Elmhurst Windows.

Yavneh Girls pupil Eliana Kaye raised over £8,500 for The Friendship Circle by creating an inspirational lockdown recipe book.

To commemorate her Bat Mitzvah, Eliana Kaye from Prestwich has produced a recipe book entitled FRIENDS: The One Made in Lockdown! The book is packed with delicious recipes from family, as well as featuring dishes from Jewish celebrity chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Denise Phillips.

As well as being named after Eliana’s favourite TV show, FRIENDS (which she watched avidly while typing out over 80 recipes) the book contains pages of inspirational quotes on the importance of true friendship.

Eliana, a pupil at Yavneh Girls explained: “I was discussing with my parents meaningful things to do as I approached my Bat Mitzvah year and we landed on something connected with baking, which I have started to really enjoy. It felt good to use something I love doing to raise money for charity as part of this special milestone in my life.”

“The money that I will be raising will be going to The Friendship Circle, an amazing charity that helps children and adults with learning disabilities in so many ways but, in particular, to build lasting friendships.”

When further lockdown restrictions in Greater Manchester were brought in just three days before Eliana’s Bat Mitzvah, the family swiftly devised a creative way to celebrate the occasion, while still complying with government guidelines. With just 24 hours to go before Shabbat they organised an innovative drive-through party.

Arriving at the circular driveway in their own cars at an allocated timeslot, guests were presented with a bespoke goody box packed with cakes, sweet treats and drinks. With live music by Eliana’s uncle, pianist and singer-songwriter Martin Kaye adding to the party atmosphere, guests then drove to the next stall where they collected their ice chocolate or ice coffee. At the final stall Eliana proudly gave out her recipe book and guests were given cards to write a special message to the Bat Mitzvah girl.

Esty Bruck, programme director, said: “We are incredibly grateful to Eliana for producing such a wonderful recipe book and raising money for The Friendship Circle but more importantly, for embracing our mission. Smal acts of friendship and kindness have an enormous impact on peoples’ lives and help to create a more caring and inclusive society we all want to live in.’

To order a recipe book for only £15 and be part of this very special mitzvah project promoting the importance of true friendship go to www.friendshipcircle.org.uk or email sarah@friendship-circle.org.uk 0161 792 1792.

 

L to R: Lee Baker, Lee Saunders, Neil Reisman, Gavin Traylor, Quanah Maplesden Mimi Lyons, Rafi Baker, Kyle Maplesden and Andrew Saipe.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

The Friendship Circle volunteer Lee Saunders recounts a ‘Siberian winter’ on Snowdon as members reach new heights.

 

Bringing down two stone tablets from Mount Sinai may have been challenging for Moses; bringing down 24 people from Mount Snowdon in near apocalyptic conditions was a feat as worthy as The Friendship Circle.

“In these challenging times, charities, such as ours, have been badly affected. Lockdown has been a real challenge for our members but we have worked hard to keep them connected, via online activities and a telephone based buddy system, enabling us to hand-hold them through this extremely difficult period,” said operations director Mimi Lyons.

Inspired by one of The Friendship Circle members, ‘warrior’ Neil Reisman, the intrepid volunteers, (three as young as 10 from King David Primary School), jumped on a bus in Prestwich to climb Wales’ highest mountain.

Despite encouraging forecasts, it became pretty clear, pretty quickly, that the winds were picking up dramatically. And I’m talking mostly about the weather. After barely 45 minutes of a six-hour hike, driving rain, fierce winds and low visibility looked more like a Siberian winter, not a day out in Caernarfon. Motivated by the cause, we ploughed on, as knees buckled and masks flew off, while the sheep stared on in bewilderment.

Zigzagging up the steep rocky Snowdon Ranger Path as four separate bubbles, steps seemed to get steeper and clouds lower. Although Snowdon is a mere 1,085 metres tall, I thought we were going to actually meet G-d, and boy did I have some questions.

After three and a half hours, we found the peak, huddled down to eat sandwiches, took some selfies and then got out of there. Taking the long descent down the Llanberis path, snaking alongside the abandoned train track, we fought gusts on an open ridge, sheltering behind a wall, and battled to stay upright as we ducked under a bridge that felt like having 10 hairdryers in your face.

But the clouds cleared, and the sun emerged to remind us of its existence. The sheep winked and the promise of a cafe with open toilets appeared in the distance. It wasn’t a mirage, and as the group reunited, friendships had indeed gone full circle.