NPLS are proud to worship together through a full Jewish calendar, celebrating the cycle of the year. Following are some highlights.
Over the Yamim Noraim – Days of Awe of High Holy Days, our Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services attract larger numbers of congregants than we can hold in the Synagogue and to ensure everyone is able to join us at these most holy days of worship, we hold our services at the Watford Colosseum.
Our services are beautifully accompanied by our wonderful members’ choir and musicians. During the morning services, we also have a junior choir, and offer a creche as well as activities for children which run alongside the service.
On Yom Kippur, we also run a Family Service at the synagogue as well as an adult study session at the Colosseum. Parallel to the yizkor (Memorial) service we offer an alternative meditative space experience.
These services are all ticketed. Please contact the HHD Ticket Co-ordinator for more details.
You will find the blessings for kindling Yahrzeit candles here.
After the sombre tone of much of the High Holy Days, we lighten the atmosphere back at the Synagogue. A Sukkah (temporary booth) is built and we delight in decorating it –particularly popular amongst horticulturalists and those with children!
Sukkot services include our Macarena style waving of the arba minim – the four species – the lulav and etrog.
Recalling the agricultural basis of Sukkot, NPLS members bring goods that in recent years have been welcomed by Hillingdon Foodbank, Hillingdon Home Start, and Watford New Hope Trust.
On Simchat Torah, the conclusion of Sukkot, we honour those members who have made a significant contribution to the synagogue community. They read from the last section of the Torah and from the first as we begin our Torah cycle all over again. There are flag-making competitions, loads of sweets and a literal song and dance around the Torah.
When Sukkot and Simchat Torah fall in term-time, we provide activities for children as well as a crèche at our Morning Services. Children attending Jewish Day Schools are encouraged to attend.
In the deep of winter, our festival of lights looks to bring warmth to the hearts of all our members and friends, including the residents of Northwood. NPLS’s first night celebration is well known with a packed synagogue of members lighting their own and the NPLS’s chanukkiyot, before dining on sufganiyot – doughnuts and playing dreidel! On each of the eight nights of Chanukkah we gather to light NPLS chanukkiyah, lighting up Oaklands Gate. Here you can find Blessings, recipes and student resources.
The new year for trees usually occurs with cold and ice in the UK. Nevertheless, NPLS have planted many trees over the years and plans are now afoot to create a Biblical Garden to grow as many of our ritual items as we can – sustainable Judaism!
If we were to flippantly summarise Jewish history, as: ’They tried to kill us, they failed, let’s eat,’ then Purim is its expression. Reading the Biblical novella, the Megillah – Book of Esther – in a crazy fashion with loads of music and noise, dance and dressing-up competitions our Purim celebrations are a party not to be missed. And of course, it’s of course all concluded with food!
As the home festival par excellence, NPLS encourages and supports our members to run their own seder and to ensure that all those wish to participate are able to do so. Resources to complement the Liberal Judaism Haggadah, that you can purchase from the Synagogue Office, can be found here.
On the second night, we make the Synagogue our home for the Communal Seder. One of the most popular events of the year, our rabbis and special guests lead us creatively through the Haggadah, highlighting the key motif of ‘freedom’ at times altogether and at others, through separate child and adult time. If you would like to join us at this event, please click here to book your place.
There are also a full set of synagogue services and when Pesach falls in term-time, at our Morning Services there are activities for children as well as a crèche Those children attending Jewish Day Schools are encouraged to attend.
NPLS members remember the Shoah (Holocaust), and the 6 million Jews including 1.5 million children who were murdered in Nazi occupied Europe and vow never to forget. We do so in a variety of ways, cultural as well as religious. Part of the commemoration is through our Czech and Slovak connections and there are other annual commemorations held at the Synagogue and amongst the wider community.
After the memorial day of Yom Ha’Shoah, we celebrate the foundation of the State of Israel. Recognising the variety of ways in which NPLS members celebrate, we hold our own events and support our members to attend other Jewish communal events.
As Shavuot has traditionally had no special home rituals attached to it, it is the least well known of the Shelosh Regalim (Pilgrim Festivals together with Sukkot and Pesach), the occasions when our Israelite ancestors brought offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem.
As we do not live in the Land of Israel or are agriculturally based, the rabbinic designation of Shavuot as the occasion of the giving of Torah on Mt. Sinai is recalled. We again recreate the home and the night of revelation at Sinai in our Synagogue with our Tikkun Leyl Shavuot. Whilst we facilitate those who wish to follow the custom of studying all through the night, we spend an evening of joy in culture and learning…and of course food!
When Shavuot falls in term-time, at our Morning Services there are activities for children as well as a crèche. Children attending Jewish Day Schools are encouraged to attend.
Resources for Chanukkah, Yahrzeits and Pesach can be found here.