Oxford keeps up services in summer

By Marcus Dysch, August 12, 2010

Oxford's Jewish community is enjoying a period of renewed success with services taking place daily for the first time in years.

The number of people davening at Oxford Jewish Congregation's Richmond Road synagogue traditionally drops in summer as students return to their home towns.

But the community has continued its daily minyanim with the help of University Jewish Chaplaincy's Rabbi Daniel Braune Friedman, who has co-ordinated an informal rota of male congregants.

"We have been trying to ensure there are 11 regulars," Rabbi Braune Friedman explained. "We have about six who are always here and then a hard core of 20 more who work almost in rotation to make sure we have a minyan.

"Our goal is to get through to October, when the students return full-time. Then we can be sure of carrying on with regular minyanim."

The shul offers kosher food six days a week, primarily for students paying £4 for a meal. But the facility has also attracted community members.

With no Hillel in Oxford, students use a lounge at the shul complex and are treated as honorary members to encourage further links with the community.

The community has around 300 families and 40 people attend Shabbat services.

"The partnership between the community and the students has been a real success," the rabbi added. "We also welcome a lot of visitors to the city and there are always researchers and academics coming here and a lot of people passing through.

"One guy staying in a hostel contacted us asking if there was a minyan. Every city should have a minyan in case someone is saying Kaddish."

Last updated: 12:32pm, August 12 2010