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South Woodford synagogue holds first woman-led service and marks 100 years of suffrage

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 June 2018

(L - R) Rabbi Daniela Touati, Di Kamall, Merle Muswell, Alice Wilcock, Jo Tyman, June Bradbury, Tina Gold and Fiona Hulbert. Photo: Merle Muswell

(L - R) Rabbi Daniela Touati, Di Kamall, Merle Muswell, Alice Wilcock, Jo Tyman, June Bradbury, Tina Gold and Fiona Hulbert. Photo: Merle Muswell

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Women led a Shabbat service for the first time ever at a South Woodford synagogue in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

More than 50 people attended the service at the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue, in Marlborough Road, on Saturday, June 23.

Student Rabbi Daniela Touati, who is from France and is studying on a placement, led the prayers with the support from women in the community.

She said: “It has been a wonderful experience and I have learnt so much from the Rabbis and the whole community.”

Rabbi Touati was presented with gifts to mark her last service before returning to France and being ordained.

The service was dedicated to late community stalwart Betty Benscher.

Other women celebrated during the service included Lily Montagu, who played a major role in Progressive Judaism, Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.

The women sang and performed music and shared wine and Chollah.

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