Final service at Netherlee and Clarkston

By Cathy Forman, July 19, 2012

A deconsecration service on Wednesday marked the end of a 70-year era for Glasgow’s Netherlee, Clarkston and Queens Park Synagogue.

After the closure decision was taken two years ago, a small group of former members formed a kehillah for Shabbat services — the last was held at the weekend. Its 30 supporters are dispersing to other synagogues in the city.

The shul was sold to developers and a charitable trust will distribute its assets “for Jewish religious and educational purposes”, explained trustee Harvey Livingston, who co-organised Wednesday’s service. “We hand over the keys on August 1.”

A message was read out from American-based Rabbi Raphael Bokow, the congregation’s last full-time minister, and former members led the service.

In his address, Mr Livingston highlighted the congregation’s history and accomplishments. Netherlee was “known in Glasgow as a friendly shul and for welcoming visitors to the area”. There were 400 members in the 1970s — “and we had a waiting list”.

He attributed Netherlee’s demise to a change in demographics. “The shul is in the south east of the city and the Jewish population moved to Giffnock and Newton Mearns in the south west.”

Three of the community’s eight scrolls will be moved overseas, one to a new congregation in Melbourne, two to Israel. Others are going to Edinburgh, Manchester, Borehamwood and the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade. A small boxed scroll will remain in Glasgow for shivah services.

Silverware will be distributed to shuls in Glasgow and Liverpool, as requested by the donor families.

Last updated: 1:10pm, July 19 2012