Drivers passing the former Artichoke pub on Elstree Hill North might well have cause for a double-take.
For, although a pub sign remains, it now depicts a tallit-draped Jew, as befits the conversion of the historic hostelry into the Elstree Shtiebel.
Acquired just over a year ago by communal philanthropist Mendel Tajtelbaum, the site will offer facilities for prayer and education for families from the locality and beyond.
The retention of the pub signs — another now promoting Torah, prayer and kindness — reflects Mr Tajtelbaum’s determination both to preserve the character of the building and make it a hub for Yiddishkeit in the area. Locals have received an invitation to a Chanucah party in its grounds on December 9.
Learning programmes have also started, with the opening session for fathers and sons led by Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue emeritus minister Rabbi Alan Plancey.
Mr Tajtelbaum hopes to launch Shabbat services within the next few weeks. “I want to make it clear that everyone is welcome, from the most Orthodox to the most secular Jew,” he stressed.
He also has planning permission for a community centre, having purchased a second pub site nearby.