A sacred hand-written scroll used for decades as part of religious services in Shipley has been gifted to the Jewish Community Centre in Krakow, Poland.

The silver adorned Torah was one of five given away following the deconsecration of the Orthodox synagogue, due to dwindling numbers. The removal of the scrolls, during the Bradford Hebrew Congregation’s final service earlier this month, means the building, in Springhurst Road, is no longer classed as a synagogue.

But the congregation still owns it and will continue to have a caretaker there until its future is decided.

In 1970 the Bradford Congregation was so thriving that a new synagogue was purpose-built in Shipley. But as younger generations of Jewish families have moved away and older members have died, the synagogue cannot continue. Former Bradford Hebrew Congregation president Albert Waxman said: “We were a very vibrant congregation which has dwindled because of age and we’ve had no young people to follow. Unless you’ve got ten grown up men, over the age of 13, you can’t have a service. We didn’t have ten men left, or not ten who came to the services, so we were relying on friends and supporters.” Mr Waxman said his decision to step down was another reason for the synagogue’s final service. “I’ve been president for 25 years and I gave notice last year that I wanted to retire on my 88th birthday. Nobody was willing, or able, to take it on.”