How Mersey Chanukiah found a new home in North London

Family ties uncovered as menorah belonging to the former Greenbank Drive shul is back in use at Jewish Care campus


A chance conversation in an Edgware shop has resulted in a Chanukiah that once belonged to a Merseyside synagogue having pride of place at Jewish Care’s Betty and Asher Loftus Centre in Friern Barnet.

Linda Conway — whose sister Dorothy Gordon is a resident at the care campus — had been looking for a Chanukiah for the main reception but could not find one she really liked.

Continuing her search at the Divrei Kodesh Judaica store in Edgware, a fellow customer, Gavin Ucko, overheard the conversation and suggested he knew of a potentially suitable one.

He put her in touch with with his father-in-law Mel Zeffert, a leading member of Liverpool’s former Greenbank Drive Hebrew Congregation, which held its final service early in 2008.

Mr Zeffert, who had been senior warden, had purchased its much loved Chanukiah with the intention of donating it to a shul in London which had moved into a new building.

However, it was not required and had been unused for nearly 12 years until the approach on behalf of Jewish Care.

The Chanukiah had been donated to the Liverpool synagogue in memory of Israel and Fanny Burman by their children Freda, Eric, and Jeanette, and still bears the inscription from the family.

By coincidence, Jeanette Goodman, (née Burman) is now a resident at Rosetrees care home, which is part of the Friern Barnet campus.

Mrs Goodman was delighted to see the Chanukiah once again, observing: “It was specially designed to go lower so children can light it and I’m very happy it’s here.”

Rabbi Menachem Junik, Jewish Care’s spiritual and cultural adviser, said it was “amazing how the original Chanukiah that Jeanette donated to Greenbank Road Synagogue many years ago has journeyed to London and ended up back with her at the Jewish Care home where she now lives. 

“We light Chanukiahs across the home with residents and this one stands in the entrance, illuminating their lives and connecting the residents, their families and our volunteers and staff to the festival.

“There’s no greater Chanukah gift the Gordon and Conway family could give to Dorothy, to Jeanette and to all the residents, than the Chanukiah which brings light for all across the homes.”


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