Tottenham synagogue up for sale

By Jessica Elgot, February 10, 2011

One of the United Synagogue's oldest buildings is to be sold, with the buyer expected to come from the Charedi community.

The US has put the South Tottenham shul premises in Crowland Road on the market and is hoping to raise £1.1 million from the sale.

Leading Stamford Hill Charedi personality Rabbi Avraham Pinter believed the building was likely to be snapped up by the local strictly Orthodox community. "It is a fast growing community in south Tottenham, especially as the planning law is not seen as being as strict as it is in Hackney. More families are moving there than Stamford Hill. I have no doubt there will be a demand for a shul there.

"Much of the current shul's congregation is already Charedi. The priority must be to keep the building for communal use."

Those in the congregation who are traditional US members are primarily elderly. South Tottenham's rabbi, Michael Biberfield, is Charedi and would be expected to stay in the pulpit in the event of a change of affiliation by the synagogue.

US community services director David Kaplan said: "We have been working hard to ensure that in spite of the shul's closure, the community will continue to thrive. We are confident that this proposal will enable the community to continue its wide range of religious services under the wonderful direction and leadership of their fine rabbi."

South Tottenham became a US affiliate in 1936. A purpose-built synagogue was designed by NatWest Tower and Centre Point architect Richard Seifert and completed in 1938. Numbers peaked at 431 in 1960 when it became a district synagogue. There are now around 90.

The building was badly damaged in an arson attack in 2004 and many prayer books were burnt - some more than 100-years-old. The building damage was repaired.

Last updated: 12:51pm, February 10 2011