Golders Green Synagogue chiefs are working with architects and heritage organisations on a £3 million refurbishment of the shul’s Grade II-listed premises in Dunstan Road.
“We are concentrating everything into the main building with a glass glazing under the balcony,” said vice-chair Jackie Zinkin. “We’re working very hard to raise the money to get us though the planning stages and kick off the project.”
The Dunstan Road building was opened in 1922 and extended in 1929. Membership of the congregation peaked at 1,500 in the 1970s but has dropped to around 500 and the shul, like many others, is desperate to attract younger people.
“We have had an alternative minyan for almost 10 years and we find that more and more of the community prefer that style of davening,” Ms Zinkin reported. “But we also do not want to ignore those who prefer the other way so we’re to going to be flexible.”
Although part of the ladies’ gallery will remain open, a mechitzah will allow women to sit downstairs. Major fundraising will begin with a dinner next year with the Chief Rabbi and the shul will apply to English Heritage for financial backing. The synagogue also plans to sell land behind the main building.
“It’s a huge opportunity but we have to get it right,” Ms Zinkin added. “We need to liaise with our community and ensure that people in Golders Green feel they can engage with the project.”
The plans also incorporate a large functions hall and refurbished toilets and kitchen.