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Stanmore-bound shul groups bid farewell to Harrow premises

The Mosaic Reform and Liberal communities hold emotional final service at building that has served the Reform congregation for 60 years

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More than 200 members of the Mosaic Reform and Liberal synagogues witnessed the formal closure and removal of the Torah scrolls from their Harrow premises prior to next year’s move to a purpose-built site in Stanmore.

Established in 2014, the innovative community comprises Mosaic Reform (formerly the Middlesex New), Mosaic Liberal (formerly Harrow and Wembley Progressive), as well as a Masorti congregation.

The farewell ceremony — viewed mostly via Zoom — was particularly poignant for those who were present 60 years ago when Middlesex New moved into the Harrow site in Bessborough Road.

It was led by rabbis Kathleen de Magtige-Middleton from Mosaic Reform and Rabbi Rachel Benjamin from Mosaic Liberal with addresses by the respective chairmen, Harry Grant and Adrian Cohen.

Mr Grant said: “The most important possession cannot be packed or put away. That most important possession is each other — the communal spirit and the responsibility towards each other that we take with us to our new home.

“A building is nothing without the people inside it, doing their very best for all of us and for the wider world.”

In addition to the service, a commemorative book was published covering the 60 years of history at Bessborough Road. Mosaic Liberal was housed there for ten years after moving from Preston Road.

Construction is under way on the Stanmore Hill premises, which leaders say will be more suited to the needs of members. The project is being funded by the commercial development of the Bessborough Road building.

Mr Grant said that for the interim, “we will certainly start using temporary accommodation for services and other activities” as Covid restrictions eased.

But Zoom continues to play a key role in the community, not just for services but twice or more weekly for cultural and social activities.

“There is no doubt that numbers involved have increased with Zoom, which will I’m sure continue to play a key part long after we return to some semblance of normality.”

Mosaic Reform has around 400 member households, with 250 in the Liberal congregation and 100 in the Masorti group.

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