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Yom Ha’Atzmaut at Newcastle Reform Synagogue

When is the shul hall not the shul hall? When it becomes a kibbutz for the night. This year’s Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebration, organised by the Representative Council for North East Jewry, saw over 80 local kibbutzniks enjoy an evening of music, entertainment and food, served kibbutz style at Newcastle Reform Synagogue.

The tables were set Israeli style, with appetizers, pita bread and palm trees made from copies of the Jewish Chronicle, and decorated with illuminated dragon flies. The place mats showed a picture of one of the first kibbutzes, started in 1931.

Richard Grant welcomed everyone and the Declaration of Independence was read in Hebrew by Svetlana Cherlin. Three youngsters from the Reform Synagogue, members of the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade, read presentations about the early Chalutzim and musical entertainment was provided by Horovod, a local klezmer band.

Participants queued to receive their meal of vegetarian sausages, falafel, salad olivio and tomato and basil salad, which was served in typical divided platters. This was followed by apple strudel and cream and the celebration cake was cut by the young readers and shared by all.

The prize for the best ‘Pioneer Outfit’ was awarded to George Loble, who came resplendent in denim, including hat.

Alan Cahill expressed the thanks of all present.

There was general agreement that the evening encapsulated the spirit of the celebration. Plans are already underway for next year’s major birthday – Israel’s 70th.

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