Golders Green growing once again

By Charlotte Oliver, July 17, 2014

After years of declining membership, Golders Green Synagogue is on the up again thanks in large part to a £4 million redevelopment project. The redevelopment has seen the opening of the Rimon Primary School on the synagogue site, as well as a major repair and refurbishment programme.

Shul chairman Prof Benny Chain reported a membership increase of 70, taking them up to almost 600.

"Strikingly, they're mostly young families with very young children, which has led to a big change in our shul activities," he said.

Rimon opened its doors at the back of the Dunstan Road synagogue two years ago, backed by £3 million of government funding through its free schools scheme.

Final construction will be completed by the end of the summer and pupil numbers will rise above 8o in the new academic year.

"Eventually, there will be almost 200 children spread over seven classes," Prof Chain said. "We already have a massive waiting list."

Meanwhile, more than £1.1 million has been spent on overhauling the front of the shul - starting with the roof, which was replaced as a result of funding from the Wohl Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Inside, revamped seating, lighting, office space and a new kitchen had provided a more intimate atmosphere for the services, talks and education programmes now held.

A new bimah and mechitzah, designed by member Brian Baderman, have also been added.

The shul's fundraising committee is reapplying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for cash to support the final work to the upstairs area of the synagogue.

Last updated: 10:54am, July 21 2014