Yeshurun Shul marks its diamond anniversary

The Manchester Synagogue welcomed four generations to its 60th celebrations


Yeshurun Synagague celebrates 60 (from left): Rabbi Greg Bank, Rebbetzin Hannah Bank, Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis, David Verber and chair of Yeshurun Andrea Cohen

Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation in Cheadle and Gatley has celebrated its 60th anniversary with a special service, marking a diamond jubilee, while remembering the ongoing plight of the Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

The Manchester shul commemorated the date with a service which included four generations of the community, from its original founders who established the synagogue in 1964 to members in their bar and batmitzvah years.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis joined the festivities, where founder member Harold Solomons shared anecdotes and Rabbi Greg Bank delivered an address.

Synagogue chairperson Andrea Cohen, recounted the shul’s origins as a modern Orthodox community, embracing modern Hebrew from its inception. “We moved from ‘Good Shabbos’ to ‘Shabbat Shalom,’” she said, highlighting how the community was always one that looked to the future.

In many way, the synagogue has been a trailblazer, said its leaders: it was the first synagogue in England to have a woman on its council and executive, the first shul in Manchester to have a nursery attached to it and one of the first congregations in the country to have a designated regular women’s service, which is still running.

Paying tribute to what she called “the Yeshurun family”, Cohen told the guests, who included local MP Mary Robinson: “We are a community that is proud of our Judaism and passionate about Israel. We care about our members, their extended families and the wider community.

"We are a diverse group of people, with different levels of observance, different traditions and customs, from many parts of the world.”

Recalling joining the community herself 37 years ago, Cohen said: “Like many communities, we are proud of what we see as our uniqueness, our warmth and welcome to all, a reflection of our founders. Robert and I experienced that warm welcome when we joined...and that continues today.”

Cohen also spoke of the community’s resilience when they supported each other during Covid and how they have bolstered one another since the atrocities of October 7.

Yeshurun is taking part in the Board of Deputies’ Adopt a Hostage campaign, “adopting” Nadav Popplewell, a resident of Kibbutz Nirim who was taken hostage by Hamas. The 51-year-old Israeli and British citizen originally from Wakefield was taken with his mother, Channah Peri, 79, who was released on November 24. Their son and brother, Roi Popplewell, 54, was murdered by the terrorists.

Nadav is diabetic and, according to his mother, has not been receiving his medication.  

Yeshurun is taking part in the hostage project by reserving a seat for Nadav and lighting an extra Shabbat candle for him.

The 60th Anniversary of the synagogue is also being marked by a display in the foyer of photographs of the community through the years, showcasing early years’ social and cultural events.

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