The evening began with the official opening of the newly renovated Rev Leslie and Josi Hardman wing, housing a newly extended function hall, reception room and Bet Midrash. A plaque ceremony was carried out by Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, Rabbi Mordechai Ginsbury and Simon Hochhauser. Over 400 members of the community witnessed the ceremony and subsequent fixing of mezuzot.
Following the ceremony, 250 guests made their way into the Hendon United Community Centre for a Gala Dinner. The hall, totally transformed with draping, lighting and dramatic table centres, was unrecognisable to the diners, who were also greeted by a jazz trio. a beautiful three course dinner followed, enhanced by an at-table whisky tasting experience.
The evening's centre piece, the Hardman Conversation, also named in memory of Rev. Leslie Hardman, featured Lord Sacks in conversation with former Prime Minister Gordon Brown MP on the subject of "Learning the Lessons of Leadership- Inspiring the Next Generation." The moderator of the event was world-renowned academic and historian Sir Martin Gilbert.
Guests were treated to an hour of enthralling debate and conversation, as all three men discussed the lessons they had learned from their time in the highest offices of power. Dinner guests also had the opportunity to ask questions from the floor.
Rabbi Ginsbury made a moving tribute to the Hardmans, one of many made on the night to a very special couple in the history of Hendon United Synagogue and indeed Anglo Jewry. Presentations were also made to former shul Chairman Jonathan Miller and Daniel Tannen, who provided expert advice and many hours of time throughout the renovation of the Hardman Wing.Gala Dinner Committee Chairman Stephen Rosenthal said:
"Our inaugural Gala Dinner and Hardman Conversation was an incredible event for our entire community, and and evening we will all remember and cherish for many years. We hope to establish this as one of Anglo-Jewry's flagship events, and continue to excite, inspire and motive the members of Hendon United and beyond to participate in building up our community."
All profits from the dinner and accompanying brochure will go towards the shul's construction, educational and social projects.
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