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Chief Rabbi’s ShabbatUK sees thousands ‘Keep it together’

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The Chief Rabbi’s 2nd annual ShabbatUK weekend was a great success, attracting British Jews from across the religious spectrum to partake in communal meals, Shabbat services and ‘Challah Makes.’

An event for everyone, regardless of whether they had experienced numerous Shabbats or none at all, it reminded all participants of the great spiritual and social significance of the Jewish day of rest.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis was involved in myriad ShabbatUK events both before and during the weekend, inside and outside of London. In the lead-up to the big weekend he held an interactive Q & A session from the JC’s twitter account, responding to Shabbat-related queries on everything from cholent recipes to benching practices. On Thursday he introduced a Guinness World Record-breaking ‘Challah Make’ that saw 5,000 people converge on a marquee in Brent Cross.

For Shabbat itself the Chief Rabbi toured the Manchester communities, joining the Stene Court kehilla for Friday Night prayers before being received by The Shrubberies community for Friday Night dinner. On Shabbat morning he davened at the Holy Law South Broughton Congregation, and was guest speaker at a lunch event attended by Jewish sixth-form students and Bnei Akiva Bogrim. Here he gave a Dvar Torah and engaged with his young audience by way of a Q & A session. The Chief Rabbi concluded his visit by participating in South Manchester Shul’s communal Havdallah.

The values encouraged by ShabbatUK also resonated with those beyond the Jewish community, with David Cameron praising the sense of unity it could inspire in an era when digital technology regularly divides families. “We can all benefit from taking a moment to appreciate the value of family, friends and community life,” he said.

Challah Make collage

Hundreds of people weighed out flour, water and sugar to create their own braided Challot before Shabbat

Read some of the press coverage of ShabbatUK here.