August 27, 2007

QE2 liner may lose its shul in the hull

This on about the fate of the synagouge on the QE2 once in Dubai..

"THE fate of the only synagogue aboard an ocean liner hung in the balance this week.

The QE2 was launched by the Queen in 1967. The state-of-the-art fittings included a synagogue, designed by Sir Misha Black, which over the years has witnessed High Holy Day services and floating barmitzvahs.

In June this year, the Cunard flagship liner, owned by Israeli-American family, the Arisons, was sold to Dubai-based Istithmar for £50 million.

Istithmar will permanently anchor the QE2 off one of its holiday islands.But this week the company failed to confirm that the synagogue would remain amid fears that it would be lost.

“We still need to put together a planning team, so we can’t say what will happen yet,” an Istithmar spokeswoman said.

Although the liner — which can carry as many as 1,778 passengers and more than 1,000 crew — has been renovated several times, the synagogue was the only public space on board which had never been restructured.

It contains sifrei Torah and prayer books suitable for both Reform and Orthodox congregations.In 1967, another Cunard Line ship containing a synagogue was sold to the municipality of Long Beach, California, for £1.8 million.

It was turned into a hotel and conference centre and the synagogue became a storage room. "

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