the former

Independent Hebrew Congregation

Edinburgh, Scotland




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Congregation Data


Independent Hebrew Congregation, Edinburgh


Lothian Street, Edinburgh


By 1922(ii)

Current Status:

Defunct, probably from mid or late 1920s(iii)


Nominally Orthodox, but uncertain ritual


None known.


Alexander Levison was appointed minister of this congregation in May 1922, following which, The Jewish Chronicle warned that he required "close watching" in case he engaged in Christian conversionist activity directed at the Jewish community. He was the brother of a convert to Christianity who became founding president of the International Hebrew Christian Alliance and another brother was a minister of the United Free Church. Levison commenced an action against The Jewish Chronicle and Rabbi Dr Salis Daiches of the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation, for defamation. The case centred around Levison's claim to be a qualified rabbi. In 1924 Levison's case collapsed as a result of forged documentation, which later went "missing", relating to his alleged semicha by Rab. Kook. The editor also questioned the effectiveness of validation procedures of the chief rabbi's office in London for ministerial appointments. Following the termination of his case, Levison left for America before a costs order could be made against him. Levison also served the Cork Hebrew Congregation for three months, although it is unclear whether this was before he arrived in Edinburgh or in the interim period after leaving Edinburgh but before his case collapsed.(v)

Membership Data

No data.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) This was when Alexander Levison arrived at the congregation.

  • (iii) Alexander Levinson was still with the congregation in 1924,

  • The Jewish Chronicle of 7 November 1924 reporting that Levison (see below) "also conducts services, and acts as preacher to a body of men who style themselves the Independent Hebrew Congregation, and call Mr Levison Rabbi".

  • (iv) Reserved.

  • (v) The Jewish Chronicle editorial of 7 November 1924 and various other reports; Jewish Edinburgh. A History, by M.D. Gilfillan; Two Worlds by David Daiches; and Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History (2011), pp.574/5.


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Page created: 14 January 2021
Latest revision or update: 15 January 2021

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