled services, communal meals or Kiddushim hosted by each congregation, a packed entertainment programme and a rousing Havdallah service, they left with a stronger sense of Jewish identity. Musical entertainment was provided by The Travelling Chasidim, who also provided an invaluable insight into their culture, and an enlightening talk was delivered by Christie Anastas, an Orthodox Christian.

Objectives

To inspire people to connect more to Shabbos and our heritage and to unify the community through an event of a spiritual nature. This is another step, built on the impetus created by ShabbatUK

Evaluation from Rabbi Shalom Kupperman:

“This programme drew the community together, regardless of Shul affiliation, to celebrate Shabbat in the most serene and joyful manner. Many had never experienced the Shul in such a lively and vibrant way and the communal meals with the ruach of the Chassidim and the moving address of Christy Anastas, created an atmosphere of warmth, belonging and inclusiveness. More tellingly, the combined events drew many non-attenders to the Shul. A spiritual Havdallah service gradually became more exhilarating, finishing with an explosive finale that “blew the mind” of the younger participants.”

Participant Feedback

• Friday night dinner strengthened our Leeds community and marked the establishment of closer ties with the Chassidic community. From the extraordinary speaker, Christie Anastas, we gained a new perspective on the situation in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, and a sense of interfaith strength grew.

• Saturday night’s Havdallah ceremony was so moving and beautiful that it made my 9 year old want to repeat it every week. She said that it was the best party ever.

• I derived such enjoyment from passing Shabbat with other people in a joyous atmosphere. The Travelling Chassidim further enhanced the quality of the weekend with their excellent singing and dancing. The speaker was both excellent and thought provoking.

• It was great to meet new people, but I equally enjoyed the different “feel” that the Chassidim brought. There was a sense of unity, happiness and community.

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