Chabad enjoying Fringe benefits in Edinburgh

A Chabad stall is proving a star attraction during the festival


During the Edinburgh Fringe, the city’s Royal Mile is home to street performers, acrobats — and Chabad.

The Strictly Orthodox movement has become an unlikely regular at the arts festival which attracts big crowds of locals and tourists from all over the world.

For the ninth year running, Edinburgh Chabad has been handing out kosher snacks and inviting Jewish visitors to lay tefillin and attend communal Shabbat dinners.

Rabbi Pinny Weinman and two volunteers — Menashe Trietel from Canada and Australian Berel Feldman — are manning a stall close to Edinburgh Castle, where performers distribute flyers for some of the 2,000-plus shows.

The rabbi said the festival was more popular than ever with Jews and that thousands had stopped at the stall.

“We have had people from California, Italy, Israel, the UK.

“They want to connect to Jewish life at the festival.”

The Chabad representatives give out information about Jewish events during the festival, including the weekly Friday-night Chabad dinner.

“It is our biggest yet,” Rabbi Weinman said. “We attract between 60-70 people each Friday and it is great fun.

“Even if marking Shabbat is not something people do at home, for some reason they love to come together with Jews from all over the world and share that experience.”

Many non-Jews also expressed interest in the stall. “They are fascinated and want to know more about Judaism,” Rabbi Weinman explained.

“We are happy to answer their questions and explain who we are and what we do. Over the years, people have become more interested. We now have a much bigger presence.”

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