A large part of the ceiling at South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue has collapsed, leaving rainwater to pour through a gaping hole in the 20-year-old prayer hall, flooding the floor and drenching seats. Scrolls, prayer books and other portable items were removed undamaged.
"The shul, sadly, is unusable," said congregation chair Jan Mortlock. "It will remain so until the insurance claim is settled and the building repaired, which is likely to take several months. It is hoped that it will be repaired in time for the High Holy-Days." Until then, the functions hall will be used for services.
Based in Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, the congregation has 1,230 members.