The Community's Games!
The enormity of taking part in Friday night’s Olympic opening ceremony, which will be seen by an estimated three billion people around the world, finally hit musician Adam Lucas two months ago, when rehearsals for the big day began.
The 29-year-old drummer told the Jewish News: "Danny Boyle, the English filmmaker and artistic director of the ceremony, gave us a passionate explanation of his vision, which is brilliantly ambitious. If the performers can pull it off as planned then it will be an amazing spectacle for all the world to marvel at and enjoy."
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Adam shed some light on what the Olympic stadium in Stratford will look like tomorrow night: "It will be transformed from a sports ground to a typical pleasant English countryside scene with green fields, real cows, sheep grazing, a leisurely game of cricket and even clouds hanging above that can produce rain if required!" Adam works for Newham Music Academy as a drum and ukulele teacher in local schools, so is acutely aware "there is a great sense of excitement and enthusiasm about the summer ahead".
He adds: "I can't wait for the Games to begin. The Olympics will only come to town once in my lifetime and not only is it in London this year but it is right on my doorstep. I can see the Olympic stadium from my bedroom window! To me, the Olympics stands for unity through diversity – celebrating the talent and achievement of people from nearly every nation in the world. And London has to be one of the most successfully diverse major cities in the world. On this level, it is a perfect match."
Adam managed to give two of his loved ones even more nachas by getting them tickets for the final dress rehearsal tonight. "I was able to bring two guests. Choosing between my parents, sisters, grandma, girlfriend Susie and close friends made my head spin! I chose my girlfriend Susie and my mum, knowing that my dad would be gracious. Keeping the important women in my life happy must be beneficial!"
Meanwhile, Olympic fever hit the streets of London this week as the torch relay passed through Ilford on Sunday and Hendon on Wednesday.
The oldest torch bearer in the country is 100-year-old Diana Gould. She was born in Lodz, Poland, and came to London as a child. Diana’s 220-metre torch route began outside Hendon Town Hall and ended on the forecourt of the Middlesex University campus, where it was carried by Harry Potter star Rupert Grint. Diana told the Jewish News that the secret to keeping fit at 100 is "keeping myself active in mind and body. Don’t think old, just get on with it!"
Hundreds of members of the local Jewish community were among those contributing to the electric atmosphere by lining the streets as the torch continued its route past the Holocaust Survivors’ Centre and Nancy Reuben Primary in Finchley Lane, where pupils chanted "Team GB!" and waved paper torches created as part of the school's Olympic activities. After the torch passed the school – whose gates featured a Jewish News banner welcoming the torch relay. Sara Kastner, a governor at the school, said: "All the pupils have been learning about the Olympics and they were incredibly excited for today. They understand that millions are coming to London for the Games and they’ve had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of it."
Pupil Eitan Field, 10, whose face was painted with a British flag, said it was "amazing" to see the torch up close and that it was an occasion he’d always remember.
To celebrate the relay passing its offices, Zionist Federation staff and supporters also took to the streets with British and Israeli flags to wish the teams good luck. Chief Executive Alan Aziz said: "The atmosphere was amazing and the flags were well received."
David Gilbert also carried the torch in Hendon. He has run eight marathons and triathlons raising over £150,000 for Grief Encounter Project, a charity which helps bereaved children. He was nominated by his sister-in-law, Shelley Gilbert who was orphaned at the age of nine and founded the charity in 2003 to help others who have been hit by the loss of family members. Woodside Park Synagogue member David said: “I am overwhelmed by the excitement and support I have received from family and friends. I made sure that I savoured my 15 minutes of fame.”
Ilford’s Josh Newman, 13, national under-15 trampolining champion, held the torch in Ilford town centre on Sunday morning.
The King Solomon pupil, who hopes to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016, said: “It was thrilling to be introduced personally to thousands of people watching the relay. Being involved in this event in my home town was a great honour.”
There will also be six Rabbinical chaplains, including from Chabad, Liberal Judaism and the Movement for Reform Judaism. Rabbi Richard Jacobi of Woodford Liberal Synagogue told the Jewish News that the chaplaincy service is there “for everyone in the Olympic Village who wishes to use it – staff, volunteers, contractors, delegation officials and support staff, and, of course, the athletes themselves. I shall be there for both the Olympics and Paralympics Olympics. It’s a fantastic opportunity to show London and Judaism at their best. Of course we all hope there will be no major incidents, but we are part of the planned response to any such event. Also, there will be personal traumas and we will help support people as they face those.
“There are daily prayers offered for each of the five major world faiths recognised by the IOC – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism. Kosher food is provided in the main dining room for anyone who requests it. We may need to help people order their meals. One of the important messages is that we are all working alongside each other, especially when we learn of stories such as the suicide attack in Bulgaria.”
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