East End anniversary

By Charlotte Oliver, October 7, 2013

Speakers reflecting the diversity of East End life addressed the 200 guests at Sunday’s 90th anniversary celebrations of the East London Central Synagogue in Stepney.

Church, mosque and Buddhist representatives were among the speakers, as was the synagogue’s Rabbi Yitzchok Austin.

In a welcoming speech, shul president Leon Silver said his grandfather had been a founding member in 1923. It had since been a constant in the lives of generations of local families.

Former Board of Deputies president Henry Grunwald said he had been an East London member since his family moved to the area in 1974. He recalled reading a Yiddish translation of the works of Shakespeare in the shul which bore the slogan: “Translated and improved upon.”

Julie Begum, co-chair of the Bengali Swadhinata Trust, praised the synagogue for its significant contribution to local interfaith relations.

Mr Silver said afterwards: “We had attendees ranging from ultra-Orthodox Jews to many Christians, Muslims and more — a whole range of people from across the spectrum. We have very good relations with the local Muslim community.”

The goal was to attract younger congregants: “We have a predominately older membership of 350, despite many younger people moving to Docklands. But we do have one of the oldest continuous shuls in Britain.”

He added that a special service would be held later in the year to mark the anniversary.

Last updated: 11:33am, October 8 2013