Members’ fury over quit order

By Simon Rocker, July 16, 2009

Hackney Synagogue members are furious that they were given less than a month’s notice to stop using their Grade II listed shul.

Louis Cohen, the warden of the north London congregation, said they were informed by the United Synagogue only last week that the Victorian building in Brenthouse Road was being sold at the end of the month.

After tomorrow week, the community have permission from the new owners to hold services downstairs in the hall of the building for a year.

“There is going to be a gospel church,” Mr Cohen said. “When it is Yomtov, we will be downstairs and they will be singing upstairs.

“We were only notified last week that we had to be out in two weeks. Everyone feels upset. They at least could have kept it open till the Yomtovim.”

At a meeting of members last Thursday, the mood had been “very angry”, he reported.

US chief executive Jeremy Jacobs said the US had been “in regular contact” with the congregation’s honorary offices, keeping them fully informed throughout a process “agreed well over a year ago”.

It was normal for there to be a month between exchange and completion in such property transactions.

“Obviously this is a difficult time for the community, and we know we must be as helpful and understanding as we possibly can,” Mr Jacobs said.

Orginally there had been plans to move the community — which according to Mr Cohen, has 450-500 members and 30 regular Shabbat attenders – to a new site in Lauriston Road, Stoke Newington. But the plan had been shelved on the ground that “we didn’t think it was a good proposition”.

Last updated: 11:23am, July 16 2009