Office of the Chief Rabbi

ShabbatUK @Heaton Park

Event

Building on the success of their ShabbatUK last year, Heaton Park aimed to showcase just how enjoyable Shabbat can be with a full Shabbat day programme running from Shacharit through to Havdalah. Popular touring group The Travelling Chassidim really enhanced the ruach and spiritual nature of the service by lending their voices to the davening, later performing at the communal lunch, for which a marquee had been hired to accommodate demand.  A roster of high-profile speakers was led by Joe Flacks of AJEX, who had been invited to talk over Heaton Park’s AJEX Shabbat, and also included Yair Marom, an Israeli minister for Culture. The warm and hospitable environment created attracted both regular attendees and the less affiliated, as well as a cross-section of the community.

Objectives

Maintain momentum after our highly successful Shabbat UK last year – bring those people whose interest was piqued last year back into the shul environment

Create a Shabbat environment that everyone will feel comfortable in, including those who are not usually engaged with Shul and/or Shabbat, which will inspire and positively reinforce both the Shabbat and Shul experience

Encourage further participation in programmes throughout the year

Evaluation from Hilary Foxler:

“The Shabbat day programme continued through to the end of Shabbat and Havdallah, so for many, Shabbat was observed to a greater degree than usual. It reached out to all ages, bringing them together in warm, welcoming and spiritual environment to show how Shabbat is a day of switching off. Having The Travelling Chassidim showed how enjoyable a Shul service can be, while the marquee enabled us to accommodate a greater number than our shul hall – something the CRE helped us facilitate.”

Participant Feedback:

  • Experienced a Shabbat Shacharis and Musaf service which was upbeat very enjoyable – the uplifting spirit Enjoyed a whole Shabbat day in a warm friendly welcoming environment in the spirit of Shabbos
  • I enjoyed the day and spending time with friends. Excellent speakers but rather spoiled by the traffic noise from the main road next to the tent
  • Thanks to the Heaton Park Shul Shabbat UK committee for organising this event and the CRE for helping fund it along with other donors Great to see how Shul grounds could be used to accommodate Marquee to enable more people to attend for Shabbat Lunch and programme
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