Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate

Raymond Simonson, Debbie Klein, Nick Viner, Dame Vivien Duffield and Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sachs

Raymond Simonson, Debbie Klein, Nick Viner, Dame Vivien Duffield and Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sachs at JW3, Finchley Road. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Residents in Hampstead, Highgate and beyond are spoilt for choice this week with the grand opening of a Jewish community centre, a celebrity treasure hunt and a talk from Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger.

Tuesday

London’s newest cultural and community centre has finally opened its doors to the public with three days of launch events kicking off its inaugural season.

The JW3 centre in Finchley Road, Hampstead has been 10 years in the making but after a summer of anticipation, it is launching over three days with an array of events and activities that everyone is welcome to come along to.

The newly installed Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, and designer of the Olympic Park’s ArcelorMittal Orbit structure, Sir Anish Kapoor, will both be present at the official opening of JW3 tonight.


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But before the launch night, there will be plenty of things to do on Monday with cinema screenings and classes in the afternoon, all with a Garden of Eden theme.

A sold-out launch party on Sunday evening featured Israeli band Hadag Nahash, who combine hip hop, rock, reggae and funk with a Middle Eastern flavour and have shared the stage with the Black Eyed Peas and Cypress Hill.

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At the official opening ceremony, from 6.30pm until 8pm tonight, the Chief Rabbi will affix a traditional mezuzah - a decorative case containing a piece of parchment inscribed with a Hebrew prayer - to the doorpost of the building’s front door.

Speeches will follow from the Chief Rabbi, founder Dame Vivien Duffield and Sir Anish.

Wednesday

Former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion will join performance poet John Hegley and Keats House’s poet-in-residence Jo Shapcott for a reading.

They will perform John Keats’ six 1819 odes alongside their own work at Keats House in Keats Grove, Hampstead, from 1.30pm until 4.30pm.

Tickets are £12 (concessions £10).

Thursday

The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger is the guest speaker at the Primrose Hill Community Association’s AGM to be held at Primrose Hill Community Centre in Hopkinsons Place. All are welcome to attend.

Saturday

Queen of Shops Mary Portas and a mystery celebrity guest will be leading a celebrity treasure hunt to celebrate Primrose Hill’s independent shops on Saturday.

The first ever ShopHop! starts and ends at the Primrose Hill Community Centre in Hopkinsons Place, Primrose Hill from 11.15am until 4.15pm, where kids and adults will have to follow 12 cryptic clues.

The quest will take treasure hunters on a journey to learn more about the area, the community and its businesses.

Mary Portas will be pointing participants in the right direction while a mystery celebrity will be awarding prizes on the day.

Organiser Phil Cowan decided to put on the event to promote awareness of Primrose Hill’s independent shops and its community facilities to get people flooding into the area.

The event costs £2 for adults and is free for kids.

Sunday

A panel of experts will lead a discussion of classical composer Wagner and his anti-Semitism at the London Jewish Cultural Centre in North End Road, Golders Green from 2pm.

Dr Mark Berry, Cori Ellison, Professor Erik Levi and Barry Millington will talk about Wagner’s anti-Semitism in relation to his works and his place in history at the event called Wagner and the Jews.

Tickets are £12 in advance or £15 on the door.

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