‘Hidden gem’ synagogue faces being turned into flats

Local Jewish groups had been battling to save the Langside Synagogue in Glasgow


A Glasgow synagogue - described as “rare hidden gem”, whose interior incorporates Eastern European folk art – is to be auctioned off later this month despite a campaign by local communal organisations to save it.

The Langside Synagogue, which opened in the city's Southside district in 1927, had closed four years ago as a result of a dwindling congregation but, apart from the removal of the Ark and the bimah, its fixtures and fittings have remained in place up until now.

And more than 850 people have appealed to Historic Environment Scotland for the shul to be given listed building status.

The Niddrie Road shul was one a thriving hub for  those who had fled persecution from the Russian empire and features  carved timber pews chiselled by a Lithuanian-born cabinetmaker Harris Berkovitch.

But at the auction later this month, agents Online Property Auctions Scotland are advertising “an incredible opportunity with huge development potential” and have suggested the 6000 sq ft building is suitable for residential or commercial development.

The auction guide price is £650,000.

Among those calling for the synagogue to be saved are a local group called Irn-Ju, a Scottish Jewish collective with a strong LGBTQ+ contingent and which includes other diverse strands of Judaism.

“Seeing this beautiful old building just being left empty is a tragedy in itself,” Morgan Lev Edward, a member of the group, told The Herald newspaper.

“I hope it can be reclaimed as a public space, not only for Jewish worship and Jewish community, but the local community in general,” he says.

“It’s a huge building, it could be a community gathering space for meetings, a place for local theatre, we could have interfaith meals, a foodbank, the possibilities are endless.

“We want it to benefit the whole community, not just the Jewish community.”

Some in the wider Scottish community believe the campaign to save the shul is a waste of time, with most of Glasgow’s Jews no longer living in the area.

Mr Edward’s said “they have watched what happened to the shul, they saw members dwindle and think we are reopening old wounds.”






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