By COLlive reporter
The English came out in huge numbers for a once in a lifetime opportunity as the famous Tour de France completed its 3 day leg through England this week.
On Monday July 7th over one million people lined the streets from Cambridge to London as the Tour de France passed through in stage three of the world’s largest annual sporting event.
The Tour de France is an annual multiple stage bicycle race primarily held in France, while also occasionally making passes through nearby countries. This year it started in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, before returning to France.
As the riders rode through England, they passed through Buckhurst Hill, where Rabbi Odom and Henny Brandman direct the Chabad House which was right on the main route. The riders actually passed the door of the Chabad House where thousands of people were congregating in front of what was the only Shul directly on the route of Stage 3 of the competition.
When Rabbi Brandman first heard that the Tour De France was going to be passing their door, together with members of the community, they realized that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to have such an event happening on their doorstep and they had to use the opportunity to its fullest.
Tens of thousands of people would be lining the street from early in the morning and if there was a good reason for them to head towards Chabad, the Centre could become a focal point of the day. Roads were closed all day, local schools were all closed and most local residents would be there to watch. So, the Chabad Centre opened its doors for the day, set up a stand selling Kosher food on the driveway and the crowds flocked.
Enlisting the help of some members of the community, two ladies spent an entire day baking cookies, a couple of guys manned the BBQ and a few ladies manned the food stand. They sold 350 hotdogs, 150 burgers, 400 drinks and 450 cookies. Seating was set up on the drive of the Chabad House for people to sit and soak up the atmosphere as they waited for the Tour De France to pass by.
The Chabad House had its doors open to the public to walk in and have a look around with a bouncy castle in the back for all the children to enjoy.
Two Bochurim shluchim from the Mechina in Golders Green came to set up a Mivztoim stand, talking to many people and to offer Teffilin to the Jewish spectators.
Rabbi Brandman said, “This was such great exposure for our Chabad House and it was fantastic for the local community to see us as an active and open centre providing a hub for people to congregate and enjoy the day.
“Jewish people from all over the area converged on the Chabad House as their chosen spot for the day to be together with other Jews, have the availability of Kosher food and help support the Chabad House through the profits of the sales. This will surely be a day that we will never forget,” he said.