BRJC
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Blackpool Reform Jewish Congregation
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News

CREATING A BLACKPOOL JEWISH CENTRE

UPDATE NOVEMBER 2009

Background
Around the beginning of the 20th century the first pioneering Jewish families settled in Blackpool and became the nucleus of a new Jewish Community. Services were first held in private houses and the Leamington Road Synagogue was consecrated in 1916. Some 45 years later the Synagogue at 40 Raikes Parade was opened. According to the 2009 - Jewish Year Book, the number of Jews in Blackpool is 302, and people are not getting younger!
For some months now leaders and members of both Leamington Road and Raikes Parade Synagogues have been meeting and talking about the future of the Blackpool Jewish Community. Very many agree that the Community cannot be allowed to wither away. They have considered the idea of creating a Blackpool Jewish Centre. However there is no easy fix.

Clearly a way needs to be found to secure the Jewish future for the benefit of all ages of Jewish people both in Blackpool and the Fylde.

So what is our vision for the future?
To create a Blackpool Jewish Centre where the two Synagogue communities can continue to pray following their own traditions rituals and practices. At such a Centre education social and cultural activities can be developed and run to cater for the community.

To enable this to happen

The next steps
The leadership of the Reform synagogue believes that it is vital to make significant changes to its building with one key aim being to create a Blackpool Jewish Centre on its site. This will need to have a flexible design that could be adapted to meet the different and varied requirements of the ENTIRE Blackpool Jewish community.
At a recent meeting held at the Reform Synagogue it was reported that the Blackpool Council (who themselves are undergoing changes) were supportive of creating a Jewish Centre in the town. It was also reported that the Jewish Centre could contain

  1. Separate rooms for both Reform and Orthodox worship services. These rooms would have flexible seating to allow for educational social and cultural activities which would attract the whole of the community.

  2. If there is sufficient demand, a kosher café (or restaurant)

  3. Possibly 1 or 2 flats for Jewish students with holiday let for vacations.

It was considered that 2 and 3 would need a feasibility study. This would enable an effective business plan to be created for the Jewish Centre which would have to ensure that the needs of the Jewish community would properly and appropriately met. The Group welcomes comments and input into the discussions from all sections of the Blackpool Community as urgently as possible as they wish to progress these ideas speedily.