The Movement for Reform Judaism last week celebrated its own Shabbat series of events alongside those in United Synagogue communities, after Movement leaders said its involvement came in response to demand.

An Alyth community Challah Bake

An Alyth community Challah Bake

Senior Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner said: “It was wonderful to be aligned with other members of the British Jewish community celebrating Shabbat,” adding: “As Reform Jews, we celebrate Shabbat in different ways.”

Toolkits and resources were sent out to communities to help observe Shabbat at home, with packs including “postcards to stimulate discussion” as well as a children’s quiz. 

Some of the communities that participated were Bournemouth, Edgware, Finchley, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Wanstead saw challah baking, communal meals, special services, home hospitality and learning programmes.

Abraham & Sarah before and after baking

Abraham & Sarah before and after baking

A highlight was the Shabbat service and dinner for 50 young adults professionals from Alyth, Edgware, Finchley and Hendon at the Sternberg Centre in north London. “It was a warm, inclusive and sociable Jewish environment,” said Reform Rabbi Benji Stanley.

Elsewhere, Alyth’s Kabbalat Service heard from Donna Rothbart, who recalled Shabbat evenings at her childhood home in Yemen, whilst Henry Levy recalled being blessed in Zimbabwe.