Festival Services

Evening festival service are usually held at 6.00pm and morning services at 11.00am, preceded by coffee and cake from 10.30am. At the end of every festival service there is a kiddush (blessing over wine).

  • Sukkot

After the solemnity of the High Holy Days, we come together to build and decorate a communal sukkah (tabernacle). Each year we have a theme, and at an Open House service we welcome people of all faiths and none into the sukkah.

  • Simchat Torah

At the end of the torah reading year, the torah scrolls are danced around the synagogue to joyous klezmer music. Congregants help unwind one scroll from one end of the Sanctuary to the other. The rabbis circumnavigate this scroll, reliving the journey from Genesis to Deuteronomy. A celebratory supper follows the evening service. The next morning the wardens at the end of their term of office are honoured.

  • Chanukah

The communal chanukkiah dates back to 1849, and we light it each night of Chanukah to mark the miracle of the light and the hope of good triumphing over evil. Each night of Chanukah is dedicated to a different constituent group of the community. There may be a rabbis’ drinks reception, a celebratory intergenerational Shabbat Chanukah service, a children’s doughnut party, area group meetings all over London where we light the chanukkiah in members’ homes, a young adults event, a tea party for our senior members.

  • Purim

For families there is a Purim carnival, and for all we have a spirited reading of the Megillah (Esther), followed by a themed Spiel (show) performed by rabbis and wardens in fabulous costumes, and an ‘after party’. 

  • Pesach

Several seders are offered – a first night communal seder for all, which is joyous, thoughtful and interactive; a second night Young Adults (YAD) seder; and often a second night Interfaith seder at which members of other faith groups join our own members. There is a traditional Pesach morning service. And at the conclusion of the festival, we follow the Moroccan-Jewish tradition of holding a Mimouna, a delicious community supper of Middle Eastern leavened dishes.

  • Shavuot

The evening of Shavuot starts with an uplifting service, followed by a supper and then a ‘Shavuaton’ - a full night of inspiring study sessions. We are joined by St John’s Wood’s Liberal Jewish Synagogue and run an educational programme from dusk to dawn. We welcome the first rays of morning with a roof-top sunrise service. The traditional 11am service commences with the community’s children dancing on rose petals in the Sanctuary, to release their perfume.