Western Europe Discovery #1: Shabbat in London and the Mystery of Stonehenge

Since our last update, it has been very exciting here in London! Friday, we woke up to the results of the UK EU referendum. The Brits voted in favor of leaving the European Union. We can say we were in England while history was made! We spent Friday morning touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which was especially interesting to those theatre lovers.

From there, we took the Tube to a suburb of London to volunteer at a local Jewish food bank called Gift. It was truly inspirational to watch the teens contribute to a real world issue that was untapped and rarely discussed. From there, we headed back to the hotel to prep for Shabbat.

We spent Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner at the Marble Arch Synagogue. This was some of the teens first time in a shul of this kind so it was wonderful to see them explore this part of Judaism they haven’t done before! At dinner, we had the pleasure to be accompanied by Lord Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of the Orthodox Union in Great Britain. Some teens even got the chance to meet him!

We enjoyed our Sabbath morning by sleeping in a little bit later than usual. we walked to the park and enjoyed a special Shabbat program focusing on our Jewish identity and different Jewish values. We headed over to the British Museum where we learned about England’s prehistoric past. It was enjoyed by all! We had a fantastic authentic fish and chips meal (which ended up being fried cheese sticks for kosher reasons), however some of the more adventurous kids ordered a real fish and chips plate! We ended this fantastic day with a beautiful havdalah ceremony on the campus of the University of London.

Sunday was an early wake up call as we boarded the bus (late) and headed to Stonehenge. On our way to Stonehenge, we stopped at Alice Holt Park for a nice nature walk. It’s one of the last forests of its kind in England and we marveled at its beauty. We finally made it to Stonehenge where the kids were tasked with learning as much as they could for our epic bus trivia following our departure. The kids soaked up the mystery and phenomenon of Stonehenge. We ended the evening on a ferry cruise to France, where we enjoyed dinner at sea. We will let you know more about our adventures in our next update!

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