Harlow has had a Jewish Community in the Town since the early 50's. In 1966 a Terrapin prefabricated building was purchased. The building went up in two days, seated over 100 people and could be partitioned for classes. At the consecration of the synagogue, the Harlow Council of Churches presented a handmade reading desk, which is still in use today.
This 'temporary' building lasted 20 years and in May 1987 the present building was consecrated, a simple 140 seater hall with car parking facilities purchased with members' donations and from fund raising activities. Immediately with a building of its own, the Community saw its membership rise, coming from a 200 square mile catchment area from Epping and London in the south to Bishop's Stortford and beyond in the north, and from Hertford in the west to Great Dunmow in the east.
Throughout this period, the MRJ and the Leo Baeck College, which trains progressive Rabbis ensured that we had a student Rabbi to conduct services and perform other rabbinic functions.
The synagogue building, which has wheelchair access, is also used as a classroom, and we have a kitchen, so that we can cater for various events. The synagogue produces a monthly newsletter, Harlow Jewish News. We hold services every Friday night at 8.15pm and two Saturday mornings a month at 10.30 am. Various other services also take place on all festivals. A family service is offered once a month. Our services are by our own Rabbi – Irit Shillor. As the congregation is a member of the Movement for Reform Judaism, we use the MRJ prayer book, Forms Of Prayer. As ours is a Progressive Community, men and women sit together and take equal roles in the service. Also some parts of the service are read in English as well as in Hebrew.
We have three Torah Scrolls, one donated to the Synagogue...