Manchester shul’s last service before merger

The Central and North Synagogue in Manchester will close after the Shabbat service.

Membership has dwindled to little more than 100, making the upkeep of its imposing Leicester Road premises uneconomic. The shul will merge with Stenecourt Synagogue.

Tomorrow's service will be an emotional occasion for Central's long-serving Rabbi Jacob Rubinstein, who said: "After 36 years as minister it is a great wrench for me, but hopefully the merger will be an opportunity for further growth." Central's life president Sonny Fromson can reflect on 80 years of involvement - he joined the choir at the age of 10.

"I'm happy, in inverted commas, to see we've got another home in a more vibrant community, but I'm not happy to see the history go," he commented. "We are hoping it will be a good marriage."

Mr Fromson's 90th birthday will be celebrated at the first Shabbat for the merged communities in a fortnight, when Rabbi Rubinstein will join Reverend Gabriel Brodie in a joint ministerial role.

    Last updated: 5:16pm, September 9 2008