Press Reports relating to the Epsom Synagogue
Jewish Chronicle, 22 August 1941, page 4
Jewish Chronicle, 27 July 1945, page 4
Jewish Chronicle, 13 September 1946, page 14
Jewish Chronicle, 2 February 1951, page 22
Jewish Chronicle, 29 October 1954, page 21
Jewish Chronicle, 13 October 1967
For nearly 26 years the now tiny Epsom congregation has dreamed of possessing its own sefer Torah. On Sunday of last week the dream came true and the scroll was consecrated at a service held in the Epsom and District Synagogue, which is affiliated to the United Synagogue. But had it not been for the generosity of a non-Jewish woman, the synagogue may have had to wait even longer for its most treasured possession.
Some months ago, Mrs. Janie Smith went to the synagogue on a Shabbat and asked if she could stay for the service. She subsequently attended the synagogue regularly, even though unable to read Hebrew, and was often the only woman present at services. During this period the synagogue began negotiations with Rabbi Reinhart, of the Westminster Synagogue, to purchase one of the Sifrei Torah rescued from the Nazis and recovered from Czechoslovakia. At that time, the synagogue was not certain whether to proceed, first, because of the cost involved, and secondly, because the Six-Day War entailed outlay by Jewish organisations in other directions.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Smith died and the synagogue, still undecided whether or not to buy the scroll, was informed by her solicitors that she had left it a legacy. This was enough to cover the cost of the scroll, which was then purchased. The service was conducted by the synagogue's vice-president and honorary reader, Mr. F. Hirsch.
The congregation, which has only 26 subscribing members, is closely knit During the war the membership, mainly refugees from Nazism and evacuee residents, was about 200, but few remain since the drift back to London. Some local Jewish residents attend services at Sutton.
The Epsom Synagogue building was consecrated in 1954 by Dayan Dr. M. Lew and the community, founded in 1941, once had a minister, from 1941-47, in the person of Rabbi Dr. P. Holzer, who was present on Sunday. Mr. M. G. Jones, the synagogue's financial representative, told me: "This is really a do-it-yourself congregation. We obtained seats and pews from the Great Synagogue, Adler Street, and Dr. H. L. Lehmann (the president) did some carpentry work on them. I saw to the plumbing and others gave a hand with the decorations of what was once a Baptist church. We are very comfortable here."
[Article extracted by Steven Jaffe.]
Jewish Chronicle, 28 October 1977
Jewish Chronicle, 22 May 1992, page 13
Jewish Chronicle, 2 July 1993 [no pagination]
[Jewish Chronicle, 3 September 1993, page 4.
List of JCR-UK Articles and Press Extracts by Harold Pollins
Page created: 4 May 2006
Initial formatting by Louise Messik
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