Birthday parties draw the crowds

By Jay Grenby, May 16, 2008

American rock band Blue Fringe hit the right note for 250 revellers at Stanmore Synagogue’s Israel 60th birthday bash, The group of four twentysomethings, who met at Yeshiva University in 2001, played a Jewish-themed set of pop, rock, funk and R&B to a predominantly youthful audience.

An Israel at 60 concert at Edgware and District Reform Synagogue took the 250 guests on a musical tour of Israel’s history and geography, with narration by EDRS President Mitch Wax and songs from the Zemel Choir. During the evening, tribute was paid to EDRS volunteers who had fought for Israel during the War of Independence.

There was Life — Love Israel From Edgware — in the celebrations at Edgware Synagogue where the support group organised a dinner for 170 in conjunction with UJIA. JC columnist Melanie Phillips addressed the event and former UK Israeli Ambassador Yehuda Avner spoke at the preceding Yom Hazikaron service. Proceeds from the evening benefited Magen David Adom.

Comedian Yisrael Campbell was brought over from Israel for the Edgware Yeshurun party, regaling well over 100 guests with jokes and anecdotes about his life as a Philadelphian convert from Catholicism who became a devout Jew in Jerusalem. Before the concert, organised by David Son, there was a presentation on Yeshurun’s Israel mission at Chanucah, where participants will join forces with Emunah to work on two social welfare projects.

For the fifth successive year, Northwood Synagogue hosted a Magic Moments delegation of Israeli teenagers who staged a Yom Hazikaron remembrance service before the Yom Atzmaut party for 200, featuring Israeli food, music and dancing. Magic Moments guests were also involved in the Bushey Synagogue programme, which attracted an audience of 200.

Yavneh College was the only local venue large enough to accommodate the 300-strong crowd at Borehamwood’s Yom Hazikaron/Yom Atzmaut programme. It was another to feature Magic Moments participants, as did the Kingston Synagogue event, which drew over 130 people from Kingston, Wimbledon, Richmond and Sutton.

In the small Welwyn Garden City community, organisers of the Yom Atzmaut party achieved their target of selling a ticket for each year of Israel’s existence. The celebration — open to members of the neighbouring Potters Bar and St Albans communities — featured a buffet, films, a quiz and accounts by three Welwyn members plus minister Rabbi Hillel Gruber of the years they had lived in Israel. More than £500 was raised for Welwyn Wizo’s Sderot appeal.

A comic touch was brought to the West London Synagogue dinner and party by the appearance of Golda Overallsky, a heimishe version of the Mrs Overall character from the Acorn Antiques TV spoof.

Last updated: 10:16am, July 8 2009