JCR-UK

the former

Macclesfield Hebrew Congregation

(Macclesfield United Synagogue Membership Group)

Macclesfield, Cheshire

 

 

   

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

Town of Macclesfield, Cheshire

Macclesfield (population 50,000), a town in north-west England close to the border of Greater Manchester, is situated on the river Bollin, a tributary of the river Mersey. Bollington (population 8,000) is a village situated some 4 miles northeast of Macclesfield.

Since 1 April 2009, Macclesfield has been part of Cheshire East, a unitary authority with borough status within the now purely ceremonial county of Cheshire. From 1974 to 2009, Macclesfield (which during such period included the town of Wilmslow) was a local government district and borough in Cheshire. Prior to 1974, Macclesfield was a municipal borough within the county of Cheshire.

62 Chestergate, which housed the former Macclesfield Synagogue on the second floor
(from the cover of "Macclesfield's Jews and World War Two" - © Basil Jeuda)

Macclesfield Jewish Community

Although there were a few Jewish families living in the Macclesfield area prior to World War II,(i) there was no organised community. With the outbreak of war, Jewish evacuees from London and other built-up areas began to settle in Macclesfield and, to a lesser extent, in near-by Bollington and Wilmslow, supplemented by Jewish refugees from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Belgium, fleeing Nazi persecution.(ii) This lead to the establishment of an organised community in Macclesfield, as well as in Wilmslow (see separately). Within twelve months following the end of the war, most of the newcomers had returned to London and elsewhere, although a few remained.

From March to May 2016 the town hosted 'Celebrating Jewish Life, Art and Enterprise in Macclesfield During World War Two’ - an exhibition which commemorated the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Macclesfield Synagogue at 62 Chestergate, now Charles Roe House, where the exhibition was held. Basil Jeuda was curator of the exhibition and author of the accompanying book, Macclesfield's Jews in World War Two.

Congregation Data

Name:

Macclesfield Hebrew Congregation,

at times also known as Macclesfield United Synagogue Membership Group

Address:

First floor, 62 Chestergate (now Charles Roe House), Macclesfield, SK11 6DY,

although services until March 1941 were held in a cottage in Elizabeth Street, Macclesfield.(v)

Formation and Communal Life:

The Congregation was formally established following a public meeting on 27 January 1941.(vi)

For a history of the synagogue from its formation and Jewish communal life in Macclesfield, see A Brief History of the Macclesfield Hebrew Congregation, an extract from a book "Macclesfield's Jews in World War Two", by Basil Jeuda.

Date Closed:

Following the war most of the evacuees returned home and the last service to be held in the synagogue was in October 1946.(vii) However, the congregation continued to be active on very reduced basis(viii) and High Holy Day services continued to be held until 1953 at 133 Chester Road, the home Mr. Harold Franklin.(ix)

Ritual:

Ashkenazi Orthodox

Affiliation:

The Congregation became affiliated to the United Synagogue in June 1941 and, in September 1941, it became a United Synagogue Membership Group.(x) These groups were formed during World War II primarily by evacuees from London, and Macclesfield was the only such group not in the South of England or the Home Counties around London.

The congregation was not among those membership groups which applied to affiliate with the United Synagogue after the Membership Group scheme was wound up in 1946, and accordingly the tiny continuing Macclesfield Hebrew Congregation would appear to have continued to function as an unaffiliated congregation until its eventual dissolution.(xi)

Ministers:

Rabbi Dr. Rudolf Weis - from 1941 until 1942(xiv)

Rev. Irving Chazen - from 1942 until 1946(xv)

Lay Officers:

President

Joshua (Jack) Cohen - 1941-1946(xviii)

Vice President

Philip Osband - c.1941(xix)

Treasurer

Harold Franklin - 1941-late 1940s(xxi)

Hon. Secretaries

Eric Osband - c.1941(xxii)

I. Jackson - c.1945-late 1940s(xxiii)

Mrs. S. Winnet - c.1951(xxiv)

Registration District (BMDs):

Cheshire East, since 1 April 2009.(xxviii)

Cemetery Details

There is no Jewish cemetery in Macclesfield. For details of the cemeteries of the United Synagogue, see Cemeteries of the United Synagogue.

 

Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Macclesfield Jewish Community

on JCR-UK


Notable Jewish Connections with Macclesfield

  • Nick Blackman, professional footballer, as of 2021 playing for Maccabi Tel Aviv and a Bermuda international, began his career at Macclesfield Town. His mother is Jewish.

  • Sidney Frankenburg, communal worker in Manchester and founder and life president of what was reputed to be the first association of Jewish ex servicemen, known as the Sydney Frankenburg Branch of the British Legion, lived at Upton Priory in Macclesfield, from the late 1920s until his death in 1935.

  • Basil Jeuda, Macclesfield resident and local historian, and former leader of Cheshire County Council (1981-82), has published extensively on the history of Macclesfield and region, particularly its railway networks. He has also published books on the war-time Jewish community of Macclesfield and the Sephardi community of south Manchester.

  • Liz Kessler, children's author, lived for a time on the Macclesfield canal.

  • Nick Robinson, born in Macclesfield in 1963, is a British journalist and presenter on the BBC's Today programme. Prior to this he spent ten years as political editor for the BBC. His mother was born in Shanghai, where her German-Jewish parents had fled as refugees from Nazism during the 1930s

 

Other Macclesfield Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew & Religious Classes (Talmud Torah) (founded 1941)(xxix)

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Benei Akiva Youth Group (founded June 1943)(xxx)

  • Jewish Literary & Social Club (founded by 1946)(xxxi)

  • Jewish Club and Study Group (founded June 1942)(xxxii)

  • Macclesfield-Wilmslow Jewish Social Club (founded late 1940s/early 1950s)(xxxiii)

  • WIZO Group (founded May 1944)(xxxiv)

 

Macclesfield Jewish Population Data

circa 1943

between 150 and 200*

(Macclesfield's Jews in World War Two, p.4)

*The Jewish Year Book 1948 gave a Jewish population of 200, which is clearly inaccurate, as numbers fell considerably following the end of the War.

 

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Macclesfield's Jews in World War Two by Basil Jeuda, 2016 (subsequently referred to on this page as "Jeuda's Macclesfield"), p.1.

  • (ii) Jeuda's Macclesfield, pp.1/2.

  • (iii) and (iv) Reserved.

  • (v) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.4 and Jewish Chronicle report of 27 March 1941. A plan of the Chestergate synagogue appears on p.5 of Jeuda's Macclesfield

  • (vi) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.4.

  • (vii) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.7.

  • (viii) See, for example. Jewish Chronicle reports of 22 April 1949, 22 December 1950 and 15 February 1952.

  • (ix) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.8.

  • (x) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.10.

  • (xi) It was listed just as the Macclesfield Hebrew Congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1948.

  • (xii) and (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) Jeuda's Macclesfield, pp.4/5.

  • (xv) Jeuda's Macclesfield, pp.5-7 and Rev. Chazen's listing in Jewish Year Books.

  • (xvi) and (xvii) Reserved.

  • (xviii) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.3. The Jewish Chronicle of 7 February 1941 reported on J. Cohen's election as the first chairman of the congregation and he was listed as chairman in the Jewish Year Books until 1948 (the last occasion the congregation was listed). He died in 1951.

  • (xix) Election as the congregation's first vice president reported in the Jewish Chronicle of 7 February 1941. No further mention.

  • (xx) Reserved.

  • (xxi) The Jewish Chronicle of 7 February 1941 reported on H. Franklin's election as the first Treasurer of the congregation and he was listed as treasurer in the Jewish Year Books until 1948 (the last occasion the congregation was listed).

  • (xxii) Election as the congregation's first treasurer reported in the Jewish Chronicle of 7 February 1941. No further mention.

  • (xxiii) Listed as hon. secretary of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 through 1948.

  • (xxiv) Referred to as hon. secretary of the congregation in the Jewish Chronicle report of 23 November 1951.

  • (xxv) to (xxvii) Reserved.

  • (xxviii) Previous Registration Districts:  Macclesfield (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1998);  Cheshire East (from 1 April 1998 to 1 July 2007; Cheshire (from 1 July 2007 to 1 April 2009). Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

  • (xxix) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.4.

  • (xxx) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.7.

  • (xxxi) Jewish Year Book 1947.

  • (xxxii) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.7.

  • (xxxiii) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.8.

  • (xxxiv) Jeuda's Macclesfield, p.7 and Jewish Year Book 1945/6.


List of United Synagogue Membership Groups

Jewish Congregations in Cheshire

Jewish Communities of England homepage


Page created: 10 November 2006
Data significantly expanded: 29 January 2016
Data further significantly expanded and notes first added: 25 November 2021
Latest revision or update: 30 November 2021


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