Stanmore builds up nicely
A Friday night service held in the new beit hamidrash at Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue marked the completion of the first phase of a major refurbishment of the shul.
Work has already started on phase two at the synagogue, home to what is claimed to be Europe's largest orthodox community. The main shul will be completely renovated and the lobby areas will be refurbished. This work is due for completion this summer.
The 2,200 members can look forward to new carpeting and men's pews, improved lighting and acoustics. Replacement of seating in the ladies' gallery will be undertaken later.
The beit hamidrash is designed to provide a more intimate and conducive environment for services on weekdays and Friday nights with flexible seating for 66 worshippers. Its size can be almost doubled on Shabbat mornings to accommodate alternative services (Sephardi, explanatory, Limmud minyan and the Stanmore Women's Learning Experience). The former boardroom above the beit hamidrash has been transformed into a multi-purpose community room which will be used for youth services.
Stanmore chair Philip Hertz said: "The creation of the beit hamidrash has made a dream a reality for many members. It provides a long-awaited home for our Friday night services and a base for so many of our other services. Its beautifully-stocked library will also fuel chavruta [partner] learning in comfortable surroundings."