Last orders as shuls buy pubs

Pints are being swapped for pews in Hendon's Jewish heartland as two pubs have been taken over by synagogues.

The news comes in the wake of the opening of a major kosher hotel which the owners describe as "part of the regentrification of Hendon".

Porat Yosef, a Moroccan Jewish community, has bought Kerrigan's, almost on the junction of Brent Street and Bell Lane, for an undisclosed sum. Scaffolding has been erected and building work is expected to start shortly.

Warden Menachem Haziza, owner of Menachem's kosher butcher in Golders Green, said the hope was to move in December. "We haven't decided on everything we want but there will be a synagogue that will follow the Moroccan tradition and a community centre that will be open to the Sephardi community."

Proceeds from the sale of Porat Yosef's current premises in Burroughs Gardens, Hendon, will go towards the cost.

"We are moving because the position of our current building is not central enough and our community is growing," Mr Haziza added.

Across the road in Brent Street, Manning's pub has been purchased by the New Hendon Beis Hamedrash, which has been holding services and educational meetings behind a nearby office block.

Membership of the five-year-old synagogue has grown to the point where the congregation needs more room. Its minister is Dayan Yonasan Abraham of the London Beth Din.

It is understood that a third pub,The Little House, has been taken over by Jewish owners, but they could not be reached for comment.

Since opening in summer, the Pillar Hotel has hosted Jewish guests from around the world. The property was acquired from an American Christian group, the Pillar of Fire Society, which had owned it for more than 100 years.

"We have completely renovated the buildings and turned them into a luxury hotel in the heart of the north-west London Jewish community," said a hotel spokesman. "This is part of the regentrification of Hendon. Jewish people from far and wide now have a place where, for example, they can hold smachot and have accommodation for their guests."

The buildings have Grade II listed status and the owners worked closely with English Heritage. The Pillar has opened with 16 rooms and will eventually have 50.

    Last updated: 4:08pm, October 28 2010