Sephardi closure

By Jonathan Kalmus, January 21, 2010

The end of an 85-year era for one of south Manchester’s two Sephardi shuls was marked on Sunday with a deconsecration service at the Shaare Sedek Synagogue.

A closure decision was taken last year to enable the construction of a 200-seat satellite synagogue complex in Hale for some of the 600 members, which will carry the Shaare Sedek name. Building work on the £1 million-plus project is likely to start in late spring.

Filling the old shul, 200 people were addressed by Rabbi Shlomo Ellituv, its minister for over 30 years. A former assistant minister, Amos Haddad, travelled from Paris to take part.

The synagogue was opened in 1925 as a breakaway congregation from the Withington Spanish and Portuguese congregation, Shaare Rahamim. The two synagogues merged in 1997 due to declining numbers.

On Shabbat, local historian Basil Jeuda reviewed the community’s history at a lunch attended by 110 people as part of the farewell programme. He said the synagogue’s wrought iron gates had been melted down in the cause of the nation during World War II and recalled the occasion when over half the congregation were nominated for the synagogue council.

Co-organiser Simone Peppi, who compiled a brochure, said people were very sad about the closure, but “the personalities of the people who had been involved and their descendants shone through at the end”.

Last updated: 3:39pm, January 21 2010