Blackpool Hebrew Congregation rocked by closing ceremony

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 18, 2012

More than 200 people offered a tearful farewell to the Blackpool Hebrew Congregation synagogue on Sunday. A deconsecration ceremony marked the end of the congregation’s 114-year presence in the seaside town.

Former Blackpool ministers Rabbi David Braunold and Rabbi Arnold Saunders were among those at the service at the Grade II listed building in Leamington Road, which has been provisionally sold.

Service co-organiser Russell Grossman moved from Blackpool in 1983. He said the ceremony had been “terribly emotional” but had provided “important closure for a lot of people. The great-grandson of one of the founding members came on the last service held on Shabbat.

“Seeing the ark left open, empty of Torah scrolls, was when it hit home for most people that this was the end.”
Synagogue president Barry Goodstone said the service had allowed the congregation to “end on a high. It was gratifying to see so many people with connections to the community.”

The synagogue has been taken off the market after a conditional offer from a local property development company which has built residential apartments elsewhere in Blackpool. Congregants have joined nearby St Anne’s.

Last updated: 4:27pm, October 16 2012