Storm hits shul, care home
A GROUP of pensioners attending a day centre at Richmond Synagogue escaped injury when a tree was blown over and crashed down into the synagogue during last Thursday’s storms.
Those inside were shocked but unscathed, but the synagogue building suffered thousands of pounds’ worth of damage as the tree fell through the roof and wrecked its kitchen, which was remodelled only last year. The synagogue was declared unfit for use and the Shabbat service was held in a private home.
Stella Abrahams, who was inside the building at the time, said: “We heard the tree coming in and all the bricks came on top. My friend, Helen Fireman, heard the glass coming down and just got out of the way in time. Then we all went outside and the roof came down.”
Synagogue president Richard Savinson saw the tree falling as he arrived at the synagogue. “I was driving through the gate and I saw it come down from the garden of neighbouring flats. Everybody was shaken up, the women in particular.”
Chairman Leonard Magrill said: “If we can get the building weather-proof, we hope to be back this weekend, though I don’t know if we will have any heating.”
In Manchester, former King David Schools’ head Eric Wilson, 72, was driving when a large tree crashed down in front of his car. He was unhurt, but the road was blocked and traffic had to be directed around it. A shaken Mr Wilson told the JC: “I don’t know how the tree missed the car in front.”
Nightingale, the South-West London residential home, also suffered damage when a 40 ft-tall tree in the garden was one of four uprooted by the storms. Two smaller trees blocked the front drive.
Assistant director Paul Joseph said: “We were very lucky there was no damage. The tree was a hornbeam, quite rare, and very old. We will take advice as to what we can do to fill the gap as it provided the residents with good shade on hot summer days.”
There was a temporary break in the Edgware eruv as some of the links between poles were blown down but repairs were made in time for Shabbat.
The tree that came crashing down on Richmond Synagogue in last Thursday’s storms
Photo: Abi Magrill