Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue’s efforts to foster good relations with the wider community have seen it engage in interfaith initiatives, donate to a local food bank and host school groups.
But its outreach work reached a different audience on Saturday as the shul paid for a full-page advert in the programme for the National League play-off final at Wembley Stadium, wishing Boreham Wood good luck for their game against Tranmere Rovers.
And although the Hertfordshire team lost out to the Merseysiders for a place in League 2 — the fourth tier of the English football pyramid — the message from “the rabbis, lay leaders, members and staff” won the synagogue many new fans.
BES chair Simon Mitchell said the advert was “a statement of support on a big day for the town.
“Our community is growing quickly and we want to make sure our relationship with the town is good.
“We got a favourable rate for the advert and it was a reasonable amount to spend on making a positive impression.” Feedback from both congregants and fans had been appreciative.
Did he have any qualms about associating an Orthodox synagogue with an event taking place on Shabbat? “No, because the advert was not for the Jewish community.”
BES is the biggest shul within the United Synagogue with 1,400 families accounting for 4,000 people.
As “a big presence in the town”, it was increasing its efforts to engage with the general community, Mr Mitchell added.
It was working with the town council to potentially host its civic service next year.