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Past Events

The synagogue has hosted several successful events, including:


Chanukah Candles and Displaced

Last Saturday, the synagogue hall was a hive of activity, over 60 people attended a combined Harif, Holland Park Synagogue and Sprio Ark event to celebrate Chanukah.

After tea, doughnuts and latkes, Ruth Finkel made Havdallah and lit the Chanukah candles. Ruth explained the background to both. This was much appreciated by the audience some of whom were at a synagogue for the first time.

Then Deborah Eliezer performed “Displaced." This was based on her Iraqi Jewish father’s life story - talking through his memories of Baghdad including the Farhud (the Iraqi Krystallnacht) in 1941, the oppression of the Jews after the State of Israel was declared- the execution of Shafiq Ades - the head of the community on trumped up charges, people losing jobs, people vanishing, public hangings etc and his struggle for identity - the land was in his blood and what was he.

She had a standing ovation and it was followed by a lively Q&A.

Everyone has a great evening.

'Who owns Jewish heritage in the Middle East?'

With the exodus of 99% of the Middle East’s Jewish population, the thorny question remains: what happens to the communal property they left behind? Community registers in Egypt. Torah scrolls in Yemen. The tug-of-war over the Iraqi-Jewish archive, now in the US but claimed by Iraq. Who owns the heritage of now-defunct Jewish communities in Arab countries? Is it the exiled Jews, or is it part of a country’s national heritage?

Maureen Lipman - A an audience with Maureen Lipman

With 140 guests in the synagogue hall on Saturday 30th November we were richly entertained by the renowned actress and author Maureen Lipman who gave us a fascinating insight into her early and later life with many humorous anecdotes which were so true to life. It was a great privilege to have such a warm and down to earth person in our presence. With delicious refreshments to enjoy members and friends were again brought together in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Another social success for the Entertainments Committee.

A beautiful Selichot Service followed by a delicious breakfast in Suzanne Dellal Hall.

B’nai B’rith – part of the European Days of Jewish Culture and & Heritage 2017. On 10th September over 90 visitors came to our Synagogue – including our neighbours, congregants from St James’s Church, members of the local faith communities and participants in the B’nei Brit Heritage Day. They were there for a special event – "Holland Park in the Community". The Synagogue was abuzz with activity – a lively talk about the community, the Synagogue and Jewish life was given by Ken Emmanuel ably assisted by Richard Sidlin, Andy Finkel and Leon Sassoon. There were fascinating local anecdotes from the members of the founding families. There was a lively Q & A session followed by tea, coffee and danish pastries in the Semoff Hall. Our neighbours really enjoyed the day – only a few had been in the Synagogue before – and we have already received requests to repeat the event for those who were unable to attend.

Elders Shabbat - The Congregation are invited to attend to show appreciation of the Life Elders of the Congregation. Shabbat morning service was followed by a special Kiddush. Our 2018 Life Elders are: Victor Sweiry and Stanley Cohen 

Shabbat UK - On Shabbat 28th October / 8th Heshvan, we celebrated Shabbat UK in great style. Our special guest was our old friend, Dayan Pinhas Toledano former Av Beth Din of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation accompanied by his wife Janet. Dayan Toledano addressed us during the morning service and again with a question and answer discussion after a delicious lunch. His melodic hazanut was a pleasure to hear during the Services as were his knowledgeable insights into many Halachic questions. Many people stayed for the entire Shabbat and enjoyed the afternoon service followed by the third meal (Seuda Shlishit), evening service and Havdalah. The day was made especially wonderful as Rabbi Lavi celebrated his 70th Birthday and together with his wife Dvora they also celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary. Rabbi and Mrs Lavi received a very special gift, a surprise appearance of their children and grandchildren from North London and Israel, which brought them to tears of happiness. Our thanks go to all those whose efforts contributed to a truly special Shabbat.

AJEX Shabbat – on Shabbat 18th November a memorial prayer was recited for members of the community who fought in two world wars and the Israeli conflicts to honour the ex-servicemen and women of the Congregation. The service was followed by a special Kiddush to honour Ralph Levy, son the late Reverend Nissim Levy of blessed memory, who was celebrating his 90th Birthday. Ralph was accompanied by his wife Juliet.

Matzah Bake - On 21st March a joint Mazah Bake event with Chabad of Notting Hill took place. A fun, hands- on educational workshop for the entire family. Wine tasting, and wine shop was offered the adults, while children could purchase their favourite Hagadot and other Pessach supplies.

Chanukah Party – on Sunday 17th December we had funfair games, doughnuts, latkes and lots of lovely Chanukah food, for children and parents, followed by candle lighting and singing of Chanukah songs in the Synagogue.

Purim Party - What a wonderful event we had on Purim. It was lovely to see the hall so full. The evening and dinner was really enjoyable, and the Synagogue had a wonderful atmosphere.

Uprooted Book Launch - Lyn Julius co-founder of Harif the UK Association of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa, launched her book “Uprooted" How 3,000 Years of Jewish civilisation in the Arab World vanished overnight” in our Synagogue and it was a huge success. A fascinating subject and visuals captivated Congregants and guests alike.

School Visit – The school visit from Old Oak Primary was a resounding success. Rabbi Lavi was fantastic supported by David Oz and Leon Sassoon. Our administrator provided sweets and water for the children who were enthralled by the Synagogue and in particular the Sefarim. They all had different ethnic backgrounds and asked intelligent questions. Their teachers were most grateful and asked to come again.

Grenfell Silent Walk on 14th June to mark the one-year Anniversary of the Fire: A group of several thousand people came to march together in silent remembrance. It began at the Maxilla Social Club under Westway Flyover and wove its way slowly and with dignity to the foot of Grenfell Tower and continued up Lancaster Road. From there, the route turned left onto Ladbroke Grove. The marchers slowed at the junction of Ladbroke Grove and Cambridge Gardens where a group of Firefighters stood in uniform enabling individuals to shake their hands in gratitude for their work that night. The march continued and turned left onto St Mark's Road where it ended at Kensington Memorial Park. At the park, there was food and water for all to break the Ramadan fast and an opportunity for people to speak to one another and share their thoughts. By Ruth Finkel

Games Night - BACKGAMMON - SCRABBLE - DOMINOES - CARDS – CHESS. Our games event was a great success, a delightful evening spent playing mostly backgammon. Similar events are being planned throughout the year.

Sun, 13 June 2021 3 Tammuz 5781