They may not have had any kosher food to eat, but Rabbi Aryeh and Devorah Sufrin were nevertheless able to make a blessing when they attended last week’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. Upon seeing Queen Elizabeth II’s, whose office extended the invitation to the co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Ilford, England, the pair made a special blessing thanking G‑d for “giving of His glory to human beings.”

The Code of Jewish Law provides for making a blessing on a host of events, from hearing thunder to seeing a scholar.

Some 8,000 people attended the July 15 Garden Party held for members of the public who work in the non-profit field. Devorah Sufrin said that she suspects their presence was in recognition of their work at Drugsline, a leading drug treatment and counseling center that Aryeh Sufrin founded in 1991.


After standing in line outside Buckingham Palace for a security check, the couple perused some of the grounds. Members of the Royal Family, including the monarch and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, circulated among the crowd.

“They tried to speak to as many people as they could,” said Sufrin.

While the Sufrins didn’t get to meet personally with the queen, they did exchange words with Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, the queen’s youngest son and seventh in line to the British throne. Edward had previously met the couple at last year’s inauguration of Drugsline’s satellite center in Gants Hill.

Being in the palace “was like we were watching a video,” said Sufrin, herself a native of London. “It was so quintessentially British.”

She added: “It was a very big honor to be in Buckingham Palace by invitation of the queen.”