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Tony Blair opens Jewish community centre
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Welcome: Tony and Cherie Blair at the opening of the Ner Orre Community Centre
FORMER Prime Minster Tony Blair and his wife Cherie were in Mill Hill on Sunday to officially open a new Jewish community centre.
The Mill Hill United Synagogue’s £3.2million Ner Orre Community Centre was built on the site of the demolished Annie and Samuel Levy Hall at the synagogue in Brockenhurst Gardens.
The new centre is larger than the previous building. With two floors and room for 600 people in the main hall – also called the Annie and Samuel Levy Hall – members of the synagogue say the centre can now meet the needs of the Mill Hill synagogue’s growing population.
Mr Blair told those gathered for the opening: “I am here today celebrating the opening of this community centre with a profound sense of the honour you have given to me by asking me to be a part of it.
“And also with a sense of gratitude for what you do here in this community and what the Jewish community and faith represents in the world today.
“On behalf of Cherie and I, I would like to say thank you and mazel tov.”
The idea for the centre was conceived in 2003 when it was thought a new building was needed to meet the needs of the community.
More than 1,000 families belong to the Mill Hill synagogue – and half of the members are aged under 50.
The construction costs were covered by personal pledges from nearly 300 families and building work took 13 months to complete.
The principal funding for the project came from Stanley Davis and his wife Rita, who are members of the Mill Hill synagogue.
Mr Davis said: “It’s a privilege for my wife Rita and I to have played a part – along with so many others – in the achievement of this wonderful communal project and to have been given the opportunity to honour the memory of our parents in doing so.
“Our hope is that the Ner Orre centre will stand as a beacon and will be an inspiration for our vibrant Jewish community, not just inMillHill but throughout London.”
Also at the opening were Israel’s ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub and the incoming Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
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Sir Ray Tindle
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