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Mitzvah Day 2018

We always do an Interfaith Project for Mitzvah Day.  Our partners are the ladies of the Brent Punjabi  Association, led by Joginder Kaur Kundhi, who bring the grace and energy of Bollywood to local elderly residents.  Lady Daniela Pears always joins us, as Mitzvah Day's Interfaith Chair.  This year we met on Friday 16th November,  and together with carers and residents at Choice House we all danced Bollywood,  "Hava Nagilah" and the residents at Choice House joined us in singing other Jewish songs.

2018 CHATANIM ANNOUNCED

Charles Vitez, Chatan Bereishit
Charles was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1948. His parents were Holocaust survivors, who met after the liberation. His father came from an ultra-orthodox background. Charles' grandfather, received semicha in the prestigious Pressburg Yeshiva, returning to Budapest to found a Kollel with his friends. Some of Charles' earliest memories are of sitting in his grandfather's Kollel shtiebel, next to two outstanding Torah scholars, who had been at both his own and at his father's brit milah and calling them "uncle".
Following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Charles and his parents came to England. First to Stoke Newington, where Charles celebrated his bar mitzvah in the London equivalent of his grandfather's shul, at 69 Lordship Road (all the members at that time were from Hungary), and then settling in Wembley in 1961.
In 1961, Wembley Synagogue, under the leadership of Rabbi Berman, had several thousand members and getting a seat in shul for the High Holidays was very difficult. My father was very fortunate to receive a "temporary allocation" seat right by the "eastern wall". Seat 79 was owned by a member who from at least 1961 to his death in 1974 (when Charles "inherited" the seat) never ever came to Wembley shul.
Charles qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1972, shortly after the death of his father, and remained working in public practice; spending 21 years at KPMG (the last 8 of these as a partner). Since 1993, when he retired from KPMG, he has run his own niche tax and consulting practice.
Since November 2011, Charles has been the Financial Representative of Wembley Synagogue.

Martin Andresier, Chatan Torah
Martin was born in 1948, in Whitechapel. His parents were traditional orthodox and Martin went to Christian Street Talmud Torah, Brady and Oxford and St Georges clubs. He attended local schools and, after A levels and university went into the civil service and then into the shipping services industry. Following a downturn in shipping, he was made redundant and at the age of 42, did the "knowledge" and became a licenced London taxicab driver.
In 1973, he had the great good fortune to marry Edith, a State Registered Nurse. They moved to Wembley and joined our shul. They were blessed with three boys (now married with children). Edith and Martin fully entered into the life of our Community. Edith was very much involved in Welfare, Security and the Events Committees, while Martin, in his inimitable way, gave that something extra to the Children's Service with his poems and general good humour.
Sadly Edith was taken from us in 2016 and is sorely missed both by his family and this Community.
 


 

AJEX PARADE 2017

Once again it was an honour for us to march alongside the old soldiers, and some not so old. As you can see from the photos, one soldier next to me had lost the use of his legs in the Middle East and had been fitted with a computerised exo-skeleton which enabled him to walk. Stan had an opportunity to exchange a few words with the reviewing officer; General Sir Peter Anthony Wall GCB, CBE, DL, FReng

My thanks, as always to Stan Fox and Phil Phillips for swelling the ranks.

MITZVAH DAY 2017

Interfaith and Inter-generational.  For the second year running, Wembley Shul teamed up with the Brent Punjabi Association, bringing Bollywood Dancing to Jewish Choice, a residential care campus in Wembley.  Led by Mrs Joginder Kaur Khundi, the BPA use Bollywood-style music and movement to  improve the quality of life of the elderly in Brent.  It was an inspiring afternoon of graceful dancing, and Daniela Pears, Mitzvah Day’s Interfaith Chair, led everyone singing their favourite Hebrew songs.   

MEET OUR NEW CHATANIM!

Joe Alis - Chatan Torah

Joe and his family before him have been members of Wembley Synagogue for a very long time. Joe is a regular at our services; a modest man always willing and ready to help out.

Joe was born in Hertfordshire in 1941, the eldest of three brothers. His Barmitzvah was in the original Wembley Synagogue.

In 1967 he went to Israel as a volunteer and on returning to London met his wife Ziva who worked at the Israeli Embassy. They married in Israel and set up home in Wembley where they have had three children, Natalie, Annette and Jonathan. Their children have spread their wings; moving to Israel, Australia and the USA. Quite recently they held a family reunion at their home in Wembley for three generations. Joe has now retired from his leather promotional business and keeps himself occupied with his many hobbies.

Phil Phillips - Chatan Bereishit

Phil and Audrey Phillips are regulars at our Shabbat and Yom Tov services. Phil is always smiling and invariably friendly. It is a pleasure seeing them both in Wembley Synagogue. 

Phil and Audrey have been married for over 50 years. They have a son, Mark, married to Lorraine, a TV producer and two grandchildren, Molly and Lola, who are both at school.

Phil has recently retired after 43 years as a cabbie and is now looking to take up a voluntary position, to fill his time, left over from being a fond and devoted grandfather to his grand-daughters, reading and dog-walking.

Brent Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) commemoration

Although HMD is normally commemorated on the twenty-seventh, that being a Friday this year, the commemoration was brought forward to the Thursday evening so as to ensure that Sabbath observant  Jewish people would be able to attend.

The event was held in the Conference Hall of the Brent Civic Centre. The organisers estimate that there were probably in excess of 200 there on the night, filling the hall. The excellent sound system certainly enhanced the experience for the audience.

The theme of the commemoration this year was encapsulated in the question: how can life go on after the Holocaust? The survivors’ response – my parents’ response – was that having survived, through whatever fortune of chance, failing to go on to re-establish communities, to build new families, and to believe in a better future, would have given their persecutors too easy a victory.

The programme was once again this year introduced by Carolyn Downs (CEO of Brent Council) and we were clearly in the hands of a highly competent and thoughtful presenter. Those of us who are children of Holocaust survivors, have considerable sensitivities to things which are said about the experiences that more or less defined our parents’ lives and I found myself very grateful for the tone, the content and the evident sympathy that came across.

There were strong and clear opening statements both by the Mayor of Brent, Councillor Parvaz Ahmed and Councillor Muhammed Butt (Leader of the Council). In this day and age when the British Jewish community is once again feeling the cold winds of prejudice, it is heartening to hear the leadership of Brent condemning such unreasoning hatred in no uncertain terms.

If HMD is to have any purpose, I have always believed that it must be to educate the young. Representatives of the 78 (Wembley) Squadron of the Air Training Corps came up to light six memorial candles and briefly to explain the significance of the Holocaust from their own viewpoint. Later on in the programme, two young men from a local secondary school (St Gregory’s) related their experiences and conclusions based on their visit to Auschwitz under the Young Ambassadors programme. It is clear that Michael McCafferty and Thomas Teinovas had both understood what had been done there and to whom and had taken away and passed on the lessons to be drawn. The young choir from JFS performed a similar role. For us in the audience they stand for so much. Here they were, Jewish children, 72 years on from the liberation of the death camps, singing Hebrew songs in praise of their Creator.

For me and I believe many others there that evening, all of these children were both a reminder of the one and a half million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators, and a beacon of hope for the future.

The main speaker for the evening was Mr Manfred Goldberg, a survivor from Germany. Like many other survivors, Mr Goldberg had not spoken of this period in his life to anyone until recently. It was clearly very important to him to keep to facts and to leave analysis to the audience. He had been just a child on Kristallnacht. His father had been forced to flee Germany as a consequence of the round-ups which followed, leaving his mother, younger brother and himself behind. It takes very little imagination to understand the frantic and heart-breaking efforts of the father to extract his family from the coming nightmare and the consequences of the failure. Eventually there followed deportation to Stutthoff, then transfer to the Riga Ghetto, Mr Goldberg’s mother was a slave labourer in both Stutthoff and in Riga and, thus, they were spared from execution. As the Russians neared, the survivors of Riga were returned to Germany and so they found themselves back in Stutthoff. By this time he was also able to work, but they had to leave his younger brother in the barracks. One evening they returned to the barracks and his brother was nowhere to be found. They have never been able to find any information as to his fate and continued to look for him long after liberation.

After its poignancy and the tension Mr Goldberg’s presentation had created, the London Cantorial Singers provided a few minutes of much needed relaxation. Particularly, their choral rendering of “Lo Teida” was a wonderful experience.

If we still needed any reminder at all of continuing genocide in the World today, there was Rehab Jameel to tell her tale; a child of survivors from Darfur (in Northern Sudan), where the Arab Muslim inhabitants to this day are waging an unremitting war of extermination against the non-Arabised Muslim tribes of the area.

Before drawing the ceremony to its dignified closure, Mrs Downs called on Rabbi Simon Harris (of Wembley Synagogue) to intone the Memorial Prayer for the six million victims of the Holocaust. In the two minutes of silence which followed, I am sure that the thoughts of many of us strayed to individual members of our families who were counted in that number. They were not the faceless victims of unreasoning hatred but our grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, and distinguished rabbis of communities. The most important lesson of HMD is that all of them were ordinary human beings - people just like us - and were entitled to live peaceful and productive lives without fear. The crime of their murder cannot be forgiven and must not be forgotten.

50th anniversary Concert of the Wembley Shul Choir

On Sunday 8th January  Wembley members past and present gathered to celebrate 50 years of the Wembley Shul Choir.  After a reception, provided by the Ladies, Guild, members took their seats in the Shul, for a heart-warming evening.  Leigh Lewis wove together the reminiscences of former choirmasters, chazanim and rabbanim, who sent messages of greeting and congratulations to the choir and Shul.  Bernard Pentol recalled the moment of the choir’s inception, when he was requested to form a choir, and many mentions were made throughout the evening of Lou Jackson, choirmaster for many years.  The Shul Choir, together with the Cantorial Singers, performed under the baton of David Druce, with a guest appearance by Stephen Games, a former choirmaster.  They were joined by  Rev Anthony Wolfson and Cantor Stephen Robins, chazanim of our shul for many years, as well as Henry Black and Rev David Rome.

Mitzvah Day 2016

Mitzvah Day at Wembley Shul began with members cooking for the SUFRA Food Bank on St Raphael's, together with Neasden Temple and Mosaic members.

 

Wembley Shul & Brent Punjabi Assocation brought Bollywood Music & Movement to residents at Edinburgh House care home, with routines specially choreographed to provide exercise for the elderly.

AJEX Parade 2016

It is with great pride that we can report that Stanley Fox, Philip Hyman and Adam Hyman represented Wembley Shul as they marched at the very moving ceremony at the Cenotaph this year.

Simone, Jacalyn and of course Eddie waved and cheered them on!

Shabbat UK 2016

We celebrated ShabbatUK  Wembley-style with an age-range of 7-104!  Fresh from the Shabbat morning service we came straight into the Bessy Clapman Hall, where the tables were beautifully set with Kiddush wine and Challot, followed by a delicious lunch.  We sang our favourite Zemirot, and the Rabbi’s Dvar Torah explained to us the secret of a really tasty meal.  We thank the Chief Rabbi for his inspiration, and our hard-working volunteers for helping us to realise his vision.

Interfaith Mitzvah Day in Wembley

For the second year running, Wembley members donated food to Sufra-NW London,

a food bank set up by Muslim charities to support the wider Brent community. 

Our partners were BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, the Neasden Temple,

who brought food from their New Year celebrations to share with those in need.

The wedding of Sara and Daniel Fleischer

This video shows the wedding of Sara and Daniel Fleischer in December 2012, which took place in Wembley Synagogue. Rabbis Harris and Plancy officiated. Click the picture to see the video.

A Cantorial Candle Lighting at Wembley

Wembley Shul was treated to a Chanukah evening of song and good cheer by the Cantorial Singers, conducted by David Druce, with Chazanim Henry Black and David Rome.  

The Chanukah candles were lit by David Rome, Minister at Catford & Bromley Shul, and everyone sang Haneirot Halalu and Maoz Tzur together heartily. This was followed by a programme of old favourites and some wonderful new arrangements, performed with the style and verve we have come to expect from this expert group of singers.

The evening continued with a magnificent Chanukah spread, provided by our Ladies Guild together with Wembley Link.

Our thanks go to everyone who helped to make this evening so enjoyable.

ShabbatUK 2015

Food for Thought - Food for Body & Soul

 

People of all ages, from 6-103, came together in Wembley to celebrate Shabbat UK.

 

Our Ladies Guild provided a wonderful Kiddush, and a Communal Lunch was hosted by the Rabbi & Rebbetzin, with Zemirot and Divrei Torah.

 

Focusing on the quality of our Shabbat experience, and on communal togetherness, produced a magical atmosphere.

 

Thank you to the Chief Rabbi for creating this inspiring initiative.

"Mein Fair Meidel" - A Purim Spiel by Philip Hyman / Wembley Link

Click picture to see video

Wembley Shul takes part in Brent HMD Commemoration (Click Pictue for Video)

Once again, Wembley Shul took part in Brent Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Day.  The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Kana Naheerathan, together with Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, welcomed those who had gathered together at Brent’s new civic centre for this occasion.

 

The evening was introduced by the Minister to Harrow & Wembley Progressive Synagogue, Frank Dabba Smith. Six memorial candles were lit by the Nomad Explorer Scouts from Willesden, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust, and genocide survivors across the world.

 

Life in Nazi Europe was recalled by George Vulkan, who described the escalating discrimination against Jews in the VieOnce again, Wembley Shul took part in Brent Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Day. The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Kana Naheerathan, together with Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, welcomed those who had gathered together at Brent’s new civic centre for this occasion. The evening was introduced by the Minister to Harrow & Wembley Progressive Synagogue, Frank Dabba Smith. Six memorial candles were lit by the Nomad Explorer Scouts from Willesden, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust, and genocide survivors across the world. Life in Nazi Europe was recalled by George Vulkan, who described the escalating discrimination against Jews in the Vienna of his childhood, as the Nazis came to power. Ruth Barnett, wOnce again, Wembley Shul took part in Brent Holocaust & Genocide Memorial Day. The Mayor of Brent, Councillor Kana Naheerathan, together with Councillor Muhammed Butt, Leader of Brent Council, welcomed those who had gathered together at Brent’s new civic centre for this occasion. The evening was introduced by the Minister to Harrow & Wembley Progressive Synagogue, Frank Dabba Smith. Six memorial candles were lit by the Nomad Explorer Scouts from Willesden, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust, and genocide survivors across the world. Life in Nazi Europe was recalled by George Vulkan, who described the escalating discrimination against Jews in the Vienna of his childhood, as the Nazis came to power. Ruth Barnett, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, spoke about the persecution of other groups by the Nazis, particularly the Roma. Testimony was given by survivor Sophie Masereka, who came to Brent from Rwanda. She spoke of the genocide that took place in her country. As we reflected on the 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, it was chilling to hear that just 20 years ago, in 1994, ethnic persecution led to such terrible atrocities in Rwanda. Remembrance was offered in music by a choir from JFS, and the Londonho came to Britain on the Kindertransport, spoke about the persecution of other groups by the Nazis, particularly the Roma. Testimony was given by survivor Sophie Masereka, who came to Brent from Rwanda. She spoke of the genocide that took place in her country. As we reflected on the 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, it was chilling to hear that just 20 years ago, in 1994, ethnic persecution led to such terrible atrocities in Rwanda. Remembrance was offered in music by a choir fromnna of his childhood, as the Nazis came to power.  Ruth Barnett, who came to Britain on the Kindertransport, spoke about the persecution of other groups by the Nazis, particularly the Roma.

 

Testimony was given by survivor Sophie Masereka, who came to Brent from Rwanda.  She spoke of the genocide that took place in her country.   As we reflected on the 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, it was chilling to hear that just 20 years ago, in 1994, ethnic persecution led to such terrible atrocities in Rwanda.  

 

Remembrance was offered in music by a choir from JFS, and the London

Sukkot at Wembley 2014

Sukkot 2014 and at Wembley Shul we unveiled our brand new Sukkah.

Chanukah 2014

Wembley Shul celebrated Chanukah this year with a Choral Candle lighting; We were honoured by the presence of Councillor Mohammed Butt, the Leader of Brent Council, who joined us for the occasion.

 

The event was dedicated to the memory of the late Alf Pampel, and it was wonderful to see his wife Doris, and so many of their family, at Wembley Shul for the occasion. Rabbi Shimon Yehudah Harris paid a moving tribute to Alf, who had been a stalwart of the congregation.   Alf’s beloved Shul Choir was joined for the occasion by The London Cantorial Singers and Rev. Anthony Wolfson, under the direction of Conductor David Druce.  

 

Refreshments were provided by our Ladies Guild together with Wembley Link, with doughnuts and latkes for all

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