JCR-UK

Leicester Hebrew Congregation

Leicester, Leicestershire

 

 

 

 
JCR-UK is a genealogical and historical website covering all Jewish communities and
congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
NOTE: We are not the official website of this congregation, the web address of which is shown below.

 Congregation Data

Name

Leicester Hebrew Congregation

Address:

Highfield Street, PO Box 6836  Leicester LE2 1WZ, from 1898

The foundation stone of the synagogue was laid on 20 July 1897 by the Mayor of Leicester, Herbert Marshall, and the building was consecrated by the Chief Rabbi on 5 September 1898.(ii)

Previous Address:

Crafton Street, Leicester(iii)

A converted warehouse, this appears to have been the address from the founding of the congregation until 1898. It could accomadate 90 persons (60 men and 30 women).(iv)

Current Status:

Active

Date Formed:

The congregation was established in 1874,(v) largely through the efforts of Israel Hart. Mr Hart (later Sir Israel Hart), was to come to the rescue of the congregation on several subsequent occasions, including in 1886 when it was facing a crisis that could resulted in its virtual collapse.(vi)

Earlier Congregation
There had been an earlier attempt to launch a congregation in the city. In June 1860, an appeal was made for assistance in connection with the establishment of a synagogue, for which a building had already been procured,(vii) and the 1861 Leicester Directory refers to the existence of a "Jews' Synagogue", which would appear to have been located at Regent Street, off London Road.(viii) However, such attempts were only, at the best, of short-term duration and it was not until the next decade that the congregation finally became a reality.

See article on Leicester by Prof. Aubrey Newman for the early history of the congregation.

Ritual:

Ashkenazi Orthodox

Affiliation:

None, but under the congregation is under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Website:

http://jewish-leicester.co.uk/ (temporarily inoperative as of January 2021)

Communal Newsletter:

Leicester Jewish Bulletin, founded in 1941(x)

Ministers:

(To view a short profile of a minister or reader whose name appears in blue, hold the cursor over his name.)

The names and terms of office of ministers and readers (to 1998) are as listed in Prof. Aubrey Newman's and Patricia Lidiker's "Portrait of a Community"(xi) with additional data (where indicated) provided by Jewish Year Books (1896 to 2015) and press reports (in particular as regards forenames).

Rev. Newman Jacob Kowalski - lay minister in 1870s(xii)

Rev. M. Eisenberg - between 1879 and 1882(xiii)

Rev. M. Fineberg - from about 1882 until 1886(xiv)

Rev. Adolph Treitel Chodowski - from 1887 until 1889(xv)

Rev. Hyam Jacob Dainow - from 1889 until 1896(xvi)

Rev. M. M. Cohen - from 1896 until 1903(xvii)

Rev. Israel Tremianka - in 1904(xviii)

Rev. Abraham Newman - from 1905 until 1939(xxii)

Rev. Bernard Unterman, MA - from 1939 until 1946(xxiii)

Rev. Dr. Izaak Rapaport - from 1947 until 1950(xxiv)

Rev. Simon Isaac Susman - from 1952 until 1974(xxv)

Rev. Meyer Fine - from 1974 until 1986(xxvi)

Rev. (later Rabbi) Chaim N. Ingram, BA - from 1986 until 1992(xxvii)

Rev. (later Rabbi) Adam Hill, BA - from 1993 until 1998(xxviii)

Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz - from 1998 until about 2001(xxix)

Rabbi Shmuli Pink - from 2001 to present (January 2021)(xxx)

Beth Hamedrash:

During World War II until about 1947, a second orthodox minyan met in Leicester which styled itself as the Leicester Beth Hamedrash. Although meeting separately from the main congregation, it was not a breakaway congregation. Its members, principally refugees from Nazi-controlled Europe and evacuees, consisting largely of more orthodox members of the community. It was led by a distinguished rabbi who had managed to escape the Nazis and services were held in his garage at St Stephen's Road.(xxxv)

Rabbi: Rabbi Joseph Hirsch Dunner from about 1941 to about 1947 (xxxvi)

Readers:

M. Bagel - died 1914(xxxix)

Rev. A. Solomon - from 1914 until 1916(xl)

Rev. Abraham Opolion - from 1916 until 1920(xli)

Rev. Abrahams - from 1920 until 1930(xlii)

Rev. Samuel Zucker - from about 1937 until 1947(xliii)

Rev. Eugen Teichmann - reader from 1949 until about 1963, senior reader from about 1963 until 1968(xliv)

Rev. M. Baddiel - from 1963 until about 1968(xlv)

Assistant Ministers:

Rev. Salvador Benzaquen - from 1969 until 1972(xlvi)

Rev. Maurice A. Kibel - from 1972 until 1973(xlvii)

Lay Officers:

Except where otherwise stated, the data below has been extracted from Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896/97.(lii) Generally, where a first name is given, this has been obtained from other sources, including Prof. Aubrey Newman's and Patricia Lidiker's "Portrait of a Community" p. 90, which lists (without dates) the presidents of the congregation.

Presidents(liii)

1874 - Joseph Levy(liv)

1874-1911 - Sir Israel Hart(lv)

1911-1913 - Simon Thomas

1915-1917 - Leopold Wacks

1917-1920 - I. Cyr. Thomas

1920-1923 - Sol Josephs

1923-1924 - Leopold Wacks

1924-1926 - Henry Simons

1926-1929 - Nathaniel Simmons

1929-1930 - Michael Millett

1930-1931 - Nathaniel Simmons

1931-1934 - Sydney Josephs

1934-1935 - Dr. Israel Platt

1936-1940 - Nathaniel Simmons(lvi)

Early 1940s - Mark Henig(lvii)

1945-1947 - Nathaniel Simmons(lvi)

1947-1949 - Samuel May

1949-1952 - Bernard Lebens

1952-1955 - Isaac Cooklin

1955-at least 1956 - Harry Henig

1956-1998 - See list below in note (lviii)

 

Treasurers

1874 - Gustav Katzenstein(liv)

1896-1898 - J. Alexander

1898-1911 - Simon Thomas

1911-1912 - Alec Finburgh

1912-1913 - S. Margoles

1913-1915 - Leopold Wacks

1915-1917 - I. Cyr. Thomas

1917-1919 - Alec Finburgh

1919-1920 - Sol Josephs

1921-1923 - Alec Finburgh

1923-1924 - Henry Simons

1924-1925 - H. Malin

1925-1928 - Michael Millett

1928-1930 - Harry Henig

1929-1931 - J. Lurie

1931-1935 - Dr. Israel Platt

1935-1936 - Michael Millett

1936-1939 - Cecil Herbert (Ben) Harris(lix)

1939-1940 - Mark Henig

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1947 - Samuel May

1947-1949 - Abraham Goldberg

1949-1952 - Isaac Cooklin

1952-1953 - H.L. Rivlin

1953-1955 - Marcus Horovitz

1955-at least 1956 - Leon Clarfield

Hon. Secretaries

1874 - Solomon Rheinberg(liv)

1896-1899 - B. Samuel

1899-1900 - P. Goldsmid

1900-1911 - Alec Finburgh

1911-1913 - J. Weinberg

1913-1917 - L. Doffman

1917-1919 - Sol Josephs

1919-1923 - H. Malin

1923-1924 - A. Altman

1924-1926 - D. Millet

1926-1929 - G. Belcher

1929-1931 - Samuel May

1931-1933 - Cecil Herbert (Ben) Harris(lix)

1933-1936 - R. Wacks

1936-1939 - Monty Henig

1939-1940 - Ellis Levinson

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1949 - Joseph B. de Jongh

1949-1951 - Abe Crammer

1951-1952 - C.D. Aarons

1952-1954 - A.S. Jacobs

1954-1960 - Wolfie Morrison

1960-1962 - M. Simmons

1962-1969 - Wilfie Morrison

1969-1971 - Ms. Shirley Jacobs

1971-1974 - J. Kaufman

1974-1977 - Geoffrey J. Louis

1977-1978 - Mrs. I. Chapman

1978-2001 - Geoffrey J. Louis

Officers of the Beit Hamedrash:

1945-1947

Chairman - Dr. Max Goldschmidt(lx)   Secretary - Marcus Horovitz

Membership Data

Board of Deputies' Returns (number of seatholders)(lxiv)

1875

1880

1890

1894

1900

31

21

23

64

43

Jewish Year Books (number of seatholders)(lxv)

1896

1899

1905

1908

1911

1919

60

80

51

49

52

60

1920s to 1950s(lxvi)

until 1930 - membership never rose above 100 and rarely above 60.

1946 - 179 members.

11952 - 250 families belonged to the congregation.

National Reports and Surveys(lxvii)

1977 - 197 male (or household) members and 50 female members

1983 - 160 male (or household) members and 65 female members

1990 - 210 members (comprising 160 households, 20 individual male and 30 individual female members)

1996 - 181 members (comprising 108 households, 20 individual male and 53 individual female members)

2010 - listed as having 100 to 199 members (by household)

2016 - listed as having 50 to 99 members (by household)

Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered charity (no. 1179457), registered on 10 May 1965.(lxviii)

Registration District:

Leicester (since 1 April 1997)(lxix)  - Link to Register Office website.

Cemetery
Information:

The Congregation uses the Gilroes Jewish Cemetery at Groby Road, Leicester LE3 9QS, opened in 1902. The Cemetery's website (a project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and affiliated to JCR-UK) includes a full catalogue of all the burials in the cemetery. For details see Leicester Jewish Cemetery Information on Leicester home page.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) Portrait of a Community - A History of the Leicester Hebrew Congregation by (later Prof.) Aubrey Newman & Patricia Lidiker (1998), p.17.

  • (iii) This was the listed address in Jewish Year Books until the 1898/99 edition.

  • (iv) The Jewish Directory for 1874 edited by Asher I. Myers, p.69.

  • (v) The Jewish Chronicle report of 6 November 1874, there had been no previous reports of the establishment of such congregation and the Leicester congregation celebrated its centenary in February 1974. Early Jewish Year Book reports (from 1896/7) erroneously give the dates of founding as 1866.

  • (vi) Portrait of a Community, pp.15/16.

  • (vii) The Jewish Chronicle and Hebrew Observer reports of 22 June 1860.

  • (viii) Portrait of a Community, p.12.

  • (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) Portrait of a Community, pp.67/8.

  • (xi) Portrait of a Community - A History of the Leicester Hebrew Congregation by Prof. Aubrey Newman & Patricia Lidiker (1998), p.17.

  • (xii) Described in Portrait of a Community as lay minister (p.13) and lay reader (p.89), Rev. Kowalski is listed as minister of the congregation in The Jewish Directory for 1874. The dates of his term of office are not known.

  • (xiii) Sole source - Portrait of a Community, p.89. Rev. M. Eisenberg may possibly have been a relation of Rev A.H. Eisenberg of Bristol.

  • (xiv) Portrait of a Community, p.89. According to a report in The Jewish Chronicle, Rev. Fineberg then moved to Derby, but this was prior to the establishment of any organised Jewish community in that town.

  • (xv) Listed (erroneously) in Portrait of a Community, p.89 as Chodowskic.

  • (xvi) Rev, Dainow was listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89 and Jewish Chronicle reports.

  • (xvii) Listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89 and Rev, Cohen's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1896/7 through 1903/4.

  • (xviii) Rev. Trevianka was listed as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1904/5.

  • (xix) to (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) Portrait of a Community, pp. 49/50,89. Rev. Newman, the longest serving minister of the congregation, is also listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1905/6 through 1939.

  • (xxiii) Listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89. Rev. Unterman is also listed in as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1940, 1945/6 and 1947 (there being no publication during the war years 1940 to 1945).

  • (xxiv) Listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89. Rev. (later Rabbi) Rapaport is also listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1948 through 1951.

  • (xxv) Listed in Portrait of a Community,p p. 50-53, 89. Rev. Susman is also listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1953 through 1974.

  • (xxvi) Although Rev. Fine is listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89 as having served the congregation until 1984, other sources indicate that the date was 1986, when he retired. He is also listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1976 through 1986.

  • (xxvii) Although Rabbi Ingram is listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89 as having been appointed as minister in 1984, other sources indicate that he did not begin until 1986. In addition, Rev. (later Rabbi) Ingram is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books only from 1987 through 1994.

  • (xxviii) Based upon Rabbi Hill's listing in Portrait of a Community, p.89. Rev. (later Rabbi) Hill is also listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books only from 1995 through 1998.

  • (xxix) Based upon Rabbi Kanterovitz's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books only from 1995 through 2002 and Jewish Chronicle reports.

  • (xxx) Based upon Rabbi Pink's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 2003 and Chabad of Leicester website, accessed 21 January 2021.

  • (xxxi) to (xxxiv) Reserved.

  • (xxxv) The Beit Hamedrash was listed in Jewish Year Books 1945?6 and 1947. See also Portrait of a Community, pp.29-32 and Jewish Voices - Memories of Leicester in the 1940s and 1950s compiled by Rosalind Adam, pp.50/51.

  • (xxxvi) Listed in Jewish Year Books 1945?6 and 1947.

  • (xxxvii) and (xxxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxxix) M. Bagel is listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89.

  • (xl) Rev. Solomon is listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89.

  • (xli) Jewish Chronicle reports of 12 November 1920 and 6 January 1922 and Rev. Opolion listing in Portrait of a Community, p.89.

  • (xlii) Rev. Abrahams is listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89.

  • (xliii) Although Portrait of a Community, p.89, lists Rev. S. Zucker as reader of the congregation from 1935 to 1947, it is believed that he is the same Rev. Sam Zucker, who served the Whitley Bay congregation until about 1937. Accordingly, and as he is listed in Jewish Year Books only from 1939 (through 1949) we have shown his term of office is shown as commencing in about 1937.

  • (xliv) Although Portrait of a Community, p.89, lists Rev. S. Teichmann as reader of the congregation from 1947 to 1963, his Jewish Chronicle obituary of 19 January 1973 refers to his retirement from the congregation in 1968, having served for 19 years. Accordingly, and as he is listed as reader in Jewish Year Books from 1950 through 1968 (from 1965 as "Senior Reader"), we have shown his term of office is shown as from 1949 to 1968.

  • (xlv) As listed in Portrait of a Community, p.89. Rev. (later Rabbi) Baddiel is also listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1965 through 1968.

  • (xlvi) Jewish Chronicle reports of 23 May 1969 and 14 April 1972. He is listed as Rev. I. Benzaquen, reader, in Portrait of a Community, p.89, and Rev. Y. Benzaquen, assistant minister, in the Jewish Year Book 1971.

  • (xlvii) Jewish Chronicle report of 23 June 1972 and the Jewish Year Book 1972. He is listed as Rev. I.(sic) Kibel, reader, in Portrait of a Community, p.89.

  • (xlviii) to (li) Reserved.

  • (lii) Where a person is first listed in a year book as holding a particular office, it has been assumed that his term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant year book and that he continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor, unless the office was vacant. Initially year books corresponded to the Hebrew year, and thus ran roughly from autumn of one year - the year of publication - until autumn of the next year. From 1909, year books were published according to the Gregorian year, being published generally towards the end of the year prior to the year appearing the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1935 through 1938, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1934 and continued in office until 1938. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, his actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here. Jewish Year Books were not published during WWII subsequent to 1940. There were no Jewish Year Book listings of lay officers (other than secretary) subsequent to 1956.

  • (liii) Unless otherwise indicated, the respective terms of office of the presidents listed here have been extracted from Jewish Year Books, as discussed in the previous note, whereas their full names have generally been taken from the Portrait of a Community, p. 90.

  • (liv) Listed in The Jewish Directory for 1874 edited by Asher I. Myers.

  • (lv) Canterbury-born Sir Israel Hart (1835-1911), the brother of Councillor Henry Hart of Canterbury, came to Leicester in 1859. He served four times as mayor of Leicester and is considered the virtual founder of the congregation. Although, by the turn of the century, he had retired from active control of the affairs of the congregation and moved to London, members of the congregation still insisted upon electing him each year as president of the congregation until his death. Portrait of a Community, pp. 17, 50-55.

  • (lvi) Mr. Simmons was listed as president of the congregation in Jewish Year Books immediately prior to World War II (from Jewish Year Book 1935 to 1940) and immediately after the war (the editions 1945/6 and 1947). However (see next note), it would appear he did not serve in such capacity throughout the war.

  • (lvii) Mark Henig (the son of Harry Henig and the brother of Monty Henig) is not listed as president of the congregation in any Jewish Year Book, although he was listed as treasurer in the 1940 edition. He is, however, listed as a president in Portrait of a Community, p.90, and, based upon his position in such list, it is believed that he served in such capacity at some time during the war years, when the Jewish Year Book was not published. Mark Henig (later Sir Mark Henig) became an aldeman in 1958 and Lord Mayor of Leicester in 1967.

  • (lviii) The following are listed as serving as presidents of the congregation after Harry Henig, until 1998:
    Abraham Goldberg, Leon Clarfield, Marcus Horovitz, Monty Henig, Monty Simmons, David Jacobs, Ben Josephs, Dr. Bernard Fisher; Dr. Aubrey Newman; Anthony Nelson; Kenneth Fenton; Neville Felstein & Ian Simons (jointly); and Ian Simons. (Portrait of a Community, p.90.)

  • (lix) Mr. Harris (1899-1969) was born in Newport, Mons, and came to Leicester in 1926. He was elected Lord Mayor of Leicester in 1954, the first Jew to hold that office after Leicester was officially elevated to being a city.

  • (lx) Name subsequently changed to Mac Goldsmith.

  • (lxi) to (lxiii) Reserved.

  • (lxiv) Provided in paper on Leicester by Prof. Aubrey Newman, prepared for a conference on Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain, held at University College, London, on 6 July 1975, convened by the Jewish Historical Society of England.

  • (lxv) Membership numbers extracted from Jewish Year Books. In each case, the date given is the date when the congregation was first listed as having the number of seatholders indicated.

  • (lxvi) Portrait of a Community pp. 20 and 39

  • (lxvii) Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by or on behalf of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and which can be viewed on the website of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. Click HERE for links to the various reports.

  • (lxviii) Charities Commission's website accessed 19 January 2021.

  • (lxix) For previous registration districts, see on Leicester Home Page. Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

Portrait of a Community
A History of Leicester Hebrew Congregation
by Aubrey Newman & Patricoa Lidiker (1998)

On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation

  • Annual Reports and Accounts filed with the Charities Commission (pdf):

    • For years ended 28 February: 2019 and 2020.

  • For other material , see Leicester Jewish Community home page

 

Other Leicester Jewish Institutions & Organisations

 
Leicester Jewish Community home page

Jewish Congregations in Leicestershire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 2 March 2004
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 19 January 2021
Latest revision or update: 25 January 2021


Explanation of Terms   |   About JCR-UK  |   JCR-UK home page

Contact JCR-UK Webmaster:
jcr-ukwebmaster@jgsgb.org.uk
(Note: This is to contact JCR-UK, not the above Congregation)

JGSGB  JewishGen


Terms and Conditions, Licenses and Restrictions for the use of this website:

This website is owned by JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. All material found herein is owned by or licensed to us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your own personal use. You may not post material from this site on another website without our consent. You may not transmit or distribute material from this website to others. You may not use this website or information found at this site for any commercial purpose.


Copyright © 2002 - 2021 JCR-UK. All Rights Reserved