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Northern Chagigah is a weekend success

The ‘sold out’ signs were needed at the Hawkhills Conference Centre at Easingwold north of York for this weekend’s Northern Chagigah. 130 adults, teenagers and families from Progressive Judaism’s northern communities gathered for two days of ‘relaxation, learning, prayer and fun’. 

“We were totally full and even had to turn people away,” explained Sarita Robinson, Director of Community Partnership who organised the event. 

“Because of events in Israel, everyone said how comforting it was to be together with friends, and relax in a safe place at this very difficult time for all of us.” 

Songs of hope were led by Cantor Zoe Jacobs and there was an online update from the ‘Bring them Home’ campaign offering advice as to how communities can help keep the names of the hostages in the British media.

“It was great to join the Northern Chagigah weekend for its final day,” said Rabbi Josh Levy the new CEO of The Movement for Reform Judaism. 

“ Everyone with whom I spoke had had a wonderful weekend. It was clear how much people had enjoyed being with one another and that the learning, prayer and time together had been very special. We are very proud to have a community of dedicated Progressive Jews across the North of the UK who are building thriving communities, sharing with one another, and celebrating each other’s success on events such as this. A huge yasher koach to those who made it happen.” 

This year Rabbi Dr Jackie Tabick, Convenor of the Reform Beit Din held a parallel residential weekend for those who are considering converting to Judaism or who are already on the path to conversion. Jackie, who retires from the role this year was visibly moved by a specially produced video with messages from her many friends and admirers.  

MRJ Chair Paul Langsford who also attended the weekend was full of praise: “In these difficult and unnerving times, we were all doubly grateful to be together. The warm and friendly atmosphere was characterised by the Northern communities’ commitment, energy and capability.  

“I was inspired by their can-do attitude, despite limited resources, and, in many cases, only having part-time or occasional rabbinic support. Communities in North-West London are able to take so much for granted.” 

PICTURE CREDIT: Simon Marcus ( 

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