Chabad is establishing operations in Havering, serving Jews in areas including Romford, Collier Row and Upminster.
North East London and Essex Chabad executive director Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin views Havering as the “next expansion spot” in Essex. The organisation is already in contact with 75 families in the area and the list is growing.
“Either people are looking for cheaper housing or looking to downsize,” Rabbi Sufrin told the JC. Havering catered to both.
Chabad wanted existing residents to realise they were “not living on a desert island because they moved a few miles away from established communities.”
Activities began last month with meetings, discussion groups and a challah bake at Romford United Synagogue led by Rabbi Sufrin’s wife, Devorah.
There was a “nice mixture” of ages with events attracting young singles, newly-weds and couples with children of school age.
The new Chabad is another sign of the movement of Jews out of the former Redbridge heartlands.
As the JC reported last week, Chabad has operated a group in Epping since September, which is already looking to move to larger premises.
According to the 2011 census, the Jewish population of Havering was 1,159, a rise of 3.2 per cent from 2001.