A large number of senior Police officers, community leaders and politicians attended a Chanukah celebration on Tuesday evening at the Pillar Hotel, Hendon.
The event was organised by Shomrim NW London to show appreciation for the support it receives from the Metropolitan Police and the community as a whole. The event was graced by the presence of Rav Elchonon Halpern, Hon. Life president of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations. Among the other Rabbonim present were Rabbi Alan Plancey, Police Chaplain for Hertfordshire Police and Rabbi Meir Rappoport, Rov of Kehillas Imrei Shefer.
Mr Gavriel Ost, Chief Executive of Shomrim London NW introduced the proceedings. He said that it was a great pleasure to have such a large gathering of distinguished personalities present to mark the significant festival of Chanukah. Barnet Councillor Brian Gordon then gave an opening address, outlining the history of Chanukah and the importance of religious freedom to the Jewish people. On behalf of Barnet Council, he praised the local police force and Shomrim NW for their excellent work in protecting the security needs of the Jewish community.
Police Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Neil Seabridge then lit the shamash of the Menorah, followed by lighting of the first candle by Detective Chief Inspector Mat Shaer and the singing of Maoz Tsur led by Chazan Tatz. Member of Parliament for Golders Green and Finchley, MP Mike Freer presented the community engagement award to Inspector Terry Fowler, former Inspector of Barnet Borough South Sector in recognition of his engagement with the orthodox Jewish community and strong relationship with Shomrim. Member of Parliament for Hendon, MP Matthew Offord presented the appreciation award to Detective Chief Inspector Shaer, in the latter’s capacity as Chairman of the Jewish Police Association, in recognition of his support for Shomrim NW.
Rabbi Shimon Winegarten is one of Shomrim NW’s principal Rabbinic patrons. As he was unable to be present, Rabbi Meir Rappoport accepted the presentation on Rabbi Winegarten’s behalf, presented by Shaul Bodner, Chairman of Shomrim NW London.
After the festive event, complete with doughnut buffet, Mr. Ost told the Jewish Tribune that he was delighted the role of Shomrim NW was now widely recognised. He hoped that the organisation would continue to operate harmoniously with the police in the North West London area, and that the day would soon come when security was no longer an issue for the Jewish people.
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(Eliezer Lipman – Jewish Tribune UK)