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Ilford Synagogue

Ilford Synagogue
Ilford Synagogue was founded in 1936, and moved to its present site over 40 years ago.  It serves a varied membership ranging from strictly orthodox to less observant members, but at the same time having a warm and friendly atmosphere. Ilford Synagogue is a member of the United Synagogue, a body that was established in 1870 and has now become the largest body of its kind in the world.

Our Building
We are blessed with a wonderful “1960s Cathedral style” community building. We are continuing a programme of improvements and modernisation that is literally “building today for our tomorrow”. So far this has included major refurbishment of the toilet facilities and a project to make the vestibule much lighter and welcoming.

However, the work to keep the building and its facilities in a state in which our users can gain maximum benefit is, as always, an ongoing task. We have just concluded a major refurbishment of the Mark Lewis Hall and the kitchen. This will enable us to maintain Ilford Synagogue at the vanguard of Jewish communal life in the Essex area.

Community Life

As a Synagogue Community, Ilford Shul remains the largest in Essex and one of the largest in the family of the United Synagogue. It provides a whole host of services and activities, servicing the needs of our 1000+ households and catering for members and potential members from the cradle to the grave.

Ilford Shul is the central venue for so many activities, not just for its members, but for the whole of Essex and North-East London, including:

 * Daily Minyanim

* Youth and Young Adult Programmes



* Adult Education programmes

The Synagogue

The atmosphere in the Synagogue is one of informality. Worshippers pray both individually and collectively, and may enter and leave at various times during the service. This may appear strange to anyone used to the decorum and silence in the houses of prayer of some other faiths. However, our Synagogue is really an extension of our homes and we hope that you will also feel “at home” here.

Two prominent physical features of the Synagogue are the Ark and the Bimah. The Ark is a cupboard at the front of the Synagogue. It is fronted by a curtain and houses the Sifrei Torah or Scrolls of the Law. These are hand-written on parchment and comprise the Five Books of Moses, known as the Torah. Above the Ark hangs the Ner Tamid, a perpetual light, that serves as a reminder of the lamp in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple that was never allowed to be extinguished. The Bimah is the central dais from which most of the service is conducted.

Men and women worshippers do not sit together, as each would be liable to distract the other from their prayers. For this reason, men and women are accommodated in separate sections of the Synagogue and women do not lead the ritual of the service.

Married men are required to wear a prayer shawl, known as a Tallit. This is a rectangular outer garment of wool or silk adorned with fringes at each corner to comply with the requirement in the Book of Numbers. Women who are or have been married and all men are required to cover their heads during the service.

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