Why is this Shul different from any other Shul?
A good question…. You may well ask.
First, let’s look at what Loughton Shul has in common with other Shuls.
Orthodox Davening like other Federation and United Synagogues
We Daven the same way as any other Orthodox community and in the main we use the same siddurim, singing the same tunes (or similar) and follow the same Halacha………………………. Sorry…. I am thinking hard but I believe this is where it ends.
All Shuls were originally formed from a close community and had community at heart. Regrettably, the vast majority, primarily through loss of their roots, lack that “community feeling”. I am delighted to say that this is not so with Loughton as we have desperately clung to the ethos of our founding fathers and in so doing maintained a flourishing community spirit which, like fine wine, has improved with age.
Modern Multi-Purpose Building
Having substantially enlarged and improved our modern building in 1985, it still retains a bright contemporary style. The enlargement was necessary in order to create six classrooms for our Cheder, which at that time educated no less than 120 youngsters. The classrooms are divided by folding partitions, enabling them to open into the main Shul when numbers demand.
We are still, however, one of the very few communities and provide a thriving Cheder, employing our own teachers, who instruct on a varied and interesting syllabus under the supervision of our Rabbi.
Our Special Rabbi and Rebbetzen
Ah yes, this brings me to another of our major features, of which we are immensely proud: Our Rabbi. Although literally being “the new boy on the block.” Rabbi Zvi Portnoy, along with his charming Rebbetzen Orly and their delightful children, have quickly settled in since joining us last Rosh Hashanah from their home town – Manchester.
If not the youngest communal leaders in London and Suburbs, they come very close. Their friendly approach, youth and vitality are only exceeded by their comprehensive knowledge and ability. This has proved vitally important in connecting with our community, which too, has the youngest average age of any Shul in the area.
When not being used for prayer or study, our Shul metamorphoses into the Betty Schafran Hall which easily accommodates 150 seated and regularly houses our numerous community events, which include a thriving mum’s and tots gathering each week. The Hall is also often hired for private functions and events.
Affiliate Shul – Benefits
Although we take great pride in being affiliated to the Federation of synagogues, we only have the need to refer to them in matters of Halacha and burial. Otherwise, we are entirely free to “do our own thing”. This is a unique and major asset for our community, for being self-run and self-funded, allows us to employ the very best people and thereby provide the finest facilities for our members.
I have no need to remind those of you who have visited our Shul for Simchas that the lavish Kiddushim provided by our dedicated ladies Guild, have for many years been the ‘Talk of the Town’ and “Three Palwin Stars” are long overdue as a reward for their unsurpassable cuisine.
Being a modern thinking community and one which is eager to accommodate members with young families, we have for many years commenced our Friday evening service at 7 PM, in order to ensure the maximum number of youngsters in Shul which enables them to be at home for their Shabbat meal at around 8 PM.
Welcoming Shul and Community
I have deliberately left our most unique feature to last. Loughton Shul is a welcoming and friendly Shul in every respect. A Shul where you will never feel out of place but we hope a Shul which you will look forward to returning to time and time again and hopefully your friendly family will be eager to become a very welcome Member of our friendly family.
Philip Leigh Hon. President