Death delays barmitzvah

A barmitzvah service was interrupted at Prestwich Hebrew Congregation on Shabbat after the death of Tina Shaw, daughter of its long-serving caretaker.

The 37-year-old was found dead on Saturday morning in the flat adjoining the synagogue building where she had lived with her family for more than 20 years.

Energency services arrived at 9am and the barmitzvah boy and his family, who are Cohanim, had to briefly leave the synagogue, returning once it was confirmed that there was no halachic problem.

In certain circumstances, Cohanim are not allowed to share a building with a dead person. Greater Manchester Police are not treating the death as suspicious.

The rabbi said every effort had been made to proceed as normal

Synagogue leaders said Ms Shaw, her father Rick and her family, who are not Jewish, were an integral part of the community.

President Clive Sayers recalled that "Tina took special pride in laying out the Shalosh Seudah [third meal] on Shabbat afternoons and took on responsibility for securing the shul, especially when Rick was on holiday. She will be missed by many members of the congregation and we all grieve for Rick, Nancy and their family at this sad time."

Rabbi Dovid Eisenberg said every effort had been made for the barmitzvah to proceed as normal.

"I did announce what had happened at the end of the service. People were very saddened by it.

"A lot of people in the community have expressed condolences and we are offering Rick whatever he needs."

Mr Shaw has thanked members "for their support at this difficult time".

    Last updated: 9:34am, September 9 2011