Brought to a close in Bradford
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Rabbi Moshe Perez from Nottingham Hebrew Congregation, which will receive one of the Bradford synagogue’s five sifrei Torah (Photo: John Fisher)
Some 100 congregants gathered on Sunday for a poignant farewell to Bradford Hebrew Congregation and the deconsecration of its Springhurst Road synagogue in Shipley.
The shul’s five sifrei Torah were taken from the Ark and paraded for the last time in the shul by representatives of the scrolls’ new homes, including the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow and the Nottingham and Harrogate communities.
President Albert Waxman said the service brought a 107-year history to an end. “We may find some consolation in the fact that we have lasted longer than many of our members dared to hope.”
The Orthodox shul opened in 1906 and enjoyed a membership peak in the 1950s. But membership dwindled as Jewish families left the area and under 20 remained at the time of closure. They will either join synagogues in Leeds or Harrogate or the remaining local Reform shul in Bowland Street.
Officiating on Sunday, Rabbi Anthony Gilbert said something completed had a righteousness and “this congregation has exuded righteousness from its very foundations.
“When the first wave of central European immigrants came to these shores and settled in Bradford from a continent that was besotted with hatred and cruelty, this congregation was a bastion of Orthodoxy.
“We must leave this shul today with positive thoughts and feel enlightened and not saddened. The sifrei Torah will be living on in other communities in different parts of the world and it is heartening they will be used at every Shabbat and Yomtov to enhance the beauty of the synagogue service.”
The current building, dating from 1970, was designed by late members Eric Horfbran, Jack Reuben, Maxwell Abrahams and Sydney Morris.