Voice of the Jewish News: VBM Day (…victory for Bevis Marks Day)
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Voice of the Jewish News: VBM Day (…victory for Bevis Marks Day)

News this week that planning permission has been rejected for a 48-storey tower block next to this peerless house of prayer comes as a blessed relief.

RANXP5 BEVIS MARKS SYNAGOGUE, 1889. Reimagined by Gibon. Classic art with a modern twist reimagined
RANXP5 BEVIS MARKS SYNAGOGUE, 1889. Reimagined by Gibon. Classic art with a modern twist reimagined

The City of London’s Bevis Marks synagogue has meant so much to so many generations of British Jews – not just Sephardim – going back to the very start of the 18th century. 

The 320-year-old Grade-I listed building was the first synagogue built after Jews were allowed back into England by Oliver Cromwell. It is today what it has been since 1701 – a living, breathing symbol of the history and heritage of Jewish life in this country. 

So news this week that planning permission has been rejected for a 48-storey tower block next to this peerless house of prayer comes as a blessed relief.

The need to protect our fragile past has never been greater. Recent research by the Centre for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found that there are now a total of 3,237 historic synagogues in Europe compared with more than 17,000 before 1939. Some 80 percent have been lost forever. Of these remaining 3,237, a mere 718 still function as shuls today. 

The threat to Bevis Marks remains, with approval still being sought for a second – albeit smaller – tower in nearby Creechurch Lane. Let’s hope the planning committee again sees sense and decides to preserve and protect one of the capital’s precious jewels, at least for the next 320 years. 

 

Running repairs

For a community not known for sporting prowess, we sure have been running a lot recently. First it was Fun Run, then the Interfaith Fun Run and now the London Marathon. 

After a year locked in our homes, preparing for the big day was not just an opportunity to do something to improve one’s own health but also to be part of a large-scale event bringing people from all walks of life together while raising money for good causes. 

Many of those charities have been on the front line during the past 18 months and have suffered from the absence of in-person fundraisers during this time. 

A huge mazeltov to all those who took part on the course and around the country. Your efforts will help to sustain the facilities that make our community such a shining beacon in tough times every single day.

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