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Sephardi Congregations
and Other Eastern Rites (Edot haMizrach) Congregations

The premier Sephardi synagogal organisation in Britain is the S&P Sephardi Community (until about 2015 known as the Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregation). This, as well as most Sephardi and other Edot ha-Mizrach (Eastern Rites) congregations, is centred primarily in London. However, most Sephardi or other Edot haMizrach congregations are independent, although many are today loosely affiliated with the S&P Sephardi Community (which is often referred to as Western Sephardi).

Although the Sephardi community is the oldest Jewish community in Britain, having been established nearly half a century prior to the first Ashkanazi congregation, Sephardi Jews form only a small percentage of British Jewry. Membership of Sephardi and other Edot ha-Mizrach congregations in 2016 constituted only 2.9% of total synagogue membership in the United Kingdom.(1)

Basic Data

Name:

S&P Sephardi Community (formerly the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation)

Head Offices:

2 Ashworth Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1JY

Date Formed:

1657

Ritual:

Western Sephardi Orthodox - Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Rites

Website:

https://www.sephardi.org.uk

Burial Society:

Spanish & Portugues Jews' Burial Society (Hebrat Guemilut Hassadim) of 2 Ashworth Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1JY

Kashrut Authority:

Sephardi Kashrus Authority of 2 Ashworth Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1JY

Reg. Charity No:

212517

 
History

The Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation in London dates back to 1657. It was founded by a group of Marranos or New Christians (now generally referred to Anusim) merchants who had been living in London, openly professing to be Spanish Catholics, but clandistinely continuing to practise the Jewish religion. When, as a result of a number of events, it became apparent at the end of 1656 that there was no longer a prohibition on Jews living in England (Jews had been expelled by King Edward I in 1290), the group of merchants acquired a house in Creechurch Lane, in the City of London, for use as a synagogue, holding services there from 1657 until 1701, when the Bevis Marks Synagogue was built. Bevis Marks is the oldest extant synagogue in Britain (other than possibly a medieval synagogue in Lincoln).

A branch congregation was established in Wigmore Street (in London's West End) in 1853, moving to Bryanston Street in 1861 and to the existing building in Lauderdale Road, Maida Vale, in 1896. Other branch congregations were established, in Ramsgate and Wembley, and a number of other independent Sephardi congregation were founded having loose links with the "mother" congregation. The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, Holland Park was established in 1928 under a Deed of Association with the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation.

The Congregation is by governed by a Board of Elders, as well as a Mahamad of five members, who act as an executive. The affairs of the Congregation are regulated by a body of Laws, known as Ascamot, the earliest of which is known to date from 1663.

The community is served by a team rabbinate: the post of Haham (see list below), or chief rabbi, is currently vacant (and has frequently been so in the Congregation's history), the current head being known as the "Senior Rabbi".


Congregations

The following lists the Sephardi and other Eastern (Edot haMizrach) rites Synagogues within regions covered by JCR-UK, which includes all the synagogues in Gibraltar.

Synagogues of the Spanish &
Portuguese Jews' Congregation
:


Independent Sephardi & Edot haMizrach Synagogues - London
(a number of these are loosely affiliated with the Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregation) :


Other Sephardi & Edot haMizrach Synagogues - Provincial
:

Other Sephardi Synagogues - Gibraltar:

In addition, Sephardi congregations are to be found at a number of ostensibly non-Sephardi synagogues in London, including the following:

*  A congregation that is still active

A congregation now merged into the Sephardi Congregation of South Manchester..

 


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the All-UK Database associated with the Sephardi Congregations:

Marriages

Bevis Marks Synagogue, 1836 - 1918 (1,253 records);

Burials

Hoop Lane Cemetery (Spanish & Portuguese Jews Congregation), (425 records*);
Novo Cemetery, Mile End
, 1733 - 1918 (
Spanish & Portuguese Jews Congregation), (10,732 records*);
*A search in the database may also reveal duplicates of some of these records on the
JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Register (JOWBR).

Communal Leaders

Jewish Directory for 1874 (76 Spanish & Portuguese Jews' Congregations records, London & Manchester).

 


Bibliography, Online Articles and Other Material
relating to Sephardi Congregations

On JCR-UK

On Third Party websites

 

Cemeteries of the S&P Sephardi Community

The following are cemeteries of the SandP Sephardi Community:

  • Mile End - "Velho" (Old) Cemetery (disused), behind 253 Mile End Rd, London E.1
    This is the oldest (post re-settlement) Jewish cemetery in Britain, opened in 1657 and is Listed Grade II. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Mile End Old)

  • Mile End - Nuevo (New) Beth Chaim Cemetery (disused), 320 Mile End Road, London E.1.
    This cemetery, also known as Beth Haim Novo Cemetery, was acquired in 1725 and first used in 1733. Although some 2,000 graves remain, some 7,500 remains and tombstones of people buried between 1734 and 1876 were moved in 1974 to a small cemetery in Brentwood (see below), following the sale of the land, and the consquential destruction of a the major part of the cemetery. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Mile End New)

  • Brentwood Sephardi Jewish Cemetery (disused), Dytchleys, Coxtie Green, Brentwood, Essex.
    The cemetery includes some 7,500 remains re-interred in 1974 in a mass grave from the greater part of the Nuevo Cemetery at Mile End, London (see above) where they had originally been buried mainly between 1734 and 1876. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Brentwood)

  • Hoop Lane (East) Sephardi Cemetery (active), Hoop Lane, Golders Green London NW11 7EU
    This section of the cemetery, the eastern section, comprising some eight acres, was acquired in 1896 by the Sephardi community from the West London (Reform) Synagogue, who still retain the larger part of the cemetery. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Hoop Lane)

  • Edgwarebury Sephardi Cemetery (active), Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware HA8 8QP
    This cemetery, opened in 1973, is also shared with various non-orthodox Jewish congregations. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Edgwarebury)


 

Hahamim(2)
(and senior rabbis of the Separdi Congregation)
To view a short profile of a name shown in blue - hold the cursor over his name

The biographical information for the list below is currently a work in progress

 

Synagogal Organisation in the United Kingdom

London Jewish Community home page

________________

Notes & Sources ( returns to main text)

  1. "Jewish News", Issue No. 1010, 6 July 2017, pp. 1 & 4, quoting report by Board of Deputies Policy Reseach, carried out between April and September 2016.

  2. The biographical information (© David Shulman) has been extracted from a number of publications, including the Jewish Enclyclpedia, c.1906, Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972, and British Chief Rabbis 1664-2006 by Derek Taylor, 2007, which latter publication includes a separate chapter of each haham.

  3. Not a great deal is known about Rabbi Joshua da Silva's background. He was born in Amsterdam, was married to Sara and died in office in London in 1679.


Page created: 27 June 2017
Latest revision or update:25 February 2021

 
 

 
 

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