A bite at interfaith follows kosher food

By Jonathan Kalmus, November 4, 2010

A kiddush for 100 Christians at a Leeds synagogue has spawned a new interfaith initiative to create a Jewish heritage day out for schoolchildren and faith groups.

Three weeks ago Alwoodley's Etz Chaim Synagogue hosted 100 members of the neighbouring St John the Evangelist Church which was looking for a large reception venue after a major ceremony. The food had to be kosher so the synagogue laid on a kosher Christian kiddush.

Now Etz Chaim's newly elected president, Neil Frieze, wants to move the shul into a major interfaith role by throwing open its doors in a joint effort with the newly opened Jewish Heritage Centre for Children in Moortown.

The idea is for school and faith groups to learn about life for 19th century Jews in Eastern Europe at the heritage centre's replica village. They will then be transported into the present day to see a modern synagogue and Jewish community in action.

Mr Frieze said: "My vision is to encourage schools to include a visit to our synagogue and the Jewish Heritage Centre as a heritage trip that is part of the school curriculum."

Heritage Centre co-ordinator Ruth Bell said it had already worked with Etz Chaim on a shul tour two weeks ago for a Wakefield Women's Institute and said the relationship was welcomed.

"Our whole thing is a children's centre which is also open to adults. This way visitors would get everything - the tour of the shul, our arts and crafts, the village shtetl, a full rounded picture and a multi-sensory experience."

Last updated: 4:05pm, November 8 2010