the former

Sheffield Hebrew Congregation

Sheffield, South Yorkshire



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

Sheffield's Wilson Road Synagogue
The Congregation's Wilson Street (in use from 1930)

Congregation Data


Sheffield Hebrew Congregation
(also known as the
Great Synagogue from about 1925(ii) or the Sheffield Old Hebrew Congregation(iii))

Last Address:

11 Wilson Road, Ecclesall, Sheffield S11 8RN.(iv)

The proposal to purchase the Wilson Road site and proceed with the construction of a new synagogue was adopted unanimously by the congregation at an extraordinary general meeting held on 28 October 1928 and a Building Committee was duly elected.(v) The foundation stone and cornerstones of the new synagogue had been laid on either 11 February 1929 or 11 July 1929.(vi) At a Service of Dedication held on 3 April 1930, the synagogue was opened by Lionel N. de Rothschild, OBE and consecrated by Chief Rabbi Dr.J. H.Hertz. (vii)

Heritage Site listings:

  • The Wilson Street Synagogue is a Grade II Listed Building, listed on 11 February 1992 (number 1270715). Click here for listing and description on Historic England website.

  • The Boundary Wall and Gates to the Synagogue is a Grade II Listed Building, listed on 11 February 1992 (number 1067334). Click here for listing and description on Historic England website);

  •  Succah two metres south west of the Synagogue is a Grade II Listed Building, listed on 11 February 1992 (number 1254575). Click here for listing and description on Historic England website.

These premises also remained the synagogue of the United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation, following the 1953 merger (see below), although the synagogue closed in 1997 and, following sale, became the 'City Church in 2000.

Formation and Previous Addresses:/strong>

The congregation is believed to have been formed in about 1831(x). The first known synagogue was in Holly Street (formerly Blind Lane), Sheffield (the Holly Street Synagogue)(x), until 1848.

In 1848, the congregation moved to Synagogue Chambers, Figtree Lane, Sheffield (the Figtree Lane Synagogue)(x), until 1872

These premises had been rented from Town Trust in 1847 and converted into a synagogue (the building was previously a private school - the "Cowley's Academy"). The premises were purchased in 1851 for 350(xi) (sale authorised by Town Trust on 11 November 1850, the agreement for sale was dated 21 July 1851, the conveyance was dated sometime prior to 21 November 1851, when the Law Clerk reported completion of the sale to the Trust.). In 1859, the synagogue was closed for three months and then re-consecrated.

In 1872, the congregation moved to North Church Street, Sheffield (the North Church Street Synagogue),(xv) until 1930. The foundation stone was laid on 4 January 1872 by Rev. A. A. Green and the synagogue was consecrated on 10 September 1872 by Chief Rabbi, Dr. N. M. Adler.


On 1 April 1953, the congregation merged with the Sheffield Central Hebrew Congregation to form the United Hebrew Congregation, Sheffield.(xvi)

The agreement to merge had been ratified by Sheffield Hebrew Congregation on 10 March 1953.(xvii)


Ashkenazi Orthodox


None although the congregation was a provincial synagogue under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Breakaway Congregation:

A growing rift developed in the community in the 1850s and 1860s between the controlling elite and the newcomers. This culminated, probably in the early 1860s, in a complete split, with the breaking away of the dissident members of the congregation. They formed a Benevolent Society ("Chevra") which became as the Sheffield New Hebrew Congregation (later known as the Sheffield Central Hebrew Congregation).(xviii)

During the 1870's there was an at least one additional such society.(xix)

Rabbis and Ministers:

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

Rev. Aaron Asher Green - from 1884 until 1888(xxiii)

Rev. Jacob Nieto - from 1889 until 1892(xxiv)

Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Chaikin - communal rabbi from 1892 until 1901(xxv)

Rabbi Mordechai Isaac Levin Epstein - communal rabbi from 1904 until 1925(xxvi)

Rabbi Barnett Isaac Cohen - from 1908 until 1947(xxix)

Rabbi Dr Ephraim Yehudah (Ernest) Wiesenberg - from 1947 until 1949(xxx)

Rabbi Isaac Chait - from 1951 until the 1953 merger(xxxi) (and then as minister of the United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation until 1972).

Readers (Chazanim)(xxxiv) & pro tem Minister:

Rev. I. Levy - in and about 1842(xxxv)

Rev. Berthold Albu - 1857 until about 1859(xxxvi)

Rev. Dr. Mayer Mensor - 1859 until 1861 (pro tem minister)(xxxvii)

Rev. Michael Joseph Jacobs - at least 1870 until at least 1874(xxxviii)

Rev. Samuel Melinek - in 1873(xxxix)

Rev. B. Grossbaum - in and about 1877(xliii)

Rev. Hermann Davids - 1877 until 1879(xliv)

Rev. Abraham N. Spier - 1896 until about 1900(xlvi)

Rev. David Myer Klein - 1900 until 1910(xlvii)

Rev. Bernard Cantor - about 1900 until about 1911(xlviii)

Rev. Simon Anekstein - 1912 until 1914(xlix)

Rev. Maurice David Hershman - about 1919(l)

Rev. Robert Caplan - second reader and shammas (beadle) from about 1914 until 1939(liii)

Rev. Joshua Louis Kahn - reader from 1914 until the 1953 merger(liv) (and then as reader of the United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation until 1959)

Rev. Cecil Donn - second reader from about 1939 until the 1953 merger(lv) (and then as second reader of the United Sheffield Hebrew Congregation until 1970)

Rabbi Benzion Lapian - headmaster of the Hebrew School from December 1946 to September 1952, Rabbi Lapian frequently acted as the pro tem minister of the congregation(lvi)

Lay Officers (generally from 1896):

Unless otherwise indicated, the information below, on the congregation's officers, has generally been extracted from  Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896/7,(lix) although for the period from 1930, such information has been supplemented from a list of officers appearing in the souvenir brochure commemorating the Wilson Street synagogue's Golden Jubilee (1930-1980).(lx)


1872 - Aaron Marks(lxi)

1874 - Tobias Guttman(lxii)

1896-1898 - M. Lipson

1898-1902 - L. Isaacs

1902-1906 - M. Wigram

1906-1910 - Isaac Guttenburg

1910-1911 - Lewis Isaacs

1911-1916 - H. Stone

1916-1918 - P. Finney

1918-1919 - M. Goldblum

1919-1920 - S.J. Myers

1920-1921 - P. Finney

1921-1922 - J. Wallman

1922-1924 - P. Finney

1924-1925 - A.H. Hartman

1925-1931 - Harris Stone

1931-1946 - Joseph Newman

1946-1950 - Isidore Lewis

1950-1953 - Max Waldenberg

Hon. President

1924-1931 - P. Finney


1872 - Isaac Moss(lxi)

1874 - Tobias Guttman(lxii)

1896-1898 - A.T. Harris

1898-1900 - no data

1900-1901 - L. Finestein

1901-1903 - I. Lipson

1903-1906 - H.H. Stone

1906-1907 - Bernard Brown

1907-1909 - H. Benjamin

1909-1910 - David Plotzker

1910-1911 - H. Benjamin

1911-1912 - M. Goldblum

1912-1914 - S.J. Myers

1914-1918 - Moses Neuman, Snr.

1918-1919 - L. Levison

1919-1920 - Henry Hart

1920-1921 - M. Goldblum

1921-1924 - M. Cantor

1924-1925 - Louis Finestein

1925-1930 - Israel Lewis

1930-1931 - Joseph Newman

1931-1946 - Abraham Levi

1946-1950 - Max Waldenberg

1950-1953 - Jack Cohen

Secretaries or Hon. Secretaries

1872 - A.K. Meyer(lxi)

1874 - M.J. Rudelsheim(lxiii)

1896-1900 - L. Abrahams

1900-1901 - L. Finestone

1901-1906 - Isaac Guttenburg

1906-1912 - Jacob Guttenburg

1912-1918 - Rabbi B.I. Cohen

1918-1919 - Harry Blaskey

1919-1920 - H. Goodman

1920-1921 - Harry Blaskey

1921-1924 - M. Winstone

1924-1927 - Cllr. Harry Morris

1927-1934 - Eric A. Finestone

(1927-1928 - Secretary: I.P. Walton)

1934-1937 - Eric A. FinestoneIsidore Lewis

1937-1940 - Isidore LewisMaurice Lewis

1940-1946 - Isidore Lewis

1946-1953 - Jack Newman

Membership Data:

Number of Seatholders - Board of Deputies Returns















Number of Seatholders - Jewish Year Books

1896 - 80

1902 - 100

1914 - 240

1919 - 200


The Congregation used the Bowden Street Jewish Cemetery and, later, the Ecclesfield Jewish Cemetery. See Cemetery Information on Sheffield Jewish Community home page.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database specifically associated, or possibly associated, with this congregation include:

  • Marriages, 1842-1952

    • Great Synagogue (9 records);

    • North Church Street Synagogue (93 records);

    • Miscellaneous and unspecified congregations (152 records)

For a list of other Sheffield records in the Database that may also include records associated with this congregation, click here.


Bibliography, Online Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation



Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) Listed as the Great Synagogue in Jewish Year Books from 1926.

  • (iii) As opposed to the Sheffield New Hebrew Congregation, which was the name by which the Sheffield Central Hebrew Congregation was known until about 1919.

  • (iv) Listed as the congregation's address in Jewish Year Books from 1932.

  • (v) The Wilson Street Synagogue's Golden Jubilee Souvenir Brochur (1980), p.3. The principal officers of thw Building Committeee were Joseph Newman (chairman), L. Finestone (vice chairman) Ellis Pearson (treasurer) and L. Chapman and Hyman Stone (hon. secretaries)

  • (vi) The Wilson Street Synagogue's Golden Jubilee Souvenir Brochur (1980), p.3, gives the former date and Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.16 gives the latter date.

  • (vii) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.17.

  • (viii) and (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry pp.388/340 and Article by K. Lunn, from papers prepared for a conference at University College, London, convened on 6 July 1975 by the Jewish Historical Society of England.

  • (xi) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.381.

  • (xii) to (xiv) Reserved.

  • (xv) The Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers, p.83.

  • (xvi) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.194.

  • (xvii) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.195.

  • (xviii) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.39. Krausz adds that a "more conservative investigation place the date of the break as 1872". Jewish Year Books give the date of the break as 1864

  • (xix) A congregational meeting in October 1875 refers to the two chevras, as does a letter from Chief Rabbi N. Adler. Clearly, in this period, the Jewish community was somewhat fragmented.

  • (xx) to (xxii) Reserved.

  • (xxiii) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry p.17 and Jewish Chronicle obituary dated 29 September 1933.

  • (xxiv) The Jewish Chronicle of 20 December 1889 reported that at a special general meeting of members of the congregation the election of Mr. J. Nieto to the position of minister was unanimously confirmed. The Jewish Chronicle of 26 February 1892 reported on the departure of the Rev. J. Nieto from Sheffield adding that "an interesting ceremony was witnessed at the Sheffield Synagogue last Sunday afternoon a large congregation assembled to hear his farewell sermon".

  • (xxv) Jewish Chronicle profile of Rabbi Chaiken of 25 October 1901 gives these dates. He is listed (as Rabbi A. Chaikin) as minister of this congregation (and the Sheffield New Hebrew Congregation) in the first Jewish Year Book (1896/7) through 1901/2.

  • (xxvi) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, pp.11 and 76.

  • (xxvii) and (xxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxix) Rabbi Cohen was unanimously elected "rabbi-minister" at a general meeting of the congregation held on 17 January 1908 (Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, pp.11) and retired in 1946 (Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, pp.126).

  • (xxx) The Jewish Chronicle of 7 February 1947 reported on Rabbi Weisenberg upcoming appointment and on 29 July 1949 reported on his farewell presentation to become a lecturer in the Hebrew Department at University College, London.

  • (xxxi) The Jewish Chronicle of 6 April 1951 reported on a unanimous call to Rabbi Chait to become minister of the congregation, taking up his duties on July 1.

  • (xxxii) and (xxxiii) Reserved.

  • (xxxiv) This list also includes a number of readers who were listed in Jewish Year Books, particularly in the first decade of the 20th century, as joint ministers but who appear to have actually served as readers but with a measure of ministerial responsibility in the absence of a formal minister.

  • (xxxv) A statistical account of Sheffield in the Jewish Chronicle of 15 April 1842 names Rev. I. Levy as the reader of the congregation (Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, p.381).

  • (xxxvi) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, pp.377-379.

  • (xxxvii) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, p.379.

  • (xxxviii) Rev. Jacobs was named as reader of the congregation in a Jewish Chronicle report of 29 October 1870 and was is listed as reader in the Jewish Directory of 1874, edited by by Asher I. Myers.

  • (xxxix) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, p.11/13.

  • (xl) to (xlii) Reserved.

  • (xliii) Jewish Chronicle report.

  • (xliv) Rev. Davids's Jewish Chronicle obituary of 9 January 1920.

  • (xlv) Reserved.

  • (xlvi) Jewish Chronicle reports. He was not listed in Jewish Year Books.

  • (xlvii) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 19 October 1934. Rev. Klein was listed in Jewish Year Books as a joint minister (1902/3 through 1907/8) and as a reader (1909 and 1910).

  • (xlviii) Rev. Cantor was listed in Jewish Year Books as a joint minister (1902/3 through 1907/8) and as a reader (1909 through 1911).

  • (xlix) Rev. Anekstein's online profile and his listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1913 and 1914).

  • (l) Jewish Chronicle report.

  • (li) and (lii) Reserved.

  • (liii) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry, pp.31 & 347 and the Wilson Street Synagogue's Golden Jubilee Souvenir Brochur (1980), p.4.

  • (liv) Rev. Kahn is first listed as reader of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1915 and his Jewish Chronicle obituary confirms his term of office.

  • (lv) Rev. Dunn's Jewish Chronicle obituary of 15 May 1970 and the Wilson Street Synagogue's Golden Jubilee Souvenir Brochur (1980), p.4.

  • (lvi) Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewry - term of office pp.123/4 and 187.

  • (lvii) and (lviii) Reserved.

  • (lix) 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 in the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1919 through 1924, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1918 and continued in office until 1924. 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.

  • (lx) We are grateful to Sandra Marks, formerly of Sheffield, for providing JCR-UK with this extract from the 1980 souvenir brochure.

  • (lxi) Hon. Officers at the time of the opening of the congregations new synagogue in North Church Street (Armin Krausz's Sheffield Jewrypp.185/6).

  • (lxii) Tobis Guttman was listed as both president and treasurer in The Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers.

  • (lxiii) Listed as hon. secretary in The Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers. M.J. RudelShein was also headmaster of the Hebrew School

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Page created: 26 September 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 17 February 2022
Page most recently amended: 2 April 2023

Research and formatting by David Shulman/font>

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