Our Synagogue is working closely with Manchester’s two universities on an exciting virtual reality project that aims to keep the Jackson’s Row building and invaluable memories alive for generations to come. The project recognises the Synagogue’s significance as the first new public building to be constructed in Manchester after the Second World War. Called Living Buildings, the project will not simply digitally capture the complete building in three dimensions but will also include film and recordings. The first stage, to photograph all aspects of our building to tell our story, has already begun and is being led by Dr Richard Brook, a specialist in architecture and Ben Edwards, a specialist in archaeology. The oral history aspect is being directed by historian, Michala Hulme. This is a golden opportunity to continue the work we have already begun on our congregation’s memories and stories. And while we wait to hear the Secretary of State’s decision on the redevelopment of the Jackson’s Row site, this is also a way to make it possible to walk around our building forever!
We have agreed to come up with a list of people whom we think would make good subjects for the oral history interviews and we are seeking the best photographs we can find of JR synagogue life. The contributors do not have to be present day members as we would dearly love to hear from anyone out there who has had a connection with our shul (past members, cheder, youth group and JM members). We are seeking photos and videos of memorable events, especially weddings, bar mitzvah rehearsals, in fact anything you would like to keep for posterity that captures the way we were. All photographs and artefacts will of course be returned.
The aim is to complete all the recordings by the beginning of August to enable their processing within the scope of the funded project. Please spread the word and search your own archives for any memorabilia. If you know of someone we really ought to trace, please email Rabbi Reuven Silverman.