Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks opens new Chabad centre in London W1
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Posted: February 06 2007

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6 February 2007 (Jewswire.com) - “This is the one Jewish space in the midst of the city, that is not a synagogue, that is here for you to relax, unwind, refresh physically and spiritually,” commented the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, as he opened Friends of Lubavitch UK’s Gaon Club in London’s West End.

The premises were originally bought by Arab television network Al Jazeera to act as its London operations base but permission to broadcast from the site was denied and the building, a stone’s throw from Bond Street tube station, was subsequently acquired by Friends of Lubavitch UK, to be used as a recreation, social and learning centre for young people.

A crowd of 500 young people attended the official opening at the new venue, a turn out which, as Friends of Lubavitch UK’s honorary president, Dr Sam Peltz commented, was “remarkable under any circumstances but even more so considering that Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea are all playing in London tonight.”

The Chief Rabbi went on to explain that Gaon means ‘pride’ and observed that in his experience, the non-Jewish world respects Jews who respect Judaism and are embarrassed by those who are embarrassed by their Judaism “and therefore I hope this centre will really bring Gaon - will make everyone who comes here enjoy Judaism but above all, walk tall with Jewish pride.”

The centre is an addition to the 2,200 Chabad centres worldwide and its motto is a phrase, often repeated by the late Lubavitch Rebbe, which states that “where two Jews meet, a third should benefit.” That concept is at the core of Friends of Lubavitch UK, which has already engaged more than 3,000 young Jewish people in Jewish activities such as learning, guidance, social events and monthly Friday night Shabbat dinners for over 350 young people each time.

“We are delighted with the turn out and we feel that the overwhelming response reflects the huge demand which the Gaon Club will be meeting,” commented Rabbi Yosef Vogel, co-director of the centre.

That feeling was seconded by guests Nora Ajzen and Tuvi Keinan: “The Gaon Club is going to be more than an education and outreach centre – it’s going to be a source of enrichment for the community as a whole and a space to be proud of,” said Nora. Tuvi Keinan, meanwhile, reflected on Friends of Lubavitch UK’s special appeal to a diverse international as well as a domestic crowd: "Bringing together Jews from all over the world is one of the things at which Chabad excels".

Ends

For further information, please contact Rabbi Mendy Vogel +44 (0)207 495 6089 or mv@friendsoflubavitch.org

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    friendsoflubavitch.org

    Contact Information:
    Rabbi Mendy Vogel
    opened Friends of Lubavitch
    +44 (0)207 495 6089  

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