Epping menorah is a big sign of progress

Chabad community is expanding its reach in the Essex town


Epping residents are seeing the area’s first giant menorah, a symbol of the success of the fledgling local Chabad centre.

Rabbi Yossi Posen, who established the centre around Rosh Hashanah last year, hailed the menorah as a “sign of us being established and being here for good — that there is a Jewish community and we have made our presence known in such a beautiful way”.

Earlier this year, Rabbi Posen told the JC that he was in contact with 150 Jews in the area. One encounter was sparked when a passer-by spotted a menorah on his car last Chanukah.

Now the centre has the details of well over 200 people and is growing its youth provision to cater to the young families living in the area.

Rabbi Posen added that despite the challenges the pandemic had created for holding services and programming in the Chabad centre — which is also his home — the menorah was a symbol of “light in dark times”.

He also reported positive feedback from local residents on social media.

When he spoke to the JC this week, Rabbi Posen was waiting to hear whether another giant menorah would be permitted in the nearby town of Harlow.

He paid tribute to the council workers who helped realise the menorah idea in just over a month. A number of them were among those watching the lighting of the first candle via livestream. Epping MP and Deputy Commons Speaker Eleanor Laing and her Harlow counterpart Robert Halfon had also expressed support.

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