Four simchahs in one day at Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue

From baby blessings to an 80th birthday, all generations were celebrated


Lynda and Jonathan Silver with baby Freya at Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue (Photo: Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue)

Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue was full of joy when four simchas took place on the same Shabbat morning.

The community, also known as Rodef Shalom, which translates as “pursuer of peace”, celebrated two baby blessings, the 80th birthday of synagogue president Geoffrey Ben-Nathan and the golden wedding anniversary of synagogue secretary Hilary Fox and her husband Gerald.
Synagogue chair David Young led the service, as he has done for the last 36 years.

“This is a big event for our members. It’s one of those memorable occasions that will stay with us for a long time,” said Geoffrey. “I’ve been connected here for more than 50 years, and it’s so important we contribute to Judaism. We have a huge challenge to attract younger people, which is why the baby blessings are wonderful.”

Lyndsey and Jonathan Silver, with their three-week-old daughter Freya were the first to receive the blessing. Jonathan said: “Although I now live in South London, I was bar mitzvah in Bedford, and I wanted to maintain the link with the community.”

Baby Esther took her turn next with proud mum and dad, Rosie and Paul Comb-Clark, in front of the bimah.

Rosie said: “It’s important for our heritage to continue these traditions, and any opportunity to celebrate right now is important for everyone.”

Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue meets on Zoom every Friday night and holds a Shabbat morning service around twice a month. 

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