Against all the odds, Bushey United Synagogue pulled off their Chanukah celebrations with a difference to bring joy, food, and light, to hundreds of members of the community.
Organisers were determined to continue with their tradition of a community candle lighting outside the synagogue, in a COVID secure way on Saturday night (December 12th)
In fact, due to popular demand two socially-distanced sittings were needed to host the 300 participants and, after a year of huge challenges for everyone, the atmosphere at each was electric.
With amazing music from the Klezmer band ‘Shir’ and the infectious energy of the two Bushey Rabbis, Rabbi Feldman and Rabbi Kett, everyone left with a smile on their face, and a goody bag in their pockets.
Rabbi Elchonon Feldman said, “It is hard to put into words the joy I felt watching men and women, children of all ages, many of whom who have had precious little to celebrate over the last number of months embrace and enjoy our Chanukah experience. This is what our event was all about, a chance to taste again community celebration and happiness. It was a perfect night in every way and I am just so glad hundreds of people were able to experience it. “
And yet this was only half the story.
In the lead up to chanukah, Rabbi Nick Kett and his wife Shira hand delivered an incredible 280 Kisharon gift packs to families with children in Bushey. This was particularly appreciated as a way of keeping in touch and connecting with the Synagogue in the current climate.
Nicola Persell who received one of the packs said, “Thank you so much for our Chanukah pack, it was so kind and thoughtful. Noach was so eager to get painting his menorah whilst eating his chocolate coins!”
And to make sure no one was left out of the celebrations the Bushey Menorah Mobile went out most nights of Chanukah to different parts of Bushey spreading joy, and of course doughnuts, to more than a thousand Bushey residents.
With Bushey continuing to offer online programming every day for those isolating or unable to join events like these, Bushey Synagogue Chairman Jonathan Kalms said, “After such a dark year, it was amazing to bring light into people’s lives through an amazing series of events. It takes incredible dedication to organise events to include everyone in a safe way – but the joy it brings makes it so worthwhile.”