Cambridge Synagogue

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire




Page created: 12 June 2002
Latest revision or update: 21 August 2016


Congregation Data


Cambridge Synagogue now known as the Cambridge Traditional Jewish Community


3 Thompson's Lane (formerly known as Ellis Court), Cambridge CB5 8AQ (a purpose-built synagogue opened in 1937 and consecrated by the Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Dr. Joseph Herman Hertz, on 21 October 1937).

Previous Addresses:

1912 to 1937 - 41 Sidney Street, Cambridge (behind cycle shop opposite entrance to Sidney Sussex College(i)

Previously at Park Terrace (then known as Camden Terrace), Cambridge(ii)

Prior thereto, from 1889, a room (at Messrs. Barrett's china shop(iii)) in Great St. Mary's Passage, on corner of Market Place, Cambridge.

Date Formed:

The date of formation of the congregation is generally given as 1888, although there were predecessor congregations from at least 1847 (see below) and an earlier congregation, Cambridge's "Lyon's" Synagogue, was founded in the late 18th century, but did not continue long into the 19th century.

Predecessor Congregations:

Below are addresses of the Jewish congregation in Cambridge prior to 1888. The congregation had been re-established in the mid 19th century. (Note: some of the data appears contradictory)

Until 1889/9 - Petty Curry(iv)

1873 - The Congregation met in Regents Street(v)

(In 1850, services were temorarily discontinued.(vi)

1847 - A residents' congregation worshipped on the Union Society premises.(vii)

1847 - Services re-established and held at home of M. Lazarus Cohen, at 1 Hobson Street (previosly Hobson's Lane), Cambridge.(viii)

Also, see Cambridge's "Lyon's" Synagogue for an earlier congregation.

Current Status:



Independent (Ashkenazi) Orthodox


A provincial synagogue under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Since 1899, the University's Jewish students, who share the building, have run the services during term time since 1899.




In 2007, the Congregation appointed its first resident rabbi, Rabbi Reuven Leigh, who has been the Chabad Representative in Cambridge from 2003 until present (February 2016).

Marriage Certification:

Group for Certification: Board of Deputies
Worship Number: 63140
Appears in 1998 General Registrar Official List
Registration District: Cambridge

Membership Data:

1896 - 27 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1896/97)
1898 - 40 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1898/99)
1900 - 25 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1900/01)
1909 - 30 seatholders (The Jewish Year Book 1910)
1999 - 71 (Board of Deputies)


There are two (orthodox) Jewish cemeteries - the Jewish Sections of the Newmarket Road Cemetery (opened 1941) and the new Dry Drayton Cemetery. Membership gives entitlement to orthodox burial rites at these cemeteries through the Cambridge Jewish Resident Association Chevra Kadisha - (see Cambridge Cemetery Information)

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) The Congregation's website (2016) refers to the congregation moving in 1912 to premises behind a cycle shop opposite Sidney Sussex College. Jewish Year Books from at least 1916 give the address as 41 Sidney Street.

  • (ii) Congregation's website (2016) states that, subsequent to the St Mary's Passage premises, the congregation moved to a studio in a garden in Camden Terrace, but no dates are given.

  • (iii) Congregation's website (2016) states that the Congregation was in the St Mary's Passage premises in 1900. This is the address given in Jewish Year Books from 1896/7 (the first Jewish Year Book) until at least 1906.

  • (iv) The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth, 1950 ("Roth") states that, sometime after the discontinuation of services in 1850 (without mentioning the date), the "synagogue was subsequently transferred to Petty Curry, where it continued in existence until the autumn of 1889, when it had to be removed owing to street improvements". However, the Congregation's website refers to "a brief move" to Petty Curry in 1888.

  • (v) Congregation's website 2016.

  • (vi) Roth.

  • (vii) Congregation's website 2016.

  • (viii) Roth.



    Synagogue Records

    • Marriage Records 1896-1977 held by Cambridge University Library.

    Cambridge Jewish Community home page (which includes links to
    congregational histories and other articles relating to this congregation)

    Jewish Congregations in Cambridgeshire

    Jewish Communities of England home page



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