Light always come back….

Chanukah at KLS 5782 / 2021

Our Chanukah this year was full of light, food and friendship – a wonderful week which culminated in a lovely interfaith event attended by our friends from other faith communities.

On the first night of the festival we held parallel events. Our ‘Keep In Touch’ group put on a fantastic tea party for the older members of our community whilst our Beiteinu students learnt about the history of Chanukah. Some of our older members then joined the children for the first night’s candle lighting:

During the week we gathered at members’ homes and online for communal candle-lighting. We also ran a Chanukah Photography competition in which members submitted photos of their Chanukiahs and the winning entries were shared on our social media feeds. This competition culminated in a musical montage celebrating the last night of Chanukah which you can watch here:

We concluded our celebrations on the last night of Chanukah with a community interfaith event. We invited our friends from St Mary’s Church in Long Ditton and the local Dialogue Society. We were also delighted to be joined by our former Rabbi, Charley Baginsky, who had earlier in the week made history as the first woman and first Progressive Jew to light the first night candles in Trafalgar Square.

Rabbi René delivered some reflections on the festival – focussing on the theme of lighting the darkness and how this has similarities with festivals of other faiths. He then asked representives of the other faith groups, as well as KLS members, to light the eight candles:

L-R: Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Robert Bailey (St Mary’s Church), Student Priest Jen Houghton, Reverand Kuhan Satkunanayagam, Necati Tok (Dialogue Society), Rebecca Singerman-Knight (KLS Deputy Chair), David Singerman (KLS member), Rabbi René Pfertzel

One of the guests from St Mary’s Church, Robert Bailey, had actually attended the Primary school which used to be in the building which KLS now owns – and he was delighted to be asked to light one of the Chanukah candles.

After singing some traditional Chanukah songs – including some in Ladino and Yiddish – we were served some excellent food – including the traditional latkes and doughnuts and the not-so-traditional deep-fried Oreos.

Speaking after the event, Rabbi René Pfertzel said, “It was a real privilege to be joined by so many friends from other faith communities to jointly celebrate Chanukah, the festival of rededication and light. We hope that we bought some light into the darkness of Winter for everyone who attended – and we look forward to many more such events in the future!”