Damaged synagogue getting back on track as aid floods in

Britain's most northerly synagogue hopes to be operational once again early next year after a crisis appeal for repairs reached its target


Work has started to make good the flood damage to the Aberdeen synagogue building which left the community homeless before Rosh Hashanah.

In a message to supporters of the SOS (Save Our Shul) campaign, congregation president Mark Taylor reported that the target of £10,000 to meet costs not covered by insurance had been reached.

But fundraising was continuing “as there is still a lot to do to renovate the building.

“The windows need to be fixed, there are new concerns about the roof, there are additional fire precautions including an emergency exit, the public toilets are in a terrible state and the kitchen in the communal hall is not fit for purpose.” It is envisioned that the basement flat will be available for rent once again early in 2018, “which is important as the income is one of our key sources of funds”

Contractors were this week stripping out damaged parts of the building before installing dehumidifiers on three floors to dry out the flooded areas. This is expected to take a month, after which repairs can begin in earnest.

The hope is that the synagogue — the most northerly in Britain — will reopen in February or March. For now, services are being held in the Bon Accord Shopping Centre management suite, the centre owner having offered the space without charge.

Following the flooding, leaders of the congregation of barely two dozen were horrified to discover that its insurer would not meet the full cost of repairs, currently estimated at £32,000, the result of an “inadequate policy that had been in place for many years.

“We have now engaged with insurance brokers to set up the right policy for the future,” Mr Taylor added.

The synagogue’s funds were already depleted because of a major refurbishment before the flood, including the rewiring of the building.

Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush has paid tribute to the congregation for its determination to survive. “It is vital that small and far-flung Jewish communities like Aberdeen are nurtured and supported,” he said. “No community is too small to be cherished.”

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