Manchester shuls to merge to stem 'decline'

Faced with an ageing and declining congregation, the Central and North Manchester Synagogue is to close its building and merge with the nearby Stenecourt community.

Central members voted to vacate their premises, a converted church in Salford, because of dwindling numbers. Minister Rabbi Jacob Rubinstein will also make the move to Stenecourt, where the long-serving Rev Gabriel Brodie, 83, joined in 1944.

Discussions will be held between the two communities over the coming weeks to agree the timescale.

Although the fate of the Central’s spacious building has yet to be decided, a local Jewish nursery has expressed interest in the property.

Central president Barry Cohen explained that “our membership was slowly declining and there were no young people being attracted. It’s time to move on, but we’re very happy because it’s the best way forward.”

His Stenecourt counterpart Barry Steinberg hoped that the merger would be effected before the High Holy-days, adding that the amalgamated congregation would be known as the Manchester Great, New and Central.

Stenecourt currently has 250 members, Central just over 100.

    Last updated: 3:11pm, July 3 2009