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Largest Shabbat-compliant lift outside Israel built at new JCC centre in London

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 July 2012

Chief executive of the JCC, Nick Viner, welcomes invited guests to see progress at the JCC site in Finchley Road at the ground breaking ceremony. Pictures: Polly Hancock

Chief executive of the JCC, Nick Viner, welcomes invited guests to see progress at the JCC site in Finchley Road at the ground breaking ceremony. Pictures: Polly Hancock

Archant

The largest Shabbat-compliant lift outside of Israel is just one of many attributes to expect from the new Jewish Community Centre for London (JCC).

Equipped with a Sabbath mode, the 21-person lift can function automatically at pre-programmed intervals, allowing observant Orthodox Jews to use it while refraining from operating electrical equipment – a requirement in Shabbat law.

Daniel Rosenfelder, a Hampstead architect and expert in Shabbat-compliant design, said: “Having this lift makes the centre completely accessible to all disabled users – a great example of modern technology creating new possibilities.”

The lift will service the four floors of the new JCC centre in Finchley Road, which will offer facilities including an all-day nursery, cinema screening room and demonstration kitchen when it opens in September 2013.

The building reached a milestone last Thursday when it had its topping out ceremony, marking the completion of the concrete structure just 10 months after construction began.

Nick Viner, JCC chief executive, said: “It’s fantastic to see the final structure in place. The scale and feel of the spaces are so much more impressive than I could ever have imagined.”

The multimillion-pound project was conceived by Dame Vivien Duffield, who was inspired by New York’s Jewish Community Centre and committed £25million to launch the JCC through the Clore Duffield Foundation.

The modern, airy building will provide a home for the JCC’s existing event series, including debates, art shows and children’s activities, and enable the weekly programme to grow to more than 100 hours of activities.

Following sluggish beginnings – plans were suspended for more than a year due to the economic crisis – development advanced in earnest from September 2009 when planning permission was granted by Camden Council.

Dame Vivien told the ceremony: “The building and what takes place in it will attract Jews of every stripe and establish the Jewish Community Centre as a key landmark on the cultural map.”

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