Redbridge keeping up its 'proud tradition'
A show of hands from the youngest
Young and old joined forces at Jewish Care's Redbridge Jewish Youth and Community Centre as a 250-plus crowd celebrated Yom Ha'atzmaut.
Drawing on more than 30 years' experience of Independence Day events, Nettie Keene observed: "Every year these celebrations get more enjoyable. There is a great community spirit and solidarity. It's a fantastic and fun night to be a part of."
Attending for the first time were volunteers Aimee Bean, 13, and Max Wynne, 14. "The celebrations were brilliant," Aimee said. "There are so many people here and the dancing and singing acts have been great," Max added.
The sell-out show featured a Haifa group performing song and dance sets traditional and modern.
There were also lively performances from Ilford Jewish Primary School dancers, the Clore Tikva School choir and the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade band.
Welcoming guests, centre manager Richard Shone noted: "This community in Redbridge has a lengthy and proud tradition of placing Israel at its heart.
"Our Yom Ha'atzmaut programme began last month when 150 people from a range of local synagogues were at a sell-out quiz night held at Ilford Synagogue. In early April, 50 members of our community came to a film screening, held in partnership with the UKJFF.
"Just last night at a ceremony co-ordinated by Rabbi [Alex] Chapper along with the UJIA Magic Moments, 130 members of the community joined to commemorate Yom Hazikaron, remembering the fallen soldiers of Israel."
Mr Shone also paid tribute to community shlicha Orly Kenig, who organised the celebration. "Her energy, drive and enthusiasm are what ensures that Israel stays in the hearts and minds of the people of Redbridge."