St Annes will reduce size but not just yet


St Annes Hebrew Congregation is following the trend of smaller regional communities by announcing plans for the redevelopment of its building to incorporate a smaller shul and commercial housing.

Bur president Robert Pinkus stressed this week that the congregation had stabilised after a period of decline and had recently welcomed new members, "mainly people who have come over from Manchester".

The planning application submitted to Fylde Borough Council was a realistic approach to the future, he said. If consent was granted, there was no reason to proceed immediately - or even during the three-year period covered by planning approval.

Although the congregation is predominantly elderly - there is no cheder - Mr Pinkus said its fortunes had improved since the arrival of Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag, whose induction by the Chief Rabbi last year coincided with a celebration of the synagogue building's golden jubilee.

"There's a very active ladies' guild and a number of social events. The rabbi organises a Thursday bagel breakfast and shiur and a fortnightly social."

St Annes amalgamated with Blackpool Hebrew Congregation in 2012. The current membership is 200 and Mr Pinkus said that around 50 people attended Shabbat services. But a shul that could seat 450 could well, in time, become uneconomical.

The synagogue's plans also include provision for one or more upper floor flats.

"We get a number of visitors and it would be good to have somewhere kosher for them to stay."

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