COMMUNITY IN FOCUS: Allerton Central Synagogue
The beautiful suburbs of Allerton, Woolton and Childwall often surprise visitors with their beautiful well-kept homes and spacious parks. This is the home of a proud and loyal Jewish community of approximately 2,000 souls. Liverpool has been the home town to many of them for generations; and the city’s successes fill them with pride.
Of the synagogues in the area, Allerton Central Synagogue is the latest edition, created in the 1950s as people continued to make their way out of Brownlow Hill in the city centre, to enjoy a more genteel suburban life. The synagogue was established by Rev. Hyman Goldman and the building was developed with war compensation money received after the Central Synagogue in the city centre was bombed in the Blitz – hence the word Central in its name. In the early two thousands, the existing structure was deemed to be too big for a declining community and the shul was rebuilt to reflect the size of the kehillah. The new building feels vibrant, modern, warm and active and does not suffer, as many provincial synagogues do, from a feeling of emptiness as the old timers look at the seats that were once occupied by people who are no longer with us.
The community currently numbers close to 400, spanning a full age range. It is led by Rabbi Natan Fagleman and his wife Avital who both grew up in neighbouring Manchester. The most active and religious element of the membership is found among the over 60s. This has made the Coronavirus pandemic particularly challenging as many members are medically vulnerable and have required isolation.
In normal times, the community maintains a daily morning minyan, a full array of Shabbat services, weekly shiurim, lunch clubs, social get-togethers and regular celebrations for Shabbat and chagim. These are often sold out events. The weekly Kiddush is a chance for everyone to catch up with each other. Since March, most of the shul provision has moved online, with only a limited number of carefully managed services being allowed in the synagogue since July. With the community that is so proud of its friendliness and togetherness, this lack of social interaction in the community has been very difficult.
Other initiatives have been organised to help people through these challenging times. Volunteers call up those who are isolating, fully catered seder packs were offered to members who required them, guest speakers and cookery demos are offered in successful cross-communal initiatives on Zoom and resources will be delivered to each household to inspire their Rosh Hashanah.
When things get back to normal, The congregation invites you to visit the home of the Premier League football champions, to enjoy the regenerated docks and come and to daven with the community. And for anyone who wish to relocate, for example, by working from home and living in a buoyant and affordable city with all necessary Jewish amenities on hand, then Allerton Central Synagogue woud be delighted to hear from you.