Normal service resumed

September 22, 2010 by Henry Benjamin
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The recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand,  was responsible for no Rosh Hashana prayers for the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation for the first time in 147 years.

Edward Adams

Edward Adams, the president of the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation, told J-Wire: “The CHC Board would like to say thank you to everyone who has contacted us after the September 4th earthquake to express your concern and to offer support for the Christchurch Jewish community. We are pleased to be able to report that while our community members were indeed shaken by the recent earthquake, all have been contacted by the Board directly, and all are doing well enough under the circumstances. We are especially fortunate to have just completed extensive repairs to our shul, which as a result has also come through the earthquake and its many aftershocks with very little damage. After a brief suspension of services for Rosh Hashanah (the first such in 147 years), normal services were resumed for Yom Kippur. We may be small — perhaps 100 or so Jewish families in all of Christchurch — but we have once again proved ourselves to be a remarkably resilient, cohesive community.

One cautionary note: despite some early reports to the contrary, the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation believes itself to be fortunate in that we are not needing to solicit donations of money or labour to rebuild our homes or shul. Any pleas for aid on our community’s behalf should be confirmed with a Board member directly.”

J-Wire asked Edward Adams why services did not take place if the Shul had been declared safe at the time. He replied: “The city was in confusion and access was denied to buildings until they were declared safe. There was no alternative accommodation available and in any case it was not considered safe to call people together. Remember we were getting quite violent after-shocks. By Yom Kippur it was considered safe to proceed normally.”

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