Bury Hebrew Congregation
Bury Hebrew Congregation, also known in Hebrew as Bet Knesset Sha'ar HahShamayim (Gate of Heaven Synagogue) is an Orthodox synagogue, serving the Jewish community in the Sunnybank, Unsworth and Hollins area of North Manchester.
As with other cities, the original immigrant community in Manchester gradually moved outward geographically and upward economically from its roots in the inner city, establishing itself in the more open suburbs of Prestwich, Crumpsall and Broughton Park. The Bury community is a result of a second generation migration of young families in the mid-1960s who sought new lives away from these established and traditional areas.
At that time, Sunnybank was very much a green-field site, recently developed on land adjacent to Manchester Road, the A56, much of which had, at one time, been farm or grazing land.
By 1964 there was a sizeable community, and a meeting was held at Blackford Bridge Reform Church. Plans were laid to purchase land to build a small synagogue. A committee was formed with the first elected President, Mr Sidney Goldstone; Vice-president, Mr Louis Ingleby, Treasurer, Mr Issy Hymanson, Warden, Mr Gerald Taylor and Secretaries, Mr Eddie Glass and Mr Aubrey Taylor.
In the meantime, prayers took place in members' homes until June 18, 1965, when a prefabricated building was purchased and services began to take place there, and soon after the first minister of the synagogue was appointed, Rev. David Grunsfeld, who ran services and also taught at the cheder, (Jewish studies school).
By 1975, the prefab complex was no longer adequate, and a permanent building was suggested. Funds were collected and in 1976, the new building, which is still in use today, was opened by the then Chief Rabbi, Immanuel Jakobovits.
In 1982, Rev. Grunsfeld left, and was replaced by Rabbi Moshe Fine, who served for three years, until he was replaced by Rabbi Binyomin Singer, who is the present minister.
The synagogue buildings, opened in 1976, are the focal point of a community of over 350 families and provide a centre for daily religious observance, functions, family events, clubs, education and youth groups.
The complex, situated on the corner of Sunnybank Road and Manchester Road, includes a large function hall, known as the Schleifer Hall, a reception room (in memory of Eli and Edith Morris), as well as a large library of Judaica and other books of Jewish literature.
1998: Beit Hamedrash
In 1998, the Beit Hamedrash and study hall were opened. The study hall serves for weekday prayer services, small functions and the SEED study programme. It is also here that an extensive library is housed.
The new extension was opened the Hebrew date of 30th Nissan 5758 (26 April 1998) by Dayan Krausz of the Manchester Beth Din and dedicated by Mr and Mrs Brian Rose, members of the synagogue, in memory of their son, David, who died of Tay Sachs.
2000: New Sefer Torah
On September 10, 2000 the synagogue dedicated a Sefer Torah in memory of its late warden, Sol Weinstock . After the completion of the writing of the new scroll at Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School, a procession escorted the scroll to the synagogue where it was installed amidst celebrations, and where it is now used weekly for the reading of the portion of the Law.
Bury Hebrew Congregation website - http://www.buryhc.org.uk
- Freeman, D: ‘Jewish Manchester hasn’t changed … it only moved up the road’, The Jewish Gazette, 1951