Tiny but active Darlington Hebrew Congregation has seen an astonishing 34% increase in membership during 2013 despite the sad deaths of 2 members including our dearly loved President Dr Raymond Goldberg z”l. There is now even a need to make plans for a cheder much to the great delight of the community.
On Shabbat Dec 14th it was decided to hold the Kiddush in honour of all those who have joined this year and provide them with an opportunity to meet the existing members of which over two-thirds were present for Shacharit. As the synagogue had been signed up to the Rabbis for Human Rights’ Human Rights Shabbat , Rabbi Borts led a study session on the Jewish sources linked to this topic prior to the service. There were also special readings and a sermon on the Human Rights theme. All new members received an aliyah and Darlington Chair Peter Freitag made a welcome speech at the conclusion of the service.
Also in attendance was a Methodist minister and a number of his lay readers who have written to thank the community for welcoming them, “We had a wonderful time with you this morning! It was a time of peace and love. You gave us a very warm welcome and we shall not forget it. We were able to join in worship. It was a privilege. I believe that Israel’s people are the apple of God’s eye.” (Karen Pusey, lay reader). After making Kiddush the congregants presented Rabbi Borts with a plant, card and cake to mark her forthcoming special birthday and sang Happy Birthday in a mixture of Ivrit and English.