Notice to all Jewish people in London: The title is a joke.
This shiksa did not light a Menorah but she was in your neighbourhood.
Shalom from one of London’s first stations and first real suburb to be built, inherently by the eatern European Jewish community, yes I’m in Golders Green. What exactly am I doing here you may ask or how was I even allowed in this part of London? Well, the invitation came along by Shared-City.org to join the Chanukah walking tour where I’ll refresh my memory on Judaism, learn about the best places to eat Kosher food and of course, watch the lighting of the Menorah at 6pm.
Caroline is our tour guide and as we stroll down Golders Green Road, we notice many stores with the Hebrew writing כּשר on the shop front, simply meaning “kosher.” Over the past decade various Italian, Chinese and Indian Kosher restaurants have popped up on this High Street and are visible by the Hebrew text from the outside.
We are taken into Steimatzky Nasifria, The Israeli Bookstore and one of the oldest and best resources within the jewish community. I get excited over the many variations of the eye evil bracelets.
Books are great but all I can think about is pastry and possibly a pepperoni pizza which has the potential to be the second most inappropriate thing to cross my mind in these quarters. Further down the road we walk into Carmelli Bakeries. Apparently there isn’t a Jewish person in London who hasn’t walked through these doors and I don’t blame them. Carmelli Bakeries has been around for as long as I have, 27 years and back in the day it was the first place Jewish kids used to go when they got their drivers licence. I get my hands on some Rugelach and even try some latkes, I’m pretty certain my mum has made these somewhere in my childhood.
Standing at over two stories tall is the world’s tallest Menorah right beside the tube station. A generous amount of families from the a local Chabad of ultra orthodox jews begins to congregrate. Now I really look out of place but ironically feel at home. After a bit of entertainment for the kids involving clowns and a man juggling fire sticks, the Menorah is lit via a cherry picker and the Chanukah prayer is sung out loud by all. It was so beautiful to see such a tight-knit community come together for this celebration.