Blue Peter has filmed a special episode about Chanucah and focused on the life of Francesca Weiner, the eight-year-old granddaughter of Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the Movement for Reform Judaism.
On Tuesday, the BBC children’s programme concentrated on the traditions of Chanucah and Jewish presenter Joel Defries made latkas and explained the festival’s meaning for him. The programme followed Francesca and her family during their preparations for Chanucah and Shabbat at home in Hampstead Garden Suburb.
Francesca’s mother, Lucy, said: “They wanted to show how a child and her family celebrate the festival with friends and the community.”
Camera crews also followed Francesca when she took part in a talent show at North Western Reform Synagogue in Temple Fortune on Sunday, judged by actor Tom Conti, singer-songwriter Lynsey De Paul and television producer Dan Patterson.
Francesca and Miriam Goldsmith, nine, daughter of North Western Reform Synagogue Rabbi Mark Goldsmith won the “Alyth’s Got Talent” competition. During the show, 350 people watched 14 acts, ranging from an eight-year-old to 75, including Moishe Puppick’s Underwater Orchestra, who played music through hosepipes under water and Oliver Graham-Smith, a young magician.
Francesca and Miriam sung Truly Scrumptious from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and helped to raise £5,000 for a new campaign, Yad B’Yad (hand in hand), which will support the community during difficult times.
Event organiser Sarah Langsford said: “We were overwhelmed by the quality of the entrants and the support from the community was fantastic. It was very exciting to have the film crew there and the children were thrilled.”