The UK’s most northerly synagogue has closed its doors for the first time since it opened 72 years ago after a washing machine flood.
The Jewish community of Aberdeen has been forced to hold its services elsewhere for the past two weeks after the incident, which took place in the community hall above the small ground-level synagogue on Dee Street, ripped a hole through the religious building’s roof.
Mark Taylor, the president of the Aberdeen Synagogue and Jewish Community Centre, said that although he hasn’t heard back from his insurance company, it was estimated that fixing the problem would cost thousands of pounds.
The setback followed a £35,000, two-year project to modernise the 19th-century, B-listed property, and will mean around 30 practitioners of the Jewish faith in Aberdeen who use the synagogue will be displaced until at least December.
To help tackle the costly repair bill, Mr Taylor has launched a fundraiser, appealing for help from the north-east community and other synagogues across the country.
He said: “The washing machine in the community hall decided to break on us on the 28th of last month.
“It poured water out onto the floor of the community hall for about an hour, and eventually the water burst through into the synagogue below, making a great big hole in the ceiling.
“And after that, it flowed into the flat underneath the synagogue, meaning we need extensive repairs on three parts of the building.
“The insurance will cover some of the work, but not all of it, so we don’t know exactly how much we will need yet. But we’ve started a fundraising appeal to try and soften the blow when the inevitable bad news comes.
“All of our main capital reserves have been spent on the refurbishment project over the past two years and, to top it all off, September is when the Jewish high holidays like the New Year and Yom Kippur take place, so this flood really couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
“One of our members has a house in the centre of town, so we’ll be using that for some holidays, and a couple of churches have been very kind and have offered us rooms for Friday night services.”
To donate to the cause, visit www.asjcc.org.uk