the former

Falkirk Synagogue

Falkirk, Scotland




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

Town of Falkirk

The Scottish town of Falkirk is situated near the western end of the Firth of Forth, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Since 1975, Falkirk has been in the District of Falkirk, a unitary authority since 1996, but prior to then one of the three districts of the now defunct Central Region. Prior to 1975, Falkirk was situated within the traditional county of Stirlingshire.

Falkirk Jewish Community

The tiny Falkirk Jewish community, founded in the early years of the twentieth century, never more than a few dozen souls. It only had a resident minister before or shortly following World War I, although it maintained Hebrew classes and a small synagogue.(i) The community became defunct shortly following World War II, although a number of Jews continued to reside in the town.

Congregation Data


Falkirk Hebrew Congregation


The last address given for the congregation's synagogue was in Glebe Street, Falkirk, from 1946 to 1947,(ii) which was likely the address of private home.

Previously, the synagogue was in High Street, Falkirk possibly from about 1925. Other addresses given include Comely Place, Gartgows Road, Pleasance Square, Baxter's Wynd, Howgate, Lorne's Hall, Burn's Court and Arnothill Gradens,(iii) as well as Sword's Wynd round about World War I,(iv) all of which were probably members' homes.

Date Founded:

It is uncertain when the congregation was founded, although the most probable date is about 1904, when the first minister was reputedly appointed.(v) The congregation was not listed in Jewish Year Books until 1917.


Defunct since about 1946.(vi)


Ashkenazi Orthodox


None, but the congregation would have been under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Ministers / Readers:

(To view a short profile of a minister / reader - hold the cursor over his name.)

Rev. Gershon Spilg - from 1904.(x)

Rev. S. Garber - from about 1907 until no later than 1913.(xi)

Rev. B. Finkelstein - prior to 1914.(xii)

Rev. J. Chazan -in about 1916(xiii)

Rev. Abraham Samet - about 1917 to about 1918.(xiv)

Rev. Samuel Kibel - about 1919.(xv)


The following is the only officer of the congregation listed any Jewish Year Book:

A. Bulbin - secretary from at least 1917 to at least 1940(xvi)

Cemetery Information:

There is no known Jewish cemetery in Falkirk.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Aspects of Scottish Jewry by Kenneth Collins, 1987, p.39.

  • (ii) A Communal Revival in Falkirk by Jackie Taylor, Edinburgh Star No 35, July 2000.

  • (iii) Caledonian Jews by Nathan Abrams (2009) pp.114/6.

  • (iv) Scottish Jewish Archives Centre website.

  • (v) The Jewish Year Book 1945/6 stated that community was founded in 1826, which is clearly an error.

  • (vi) The congregation was last listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  • (vii) to (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) Caledonian Jews by Nathan Abrams, 2009, pp.114/6.

  • (xi) Jewish Chronicle report and Caledonian Jews by Nathan Abrams, 2009, p.117.

  • (xii) Referred to having previously been in Falkirk in Jewish Chronicle report of 11 September 1914.

  • (xiii) Referred to as being in Falkirk in Jewish Chronicle report of 14 January 1916.

  • (xiv) Appointed minister on 29 May 1917 (Michael Jolles's Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Chazanim, etc (2021), p.751).

  • (xv) Caledonian Jews by Nathan Abrams, 2009, p.118.

  • (xvi) Listed as secretary of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1917 through 1940.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Falkirk include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Falkirk during the 1850s (1 record).


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


on Third Party websites

Notable Former Jewish Residents of Falkirk

  • Robert Spence (b. May 1897) was the son of Rev. Geshon Spilg and changed his name from Reuven (or Jerucham) Spilg in 1940. Though he grew up in Falkirk in extreme poverty, he rose to become one of Glasgow's top businessman, a millionare and founder of Stirling's (Glasgow) Ltd., a major warehouse group.


Other Falkirk Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew and Religious Classes - first organised in in the early 1900s, on the formation of the congregation. The congregation's minister / reader was generally also the headmaster and at other times the childrem were taught by members of the community or teachers were imported from other communities.

Other Institutions

  • A Jewish Youth Bodywas established by 1933.


Falkirk Jewish Population Data


about 70

(Scottish Jewish Archives Centre website)



(The Jewish Year Book 1945/46)

Jewish Communities and Congregations in Scotland home page

Page created: 7 July 2003
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 29 October 2021
Page most recently amended: 21 October 2022

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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