Memories from a founder

Leslie Berkley
As the last remaining Trustee Founder, I have been asked if I would recall some of our past history.

The weeks of preparation that took place prior to us opening the doors of our small synagogue, which was situated onthe forecourt of our present magnificent synagogue.

There were only 17 of us at the original meeting to purchase the little building on Park Lane for £2000, which included some of the land that our present Synagogue and Evelyn Lubin Hall stands on.

Names from the past, such as Leslie Donn, Joe Glassman, Morris Goldberg, Isi Suppree , Norman Bower, and Abe Gouldman and a few others of us and our wives, arrived at the building in Sept 1959.
Together we laid the carpets, filled the bookcases with siddurim and prepared the Ark for the Sefar Torahs. We put in place the seating that had been donated to us by Stein Court Synagogue, whilst our wives were busy cleaning and polishing, turning an empty building into a beautiful little shool. We could hardly believe, that what seemed initially to be an impossible task at that time, had been achieved. Whitefield was now open for the Almighty's work.

Going back to 1954, when Valerie and I arrived in Whitefield, we consisted of 14 Jewish families. By Rosh Hashona 1959 we opened tha Shool with a membership of 87 families.

Leslie Donn, a highly respected Councillor at that time was our first President, he held the torch high and illuminated our path and our future.

I have always acknowledged that the past is the past and it is only the present and the future that can shape and be responsible for our community and its needs. So I am happy to see that those who have taken on the mantle of responsibility for the present are training our youth to take on the future. We can learn from the past, we can enjoy the present but it is only the future that can assure our continuity here in Whitefield.

Leslie David Berkeley J.P. Founder Trustee.