'£15m' rebuild is delayed for a stay- at-home New Year


South Hampstead Synagogue has delayed its multi-million pound rebuilding scheme until after the festivals in October.

The timing of the construction had raised the prospect of the community spending Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in temporary premises.

Although the projected cost is rumoured to have reached £15 million, shul chairman David Turner would not disclose a figure.

He did say that there were "all sorts of discussions to ensure we can afford it".The redevelopment was "probably the most ambitious shul building project in the country, certainly in the United Synagogue, and we're very excited about it".

The US is understood to have offered around £2 million to buy the freehold of the synagogue.

This is probably the most ambitious building project

During rebuilding, Shabbat services will be held at the Marriott Hotel Regents Park and the JW3 centre.

"When you're in the desert, you have to find somewhere to set up your tabernacle," Mr Turner said. A number of venues are also being considered for weekday services, including a room at the nearby Progressive synagogue, Belsize Square.

Plans have recently been submitted to Camden Council for an eruv in the area which would benefit not only local synagogues but "the wider community", Mr Turner noted.

If approved, the religious boundary would link up with existing eruvs, making it easier for observant Jews to visit relatives in hospitals such as the Royal Free over Shabbat.

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