London synagogue whose history dates back to 1867 closing

Historic South London Synagogue closing its doors due to aging and dwindling membership and lack of local Jewish community in the area.

Dan Verbin ,

London (archive)
London (archive)
Nati Shohat/FLASH90

A London, UK synagogue whose history dates back to 1867 is closing its doors, citing dwindling numbers.

The South London Synagogue recently voted “with great sadness” to permanently close, reported the Jewish Chronicle.

The history of the congregation, based in London suburb Streatham, goes back to 1867 when various South London Jewish communities began to merge together.

The decision was approved by the United Synagogue council this week. The United Synagogue is the body representing British Orthodox synagogues.

They had been in their current building until 1986 but cited the pandemic and the age of congregants as reasons for closure.

Only 67 of the synagogue's 107 members live in the area, and many are senior citizens or elderly. Only two are under 40-years old.

The synagogue had not reopened since the High Holy Days. It did not have enough members present for a minyan during Sukkot.

After six months of discussions, they felt they had no other option but to shut down.

Increasing age and ill health of congregants was a big factor, as was not being able to attract enough members for a regular Shabbat minyan.

“I am a third-generation warden, with my father and grandfather both having served. It is, therefore, with great personal sadness that our community must now face the inevitable,” Geoffrey Harris, the synagogue’s chair, told the Chronicle.



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