JCR-UK

Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation

& Jewish Community

Cheltenham, Gloustershire

 

 

   

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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
NOTE: We are not the official website of this congregation, which can be reached by clicking on the congregation's logo below.

Town of Cheltenham

The spa town of Cheltenham, with a population of approximately 110,000, is situated on the edge of the Cotswolds hills in the West of England, some 50 miles northwest of Bristol. It was a municipal borough until 1974, when it was merged with an adjoining authority to form the local government district (later borough) of Cheltenham, remaining within the county of Gloucestershire.

Cheltenham Jewish Community

Jews began to settle in Cheltenham early in the nineteenth century and had established a congregation by the 1820s (see below). Due to dwindling numbers, the synagogue had ceased activities by the close of the century, but was reopened at the start of World War II, as a result of the influx of Jewish refugees and evacuees, and is still functioning. (The definitive works on the pre-World War II Cheltenham Jewish community, Brian Torode's The Hebrew Community of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud, 1989,(i) revised 1999 and 2009.)

In 2008, the Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Congregation was established, centred in Cheltenham but serving the whole county of Gloucestershire, which later developed into the Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community.


Congregation Data

Name:

Cheltenham Synagogue or
Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation

Address:

The Synagogue, Synagogue Lane, St. James's Square, Cheltenham, Gloucester GL50 3PU(iv)

The synagogue is a Grade II* listed building.

The foundation stone of the synagogue was laid on 25 July 1837, construction of the building was completed in December 1838 and the synagogue was consecrated on 14 May 1839(v). Restoration works were carried out in 1864.(vi)

Previous Addresses:

Until 1838, services were held in an upper room on the corner of St George's Place and Manchester Walk (renamed Clarence Street), an extension of Manchester Place, in use from at least 1826.(vii)

Formation and Period of Inactivity:

The congregation was formed in 1823.(viii)

By 1896, the congregation had virtually ceased to function(ix) and the synagogue closed in about 1903,(xii)opening only for a brief period in 1914.(xii)

It was not until 1939, when the congregation was virtually reformed, that the old synagogue reopened and restarted to hold regular services, (xiii) largely as a result of the influx into the area of refugees from Central Europe and evacuated children and others from Jewish centres elsewhere in England.

Status:

Active.(xiv)

Ritual:

Ashkenazi Orthodox

Affiliation:

The congregation is unaffiliated but under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Website:

http://www.cheltenhamsynagogue.org.uk/index

Ministers, Readers, & Shochets:
(To view a short profile of a minister whose name appears in blue - hold the cursor over his name.)

Jacob Koppel Hyman - shochet, in about 1825(xix)

Michael Rose - shochet, mohel, reader and ba'al shofar, in about 1833, and mohel in 1837(xx)

E. Moseley - shochet and mohel, about 1834(xxi) 

Rev. Solomon Wolfe - shochet in about 1835(xxii) 

Hyam Levi - reader and ba'al shofar, from 1837 until 1839(xxiii) 

Rev. Isaac Pulver - minister, from 1839 until May 1849(xxvi) 

Rev. Raphael Jacobsohn - reader and shochet, from June 1849 until July 1854(xxvii) 

Rev. Kirchbaum - reader and shochet, from 1854 until May 1855(xxviii) 

Rev. Samuel Hoffnung - reader, from May 1855 until 1857(xxix) 

Rev. Abraham Goldsmidt (first term) - reader, from December 1857 until January 1859(xxx) 

Rev. Joshua Levi - reader, mohel and collector, from February 1859 until 1863(xxxiii) - Contract of Employment

Rev. Abraham Goldsmidt (second term) - temporary reader, from 1863 until 1864(xxxiv) 

Rev. Berthold Albu - reader and registrar, from 1864 until 1866(xxxv) 

Rev. Nathan Aaron - reader - locum, in 1866(xxxvi) 

Rev. Philip Phillips - minister, from May 1866 to September 1874(xxxvii) 

Rev. Hyman Levin - minister, from 1874 to 1885(xl) 

Rev. Simon Joseph - minister, from 1885 until 1895(xli) 

Rev. Wolf Stolloff - shochet, from 1895 until 1897(xlii)

From 1897 ministers came from Birmingham and other towns to officiate on High Holy days. In 1899 and 1902 Rev, S.J. Heilborn of London led the services on those days.(xliii)

The congregation was inactive from 1903 to 1939 except occasionally for festivals and special occasions, when Jewish pupils at Cheltenham College often made up the majority of attendees.  From at least 1904 until 1905 Rev. Zechariah Dimovitch of Stroud served briefly as visiting minister. (As minister at Stroud Synagogue he also held responsibility encompassing Cheltenham and Gloucester.)(xliv)

The congregation was reactivated at the beginning of World War II and ministers were again appointed.

Rev. Yisroel Moshe Braier - minister, early World War II (dates uncertain)(xlvi)

Rev. Eliezer Jacob (Jack) Ferber - minister, from 1942 until 1946(xlvii)

Rev. Cyril Braslavsky - minister, from 1946 until 1949(xlviii)

Rev. Dr. Gustav Pfingst - minister, from 1950 until 1952(xlix)

Lay Officers:

The data on the lay officers to 1939 has been extracted from the lists of officers of the congregation appearing on pp.67/8 of Torode's Cheltenham (1989 edition).(liii)

The data on the lay officers since 1945 has been extracted from Jewish Year Books.(liv)

Presidents

1835-1837 - Isaiah Alex

1837-1838 - Elias Myers

1838-1840 - Jacob Davis

1840-1843 - Lewis Levason

1843-1844 - Montague Alex

1844-1845 - Israel Moses

1845-1847 - Montague Alex

1847-1849 - no data

1849-1850 - Jacob Davis

1850-1852 - Hertz Karo

1852-1853 - no data

1853-1854 - Jacob Davis

1854-1855 - Hertz Karo

1855-1858 - Andrew Isaac

1858-1860 - Hertz Karo

1860-1862 - Samuel Sternberg

1862-1865 - Montague Alex

1865-1867 - Samuel Sternberg

1867-1868 - no data

1868-1872 - Samuel Sternberg

1872-1873 - Emmanuel Samuels

1873-1874 - no data

1874-1877 - Samuel Sternberg

1877-1879 - Woolfel Issachar

1879-1883 - Edward Lowe

1883-1884 - David Sternberg

1884-1885 - Samuel Sternberg

1885-1887 - Edward Lowe

1887-1894 - Samuel Goldberg

1894-1895 - Ivan Nestor Schnurmann

1895-1896 - Maurice Hart

1896-1906 - Ezra Feldman

1906-1914 - Ivan Nestor Schnurmann(lv)

1914-1939 - Daniel Leopold Lipson(lv)

1939-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - Daniel Leopold Lipson, MP

Treasurers

1833-1836 - Isaiah Alex

1836-1837 - Elias Myers

1837-1838 - no data

1838-1839 - Jacob Davis

1839-1840 - David Sternberg

1840-1842 - no data

1842-1844 - Israel Moses

1844-1846 - no data

1846-1848 - Jacob Davis

1848-1849 - Andrew Isaacs

1849-1853 - no data

1853-1854 - Andrew Isaacs

1854-1859 - Phineas Solomon

1859-1860 - David Sternberg

1860-1861 - Woolfe Issachar

1861-1864 - Richaed Moses

1864-1868 - no data

1868-1871 - David Sternberg

1871-1875 - Israel Moses

1875-1878 - Hertz Karo

1878-1879 - Edward Lowe

1879-1883 - no data

1883-1885 - Edward Lowe

1885-1893 - no data

1893-1894 - Ivan Nestor Schnurmann

1894-1895 - no data

1895-1906 - Ezra Feldman

1906-1914 - Ivan Nestor Schnurmann(lv)

1914-1939 - Daniel Leopold Lipson(lv)

1939-1949 - no data

1949-1950 - A.V. Dentch

1950-1955 - A. Denton

1955-1956 - A. Bazar

Chairmen

1950-1951 - Dr. R. Shaffer

1951-1952 - I. Posner

1952-1956 - E. Posner

Wardens (from 1945)

1945-1946 - Dr. R. Shaffer

1946-1949 - M.M. Turner and M. Harris

1949-1950 - Dr. A. Goldfoot and M. Harris

1950-1953 - M. Harris and S. Zlotnick

1953-1956 - M. Harris and Dr. A. Goldfoot

Secretaries & Hon. Secretaries

1841-1843 - Montague Alex

1843-1844 - no data

1844-1845 - Ephraim Moseley

1845-1848 - no data

1848-1849 - Montague Alex

1849-1851 - Samuel Sternberg

1851-1859 - Montague Alex(lviii)

1859-1860 - David Sternberg

1860-1862 - Montague Alex

1862-1863 - Hertz Karo

1863-1864 - David Sternberg(lix)

1864-1866 - Rev. Berthold Albu

1866-1867 - Emanuel Samuels

1867-1874 - Woolfe Issachar(lx)

1874-1875 - Hertz Karo

1875-1877 - Woolfe Issachar

1877-1878 - Edward Lowe

1878-1892 - Woolfe Issachar

1892-1893 - Herman Samuel

1893-1895 - Ivan Nestor Schnurmann(lxi)

1895-1896 - Ezra Feldman

1896-1914 - Ivan Nestor Schnurmann(lv)

1914-1939 - Daniel Leopold Lipson(lv)

1939-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - M.C. Fisher

1946-1949 - Rev. Cyril Braslavsky

1949-1953 - A. Valentine

1953-2000 - H. Bazar

Membership Data:

Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire

1845 - 13 ba'alai batim (including 5 non-residents) and 8 seatholders.

Torode's Cheltenham and/or Board of Deputies Returns - number of seatholders(lxiv)

1852

1853

1856

1857

1858

1859

1860

1861

1862

1863

*15

15

11

10

19

16

*19

19

24

17

1869

1870

1871

1892

1873

1874

1875

1876

1877

1878

21

**18

19

18

18

19

15

15

18

17

1879

1880

1881

1882

1883

1884

1885

1886

1887

1888

16

**13

11

14

14

12

9

8

11

8

1889

1890

1891

1892

1893

1896

1897

1898

1900

7

**7

8

10

7

3

3

2

*0

National Reports and Surveys(lxv)

1977 - 24 male (or household) members and 14 female members

1983 - 24 male (or household) members and 14 female members

1990 - 60 members (comprising 29 households, 16 individual male and 15 individual female members)

1996 - 66 members (comprising 29 households, 19 individual male and 18 individual female members)

2001 - 70 members (comprising 30 households, 20 individual male and 20 individual female members)

2010 - listed as having 50 to 99 members (by household)

2016 - listed as having under 50 members (by household)

Charitable Status:(lxvi)

The congregation is a registered charity, no. 1156818, registered as a CIO (Charitable Incorporated Organisation) under the name Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation on 28 April 2014.

The present registration replaces an earlier registration, no 1135152, registered on 31 March 2010 under the name The Cheltenham Hebrew Synagogue, whose governing document was the congregation's constitution dated 22 November 2009, as amended 1 August 2010. The earlier entity was removed from the register on 28 January 2016, after all its funds had been transferred to the current entity.

The congregation's cemetery was a separate registered charity, no. 1135352-2, linked to the earlier registration, registered under the name Burial Ground Held In Connection With Cheltenham Hebrew Synagogue, whose governing document was a deed dated 28 April 1844. It was also removed from the register on 6 January 2016.

 


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Cheltenham include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Cheltenham during the 1790s (1 record), 1810s (2 records); 1820s (7 records), 1830s (33 records), 1840s (85 records), 1850s (57 records), 1860s (38 records), 1870s (22 records), 1880s (8 records), 1890s (3 records), 1900s (3 records) and 1910s (2 records)..

 

Online Articles, Photographs and Other Material
relating to the Cheltenham Jewish Community

on JCR-UK

on Third Party websites


Notable Jewish Connections with Cheltenham

  • Ephraim Alex (1800-1882), founder of the Jewish Board of Guardians in London in 1859, was born in Cheltenham.

  • Sir Francis Goldsmidt (1808-1878) barrister and baronet, in 1863 acquired Rendcomb estate, located between Cheltenham and Cirencester. He redeveloped the estate and built a grand family home, which since 1918 has housed the public boarding school, Rendcomb college. He was a subscriber to the Cheltenham Jewish community.

  • Alderman Daniel Leopold Lipson (1886-1963) was MP for Cheltenham (1937-1950). He entered Parliament as an independent Conservative, having been subjected to an anti-Jewish whispering campaign in the local Conservative Association. He was Mayor of Cheltenham, 1935-1937 and in 1953 was made honorary freeman of the town. He was President and Trustee of the Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation, although the synagogue was closed except for special occasions until World War II, because of lack of numbers.

  • Sir Henry Bernhard Samuelson, 2nd Baronet (1845-1937), MP for Cheltenham from 1868 until 1874, was of Jewish descent. In 1874 the Cheltenham Jewish community complained publicly about an alleged anti-Jewish insult he had made on an election platform.

 

Other Cheltenham Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew and Religious Classes

  • Corinth House, was a Jewish house within Cheltenham College, which had capacity for about 40 boys. Ivan Nestor-Schnurmann (1854 - 1917) (see list of lay officers of the congregation, above), a noted teacher of Russian, was in charge of the house from about 1894 until 1914. Daniel Lipson (see Notable Jewish Connections, above) then took over as head of Corinth House until it shut in 1923, when he opened a private college on the same site, Corinth College, which closed in 1935.

    • Jewish Old Cheltonians:

      • Aaron Neville Cohen (1913 1987) was an English first-class cricketer and colonial official.

      • Allan Louis Neville Jay, MBE (b. 1931) is a British former five-time-Olympian foil and épée fencer, and world champion.

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Jewish Ladies Society (founded by 1948)(lxix)

  • Women's Zionist Society (founded by 1945)(lxx)

 

Community Records

  • Synagogue Records:

    • The congregation's 1800 to 1896 minutes are held by the Hartley Institute Library, University of Southampton.

    • Most of the remaining congregation's archives are now kept at Gloucestershire Records Office.

  • Registration District (BMD): Gloucestershire (since 1 April 2006)

    • Previous Registration District:
         Cheltenham (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 2006).

    • Any registers would be held by the current register office.

    • Link to register Office website

 


Cheltenham Jewish Cemeteries Information

 

  • Cheltenham Jewish Burial Ground, Elm Street / Malvern Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. This Jewish cemetery was purchased in about 1824 and enlarged on several occasions (1835, 1839, 1845 and 1860). It is still in use and maintained by the Cheltenham Hebrew Congregation.

    Articles and other material on JCR-UK:

    • "Jewish Tombstone Inscriptions in S. W. England - Studies in Anglo-Jewish History No. 3", by Rabbi Dr. Bernard Susser, includes an Introduction that makes reference to Cheltenham. Available on-line by JCR-UK as part of the Susser Archive.

  • Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Cemetery. This cemetery is a section of the Cheltenham (Municipal) Cemetery, Bouncer's Lane, Prestbury, Cheltenham and was opened in April 2009, as the designated burial grounds, initially of the Gloucestershire Liberal Jewish Congregation, and now of its successor congregation, the Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community.

(For some additional information, also see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Cheltenham)

 

Cheltenham Jewish Population Data

1896

17

(The Jewish Year Book 1896/7)

1898

5

(The Jewish Year Book 1898/9)

1900

4

(The Jewish Year Book 1900/1)

1903

6

(The Jewish Year Book 1903/4)
1947

80 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1948)

1951

160

(The Jewish Year Book 1952)
1958

120

(The Jewish Year Book 1959)

1973

70

(The Jewish Year Book 1974)
1990

150

(The Jewish Year Book 1991)

1991

145

(The Jewish Year Book 1992)
1992

70

(The Jewish Year Book 1993)

2001

90

(The Jewish Year Book 2002)
2003

133

(The Jewish Year Book 2004)

2005

98

(The Jewish Year Book 2006)

 

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Referred on this page as "Torode's Cheltenham".

  • (ii) Reserved.

  • (iv) The congregation's website. The street name "Synagogue Lane" was reinstated in 2000s but, in fact, cannot be documented before the 1940s (Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland by Sharman Kadish, p.124.)

  • (v) Torode's Cheltenham pp.23/4.

  • (vi) Section on "Cheltenham" from The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth (referred to below as "Roth's section on Cheltenham").

  • (vii) Torode's Cheltenham p.22.

  • (viii) Torode's Cheltenham p.21 and Roth's section on Cheltenham, although according to the Jewish Year Book, the congregation was established in 1824.

  • (ix) Torode's Cheltenham p.61.

  • (x) and (xi) Reserved.

  • (xii) Torode's Cheltenham p.51.

  • (xiii) Torode's Cheltenham pp.52/3.

  • (xiv) Congregation's website, last accessed 7 November 2021

  • (xv) to (xviii) Reserved.

  • (xix) Roth's section on Cheltenham and Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897).

  • (xx) In Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897), a Mr. Rose served as "shochet, mohel, reader and shofar" in 1833 and a Michael Rose served as mohel in 1937. Presumed the same person.

  • (xxi) Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897).

  • (xxii) Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897).

  • (xxiii) Also spelled Levy. Torode's Cheltenham - p. 33 and Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897)

  • (xxiv) and (xxv) Reserved.

  • (xxvi) Torode's Cheltenham - p.33.

  • (xxvii) Torode's Cheltenham - p.34. Rev. Jacobsohn was born in Prussia and came to Cheltenham from Glasgow.

  • (xxviii) Torode's Cheltenham - p.40. 

  • (xxix) Torode's Cheltenham - p.40. 

  • (xxx) Torode's Cheltenham - p.41. 

  • (xxxi) and (xxxii) Reserved.

  • (xxxiii) Torode's Cheltenham - pp.41/2.

  • (xxxiv) Torode's Cheltenham - pp.42.

  • (xxxv) Torode's Cheltenham - p. 42 and Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897)

  • (xxxvi) Torode's Cheltenham - p. 42 and Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897)

  • (xxxvi) Torode's Cheltenham - p. 42-45

  • (xxxviii) and (xxxix) Reserved.

  • (xl) Torode's Cheltenham - p. 45 and Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897)

  • (xli) Jewish Chronicle obituary 4 February 1927 and Torode's Cheltenham - pp. 47/49. Although the latter refers to him as Samuel Joseph, the former, as well as burial records, give his first name as Simon.

  • (xlii) Jewish Year Book 1896/7. Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.65 (list of Ministers, 1825-1897) Rev. Stolloff also served the congregation at Stroud about 10 miles from Cheltenham.

  • (xliii) Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.65.

  • (xliv) Torode's Cheltenham - Appendix p.62.

  • (xlv) Reserved.

  • (xlvi) Jewish Chronicle obituary 25 October 1996.

  • (xlvii) Jewish Chronicle obituary 22 May 1998 and listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6 (the first to be published after war time cessation of publication).

  • (xlviii) Jewish Chronicle report of 22 May 1998 and listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6 (the first to be published after war time cessation of publication).

  • (xlix) Rev. Dr. G. Pfingst was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1951 and 1952.

  • (l) to (lii) Reserved.

  • (liii) These were compiled from published reports of the Board of Deputies and from archives of the congregation. Elections usually took place at a meeting held in October and it is assumed that the officer continued to serve until the following year. The president and secretary were usually also the wardens.

  • (liv) Where a person is first listed in a year book as holding a particular office, it has been assumed that his term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant year book and that he continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor, unless the office was vacant. The 1945/6 year book was published in 1945 and from 1947 the year books were published according to the Gregorian year, being published generally towards the end of the year prior to the year appearing in the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1948 through 1951, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1947 and continued in office until 1951. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, his actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here, especially if elections took place towards the end of the year and the updated information was not available at the time of publication. Jewish Year Books were not published during WWII subsequent to 1940. There were no Jewish Year Book listings of lay officers, other than the secretary, subsequent to 1956.

  • (lv) As indicated, I. Nestor Schnurmann assumed all offices from 1906 to 1914 and D. Lipson assumed all offices from from 1914 to 1939.

  • (lvi) and (lvii) Reserved

  • (lviii) M. Alex was licensed with the Registrar General for marriage purposes from January 1850 (Torode's Cheltenham, p.68).

  • (lix) D. Sternberg was licensed with the Registrar General for marriage purposes from 1863 (Torode's Cheltenham, p.68).

  • (lx) W. Issachar was licensed with the Registrar General for marriage purposes from June 1866 (Torode's Cheltenham, p.68).

  • (lxi) I. Nestor Schnurmann was licensed with the Registrar General for marriage purposes from June 1893 (Torode's Cheltenham, p.68).

  • (lxii) and (lxiii) Reserved

  • (lxiv) Torode's Cheltenham, pp.67/8 lists the number of seatholders for most years from 1853 through 1898. Although the exact source is not given, it appears that the numbers are based on Board of Deputies returns. Numbers marked with a double asterisk(**) correspond exactly with the number given for seatholders for that year in the Paper on Cheltenham from the 1965 conference on Provincial Jewry prepared by Aubrey Newman (for which the source was Board of Deputies returns). Numbers marked with a single asterisk(*) are given in the conference paper, but do not appear in the list provided in Torode's Cheltenham.

  • (lxv) Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and which can be viewed on the website of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. Click HERE for links to the various reports.

  • (lxvi) Charities Commission website, accessed 10 November 2021.

  • (lxvii) and (lxviii) Reserved

  • (lxix) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1948.

  • (lxx) First listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

 
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Page created: 30 November 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 7 November 2021
Latest revision or update: 12 November 2021


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