New chair announced at Bevis Marks Synagogue heritage foundation

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New chair announced at Bevis Marks Synagogue heritage foundation

Melody Salem takes charge of the next phase of the project at the Grade I listed building

A ceremony at the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation, at Bevis Marks Synagogue, London in 2015
(C) Blake Ezra Photography 2015.
A ceremony at the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation, at Bevis Marks Synagogue, London in 2015 (C) Blake Ezra Photography 2015.

The Bevis Marks Synagogue Heritage Foundation (BMSHF) has appointed a new chair of its board of trustees.

Melody Salem takes over at the charity from Howard Martin, who has successfully shepherded the BMSHF project through the conceptual phase and into construction, and who will remain on the Board as the project heads towards *opening.

With a completion estimation of early 2024, the BMSHF project – supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and also The Weisz Foundation and The Exilarch’s Foundation as anchor donors – is transforming the site of the historic Grade 1 listed Bevis Marks Synagogue.

Aside from a full-scale restoration of the synagogue itself, the new campus will include a cultural, learning and visitor centre with displays, spaces which can be used for celebrations, meetings, lectures and workshops, and musical and artistic activities.

Melody Salem

The centrepiece of the transformation will include a stunning public display of the Community’s priceless, ritual silver and other artefacts in the atmospheric undercroft, and an exhibition interpreting the history and meaning of Bevis Marks and the Spanish & Portuguese Jewish community, both in the Jewish world and far beyond to wider society.

Melody Salem said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be working on such an exciting and important project and I am immensely grateful to the many people who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition.

“We intend to create a vibrant hub which will enable everyone to celebrate the unique history, culture and traditions of the Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community, and how these have impacted on the British Jewish world, the City of London and other communities. We very much look forward to welcoming people of all faiths and none.”

Howard Martin said: “It has been a privilege to Chair the Foundation for the last three years. Conservation works at Bevis Marks Synagogue have been completed and the building is now restored to its former glory, with the campus well on the way to completion.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication to our project and for battling through a pandemic and its after-effects. My fellow Trustees, Rabbi Shalom Morris, our professional team and volunteers deserve special thanks. As does my wife Nicki who was been so understanding and supportive. I’m confident that Melody will lead the project successfully through its next phase as we move towards our public opening.”

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