Lord Levy’s “emotional” family connection to the Walford Road Synagogue in Stoke Newington was a feature of the independent Orthodox congregation’s centenary dinner on Monday.
The Labour peer was barmitzvah and married at Walford Road, where his late father Samuel was shammas. He said that returning to the shul as chatan bereshit on Simchat Torah had brought back “wonderful memories. The community has changed dramatically, but the lovely little shul has stayed the same.
“It’s just the way I remembered it as a little boy, with my dad standing up in his hat and my mother looking down at us,” Lord Levy recalled before the dinner at the Mercure Hotel, Watford. “Frankly, it’s quite remarkable that the shul has survived 100 years — it looks like the inside of a film set.”
In its heyday, Walford Road had more than 600 families but, as Jews moved away, it faced closure in the late 1970s. Today, membership is around 60 and chairman Ike Albert says the community is “very mixed”.