Saatchi Synagogue, once renowned for its celebrity-studded
Friday Nights and iconoclastic services, has moved from hip
Maida Vale and membership is down. So who are the new contenders
for the 'cool' crown? Daniella Peled investigates
you are seeking cutting-edge cool, far away from the mainstream
North London circuit, Congregation of Jacob is where it's
at. This traditional, independent Orthodox gem, in the old
Jewish heartland of Stepney, has been given a fresh lease
of life by an influx of creative professionals moving back
to the newly fashionable East End.
changed from being an elderly community with an average age
of 70 to being quite a lot younger, " says David Brandes,
an Eastender born-and-bred who is the synagogues minister,
warden and trustee.
events have included a lightbox installation by Turner Prize-nominated
local artist Catherine Yass, an interfaith children's klezmer
workshop with a member of Oi Va Voi, and legendary Purim parties.
in 1903 (the present building dates from 1923), membership
ranges from veteran congregates - the oldest in his 90s -
to filmmakers, artists and fashion designers from the Docklands,
Bethnal Green and achingly hip Shorditch. There is no regular
Rabbi, and the Shul is owned, managed and maintained by the
lot of people from very diverse backgrounds help with the
running of the Shul and bring their talents," adds Mr
Brandes "We're very unpredictable, in a nice way."
code: Jeans and T-shirts
Spiritual quota: Heart warming
Networking factor: Perfect place to find a website
Kiddush conversation: Property developers ruining the
East End; the latest Jewdas party; organic vegetable boxes
Baby-Buggy count: The odd baby sling