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Crowds gather at the second Big Jewish Summer Fete in Islington

Returning for its second year, The Big Jewish Summer Fete attracted between 800-1000 people on Sunday 10 June at Highbury Fields, Islington.

Organised by Chabad Islington, The Big Jewish Summer Fete is a free festival of Jewish culture, open for the whole community to join in. Whilst celebrating the richness of Judaism and Jewish culture, the event aims to promote community cohesion and tolerance in the diverse borough of Islington. The second edition of the Big Jewish Summer Fete succeeded in bringing together Jews and non-Jews for a joyful, celebratory afternoon.

In his speech the Mayor of Islington David Poyser said:

‘Islington is a very diverse borough. We all work together, we all live together, we are a wonderful community. Whenever we go to events, we have people of all faiths coming together to celebrate in Islington. (...) I’d like to thank Rabbi Mendy Korer who’s made today a success once again. Mendy, we all love you, don’t leave Islington!’

The stage featured performances by Don Kipper and the London Jewish Male Choir. The exciting ensemble Don Kipper performed a range of danceable Klezmer tunes along with a couple of Romani melodies, while the 90 year-old London Jewish Male Choir stirred the crowd with their singalong programme of Yiddish songs.

Activities included special workshops on Judaism by Tzivos Hashem, arts & crafts by the Jewish Museum, kosher ice cream and bagels, and hummus tasting, while free Krav Maga, hula hoop and yoga workshops got participants moving. The event also featured puppeteering shows and puppet making workshop, bubble show, pet activities by Islington Council, stalls by Simon Marks Jewish Primary School and Stroke Association, and Police minibus.

Another highlight of the event, the Jewish Speakers' Corner featured a series of short talks on Judaism and Jewish culture: from Jewish film or Yiddish songs, through personal stories and 'everything you always wanted to know about Judaism but were afraid to ask', to stand-up comedy and commentaries on law.

Chabad Islington’s Rabbi Mendy Korer filled the space with his comedy classics slot, while his Stump the Rabbi session encouraged lots of difficult questions on Judaism from the audience. Sheila Gewolb (Senior Vice President, Board of Deputies of British Jews) gave a personal talk about her life, Jewish identity, relationships and work for the Board of Deputies. The celebrity law commentator Joshua Rozenberg talked about a coroner’s discriminatory cab-rank policy, Jewish burials and the law, while Michelle Rosenberg presented the life-saving work of Magen David Adom. Dr Julia Wagner, a film expert and writer unpicked ‘What Makes a Jewish Film Jewish’ with a range of fascinating examples, and Adrian Cohen presented on the socio-political role of paleo-Hebrew in the modern Jewish State.

Rabbi Mendy Korer said:

‘It was once again a real honour and pleasure to organise the summer fete and to create an event that is welcoming, inclusive and meaningful. I’d like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers and stall holders that made sure that all attendees had an enjoyable afternoon'

The event was organised by Chabad Islington and generously supported by grants from National Lottery Awards for All, Arsenal in the Community, Islington Square, Tesco, Simon Marks Jewish Primary School and Funzing.

View more photos on the Big Jewish Summer Fete website:

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