This past weekend was a special one for Knesset Yehezkel Synagogue as they celebrated their 30th anniversary. The Beth Hameadrash was started by Rabbi Aharon Bassous in 1987 in his mother’s flat in Golders Green. It has continuously developed since that time, moving to 187 Golders Green Road in 1989. In 2001, 185 Golders Green Road was purchased for living accommodation for the Bassous family, and the whole of 187 was developed for the community. Due to increased membership and lack of space, a house at 209 Golders Green Road was purchased. Family Bassous moved in 2016, releasing the full site of 185/187 Golders Green Goad to be developed as a new build magnificent shul/Torah centre and large function hall. The building is to be started late October this year.
The special activities of the weekend started with a special “Shabbat Achdut.” All members were encouraged to participate in all the activities of Shabbat. This generated a tremendous feeling of unity in the community as the crowds packed in for Minchah and Kabalat Shabbat followed by an oneg Shabbat in the house of Moshe Saidi, one of the members of the committee. Shabbat morning prayers were followed by a grand catered Kiddush in a special marquee set up in the courtyard of the shul. Minchah was promptly followed by a special shiur by Rabbi Bassous on the topic of Purim, and then everyone was invited to Seuda Shelishit in the marquee. Rabbi Yonatan Tawil and Rabbi Mordechai Cohen set the tone with their inspirational words. The climax of the Shabbat was a massive Avot Ubanim/fathers and sons learning session, with a simultaneous session for all the girls of the community. Each child received a Siddur or Tehillim in honour of the occasion. We were thrilled to be able to distribute 125 of these books to boys and girls between the ages of five and 13.
All this was followed by a catered dinner on Sunday evening at the Miriam Rachel Wohl Hall in Golders Green. The hall was packed to over capacity as everyone wanted to participate in this momentous occasion. Everyone received a free booklet of Torah thoughts about Chanukah and Purim written by Rabbi Bassous. They also received a beautifully designed brochure divided into two parts. The first part contained letters of blessing and support from the rabbis connected to this institution, a history of the shul from its early beginnings to this present day and a vision for the future, and many photos of the manifold activities that take place in the shul. The second part of the brochure contained wonderful tributes by members of the kehillah to the Rav and Rebbetzen. T
he evening started by celebrating Jewish learning. After the soup was served, three members were called up to speak to signify the three stages of the shul’s development. After the main course, guest speaker Dayan Aharon Dovid Dunner regaled those presents in his humorous way, expanding on the qualities required in a shul. This was followed by an address by Rabbi Bassous in which he thanked all those involved in organising this wonderful and inspirational weekend. He looked back to all the years of development of the shul, comparing it to climbing a difficult and steep mountain. At the top, we can rejoice in the feeling of the sense of achievement having climbed to the top. He then informed the listeners of the next mountain to be climbed, the building of the new shul, and asked everyone to prove their fitness by succeeding to reach the top of this peak as well.
He further elaborated on the focus of the shul towards the children and youth. He explained that we do not say an explicit prayer for our children because, due to the great importance of this prayer, the evil forces try to destroy it and prevent the prayer from reaching up to the heavens. Thus we only hint to our children in the Shacharit service.
The audience were very touched and inspired, and they spontaneously broke out into a joyful dance. This brought an end to the evening and the weekend, leaving those present uplifted and excited to carry on expanding the shul.