West End Great quits home af­ter ‘ex­ces­sive’ rise

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY SI­MON ROCKER

THE IN­DE­PEN­DENT West End Great com­mu­nity is to leave Western Mar­ble Arch Syn­a­gogue at the end of Fe­bru­ary af­ter be­ing asked to pay sub­stan­tially more to re­main.

West End Great has held ser­vices there for around 20 years af­ter sell­ing its own premises in Soho. West End Great pres­i­dent Har­vey Lawrence said that a 66 per cent in­crease re­quested by WMA for use of the bet hamidrash and a small of­fice had been deemed “ex­ces­sive” by its board.

Ac­cord­ing to its 2014 ac­counts, West End Great’s 362-mem­ber con­gre­ga­tion were pay­ing a to­tal £18,300 to WMA.

In a let­ter to con­gre­gants, Mr Lawrence said the board was ex­plor­ing “a num­ber of op­por­tu­ni­ties”. One op­tion in­cluded “the pur­chase of an in­ter­est in a West End free­hold property hous­ing a new shul and cul­tural cen­tre”. The shul would “be known as spon­sored by the West End Great Syn­a­gogue, thereby en­sur­ing the longevity and wishes of the founder mem­bers”. An­other was “es­tab­lish­ing an af­fil­i­a­tion with a fel­low West End syn­a­gogue”.

In the mean­time, in­terim ar­range­ments were be­ing made for Shab­bat ser­vices.

The com­mu­nity has a chazan, the Rev­erend Ari Cohen, and an hon­orary rabbi, Yis­roel Lew of Chabad Blooms­bury. The ac­counts show it holds as­sets of more than £600,000.

No one from WMA was avail­able for com­ment.

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