Wartime spirit as shul aids bomb evacuees
THE SPIRIT of the Blitz was revived in Brondesbury Park after a 500lb unexploded wartime bomb was discovered on a building site.
For pupils of North West London Jewish Day School, it meant a Friday at home. For many of the 63 elderly tenants of Young Court, a nearby jLiving property, it required evacuating their accommodation.
But Brondesbury Park Synagogue came to their aid, opening its premises as a refuge.
“Our immediate concern was for the members of Young Court,” Rabbi Baruch Levin explained, particularly with Shabbat approaching.
Food for Friday lunch and Shabbat dinner was ordered from a Golders Green caterer and, following a roundrobin email, 40 Brondesbury members volunteered, some offering to accommodate jLiving tenants over Shabbat.
“It was truly special to see that magical sense of community spirit,” Rabbi Levin said.
“Some of these people did not have too much spare space in their properties. But when they opened their hearts, their homes grew bigger.”
jLiving’s Lori Burke said that although many tenants decamped to the shul immediately, “others who find it more difficult to move around had to wait for the emergency services to help them. There were a few who were adamant that they were going nowhere.”
Minnie Marsh, 90, insisted: “I managed to survive the war so I wasn’t going to leave my home over one bomb!”
At 6pm, the cordon for Willesden Lane was lifted and the tenants were able to return to Young Court.
A male tenant later joked: “I knew it would take the Germans to get me into a shul on a Friday night.”
The bomb was neutralised on Friday evening and destroyed in a controlled demolition by Royal Navy experts on Saturday after being transported to Shoeburyness Range, near Southend.
Rabbi Levin serves the jLiving guests