Orthodox influx brings second US Edgware shul


A second United Synagogue shul is to be opened in Edgware to meet growing demand from Orthodox families moving to the area.

It will launch in premises in the Stonegrove area, with services starting next month and rapid progression to full US membership. It is the first product of the Communities of Potential Board, formed by the US to establish new congregations.

US president Stephen Pack said on Wednesday that he expected to be able to reveal details of the site "in a week or so", and the new shul's rabbi in "a relatively short time".

He explained that the expansion was necessary as Edgware had become "a remarkable Jewish enclave, with about 25 minyanim every week. They're springing up all over the place and there seem to be more and more people moving in all the time.

"The price of houses in the Hendon and Golders Green areas - where frummer people have tended to congregate - are getting higher and higher and many more people are deciding that Edgware is attractive because of its good connections, houses and schools.

"I think there will be a continuous influx of young people, so we wanted something in that area which would be attractive to those families. It's got great potential - I feel pretty good about this one."

Mr Pack insisted that the, as yet, untitled congregation was being established to absorb incoming families rather than to compete with existing synagogues. "It's not about pinching people from other communities."

Edgware United Synagogue, which has more than 2,000 members, would be unaffected, as the Stonegrove site was "a long way away" in the south-west of the area.

Edgware United minister Rabbi David Lister was not expecting any significant loss of members.

"You don't choose a bank because it's Lloyds; you choose a bank because of what it offers. I don't think there'll be a massive haemorrhage.

"If it brings another dimension to Jewish life in Edgware and it's going to enhance the Jewish presence here, it can only be a good thing."

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