See what happened at Rabbi Elechonon's Burns Night 2017
Our First Bushey Burns Night
It was a very cold and frosty evening; the sort of evening when you could imagine something magical was about to happen and indeed, something magical did happen. From a chance remark and huge enthusiasm the idea of holding a Burns Night Celebration was born. A committee was formed and plans were laid. Last night it all came together and a packed hall festively decorated enjoyed an evening that was filled with laughter, song, poetry and music with the addition of a meal which included the traditional Haggis.
John Thei, resplendent in trews and evening dress, was our chairman and he welcomed the over 160 guests. The Selkirk Grace was explained and given by Rabbi Elchonon Feldman. The toast to the Queen was given by The Worshipful Mayor of Hertsmere. This was followed by The Toast to the President and State of Israel proposed by Cllr Paul Morris OBE. Rabbi Plancey piped in the Haggis in great style and the toast to the Haggis was proposed by Alan Sternstein. The toast to the Lassies was given and responded to by Nigel and Nicole Rothband respectively. Rabbi Plancey gave a wonderful address and toast to the immortal memory of Robert Burns and an insight into why he is remembered. Rabbi Plancey included a wonderful reading of a modern version of Burns’ Address to a Mouse, his featuring the computer mouse! Rabbi Elchonon delivered a wonderful D’Var Uisage Beatha, (an Explanation of the Whisky) we all learned of the dangers of adding ice to otherwise harmless spirits! All this was interspersed with wonderfully given readings from Robert Burns and music so beautifully played by the Bension Morris Ceilidh Ensemble and of course the food.
All this is a record but the spirit of the evening is more difficult to describe, the good humour and fun that everyone enjoyed was wonderful. Many of the guests had taken enormous trouble with their dress and came in many variations on a Scottish theme. I think that everyone came with the intention of enjoying a splendid evening in good company and they were not disappointed. Seeing our Rabbi and Rebbetzin standing on their chairs and leading us in song was one of the highs of the evening as was the conga that progressed around the room. Everyone enjoyed a hot catered meal and there was no shortage of the traditional whisky or indeed for the non-whisky drinkers the wine flowed. None of this could have happened without the huge amount of work put in by John Thei and Leslie Pollock ably assisted by the committee and indeed on the night by many other people who stepped up and helped to make it such a memorable event. When all the merriment was done the clearing up was enthusiastically tackled and in a very short space of time all the physical signs of the evening disappeared but the sense of fun and community will I think, last much longer and our special bit of magic will remain.
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Photos courtesy of Garry Harris, Ronnie Levene & Laurence Bowman
A video of highlights of the night is shown below.