Reform celebrates its Cambridge first


The Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue in Cambridge has unveiled the foundation stone of what will be its first permanent home in the city - and the first new-build Reform synagogue in the UK for a generation.

Founded over 35 years ago, the Reform community initially met in members' homes and then rented a variety of premises for services and events.

The £2 million synagogue building, due for completion next spring, will provide a central location for services and social and educational gatherings.

Reform Movement chair Robert Weiner and Cambridge MP Julian Huppert were among those at Sunday's ceremony, which was addressed by Beth Shalom chair Mike Frankl and Reform Movement president Rabbi Tony Bayfield.

Rabbi Bayfield thanked those who had been involved in fundraising for the project. After the ceremony, around 70 members and guests viewed the framework of the two-storey building.

"After five years of hard work and great generosity from our community, it is wonderful to see the realisation of our dream on its way to completion," Mr Frankl said. "We have raised £1.7 million of the £2 million required to finish our beautiful new home. Our aim is now to raise the final funds needed and to concentrate on providing a vibrant, active Progressive Jewish centre for the whole Jewish community in Cambridge."

Beth Shalom draws its 200 member families from a wide area, taking in parts of Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. It welcomes Cambridge University students and its cheder is attended by over 70 children and 30 adults.

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