Midlands Progressive shul opens meeting space for the whole community

Leicester annexe will be used by people of all faiths


An annexe to the Leicester Progressive Congregation premises which is available for use by the general community was opened by the Lord Mayor, Ross Grant.

Shul president Dr Alex Keller affixed the mezuzah and Rabbi Mark Solomon led guests in prayer and song.

The £140,000-plus project was funded largely by a series of grants, although the 80-strong congregation had to raise around £20,000 through appeals, raffles and musical evenings.

Miriam Levene, past chair of shul and prime mover in the project, said members were “very excited and somewhat in awe of the extensive support we received from neighbours and friends, particularly in the multi-faith community.

“While the Jewish community will benefit from this extra room for children’s activities, study groups and some services, the annexe will, in fact, be mainly used by the wider community.

“It is already booked for parent-child support space to run alongside well established music activities for pre-school children. Exercise classes for pre- and post-natal mums will benefit from the improved storage facilities.”

Hire costs will be low to encourage maximum use. The venue is not viewed as profit generating by the shul leadership.

Mrs Levene added that the project was environmentally friendly. “The toilets have integral sinks with the water running directly into the cistern. The flooring is 30 per cent recycled materials, the lighting is LED.”

The new property would also enable the shul to better cater for visiting school and other groups, for example from the St Philips Centre, which supports engagement and integration across the community.

“There will be more space to host our regular Jewish-Muslim get together and meetings such as the Police Faith Forum.”

Part of the Board of Deputies education exhibition is on display in the annexe. It is on loan from Leicester Hebrew Congregation, with which the Liberal shul has good relations.

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