A new synagogue has opened in
Hampstead in what was previously the New End Theatre.
Called The Village Shul in
New End, the old playhouse has been gutted with the theatre seats removed and
replaced with a plush boutique prayer house - complete with bonsai trees and
The bar area upstairs remains but now it is
packed out on Friday nights after Rabbi Yisroel Weisz has delivered his
service. For the last four years Rabbi Weisz and his wife Devorah Leah have
relied on the willingness of the congregation to host meetings in their homes.
The Village Shul is being described as a
boutique synagogue and the average age of the congregation is mid 30s and for
religious festivals The Village Shul pulls in crowds of 150 people with
standing room only in the prayer hall.
The synagogue was funded by donations from
Hampstead's Jewish community and others further afield. "The Village Shul is a very welcome addition to
Hampstead," says Gary Sammons, manager at the Hampstead branch of lettings
agent Edmund Cude. "We have a large Jewish community in the area so this
synagogue will be very well used by current and future residents."