For the small community of Luton, ShabbatUK was a vitalising and joyful event that brought them together with other communities while reinforcing members’ relationships with each other. It kicked off with a joint Challah Make with St Albans and Shenley United Synagogues, which set the communal tone for the special candle lighting ceremony on Friday afternoon that many had left work early to attend. The 40-strong crowd were entertained at their communal dinner by a local teacher who delivered a Dvar Torah, as well as two children who spoke.
Evaluation from Community Member:
“The event was great success. The community has Friday night services once a month and usually do not obtain a minyan. However, on the Friday of Shabbat UK, many left work early so that they could attend the candle lighting at 3:50 pm, giving us numbers that far exceeded a minyan. The meal was accompanied by songs and an inspiring Dvar Torah given by a member who is not a regular attendee of services. The warm atmosphere, together with the proof that we can still fill our shul, has helped to lift the community’s spirits; the publicity surrounding the event has helped keep Luton on the ‘Jewish Map’. Two non-members even approached me after the Shabbat UK and said they wished to join the synagogue.”
“Absolutely delightful evening for us all. Lovely to have everyone involved as much or as little as they wanted to be; a real community spirit, thank you!”
“There were a few members who contributed a short speech or story, which were all interesting and entertaining.”
“I gained a greater sense of community and satisfaction from thinking about the parsha more carefully. It was good to chat to members I don’t usually get an opportunity to talk to.”
“What a wonderful feeling a communal Friday night brings to the family and the community as a whole. It’s not often we all get to socialise together.”