London's biggest synagogue 'for sale'

By Simon Rocker, March 8, 2012
The rather too realistic sale prospectus for Finchley

The rather too realistic sale prospectus for Finchley

Members of Finchley Synagogue may have been shocked to see emails and notices posted yesterday to announce their building was up for sale.

The fastest-growing congregation in the United Synagogue would be the last anyone would imagine be on the move.

Held up as a model community, Kinloss - as it is colloquially known - houses a variety of different minyanim, an educational programme that has been copied by others, a banqueting suite and a plethora of cultural and social activities .

Catering for different parts of the religious spectrum, it has even launched its own kollel for advanced Talmud learning.

It has a team of four rabbis, led by Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who is regarded as one of the strongest home contenders to succeed Lord Sacks as Chief Rabbi.

Only recently, a Shabbat-compliant pedestrian crossing was installed to help worshippers cross the busy thoroughfare. The two acres of building and car parking space would be certainly be prize real estate, close to Golders Green and Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue and the shopping temple of Brent Cross.

But once they had rubbed their eyes in disbelief, readers of the notices would have begun to smile.

It described the building as located in the village of Finchley, "one of the 127 provinces of the borough of Barnet".

Its interior boasted "hangings of white, fine cotton and blue wool curtains", furniture of "embroidered gold and silver" and immense windows that had brought much "light and gladness" over the years.

All crafty allusions to the Book of Esther, of course. (The real giveaway was the name of the estate agent… Haman and Sons.) The good folk of Kinloss can rest assured that the "sale" was just a festive spiel and they will be able to celebrate another Purim in their traditional home.

Last updated: 5:07pm, March 8 2012