Bradford Jewish Community

Bradford, West Yorkshire




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
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City of Bradford

The officially-named City of Bradford Metropolitan District, in northern England, has a population of nearly half a million. Lying just to the west of the city of Leeds, the present boundaries date from 1974, when the county borough of Bradford was merged with a number of other localities from West Riding of Yorkshire (including the district of Ilkley, some 12 miles to the north of Bradford proper) to form the metropolitan district within the then new metropolitan county of West Yorkshire.  Bradford became a unitary authority in 1986 when West Yorkshire lost its administrative status, becoming purely a ceremonial county.

The Bradford Jewish Community

The Jewish community of the Greater Bradford area dates from the mid-nineteenth century and at its highest point (in the period following World War II) numbered no more than approximately 1,000 individuals. As with many provincial communities, its growth was due primarily to three separate waves of immigrants, the first of German Jews arriving in the years 1830 to 1870, next of Jews fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe in the years 1880 to 1905 and thirdly of Jews from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia seeking refuge from Nazism in the late 1930s. However, Bradford is unique among the older provincial Jewish communities being the only such community that saw the establishment of a non-orthodox congregation prior to the founding of an orthodox congregation. The orthodox congregation, which at certain times consisted of two rival congregations, has now closed due to declining numbers. Members of the Jewish community in the city, being only a short distance from Leeds, are able to look to the Leeds Jewish community for the supply of kosher food and Jewish requirements.

Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that exist or existed in Bradford:

* An active congregation.

The following are former or alternative names of the above congregations:

    • Bowland Street Synagogue- see Bradford Reform Synagogue  

    • Bradford Congregation of British and Foreign Jews - see Bradford Reform Synagogue

    • Bradford Synagogue - see Bradford Reform Synagogue

    • Bradford Synagogue of British and Foreign Jews - see Bradford Reform Synagogue

    • Bradford Tree of Life Synagogue- see Bradford Reform Synagogue

    • Jewish Association - see Bradford Reform Synagogue  

    • Houghton Place Synagogues - see Bradford Hebrew Congregation

    • Kirkgate Synagogue - see Bradford New Hebrew Orthodox Congregation

    • Spring Gardens Synagogue- see Bradford Hebrew Congregation

    • Springhurst Road Synagogue- see Bradford Hebrew Congregation


Bradford Jewish Cemeteries Information



Search the Bradford Jewish Cemeteries Database,
including burial records and photographs of the headstones,
as well as plans and a description of the cemeteries

Basic Cemeteries Information

The Cemeteries are part of the main Scholemoor Cemetery, Necropolis Road and consist of two sections, both still in use:

  • The Reform Section, the cemetery of the Bradford Synagogue for British and Foreign Jews (Reform), comprising two separate parts: the old part, first burial 1877; and the new part, first burial 1983. Before the Reform Scholemoor Cemetery was opened some Jewish burials took place at the Bradford Undercliffe Cemetery. The Database (which also includes Undercliff) contains over 200 burial records from 1877 to May 2017.

  • The Orthodox Section, the cemetery of the Bradford Hebrew Congregation, also comprises two separate parts: the old part, first burial 1912, now full; and the new part. The Database contains over 400 burial records from 1912 to May 2017.

Also on JCR-UK are photographs of the Stained Glass Windows and Memorial Plaques in the Ohel (Prayer Hall) in the Orthodox Section of the Cemetery.

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


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Bradford include:

  • UK Jewish Communal Leaders Database - Bradford records:

    • Jewish Directory for 1874 and Jewish Year Book 1896/7 (records of 10 individuals); and

    • JCR-UK Listings (records of 113 individuals - as of the March 2024 update).

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (as of the 2016 update)

    • Individuals in the "1851" database who were living in Bradford during the 1820s (2 records), 1840s (11 records), 1850s (47 records), 1860s (5 records), 1870s (11 records), 1880s (10 records), 1890s (2 records), 1900s (3 records) and 1910s (1 record).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Bradford Jewish Community


on third party's website

Notable Jewish Connections with Bradford

  • Sir Jacob Behrens (1806–1889), a Jewish Anglo–German textile merchant who was instrumental in Bradford's development as a major exporter of woollen goods. He opened his factory in Bradford in 1834.

  • David Berglas MBE (b. 1926), a British magician and mentalist who was a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. He attended Bradford Technical College to study textiles with a view of joining his family business based in Wyke, a former village, now a ward in Bradford.

  • Dr. Friederich Eurich (1867–1945), a German-born Jewish bacteriologist who was educated at Bradford Grammar School. He is particularly noted for his contribution in overcoming anthrax in the woollen industry.

  • Richard Ernst Eurich, OBE, RA (1903–1992), son of Freidrich, was an English painter who worked as a war artist to the Admiralty in World War II.

  • Wilfred Fienburgh (1919-1958), brought up in Bradford, was Labour MP for North Islington. He wrote the novel No Love For Johnnie, described as ‘a cynical portrayal of British politics in the late 1950s’.

  • Rodney Friend MBE (b. 1939) violinist, born in Bradford.

  • Ashe Lincoln (1907-1998) distinquished naval officer, renowned barrister and Jewish communal leader, was born in Bradford

  • Edward Lyons QC (1926-2010), Labour MP for Bradford East (1966-1974) and then Bradford West (1974-1981).

  • Florence Moser (1856–1921) philanthropist and social worker, established with her husband, Jacob (see below, a Lord Mayor of Bradford), the 'City Guild of Help' in Bradford, a form of organised help for the poor and distressed. She also ran the 'Nest' for mothers to leave their babies and young children for the day.

  • Sir William Rothenstein (1872–1945), born into a German Jewish family in Bradford, was a painter, printmaker, draughtsman, lecturer, and writer on art.

  • Boris Schapiro (1909–2002), an international bridge player who was a Grandmaster of the World Bridge Federation, and the only player to have won both the Bermuda Bowl (the world championship for teams) and the World Senior Pairs championship.

  • Ernest Leopold Sichel (1862–1941), a painter of figures, portraits and still life, a sculptor and silversmith, as well as a pastellist.

  • Jonathan Silver (1949–1997), an entrepreneur born in Bradford, who was instrumental in bringing Salts Mill back to life.

  • Jacob Unna (1800–1881), born in Hamburg, became one of Bradford's leading industrialists and a founder of the Bradford Chamber of Commerce in 1851.

  • Michael Wharton (1913–2006) of German Jewish descent, a newspaper columnist who wrote under the pseudonym Peter Simple in the Daily Telegraph, was born in Shipley, a historic market town, today a ward in Bradford.

  • Humbert Wolfe, CB, CBE (1885–1940) Italian-born English poet, man of letters and civil servant. He was brought up in Bradford and was a pupil at Bradford Grammar School.

  • Jewish Mayors or Lord Mayors of Bradford:

    • Charles (Joseph) Semon (1814–1877), the first foreign and Jewish mayor of Bradford in 1864, and was instrumental in forming The Jewish Association of Bradford in 1873.

    • Jacob Moser (1839–1922), Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1910. Alongside his work in his textile export business, Jacob was a founder of the Bradford Charity Organisation Society and, with his wife, Florence (see above), the 'City Guild of Help'. A founder of Bradford Reform Synagogue.

    • Alderman Dr David Black, Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1960.

    • Councillor Olive Messer, Lord Mayor of Bradford in 1984.

  • For additional personalities, see Making Their Mark website.


Other Bradford Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Reform Synagogue Religious Classes (founded 1873)(ii)
    Pupils: 1896 - 35; 1897 - 25
    The congregation's minister generally served as superintendent and headmaster

  • Hebrew Congregation Religious Classes (founded 1875)(iii)
    Pupils: 1903 - 103
    The congregation's minister generally served as headmaster.

  • Hebrew Day School, 25 Houghton Place (about 1900 to about 1902)(iv)
    teacher; Rev. S. Finkelstein

Some Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Anglo-Jewish Association, Bradford Branch (founded 1877)(vii)

  • Bradford Jewish Benevolent Society (founded by 1903)(viii)
    Objects: For the relief of the Jewish poor.

  • Bradford Jewish Ladies Guild (founded 1902)(ix)

  • Bradford Jewish Representative Council (founded by 1917)(x)

  • Bradford Ladies Social Society (founded by 1902)(xi)

  • Bradford League of Jewish Women (founded by 1917)(xii)

  • Bradford Reform Synagogue Association (founded by 1924)(xv)

  • Bradford Refugee Hostel (founded by 1945)(xvi)

  • Chevra Kaddisha & Burial Board (founded by 1923)(xvii)

  • Jewish Lads' Brigade, Bradford Company (founded 1901)(xx)

  • Jewish Literary & Historic Society (founded by 1897)(xxi)

  • Grand Order of Israel, Bradford Branch (founded 1877)(xxii)

  • Women's Zionist Society (founded by 1923)(xxiii)

  • Zionist Society, known as the Montefiore Zionist Society until about 1917 (founded by 1899)(xxiv)


Community Records

  • Registration District (BMD): Bradford & Keighley (since 1 October 2008)

    • Previous Registration District:
         Bradford (from 1 July 1837 to 1 October 2008).

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

    • Register Office website


Bradford Jewish Population Data


First Jewish inhabitant (Jacob Behrens)


30 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1897/98)



(The Jewish Year Book 1899/1900)



(The Jewish Year Book 1902/03)



(The Jewish Year Book 1905/06)



(The Jewish Year Book 1947)



(The Jewish Year Book 1949)



(The Jewish Year Book 1971)



(The Jewish Year Book 1985)



(The Jewish Year Book 1986)



(The Jewish Year Book 1989)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 1994)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2004)


Notes & Sources

( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) Jewish Year Book 1897/98. .

  • (iii) Jewish Year Book 1924. .

  • (iv) Listed in Jewish Year Books 1900/01 and 1901/02. .

  • (v) and (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) listed in Jewish Year Book 1900/01. .

  • (viii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1903/04. .

  • (ix) Jewish Year Book 1903/04. .

  • (x) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1918. .

  • (xi) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1902/03. .

  • (xii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1918. .

  • (xiii) and (xiv) Reserved.

  • (xv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1925. .

  • (xvi) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1945/46. .

  • (xvii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1924. .

  • (xviii) and (xix) Reserved.

  • (xx) Jewish Year Book 1902/03. .

  • (xxi) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1897/98. .

  • (xxii) Jewish Year Book 1916. .

  • (xxiii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1924. .

  • (xxiv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1899/1900. .

Jewish Congregations in West Yorkshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 21 August 2005
Page most recently amended: 28 March 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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