Kosher reception

22 February 2013

MORE THAN half of the parishioners in the Revd Lisa Battye's parish of St Paul's, Kersal, are Orthodox Jews, and their numbers are growing; so Ms Battye (above, right), who was being licensed as Area Dean of Salford, in the Manchester diocese, was anxious that they should also be invited to the reception after the ceremony.

That meant that the refreshments needed to be acceptable to the guests, and so she enlisted the help of Dr Irene Lancaster (left), who chairs the Broughton Park Dialogue Group, to help her buy kosher food and drink from local Jewish shops. Their shopping included kosher cheese and crackers, hand-made chocolates, and wine and juice for about 80 people, which, considering the weather - it was snowing heavily - they believed would be more than enough.

In the event, the guests included the Bishop of Bolton, the Rt Revd Chris Edmonson (centre), and the Archdeacon of Salford, the Ven. David Sharples, together with three Orthodox rabbis, a rebbetzin (rabbi's wife), and 12 members of the Orthodox Jewish community of North Manchester. This is the first time that there have been so many Orthodox Jews at a Christian event in the area. There were also the Mayor and Mayoresses of Salford and Bury, and members of the two churches where Ms Battye is Vicar - a total of 154 guests in all. "I was shocked. I wished I had bought more wine and juice for them," Ms Battye said.

Before they all tucked in, Dr Lancaster was asked to address the gathering on behalf of the Jewish community in the area, and also to explain the meaning of "kosher". It did not imply anything negative about other people's food habits, she said, but "was part of the covenantal Jewish relationship with God".

By buying all the food and drink from kosher shops, Ms Battye and her church were helping to support the local Jewish community, their nearest neighbours, and allowing everyone in the parish, from whatever religion, ethnicity, or creed, to participate in the event.


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