The countdown has started to ShabbatUK next weekend.

Activities kicked off at Watford & District Synagogue with a Tribe ‘Shabbat Experience’ Cheder event on Monday.

“It was amazing and beyond our expectations,” said Rebbetzin Rochel Levine.

“Over thirty children participated, singing and dancing, the community came together, which was wonderful.

“Parents have booked now for out challah make and we are expecting around 80 people for our Friday night event now. We are delighted with the response.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis was at the ShabbatUK Kids Concert at Lee Valley Athletics Centre on Tuesday and will be supporting a number of events over the coming days.

Uncle Doovy’s revamped van has started its whistle-stop tour of Jewish schools, synagogue and challah makes up and down the country handing out ice cream.

The Jewish Weekly is among main sponsors of the mobile initiative, which continues until the HavdalahUK grand finale at Watford Colosseum on October 28.

Organisers of the national event have teamed up with the London-based paper together with co-sponsors Mendy’s and Kedem to turn the only kosher ice cream van in Europe into the specially branded vehicle, which will clock up the miles on trips across London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Oxford by the ShabbatUK weekend.

“Our readership has grown exponentially since launching in March so we are delighted to involved in our first ShabbatUK,” said a spokesperson for The Jewish Weekly.

“Our demographic crosses the spectrum of orthodox Jewry and we have more initiatives lined up in the coming months.”

Synagogues throughout London to Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester have events organised including scores of challah makes, musical concerts and Friday night dinners with guest speakers as the largest number of participants for the event is anticipated by organisers.

Superstar A Capella group The Maccabeats head up the HavdalahUK concert alongside folk-rock duo The Portnoy Brothers on Saturday week.

Jewish comic Ashley Blaker hosts the event.

ShabbatUK is the largest mass participation event organised for Jewish communities of the United Kingdom.

Part of the International Shabbat Project, events are tailored specifically for each community.

The key goal is to connect people with Shabbat by encouraging increased engagement with Shabbat observance, unifying the largest possible numbers of British Jews and empowering communities to achieve great things locally.