An emotional service in the presence of 500 congregants marked Hendon Reform Synagogue’s final Shabbat last Saturday in its building on Danescroft Avenue.
Although the community is merging with Edgware Reform, it was with a heavy heart that Rabbi Steven Katz made a farewell speech from the bimah on which he has been standing since 1975.
He joined Danescroft as an associate rabbi alongside his late father, rabbi Dr Arthur Katz, who was minister from when the shul opened in 1968.
Over the past 53 years, the building has been the scene of thousands of festival celebrations, a thriving JACS club, a nursery school and countless weddings and barmitzvahs.
Members will now either make the journey to Edgware Reform on Stonegrove or join other shuls.
“It is very difficult because I know everyone here and it feels like home,” said one long-standing member.
The main hall, with its many commemorative staineglass windows, is now up for sale with Savills along with the rest of the space, although the windows with dedications will be used in a future extension in Edgware or taken by relatives.
On 1 July, Rabbi Katz officiated at the barmitzvah of JCoSS pupil Daniel Fields, the last at the synagogue, made all the more special because the boy’s father, Dr Paul Fields was one of Rabbi Katz’s first barmitzvahs in 1977.
It was another special moment in Danescroft’s history.