A Shabbat of Song at Woodford Forest Synagogue

Last weekend we were delighted to host Chazan Jonny Turgel for our Shabbat services & Melave Malka. Jonny Turgel has been the Chazan of Stanmore & Canons Park Synagogue for the last 12 years. He was born in London in 1984 to a family where his love of music and davening was encouraged. He has studied under several accomplished chazanim in both London and Israel developing his unique blend of chazanut to shape a style which appeals to our generation. He is the lead soloist with the Shabbaton choir performing many concerts here and abroad and has enhanced many weddings and simchas with his beautiful voice.
On Friday night Jonny welcomed in Shabbos at Woodford Forest Shul with a lively and tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat service to a congregation of more than double the usual attendees.
A recent addition to Friday night services is to host a guest speaker and offer a whiskey kiddish to follow. Last Friday we were joined by Arieh Miller who is chief executive of the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) He gave an interesting (and sometimes) alarming update into the situation of Jewish students on campus post the horrors of October 7th in Israel. There has been a marked increase in anti-semitic behaviour which has been particularly distressing for first year students coping with life away from the protection of the family home. However, he felt that Universities are being supportive of the students and there is additional support from the UJS. The service ended with an enhanced kiddush of soup, single malt whiskey and snacks.
The Shabbat service was a beautiful experience with Jonny’s melodious davening and a much larger attendance that a regular week, followed by another tasty kiddush.
Motzei Shabbos a Melava Malka was held. Nearly a hundred people attended and enjoyed a wonderful evening of music and song. Jonny Turgel sang, expertly accompanied by our very own Rabbi Wollenberg on piano. After a musical Havdallah ceremony, we were treated to a diverse mix of songs such as a medley of Adon Olam tunes, Achenu, When you Believe (from The Prince of Egypt), Ole Sole Mio, and Shiru Lamelech which caused impromptu lively dancing from some of the ladies!
A tasty meal of soups, huge amounts of salads and even more amounts of different flavoured biscuits all made by our amazing Rebbitzen was served during the intervals.
A massive thank you must go to Blima and the well-oiled machine of Ladies Guild helpers who made the evening flow. And of course we were so grateful that Jonny agreed to join us to make this shabbat so special and one to remember.

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