Inter-Cheder Purim Event at Sutton Shul

Inter-Cheder Purim Event at Sutton Shul
Sunday, 8th March 2009
by:  Barbara Saunders

On Sunday 8th March, ninety nine pupils from four chedarim in south west London met to celebrate Purim at Sutton Synagogue. Accompanied by the Cheder Heads of Richmond, Kingston, Chabad-Wimbledon and Sutton, ninety nine children and their parents, helpers and teachers excitedly gathered for an inspiring and memorable Purim event.

The fun began with all the children assembling in the Shul hall. There were ten tables, set up for ten children each, with prepared dough (thanks to Linda Smullen) jars of jam and flour. Every child made three Humentaschen, which were then placed on greased proof paper, named and transferred to trays to be baked in the kitchen oven. The idea was that the children would prepare one Humantasch for the Mishloach Manot, (sending gifts) one Humantasch to eat and one to exchange with a friend. In another activity, the children decorated boxes for the Mishloach Manot, which were filled with sweet items and a Humantasch. Most of these were delivered to the residents of Nightingale House, the home for the aged in Wandsworth.

The children were divided into age groups, appropriately named Megilla, Humentasch, Gragger and Poppy, (Mun) so that each group could pursue a  20 minute activity, which included decorating masks, decorating and filling Mishloach Manot boxes, playing games and  participating in drama. The oldest group joined Rabbi Rosenfeld of Kingston Shul for a discussion instead of decorating masks. After 20 minutes a bell signalled a change of activity, so that everyone experienced all activities in manageable groups.

 The logistics of accommodating everyone meant that the whole shul, all the upstairs classrooms and the playground were utilised to full effect. At break time, the good weather enabled the children to enjoy a drink outside in the playground and to pose for the whole group photograph. Thanks to the great organising ability of Pam Mackenzie, who planned every detail with military precision, the whole morning ran smoothly and efficiently.

At the end of the morning, everyone said how much they had enjoyed seeing the children together in one place in south London. As Pam said, “They played games and they acted, but more importantly they interacted in these large numbers – that does not happen often for Jewish kids in south London.”

Rabbi Dubov pointed out to the children that they were the most important people in the day’s event and that they were fulfilling an important Mitvah by preparing the boxes to deliver to Nightingale. In a comic moment, as he urged everyone to come to shul on Purim and to make lots of noise whenever Haman was mentioned, all the children spontaneously started banging away on everything they could lay their hands on.

As Chair of the New Shul Committee,  Rica Infante thanked the Cheder Heads Rabbi Dubov from Chabad-Wimbledon, Rivkie Ives fromRichmond, Gill Varon from Kingston and Rabbi and Mrs Groner and Pam Mackenzie for all their hard work. Although the idea originated with the NSC, it was driven forward by Pam and her team. She also thanked the children for making so many lovely things and concluded by expressing the hope that there would be similar events in the near future. (Maybe when they’ve recovered, Rica.) The morning was pronounced an outstanding success by everyone.

Chag Purim Sameach!


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