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Northwood: Melava Malka with Sir Eric Pickles

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Looking to build on previous social and religious activities, Northwood Shul staged a multifaceted evening that revolved around a keynote speech delivered by Sir Eric Pickles, a vocal supporter of the Jewish community and Israel, and also included musical entertainment and a communal dinner. Participants benefited from an increased sense of community spirit and inclusivity, allowing them to relate to the Shul and each other in ways beside prayer.


To continue strengthening community engagement with social and religious activities; to ensure a positive response so that people return to future events.

Evaluation from Rabbi Aron Zerbib:

“The event was amazing and well-attended, offering a great deal to attendees – music, food, the great speaker Sir Eric Pickles. His unfettered appreciation of Israel and his exhortation that we must stand fast in the face of criticism, made a great impression on both myself and the community. Multiple benefits of the event include a renewed sense of unity in the community and a greater awareness of spiritual activity. We also managed to attract less regular shul-goers, making use of our space to promote our Shul in a novel yet spiritual way to engage those across the religious spectrum.”

Participant Feedback

  • Once again, a wonderful community atmosphere. It was warming to hear a Cabinet minister voice unequivocal support for Israel, and to learn of his involvement with Holocaust Memorial Day activities
  • I came away feeling that the synagogue is really reaching out to all its member
  • The event has allowed me to identify more strongly with the synagogue
  • Hearing Sir Eric instilled confidence that the Jewish community has many friends. Also entertainment and pleasant company.
  • It was a very enjoyable evening and delightful social occasion