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New centre for Jewish community offers vital services in Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 11:22 25 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:37 25 October 2017

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE Exec director Chabad Lubavitch N E London & Essex

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE Exec director Chabad Lubavitch N E London & Essex

Andrea Cole

After four years of building, the new Chabad Lubavitch Centre officially opened to Redbridge’s Jewish community this month.

The modern community centre in the heart of Gants Hill is run by Rabbi Aryeh Sufrin MBE and Mrs Devorah Sufrin.

The centre, in Eastern Avenue, was packed to the brim with excited attendees at its grand opening including the Mayor of Redbridge Councillor Linda Huggett, Ilford MPs Mike Gapes and Wes Streeting.

Officially named the Doris Schpiro House, after the grandmother of Andrea and Jonathan Dennis and family, who helped kickstart the financial side of this project, it was officially opened by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.

Executive director Rabbi Sufrin, who founded Drugsline, a charity which helped tens of thousands of people struggling with addiction, said the centre is open to all.

He said: “The essence of what Chabad is all about is reaching out to people and responding to the needs of the community.”

It accommodates Shabbat and daily services, adult educational classes, children’s classes, addiction counselling and a host of programs and activities for the youth and elderly, and has enough room for 200 people.

It also has a fully stocked kitchen which means the centre can offer Friday night dinner, further enhancing Jewish life in the borough.

Alongside catering for visitors, members of the centre regularly visit Gants Hill station in order to chat and offer food to homeless residents sleeping rough.

And if there was a crisis in the borough, Chabad would seek to help, added Rabbi Sufrin.

He said: “We would feel that that it is our role to get out there.”

Recently, Chabad hosted a meeting for a Gants Hill resident with members of the police and councillors in order to discuss anti-social behaviour outside her house.

Rabbi Sufrin said: “If someone comes to us and ask us to do something to help them, we will do what we can.

“If someone comes our way, there must be a reason that they have come to us.”

To learn more about the centre and the upcoming events, visit chabadilford.co.uk.

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