Office of the Chief Rabbi

ShabbatUK @MuswellHill

Event

The Muswell Hill community welcomed service users from the special needs charity Kisharon, along with their families and carers, to partake in their full ShabbatUK programme, which attracted 230 participants. This begun early in the week with a ‘Challah Bake Off’, and continued into Shabbat with a Friday Night Candle Lighting followed by a special Chicken Soup Kiddush, and a communal lunch, seudah and musical Havdalah the following day. Muswell Hill members worked closely with Kisharon staff in advance of the event to better understand and accommodate their guests’ needs, and talks throughout the weekend aimed to raised awareness about the spectrum of special needs within the wider community.

Objectives

To build upon Muswell Hill’s long-term project of increased inclusivity within the community and synagogue space

To build a model of partnership with Kisharon that could be used in the future with different charities

To involve the whole community in this inspirational event

Evaluation from Eli Gaventa:

“Our ShabbatUK program was both successful and impactful for the community. Our stated aims were threefold (above). The first was achieved by hosting a number of adult Kisharon service users and raising awareness about special needs through conversations with them and a number of themed speeches. The second by working closely with Kisharon staff and volunteers, so that at every critical point Kisharon staff knew which shul members could assist with what issues. With 230 people attending across the weekend in addition to youth and child programming, it is clear that we succeeded in engaging a wide cross-section of the community in ShabbatUK.”

Participant Feedback

  • I attended the whole Shabbat programme and was very proud of the achievement of the community. A very joyful, informal but also serious atmosphere was created, and the link with Kisharon was a very important element in our work towards greater inclusivity
  • A wonderful, moving and inspiring experience. I came away with great admiration for the work Kisharon is doing
  • From this weekend I gained a genuine understanding of the joy of diversity and inclusiveness
  • There was a great deal of highly enlightening learning about Kisharon and the contribution that their service users make to the community as a whole. I am certainly more interested in how our community can work more closely with Kisharon and similar agencies