Bury & District Jewish Community
Bury & District Jewish Community pioneers
on the site of the proposed shul in 1965

Jewish families started to move further north of Manchester in the early 1960's and by 1964 a small community had gathered in the Sunnybank area of Bury close to Manchester Road.  With the advent of new homes being built on farm land beyond the Library, there was an influx of new Jewish families into the area.  As a result a meeting was held at Blackford Bridge Reform Church and plans were laid to purchase land to build a small synagogue. 

Friday night and Shabbos services were conducted in individual members' homes. Subscriptions were "half a crown" per week. A blanket policy with an insurance company was arranged to cover burials - and so families with "Shul" membership plus burial was initiated. Members of a small council collected weekly subscriptions to build up a fund to enable us to buy, build or rent a shul. Enthusiasm was great with the formation of a Fund Raising Committee. The Ladies Committeewas formed and initiated many fund raising functions.

Negotiations commenced and after some hard bargaining a piece of derelict land, approximately one and a quarter acres was purchased at the corner of Manchester Road and Sunnybank Road as the site for the new Shul. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services that year were held in the hall of the United Reform Church at Blackford Bridge, with borrowed Sifrei Torah. Chanukah services and children's parties were held at the Sunnybank Community Centre. Weekend services continued to be held in the members' homes.

1965 was a year of real progress. In February signs were erected, proudly announcing that the "Bury & District Jewish Community" had arrived.  On June 18th the Turf Cutting Ceremony and Consecration by Dayan Golditch took place. A prefabricated building was purchased at a cost of £5,000 and was rapidly furnished. At the first High Festival services in the new building in September 1965, over 120 people attended in a charged atmosphere. The name of the congregation was officially changed to become "The Bury Hebrew Congregation". Daily services were conducted by two teenagers - Stephen Lewis (later to become a Rabbi) and Harvey Rosenfield.

The congregation continued to grow and it was decided that a part-time minister was required. David Grunsfeld, who lived with his parents in Broughton Park, was appointed, and he also became the headmaster of the cheder. His appointment took place in 1967 and he walked to Bury every Shabbos. In 1982 he made Aliyah.

1966 saw a high demand for the formation of a nursery and for many years a very successful nursery took place every weekday morning from 10.00am to 12.15pm under a series of very capable fully trained teachers, with over 30 children attending on a regular basis. This Nursery, plus the Nursery from Whitefield shul, was the basis for the start up of  Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School in 1984.

1969 - The "prefab" was in daily use for services, cheder, fund raising and small functions - jumble sales etc. and the membership was growing rapidly. It soon became necessary to provide an Overflow Service on the High Festivals so another temporary "prefab" was erected at the rear of the Shul.

By the mid 70's it was apparent that the "prefab" was inadequate for the size of congregation. Plans were drawn up and architects instructed and a "Building Fund Committee" formed to build a new Shul with offices, entrance hall, kitchen, toilets, cloakrooms etc. for around £65,000.

At an Extraordinary General Meeting the community feared the financial implications of such a large debt and voted to build the Shul complex in three stages. The first stage, i.e. the shul, offices, entrance hall and toilets, with a passageway joining the main synagogue to the prefab was approved.

The new building was completed and consecrated by the then Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, in November 1976.

The shul was unique as the Oron Hakodesh was built in the far corner position and all the chairs were placed on a diagonal across the building. The shul section comprised half the space and the other half was partitioned by a curtain This space was used as a communal meeting place by our Nursery.

1983 - Rabbi Moshe Fine, who was single and in his twenties was appointed.

- The Schleifer Hall was built, together with the kitchen and Reception Room and was consecrated in September. The Hall can seat up to 200 people and is a most valuable asset to the community and used for many activities and charity events. On the High Festivals specially-made folding partitions are opened allowing the hall to back on to the Ladies' section and to create space for approx. 300 ladies.

1985 - Rabbi Binyomin Singer was appointed to lead a community which had now grown to over 300 families. He and his wife, Daphna, and four children purchased a home on Randale Drive. The family had previously lived in Israel and Rabbi Singer's various activities included a position as chaplain.

Inaugural Ceremony

The Inauguration by the
Late Chief Rabbi Emeritus, Lord Jakobovits

1997 - The prefabricated building, which housed the Beth Hamedresh, cheder classrooms and youth activities was now 32 years old and had deteriorated to such an extent that further repairs were impractical. The time had come to demolish it and build a new extension on the first floor. Work was completed in mid 1997 and opened on Sunday 26th April 1998/10th Nissan 5758 and is named in memory of David Rose.

2000 - The schul dedicated a Sefer Torah in memory of its late revered warden, Sol Weinstock on September 10th/10th Ellul. After completing the Sefer at Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary school, a procession escorted the Sefer to the Shul where it now is used almost every Shabbos for lehening.

2011 - In 2011 a state of the art heating and ventilation system was installed to replace the ageing and leaking existing system.  The new system uses some advanced technology to keep the Shul at a pleasant temperature and ensure the comfort of our members.

2012 - The entrance hall, reception room and main corridor have been refurbished with a striking blue carpet.

The shul continues to thrive as the religious and social centre for the 350 member families living in the area.


E-mail shul office: buryhebrewcongregation@gmail.com
Maintained by Ian Joseph & PIM Design
İBury Hebrew Congregation 2000-2015

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