Synagogues are ready to celebrate the Queen’s special birthday with communal street parties and special prayers this weekend after Jewish News called for a Royal Shabbat.
As the country comes together to mark the culmination of her Majesty’s 90th, Jewish religious leaders including the Chief Rabbi will take part in a national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday, ahead of special activities at synagogues across the religious spectrum.
Around 60 UK communities requested a celebratory banner offered by the Office of the Chief Rabbi to those communities holding special events, after Ephraim Mirvis issued a call to all communities under his auspices to mark the unique occasion.
Belmont Synagogue’s Great British Kiddush will see families tucking into strawberries and cream, surrounded by images from big moments in Her Majesty’s reign, while flags and bunting will be out at Redbridge where activities will include a talk entitled “Long to Reign Over Us – Sovereignty in Jewish history”. A spokesman for the Chief said: “Many communities are planning patriotic Kiddushim, and some are combining it with their Shavuot celebrations, which illustrates nicely the importance that they attach to both their Jewish and British identities.”
West London Synagogue has produced a special prayer and will also host a Royal-themed iftar event where Muslims will join community members to mark the end of Ramadan fasting with red, white and blue cakes and confetti galore.
It comes two weeks after a special service marking the longest-serving Monarch’s big day at West London and a tea for over 80s – attended by “one gent who was adamant that while in the forces he had danced with the then princess Elizabeth!”
Rabbi Alexandra Wright, co-chair of Liberal Judaism’s Rabbinical Council, has penned a special prayer wishing the Queen “health and happiness”. Among the Liberal communities holding activities following this newspaper’s call for a Royal-themed Shabbat are Woodford, Bet Tikvah and South London shuls.
New North London Masorti will put on an intergenerational event exploring the question of what what we are grateful for as British Jews.
Revellers at Hatch End Masorti, meanwhile, have been urged to dress up in red, white or blue on Saturday.
A rather optimistic message to congregants said: “Who knows, the Queen herself may even drop in on HEMS!”