Bournemouth synagogue is selling up after over a century in its building

Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation says its current premises are not suited to the needs of its members and it will be looking for a new home


Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation is on the lookout for new premises after members overwhelmingly backed its proposal to sell the Wootton Gardens synagogue that has been home to the seaside community for more than a century.

Constructed some 110 years ago, the building was modified and expanded several times in the 1960s and 1970s and can accommodate 900 worshippers.

But executive chair Simon Lurie told the JC that the site was “too big for present needs” — and “very expensive to heat and maintain”. It is also understood that some members were uncomfortable about its location in an area of nightlife.

The proposed sale includes both the synagogue and the adjoining Murray Muscat banqueting suite.

A thirds-majority was required to approve the sale. In the event, 87 per cent backed the plan in Sunday’s vote.

A purchaser has been found and pre-exchange of contract legal work is ongoing.

Under the negotiated terms, the congregation has permission to remain at the site for up to two years while a new home is sought.

The shul leaders will look elsewhere in the East Cliff area, where the majority of the community is based, for premises in comfortable reach of its long-time members.

“We look forward to moving to new premises to build on the success of the ‘golden thread’ of Bournemouth Orthodox Jewry that Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation has richly cultivated,” Mr Lurie added.

“We will take our happy memories with us and welcome the new chapter for this dynamic community.”

In addition to religious services, the shul currently offers Shabbat and holiday meals and a women’s Hallal group.

Bournemouth is also served by a Reform community.

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