Reform shul locked out of premises on Shabbat finds an alfresco alternative

The Cornish Kehillat Kernow congregation moved its service to the garden of its chairman


When members of the small Kehillat Kernow Reform community in Cornwall arrived at the school near Truro it uses for its monthly face-to-face Shabbat service, they were aghast to find they could not get in.

The school had changed the locks during the week without informing the community, Kehillat Kernow chair Jeremy Jacobson told the JC.

But “as luck would have it, my wife and I had our scroll with us —we’d taken it out during the week to prepare for the Torah reading.

“The weather was good so we decided to use our garden and set up an alfresco service.”

Worshippers made the additional four-mile journey to the impromptu venue.

The service went ahead on time with the 14 participants remarking on how moving and spiritual the experience felt.

“We are so impressed by the ‘can do’ approach to life that is offered here,” said Jo Richler.
Another Kehillat Kernow member, Hilary Ackland, said it had been “a magical Shabbat.

“This is the first service I’d attended and perhaps the garden location will be the first of many.”

As well as the in-person Shabbat gathering, Kehillat Kernow holds three Friday evening services via Zoom each month. Lay leaders officiate although there are sometimes visiting rabbis.

Around 100 people are involved in the community, a number that has remained constant in recent times.

“We lose a few and gain a few each year, although at present, sadly, we have very few children,” Mr Jacobson reported.

And despite the popularity of the garden gathering, the community hopes to be back on school premises next month.

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