Sign In Forgot Password


Prototype Bimah Installation


We are delighted to have received an outpouring of support from our members on our project to Restore our Sanctuary at The Great Synagogue.

A core part of this project is moving the Bimah from the front of our sanctuary to the centre of the Shule, restoring the vision of the original architect, while also creating a more inclusive, connected and engaged experience for members and visitors.

The next phase of this project is to install a prototype Bimah, allowing for design approval from the Board. This working prototype will be installed in early 2024 and is essential as it will allow the team to accurately determine heights, location, materials and sight lines.

As part of this pivotal next step, the seats in the centre block will be removed and stored on site at The Great Synagogue, allowing for prototype Bimah installation to occur.

There will be no disruption to services or the beauty of our sanctuary at this time, and a great opportunity to see how the new Bimah will enhance the experience at The Great Synagogue for our members and visitors. During this phase of the project, member feedback will be crucial as we determine the right height, length and width of our new Bimah. 

We know there will be questions about the prototype installation and this phase of the project, so we have developed some FAQ's specifically for this. Please see these below. If your question is not answered, or you have any other questions, please feel free to contact Max Freedman, Senior Vice President.



Why does a prototype Bimah need to be installed?
To ensure the Board is able to approve the designs of the new Bimah, it has been recommended by the Project Manager that a prototype is installed.

This working Bimah will allow our project team to be able to finesse details including height, length, width, materials, and sight lines, ensuring that there will be a seamless transition to the new Bimah.

How will this impact services?
Services will continue as normal, conducted from the prototype Bimah. This will be an opportunity for the congregation to see how a new Bimah located in the centre of our sanctuary will enhance the experience of a service at The Great Synagogue.

How will this look?
The prototype Bimah installation will not cause any disruption to the visual appeal of the sanctuary. Flooring will not be lifted, and will remain tiled as is. The prototype Bimah itself will be visually attractive.

To ensure there is minimal wastage, the prototype Bimah will act as the foundation and frame for the future Bimah. The external cladding of the prototype Bimah will be changed as the designs are finalised and the permanent Bimah is installed.

What does this mean for the seats in the centre block?
The seats in the centre block have been removed and stored in another location within The Great Synagogue while the prototype Bimah is installed and designs are finalised. Seat holders in the centre block have been communicated with separately and have been moved to their new seats.

If you are a centre block seat holder and would like to discuss your seat location, please don’t hesitate to contact our office directly.

When will this be happening?
Seat removal of the centre block occured during December 2023, with the new prototype Bimah to be installed in early 2024. Design adjustments and finalisation are anticipated to take some time to confirm as we will be encouraging members to share their feedback on the specifics of the Bimah, including height, width and length.

Why can’t designs be approved without a prototype Bimah and moving the centre block?
Our initial designs received great feedback from our members following its unveiling. Where possible, this feedback has already been incorporated into the revised designs.

Our experienced Project Manager has provided this recommendation as the best course of action for The Great Synagogue to ensure our designs remain world class and give our members the ultimate experience of a restored Bimah.

A prototype Bimah will ensure that the Board can accurately approve the designs for this project without any ambiguity, and take into consideration specific details and member feedback in real time including heights, sight lines, materials, lengths and other key factors.

What about the way a service runs?
When sharing initial designs with the congregation, we received many questions regarding the services and location of the choir. The installation of the prototype Bimah will allow us to test this in real-time to ensure that our services run to the highest quality and standard we have set for The Great Synagogue.

How will weddings work during in this time?
Weddings will run as normal, with the prototype Bimah installed. This will create more space for aisles and for the bride, groom and their parents to utilise. We have already held weddings and events without the centre block, and have additional weddings confirmed during this time. We are confident we will be able to ensure a stunning service in our beautiful and historic sanctuary.

Where will the Simcha family sit for events including Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Aufrufs, Chuppahs and other occasions?
We have been privileged to already host a number of semachot of all types since the centre block was removed at the end of 2023. We will be inviting simcha families to sit in a prime position downstairs which will provide a wonderful view of the service for those celebrating at The Great Synagogue.

When will Board approval be expected for the new designs?
Following finalisation of the new designs, this will be taken to the Board for final approval. While there is no definitive timeline, the current expectation is that the new designs will be approved before Pesach.


Click HERE

 To view our brochure with more information on the project, plans and FAQ's.
Our Rabbi and President are always available to answer any questions you may have in relation to this project to restore our sanctuary at The Great Synagogue.

Thu, 30 May 2024 22 Iyar 5784