Members of Bristol Hebrew Congregation have been forced to hold services in alternative premises following a flood at the Park Row synagogue caused by a water tank in the roof. The flood has caused extensive damage to the social hall, part of the entrance lobby and the rear of the synagogue.
Synagogue treasurer Arnold Greenwood said: “As a rule, the shul is used only on Shabbos and Yomtov and the flood occurred on a Thursday. Miraculously, one of our congregants, Ivor Saltman, went into the building early that evening and discovered water cascading through the ceiling and alerted me. But for that, the damage, which is conservatively estimated at £20,000, would have been far greater. Call it luck or divine intervention.”
He noted that luck had also prevented the Torah scrolls and prayer books being damaged.
“Elkan Levy, the director of small communities, was due to visit us but when we contacted him to cancel the visit, he warned us that in another shul flood, the use of dehumidifiers had damaged the scrolls. So, we were forewarned and able to remove them,” said Mr Greenwood.
The 100 congregants have been allowed to use of the new Hillel student centre in the suburb of Clifton since the flood. Mr Greenwood said he hoped the synagogue would reopen by Pesach.