Searching for that better life?
What is it about Southend and Westcliff that makes our town so special? Is it the sea air? Is it the less frenetic pace of life? What is it that makes us tick? The answer is that we are a happy vibrant community comprising over 700 families.
We tease family and friends in London saying that to travel from London to Southend is twice the distance from Southend to London! They do not realise how easy it is for us to get to London. It takes me under an hour to get to my family in NW London by road . Our excellent train service only takes forty five minutes from Westcliff into Fenchurch Street station (which is about the same time that commuters need to reach the City from NW London).
But surely you say, Westcliff is a bit of back water? Hardly! There are numerous excellent shops and major stores around the town, and Bluewater and Lakeside are close by. We have our own Kosher Butcher, Baker and Deli within the complex. There are four (two for girls and two for boys) grammar schools in Southend and Westcliff which are among the top publically funded schools in the country. Incidentally, both my sons went to Southend High for Boys and achieved grades at GCSE and A level sufficient to take them to major universities.
The Palace Theatre and the Cliffs Pavilion stage major West End Shows and host national and international stars.
Most important of all, the price of housing is really a fraction of what it costs in London. A visit to a local estate agent will tell you that a four bed detached house will cost less than half of its NW London equivalent.
As a Congregation, we are quite self sufficient and are vigorously led by our Minister, Rabbi Binyamin Bar. We have our own Cheder and Youth Club. We have a multitude of communal activities for all ages, and many charity and social committees. The Congregation has a minyan each morning and evening. Over the High Holydays we have additional services and discussion groups for the whole community. Our Community Voice magazine is of a very high standard and has won national prizes awarded by the Board of Deputies. Each night of Chanukah, we publically light our communal Menorah outside the Cliffs Pavilion, and are usually fortified throughout this event either with doughnuts or Latkes!
On of our highlight in May 2010 was a Hachnasat Sefer Torah (a street party to welcome two new Sifrei Torah) led by the Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, and accompanied by our Mayor, Cllr Anne Holland, MP’s and many local dignitaries. This was truly a remarkable day in the history of our Congregation.
We are starting in August 2012 to refurbish our Mikvah which will take about 8 to 12 weeks on completion we will have a modern up to date Mikvah a few minutes walk from the Shul complex.
The one thing that strikes visitors to our Community the most is the warm and hospitable atmosphere. We love to see all newcomers. So why not give us a try and visit ‘The Shul by the Sea’.
Looking forward to welcoming you.