Leaders plan emotional farewell for Birmingham shul

Final service at the Andrew Cohen House care home synagogue will be on March 5. The home is being sold to a commercial provider


The shul within the Andrew Cohen House care home in Birmingham will hold its final service on Sunday week in the wake of the home being put up for sale.

Shul president Dr Alan Stanton said plans for the service were formulated at an “emotional meeting of the shul committee of this very special synagogue”. Efforts were being made “to find good new homes for the seforim and furnishings”.

The shul had provided Jewish residents — and some curious non-Jews — with “lively Shabbat and Yomtov services, as well as somewhere to mark personal events.

“The shul has been enthusiastically supported by members of the Birmingham Jewish community and until the pandemic struck, was also a popular place for students to daven.

“Indeed, the mixture of young and not so young went a long way towards making the shul what it was.”

Average Shabbat attendances were between 15 and 20 — and more when students swelled the ranks — with a congregation of up to 100 on festivals.

But the proposed sale of the home to a commercial provider would leave “no room on the premises for a synagogue”.

Rabbi Shmuel Arkush of Birmingham Jewish Community Care — under whose auspices the home and synagogue have been run — said that while the end of an era, “there will still be individuals willing to visit people who would otherwise be alone on Shabbat”.

The home is being sold because of financial difficulties and declining Jewish occupancy.

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