As part of its on-going interfaith work, West London Synagogue held, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday 26 January, a special participatory service, immediately followed by a concert by the London International Orchestra.
The sanctuary was packed with people of all faiths and none, with representatives of a variety of world communities affected by genocide, were in attendance at the service, which was led by Rabbi Helen Freeman. Of these communities, representatives of the Kurdish, Congolese, gay and Jewish communities lit candles and read from variety of texts during the service. At one point, the congregation was invited to light candles and a surge of more than 50 people lit candles in remembrance of those lost.
The concert afterwards, conducted by Alan Gout, was designed to enable reflection and included works by Mozart, Elgar, Bernstein and Gershwin, with guest South African soloists Njabulo Madlala singing a suite of African songs and compatriot Simon Shibambu singing Ol’ Man River joined by WLS Community Artist, Maya Levy singing Somewhere from Bernstein’s West Side Story. The haunting theme from Schindler’s List was played by violinist Solo violin, Caryn Cohen.