A £250,000 Chabad centre has opened in Manchester’s Whitefield area. A one-year refurbishment has transformed the former off-licence into a facility housing a Jewish resource library, Judaica store, lounge and a multimedia lecture hall.
However, director Rabbi Shmuli Jaffe says the centre’s greatest asset is its location. “It is opposite the Parkfield Inn pub, which is full of Jews on Thursday evenings, and its street corner is where the kids are on motzei Shabbos, being the only stretch of Jewish shops in the neighbourhood.”
Funding has come from local individuals and some small lottery grants. Rabbi Jaffe hopes the building will become a mini-community centre.
“We officially opened on Lag b’Omer with a community barbecue for 400 people.
“The idea is to cater for the 90 per cent of the community who only go to shul twice a year, according to a survey.” Chabad was offering “a place where people can drop in”.
Mother and baby sessions, adult education and kosher takeaway nights are some of the activities planned.