London is to see its first synagogue services in French, in response to the huge influx of French Jews now living and working in the British capital.
Following the part-time appointment of a French rabbi, Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St. John’s Wood is to begin tri-lingual services in Hebrew, French and English, on Friday evenings, starting next week on Friday 29 January.
“We will be offering a home-from-home spiritual base for French progressive Jews in London,” said a spokeswoman. “The sermon will be in French, given by Rabbi Rene Pfertzel, who also serves the progressive Jewish community in Lyon, France.”
Senior minister Rabbi Alexandra Wright said: “We wish to extend a warm welcome to all those of the French-speaking Jewish community, living in or visiting London, to these new services as well as to all our other services and event. We look forward to seeing them at the LJS.”
London is now home to an estimated 300,000 French nationals, making it France’s sixth-biggest city by population, and the idea for French services came about last year, after a shul member proposed meeting this new demand.
“I lived abroad myself,” she said. “I know what it’s like to miss services in your own language. So I thought it might be a good idea.”
The shul’s Friday evening services commence at 6.45pm, and the tri-lingual services are likely to be fortnightly, with two prayer books, in English and in French.