Redbridge puts its talent on show for Israel
Young people from the Redbridge party enjoy a raise
There was a carnival atmosphere at Jewish Care's Redbridge Community Centre on Monday night as the Yom Ha'atzmaut festivities served as a showcase for youthful talent.
Over 250 people enjoyed the party, many dressed in blue and white, waving Israeli flags and sporting flashing badges. It was one of a series of local events including celebrations at Jewish schools and a gala dinner.
A group of gap-year students bound for Israel in September presented the programme, which started with a performance from the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade pipe band. "It was great to be up there," said 15-year-old band member Joshua Diamond. "Setting the tone for the rest of the evening was also fantastic."
Ilford Jewish Primary School pupils delighted the audience with some intricate dance routines and Clore Tikva Primary was represented by its choir. The Israeli contribution was provided by the Kol Hayam singers and Vizavi dancers from Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv.
Ten-year-old IJPS pupil Eleanor Lousky relished the opportunity to perform in front of a big audience and "really enjoyed being up there with my friends. Seeing all the blue and white flags made me feel like I was in Israel."
Vizavi member Yana Tilman, 17, seemed overwhelmed by the response. "Dancing is my life and it was a pleasure to be able to dance here. Everyone has been so welcoming, which is really touching."
Centre manager Richard Shone and Lee Scott, who is standing for re-election for the Tories in the Ilford North constituency, addressed the crowd, who feasted on Israeli-style refreshments throughout the evening.
"This event brings the community together," Mr Shone told the JC. "There is a warm atmosphere tonight and it is nice to see everybody connecting with each other, which is what the community centre is about.
"Having the singers and dancers over from Israel changed the nature of what we did. Their presence has enabled us to get the full spectrum of local Jewish life and true Israeli culture."
Outgoing community emissary Revital Shloman said she was "feeling emotional. The Redbridge Jewish community has been my family for so long, but tonight has been unbelievable. The dancers are incredible and represent the beauty of Israel and the gap-year students [with their portrayals of a traditional Jewish mother] have certainly encapsulated traditional Essex Jewish humour."