Residents of Heathlands Village love the Shabbos atmosphere in the shul (synagogue) which lies at the heart of The Fed’s residential and nursing home. With fairly small minyanim through the week, Shabbos morning brings in a larger crowd, as families from nearby Prestwich and Whitefield hop across “the moors” to join older members of the community for an intimate, uplifting service.
Long-term member of the shul’s management committee Gigi Mechlowitz explained,
“It’s a unique little purpose-built shul but surprisingly, relatively few local people even realise it exists.æ A number of core families have been involved in its management for decades.æ Week-in-week-out we witness the enormous value it brings to residents. They love to see new faces and interact with Shabbos morning guests during the service and kiddush.
Some young people come along and spend time with residents, helping them follow the service or visiting people in their rooms if they aren’t up to coming to shul. It’s a wonderful way to break down the barriers between the generations. And also, as some residents don’t have children or grand-children living nearby it helps to create a real family Shabbos atmosphere into the home.”
To encourage families, couples and individuals to come along Gigi and his colleagues on the management committee are launching a new initiative, “Sharing Shabbos”. This will see the shul link up with one other shul in the area, at a time, every few weeks or couple of months on a Shabbos morning.æ Gigi expands,
“We want the shuls to share Shabbos with us, so we are inviting the rabbi and congregants to Heathlands Village for Shabbos morning davening. The guest shul rabbi will speak and we will provide kiddush.
We’re delighted that Rabbi Eisenberg and the Shrubberies shul executive have accepted our invitation to be the first shul to take part if Sharing Shabbos. This is going to be 5th September (Parsha Ki Sovoy) starting at 9.15 am. After davening we’ll be celebrating a double simcha amongst our regulars with a combined sponsored kiddush to celebrate Rodney Berkeley’s 70th and Avi Rose’s 40th birthdays.
We are very keen to hear from other shuls to fix up dates with them to share Shabbos in the same way. Anyone who is interested should get in touch with me on 07973 158 836.”
In addition, it should be noted that all are welcome at the shul for the Yomim Noraim services which will be advertised or available by contacting Rev Keith Rosen on 0161 772 4800 at Heathlands Village.
In October the shul also hopes to host its own Shabbat UK event with planning discussions currently taking place.