Fifty people attended the first Shabbat service at Luton Hebrew Congregation’s new synagogue, over double the normal turnout.
“We wanted to move in before the High Holy-Days to iron out any difficulties that might arise before we welcome a full house,” explained treasurer Jeff Solomons.
“But although the first service was meant to be relatively low key, we did organise a special kiddush which coincided with the 40th wedding anniversaries of two of our members.”
The acquisition of a former doctor’s surgery in Dunstable Road, near junction 11 of the M1, ended an eight-year search for permanent premises. Members have been involved in the refurbishment, knocking down walls to make a large prayer hall and installing new windows, security equipment and a temporary kitchen.
“Now we have our own permanent home again, as well as a full-time minister, we’d like to think that the community will grow,” Mr Solomons added.
The congregation is awaiting the completion of a new bimah and ark to replace the portable shul furnishings used during a series of temporary accommodations. Once these are installed, the shul will be formally dedicated. An extension incorporating a full-sized kitchen will be the second phase of the project.