Office of the Chief Rabbi

Twinning: South Manchester & Southport Shabbaton

Event

The small community of Southport received a huge boost when a visiting party of South Manchester members came to spend Shabbat with them. Many of the South Manchester group were ex-Southport members, so enjoyed a trip down memory lane, and in general the communal services and meals benefitted from an uplifting and social atmosphere that continued throughout a weekend of activities organised by Rabbi and Rebbetzen Lewis. Various shiurim were delivered throughout the weekend and a rousing Havdalah service concluded the Shabbat experience.

Objectives

To support the Chief Rabbi’s “Twinning Project”

To boost the morale of the dwindling community in Southport and provide them with their first Shabbaton in over 25 years

To encourage a greater understanding in the Bowdon members of the trials and tribulations of a small provincial community

To create a full Shabbat programme for the Bowdon community to use as a springboard for the ShabbatUK

Evaluation from Adrian Fletcher, President of Southport:

‘On a normal Shabbat we rarely get a minyan on Friday evening and recently we have struggled on Shabbat morning. Last weekend we had over 40 men, 30 ladies and 7 children. It was wonderful, we had to open up our beautiful big shul and the atmosphere was exceptional.  The meals Rabbi and Rebbetzen Lewis  prepared for attendees was excellent, the sermon, D’var Torah and the spirit of Shabbat they instilled was a great pleasure for us all. It was a real treat to get a glimpse of how the shul used to feel in our heyday’

Evaluation from Rabbi Lewis and David Kennedy, President of South Manchester:

‘This event fulfilled the Chief Rabbi’s brief to ‘twin’ with a smaller community. We enabled Southport Shul to hold a full Shabbaton – something which they have not done in decades. It also reinvigorated those members still left in Southport and hopefully gave them a sense of youth and vitality. Two younger families with children fully participated and now want to be more involved in Communal matters’

Participant Feedback:

  • It was superb, I loved the “ruach”. Southport’s community may be dwindling but our Shul and community are amazing. Thank you sincerely for YOUR support also – Southport member
  • Lovely to see so many people and children in our Shul. Made new friends and caught up with old ones – Southport member
  • There was a very good turnout from Southport (and South Manchester) members and it gave us a sense of strength and unity – Southport member
  • We left Southport in 2000 to settle in South Manchester. As Southport is now a dwindling community with a beautiful Shul we felt it was our duty to give support and encouragement to the them. It was also full of nostalgia – South Manchester members
  • I really enjoyed the Shabbaton and felt culturally and spiritually enriched – South Manchester member
  • I gained an insight into how a dedicated group of people continue to ensure that Orthodox Judaism continues in a town which once boasted in excess of some 4000 Jews. I also gained some further knowledge from Rabbi Dovid’s shiurim, as well as the sheer joy of camaraderie – South Manchester member