Chigwell Synagogue hosted the launch of a Sunday morning education venture by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis this week.
The chief rabbi, who has placed education and community-building at the top of his agenda, attended the shacharit service and spoke at a subsequent breakfast. “The idea is to strengthen regular weekday services in the community,” said Chigwell’s Rabbi Baruch Davis. “His presence gave the whole service a lift.”
In addition, more than 150 people have already booked their seats for the first of Rabbi Mirvis’s pre-festival shiurim, on Chanucah, scheduled for Hendon Synagogue on November 18.
He was “delighted to be rolling out various initiatives aimed at engaging more directly with the community”.The Sunday morning programme was a way to “celebrate and encourage the daily morning minyan in our shuls”, while the pre-chag shiurim would “afford me the opportunity to learn with the community and to prepare for the festivals”.
Chigwell usually gets 10-15 people for its Sunday morning service, but the chief rabbi’s appearance attracted around 50 men and 20 women.
“I had hoped for 30, maybe 40,” Rabbi Davis said. “So to get 70 is very good. One of our members sponsored a generous breakfast, where the chief rabbi spoke on the theme of the beauty of communal prayer. I think quite a lot of shuls have signed up. He will be kept busy on Sunday mornings.”