Beis Gavriel enjoys home win in Hendon with £2.3m scheme

A major building project is the latest stage in growth of shul


It is nearly ten years since the Beis Gavriel Chabad community was established in Hendon.

Named in memory of victims of the Mumbai terror attack, it initially operated as a “pop-up shul” from the local Age Concern building before moving to nearby Kisharon premises.

To meet the needs of the growing community — today numbering 200 adults and children — Beis Gavriel affiliated to the Federation of Synagogues and a permanent site was purchased in Sunningfields Road for a £2.3 million project.

Around £800,000 of that amount is for construction work — for which the community has raised around half — and the premises are expected to be ready in October.

But Kisharon’s own building plans left the congregation facing the prospect of being without a home for a number of months. “We were literally weeks away from having to close the community [temporarily],” explained trustee David Abramson. But then fate took a hand.

Local property consultant Debbie Ingram was approached for help on the day one of her clients had been turned down for planning on an office building, Spectrum House. Its non-Jewish owners were sympathetic to the shul’s predicament and Beis Gavriel moved in, along with its popular associated nursery and other communal enterprises.

“Spectrum House has become a hub of community life and it’s a shame it needs to be redeveloped this summer as there is clearly a massive demand for community uses in this area,” Mr Abramson said.

Because of this, Beis Gavriel will need another temporary home but Mr Abramson said suitable premises had been identified.

Rabbi Menachem Junik leads the congregation on a part-time basis and Shabbat services can attract up to half the community.

According to Mr Abramson, around 30 of the 80 children at the nursery are from Chabad families and there is a waiting list of 50.

Beis Gavriel president Mendy Freundlich added that there were “fantastic plans for the building at Sunningfields Road.

“We hope eventually to be able to build a mikveh and apartments for disabled members of the community who want to be near a synagogue”.

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