What did we do in 2017?
The ShabbatUK Ice Cream Van
Partnering with Uncle Doovy, and part sponsored by Tribe, Europe’s only Kosher ice cream van delivered 5000 free ice creams to over 50 ShabbatUK events in London, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford and Birmingham, bringing excitement and crowds wherever it went.
The Great ShabbatUK Switch Off App
Partnering with OFFr, a New York Company incentivising employees to stay off their phone, ShabbatUK developed an App encouraging people to stay off their phones for ShabbatUK and for use on all the other Shabbatot in the year.
The Jewish Chronicle challenged a family of self-confessed tech addicts, to switch off for Shabbat for the first time. They recorded a video of their experience which was watched tens of thousands of times online, and were interviewed on BBC Radio 4.
The Switch Off message gained national attention as it was picked up by Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan and featured in The Times. Even Sky and LBC presenter Nick Ferrari tried “switching off” for ShabbatUK.
Childrens’ Kabbalat ShabbatUK Concert
Once more, Lee Valley Athletics Centre was the venue for 1600 Year 4 & 5 pupils, along with teachers and staff from 20 Jewish Primary schools. Shabbat music, interactive stories and the famous cup song kicked off the ShabbatUK campaign in tremendous style. Volunteers from the Jewish Volunteering Network and madrichot from Hasmonean Girls helped make it all possible.
The Chief Rabbi said “There is nothing more wonderful than seeing so many young people dancing and singing with such joy in their faces”.
There were amazing Havdalah events across the whole country. The biggest was HavdalahUK in London with The Maccabeats, The Portnoy Brothers and hosted by comedian Ashley Blaker performing to a sell-out crowd at the Watford Colosseum. The evening created an atmosphere unlike anything we have ever seen before with young children and older members of the community alike singing and celebrating together.
The Great Challah Makes
This year’s Challah Makes surpassed all those before with over 100 registered challah makes and 15,000 challah makers. Marriage’s Millers donated the flour once again and were also involved in created a series of challah ‘how to’ videos.
Inclusivity and Charity Engagement
This year ShabbatUK set out to ensure this was truly a project for everyone. Starting with a group discussion with major Jewish charities, neuro-diverse and other inclusive events were held across the UK.
ShabbatUK worked together with The Judith Trust, an organisation which aims to close the gap for all those with learning disabilities, to produce an inclusive challah make recipe.
Norwood Kennedy Leigh Family Centre similarly created a step by step recipe guide for its service users and Gesher School held a challah make using a visual recipe. Finchley United Synagogue (Kinloss) catered for participants with hearing loss with sign interpreters in association with the Jewish Deaf Association. Norwood and Jewish Care also held a joint Challah Make for their service users.
We were also delighted that other organisations such as Side by Side School, Kisharon, Langdon in London and Manchester, Jewish Blind and Disabled and others all engaged in ShabbatUK activities this year.
ShabbatUK on Campus and in Schools
Campuses saw greater involvement in ShabbatUK than ever before with University Jewish Chaplains organising events across the UK. Cambridge Jewish Society hosted a black tie formal Friday night dinner, while regional Jsocs also held events in conjunction with Aish and Chabad on campus.
Special meals, services, Challah Makes and Havdallah ceremonies also took place in Bristol, Oxford, Scotland and many more student communities besides.
Tribe organised an extraordinary challah make in a marquee at JFS for 600 Year 7 and 8 students. JFS also had a visit from the ice cream van, as did many other Jewish primary and secondary schools, supporting their ShabbatUK learning programmes.