(Credit: Colin Roy)

Last weekend, the Hadley Wood Jewish Community celebrated the inauguration of their new shul and community centre. This was the culmination of five years of effort, initially to get permission from Enfield Council and then to build the spectacular new building ready for Rosh Hashana and the grand opening weekend.

The celebrations started with a dinner for the young families on Friday night where it was stressed that the building was built for their sake and it was now their duty and privilege to take up the mantle of leadership and make full use of the new facilities. A special celebratory Shabbos davenning the next day was followed by lunch, activities and a fabulous musical havdala celebration led by the ‘Travelling Chassidim’, whose participation ensured that the atmosphere was truly memorable.

Chief Rabbi Mirvis. (Credit: Colin Roy)

Sunday saw the official consecration of the new building with a capacity crowd in attendance, including the Chief Rabbi, President and CEO of United Synagogue, our local MP, councillors and many other dignitaries. The final mezuzah was put up by the Chief Rabbi and a plaque with a dedication to the memory of Marsha Rogers, the wife of one of the key people behind the whole project, Mr Roger Rogers, was unveiled. A programme with a mixture of speeches and songs followed. Tehillim perek 30, Mizmor shir Chanukah habayis, was recited by Dayan Gelley, Rosh Beis Din of the London Beth Din.

The Master of Ceremonies was Mr Stephen Pack, Honorary Life President of the community, who talked about what a warm and inclusive community Hadley Wood is. In his address, the Chief Rabbi described how the community had existed like Klal Yisroel in the desert, moving from place to place until finally building their own magnificent Mishkan (Tabernacle). He also urged the congregants to use the new building to the fullest extent and stressed that the future success of the community would depend upon the Yiddishkeit and inspiration they would take with them into their homes as well.

Rabbi Yoni Birnbaum, Rabbi of Hadley Wood, described how the motif of the new shul was the rimon, pomegranate, which decorates the aron kodesh, bimah, windows and other features in the new shul. This had been chosen based on the Gemoro that all Jews are as full of mitzvos as the seeds of a pomegranate, reminding us both of the preciousness of every Jew, as well as the ongoing responsibility we have to ensure that the new shul continues to be a place which is always full of mitzvos and good deeds.

Finally, the Chairman of the Shul, Mr John Melchior, talked about the teamwork and effort behind the establishment of the new shul. So many had been involved that this was truly a community building built by the community for the community. He also stressed this was only the end of the beginning and challenged the community to make sure that these wonderful facilities would be filled with activities, vibrancy and life for many years to come. A wonderful afternoon tea concluded the celebrations.