Edgware Synagogue congregants were more than a little surprised when their rabbi asked them to turn up on a Sunday afternoon for a Shabbat service.
But there was no shortage of volunteers — particularly among the younger members of the community — when it was revealed that the request was because of a visit by a Blue Peter camera crew and Jewish presenter Joel Defries.
They were filming for a segment to be broadcast on January 27, Holocaust Memorial Day.
Defries, 23 — who spent some of his formative years in India and New Zealand — also used the day to learn more about what it means to be Jewish.
Before attending the “Shabbat” service, he and the BBC film crew visited the home of Edgware minister Rabbi David Lister and his wife Rachie.
There, they filmed a reconstruction of the family’s preparations for Shabbat and the traditional Friday night meal.
At the shul, the congregation performed “edited highlights of the Friday night service”, Rabbi Lister explained. “There was quite a big turnout and the atmosphere was very jolly.”
What Defries took from the experience will be revealed when the segment is broadcast.
But Rabbi Lister stressed: “It is very important that we seize this kind of opportunity to portray Judaism for what it is — something happy and inspiring and with a message for the wider world.”