Shrubs growing at 75

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 17, 2012

A Manchester synagogue which owes its establishment to a pre-war discussion in a pub celebrates its 75th anniversary this weekend.

The Prestwich Hebrew Congregation founding members “met in the George pub in Prestwich feeling there was need for a shul in the neighbourhood, which wasn’t a Jewish one at the time,” explained 91-year-old Issy Mintz, a member for 61 years.

Now life president, he has seen membership swell to 600 by “moving with the times”.

The synagogue campus is now home to a youth centre, banqueting suite and an evening yeshivah programme. But in 1937 it was an old Victorian house called Shrubbery, which gave rise to the shul’s nickname of Shrubs.

By 1940 it had recruited 21-year-old Menachem Mendel Gurdus, a fresh-faced new rabbi from one of Poland’s most esteemed pre-war yeshivot. He led the shul for 40 years and the family link continues through his grandson and Shrubs warden Ian Creek.

Another former minister, Morchechai Ginbsury, will address tomorrow’s anniversary dinner.

Last updated: 10:45am, December 17 2012