Sephardi minyan launches in Elstree

By Jay Grenby, September 10, 2009

A Morning service in Allum Hall, Borehamwood, tomorrow is the latest step towards a Sephardi minyan for the Borehamwood and Elstree area.

Among the minyan founders is banker Daniel Cuceiro, originally from Spain, who joined the local Federation shul when his family moved to Borehamwood four years ago. He came to realise that there were many other Sephardim in the area who attended Orthodox synagogues and shared his desire to worship according to their own traditions.

“We reckoned that there were at least 40 Sephardi families in the neighbourhood and with the local Jewish community continuing to expand at a rapid rate, there could be many more to come.” Accordingly, he last year initiated a Shabbat morning minyan at his home, which drew a regular turnout of two dozen. After six months services transferred to the Federation synagogue premises, “but the move threw up some problems”.

Subsequent discussions with the central Sephardi leadership brought pledges of practical and financial backing, including hire of the hall, ministers to lead services and provision of religious artefacts.

If the monthly services prove popular, weekly gatherings will be introduced and, said Mr Cuceiro, “we can then start thinking about acquiring our own premises. We are a young congregation, with lots of children. Looking ahead, we may even want to start our own cheder and nursery school."

Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation chief executive Howard Miller said: “We very much hope for a long-lasting relationship with the new minyan which will be to everyone’s benefit.”

    Last updated: 2:26pm, September 10 2009