I bet that people who took part in Shabbat UK are still buzzing…I am.
We experienced the warmth of the community and reminded ourselves what it’s all about.
From listening to the shtreimel-clad Belz Chassidic choir on Friday night at The Shrubbs through to the frenetic communal Kiddush; from being a panel member at the lively Q & A session through to hearing about parshat Noah and the religious perspectives of the day – it was all great.
And what are my overriding feelings?
Gratitude; a sense of belonging; and a motivation to hold on to whatever it was that made it so good, and make it more available for people who are marginalised.
There was a debate at the panel about achdut – being a united community…Chareidi/secular, do they gel.
But the issue for me, and one that I wish I had raised at the time, was not just about bringing together people who align themselves with different strands of Judaism – however important that undoubtedly is – it was about social inclusion.
Our families take many forms…single parents, gay people, people who live with disability or mental ill-health…the list is long.
It isn’t just about the frum/not frum demographic divide. It’s about opening up as a community, as I hope we demonstrate at The Fed, embracing the rich diversity of our members and accepting difference.
The weekend certainly made me aspire to do that.