Closure of West Ham & Upton Park United Synagogue
Last updated: 2003-07-15
Following discussions between the West Ham and Upton Park community, and the United Synagogue, an agreed resolution to close the Synagogue after the High Holy Days in October 2004, will be put to the United Synagogue Council next week.
The United Synagogue Honorary Officers were approached last year by the then Honorary Officers of the synagogue, concerned that male attendance on Shabbat mornings had been low for some time and that it had become increasingly difficult to sustain a minyan. Weekday festivals were especially difficult. This situation was borne out by a full analysis of the membership statistics, which showed just how few of the remaining members still live near the shul.
The United Synagogue has agreed to provide a place to daven locally, if it is required once the Synagogue premises are sold. Existing members will have their membership transferred to other United Synagogues and current membership fee rates will be protected,
Peter Sheldon President of the United Synagogue said:
"West Ham and Upton Park Synagogue has a long and distinguished history as a Community of the United Synagogue. For close to a century it provided a warm and caring home from home to the Jews of the area. There are many people, from near and far, who will be saddened to see that the community has reached the stage where it no longer makes sense to continue. We salute the courage and the graciousness of the local leadership who have stewarded the community to a dignified closure, and assure all its remaining members that they will be fully provided for within the United Synagogue family."
The synagogue became an associate synagogue in 1907 and constituent in 1927. The synagogue was set up by Jews who constituted one of the first waves of immigration from the East End. The membership of the synagogue peaked in 1950 and gradually declined in the post war period as the Jewish population moved out of the area to the more outlying North East ears of London.
Upton Park Synagogue merged with West Ham in 1972 and East Ham and Manor Park Synagogue merged with West Ham in 1986.