Sharing VE Day stories in London and Leeds


Harrow's Mosaic Reform community marked the 70th anniversary of VE Day with a themed Shabbat morning service led by Rabbi Kathleen de Magtige-Middleton. The congregation was joined by members of Mosaic Liberal (Harrow and Wembley Progressive) and their minister, Rabbi Frank Dabba Smith, for a programme including contributions from RAF veteran Dennis Goodman and six other community members who lived through the war years. It concluded with the singing of Adon Olam to the tune of The White Cliffs of Dover and the cutting of a commemorative cake.

Union Jacks and bunting were well to the fore at the subsequent "street party" lunch, which was followed by live music and dancing.

Guests also browsed an exhibition of wartime memories, including letters, photographs, ration books, identity cards, medals and a well preserved gas mask.

The exhibition remains on view until Sunday when Mosaic - a community involving three strands of Judaism - celebrates its first birthday and holds its inaugural AGM.

In Leeds, the local Royal British Legion held its annual service and parade at the Etz Chaim Synagogue in the presence of civic and Ajex leaders.

Chaplain, Rabbi Anthony Gilbert, told the 300 guests that the German invasion was "a dreadful time, a time of persecution, when Winston Churchill could only offer blood, sweat and tears".

Some serving British soldiers were not old enough to vote "but young, enthusiastic and patriotic.

"Without thought, they offered themselves to the service of the Crown. Such dedication and sacrifice we shall never forget."

Wreaths were laid at a war memorial in the grounds of the neighbouring St John's Church.

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