JCR-UK

Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation

Southend-on-Sea, Essex

 

 

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SWHC Synagogue
The Congregation's Synagogue in Finchley Road
(Courtesy the Southend & Westcliff Hebrew Congregation)

SWHC_logo

Congregation Data

Name:

Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation (SWHC), name adopted 1905(ii)

Address:

The congregation's synagogue is at Finchley Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 8AD, built and in use since 1968.(iii)
The building also includes a Beit Hamidrash, which houses the congregation's library, and there is an adjoining Talmud Torah. The communal mikveh is within a three minute walk.

In addition, alternative services - the Cobham Road Minyan - are regularly held at the Jewish Care Victoria Oppenheim Day Centre in Cobham Road, as well as at the Raymond House Jewish Care Residential Home.

The synagogue is situated within the Westcliff eruv.

Previous Addresses:

From 1928 until 2001 (except during World War II), SWHC had two different locations, both functioning as synagogues:

  • 99 Alexandra Road, Southend-on-Sea. This was a purpose-built synagogue, constructed in 1912. Until 1928, it was the congregation's sole synagogue building. It remained in use until closed and sold in 2001(vi);

  • Ceylon Road, Westcliff-on-Sea. This had been the synagogue of a breakaway congregation (see below), but became a second synagogue of the congregation in June 1928, when the two congregations reunited. The Ceylon Road Synagogue was temporarily closed during World War II. In 1968, when the synagogue in Finchley Road was built, the Ceylon Road building was converted for use as a youth centre, but was sold in about 2006.(vii)

From 1906 until 1912, services were held in a "temporary synagogue" in Station Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, pending the building by SWHC of its own dedicated synagogue.(viii) According the certain sources, the temporary premises was a disused iron chapel while other sources refer to it as a wooden structure.(ix)

Prior to 1906, services were held, from at least 1900, in either a private house or in one of the local boarding houses.(x)

Date Formed:

Although services had been held at temporary premises from at least 1900, the congregation was first listed in the Jewish Year Book of 1902/03, and appears to have become formally organised in 1905 when its present name was adopted.

Status:

Active

Ritual:

Ashkanazi Orthodox

Affiliation:

SWHC is unaffiliated but is under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

Website:

https://swhc.org.uk/

Magazine:

The congregation produces the Community Voice Magazine, published quarterly, as well as a weekly newsletter.

Breakaway Congregation:

In about 1919, a number of disgruntled members broke away from SWHC with the intention of forming a more observant community. The breakaway congregation, known as the Westcliff and Leigh New Hebrew Congregation, held services, from 1919, in a house at 38 Ceylon Road, Westcliff.(xi) It was later decided to convert the house into a fully functioning synagogue. The foundation stone was laid in 1926 and the Ceylon Road synagogue was officially opened in January 1928 by the Chief Rabbi.

However, as a result of negotiations that had been taking place between SWHC and breakaway congregation, it was agreed at  a meeting in March 1928 that the two congregations be reunited for the sake of "peace and harmony" and in June 1928 the two communities were merged under the SWHC name.

For additional details, see article by Anne Marcus on the Ceylon Road Synagogue.(xii)

Ministers:

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

Rev. Hyman Marim Yudelovitch - from 1906 to 1913(xvi)

Rev. Mark Gollop - from 1913 to 1923(xvii)

Rev. Aaron Plaskow, BA - from 1923 to 1951(xviii)

Rabbi Pinchas Shebson - from 1951 to 1979(xix)

Rabbi Emmanuel Levy - from 1980 to 1988(xx)

Rabbi Chaim Z Rozwaski - from 1988 to 1992(xxiii)

Rabbi Michael Harris - from 1992 to 1995(xxiv)

Rabbi Mendel Lew - from 1996 to 2006(xxv)

Rabbi Binyamin Bar - from 2006 to 2019(xxvi)

Rabbi Israel Geoffrey Hyman - from 2019 to present (February 2021)(xxvii)

Assistant Ministers, Readers and others performing similar functions:

Rev. Joshua Bach - reader from 1913 to 1917(xxxii)

Rev. Simon Anekstein - chazan from about 1917 to 1926(xxxiii)

Rev. Haim Joseph David Azulay - general congregational duties from 1924 to 1968(xxxiv)

Rev. Abraham Shechter - chazan from about 1927 to 1930(xxxv)

Rev. Aryeh Garbacz - chazan from 1930 to 1975(xxxvi) and thereafter emeritus

Rev. Elias Goodman - chazan of the Ceylon Road Synagogue from about 1931 to about 1940(xxxvii)

Rev. Sidney Samuel Ginsburg - chazan (and initially also assistant minister) from about 1950 to about 1956(xl)

Rev. Emanuel Fischer - second reader from about 1957 to about 1964(xli)

Rev. Herschel Caplan - second reader from 1964 to 1966(xlii)

Rev. Leonard Book - second reader in about 1968(xliii)

Rev. Simon Benzaquen - chazan (and assistant minister) from about 1971 to about 1979x(liv)

Rev. Hyman Leonard Sober - chazan from 1979 to 1991(xlv)

Rev. Jonathan Ordman - second reader from about 1986 to about 1988(xlvi)

Rev. Gary Newman - assistant minister from 1994 to 2000(xlvii)

Presidents to 1997:

Unless otherwise stated, the list of presidents of the congregation below has been extracted from Jewish Year Books,(lii) supplemented by the research of Anne Marcus, in particular with regard to those serving subsequent to 1938.(liii)

To view a short profile of a president whose name appears in blue (researched by Anne Marcus) - hold the cursor over his name.

S. Shmith - 1902 to 1903 (President prior to the organisation of the congregation.)

Davis Kontili - 1903 to 1907; 1909 to 1910; 1911 to 1913; and 1918 to 1920.

P.M. Leibow - 1907 to 1909

J. Corbett - 1910 to 1911

L.B. Abrahams - 1913 to 1918 (Hon. President from 1917)

B.A. Kontili - 1917 to 1920 (Acting President to 1918)

Adelman Goodman - 1920 to 1938

(Frank Abrahams - 1932 to 1953 Hon. President, Ceylon Road Synagogue)

Leon Joseph Feitelson - 1938 to 1968

Samuel Bernard Rosenberg - 1968 to 1978

Hyman Reuben Wine - 1978 to 1982

Derek Baum, MBE - 1982 to 1997

Other Lay Officers:

Unless where otherwise stated, the data below has been extracted from listings in Jewish Year Books.(lvi) Where a person's first name is given, this has generally been obtained from other sources.
Where a name appears in blue (either a minister or an officer who had also served as a president researched by Anne Marcus) - hold the cursor over his name to view a short profile.

Vice Presidents

1905-1907 - M. Cohen

1909-1910 - J. Corbett

1910-1913 - M. Cohen

1919-1922 - A.S. Kahn

1922-1931 - Davis Kontili(lvii)

1933-1938 - Henry Rosen

1938-1940 - Albert Marks

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - Julius I Goldstein

1946-1950 - M.A. Webber

1950 to at least 1956 - H. Barnett

Wardens

1905-1906 - Mr. Moses

1906-1907 - S. Shmith

1919-1920 - I. Kaliski

1920-1921 - M. Jacobs

1921-1924 - J. Steiman

1924-1925 - M.D. Koenigsberg

1925-1931 - J. Steiman

Wardens (Alexandra Road)

1931-1933 - N. Julius

1933-1940 - I. Geller

1940-1945 - no data

1949 to at least 1956 - W.A. WebberHyman R. Wine

Wardens (Ceylon Road)

1931-1938 - M. Abrahams

1938-1939 - Davis Berkowsky

1939-1940 - S. Freedberg

1940-1945 - Ceylon Road closed

1945-1946 - S. Freedberg

1946-1953 - Hyman R. Wine

Treasurers

1903-1907 - P.M. Leibow

1907-1909 - M. Jacobs

1909-1913 - C. Goldberg

1913-1917 - P.M. Leibow

1917-1918 - T.D. Walman

1918-1937 - M. Caidan

1937-1938 - Leon J. Feitelson

1938-1946 - M.A. Webber(lviii)

1946-1949 - Samuel B. Rosenberg 

1949-1950 - P. Marcus

1950 to at least 1956 - Samuel B. Rosenberg

1967-1982 - Derek Baum(lix)

Beadles

1924-1931 - G. Melnick

1931-1936 - M. Sherman

Secretaries or Hon. Secretaries

1902-1903 - C. Goldberg

1903-1905 - B. Wortman

1905-1913 - H. Kontili

1913-1917 - Rev. M. Gollop, BA

1917-1919 - Reuben Weinstock

1919-1923 - Rev. M. Gollop, BA

1923-1951 - Rev. A. Plaskow, BA(lx)

1951-1952 - Rabbi P. Shebson 

1958-1964 - Rev. Emanuel Fischer

1964-1974 - M. Balfour

1974-1981 - M. BalfourMrs. D. Lachter

1981-1983 - Rev. H. L. SoberMrs. D. Lachter

1983-1984 - Rev. H. L. Sober

Financial Secretaries

1937-1939 - Jack Posner

1945-1946 - S. Woolf

Religious Classes & Talmud Torah:

The congregation Hebrew and Religious Classes were founded in 1895.(lxii)

Number of pupils on roll:(lxiii)

1911

1913

1915

1916

1917

1919

1920

1923

23

80

45

40

50

70

80

120

Membership Data:

Number of Members or Seatholders (early years)(lxvi)

1903

1904

1905

1909

1910

1911

1913

30

50

55

108

101

115

166

1914

1915

1916

1917

1919

1920

1921

156

145

155

170

200

240

280

Reports & Survey(lxvii)

1977 - 1,010 male (or household) members and 250 female members

1983 - 900 male (or household) members and 400 female members

1990 - 1,200 members (households)

1996 - 1,000 members (households)

2010 and 2016 - listed as having 500 to 749 members (by household)

Legal and Charitable Status:

On 11 February 2003, the congregation, under the name Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation, was incorporated as a registered (non-profit) company (company no. 04662319), a private company limited by guarantee without a share capital.(lxviii)

The congregation, under the same name, is also a registered charity (registered charity no. 1099107), registered on 21 August 2003.(lxix)

The congregation had a previous registration as a charity (prior to its incorporation as a company), from 25 August 1969 (registered charity no. 258781) until it was removed from the register on 5 June 2007 (as its funds had been transferred to "another entity").(lxix)

Cemetery
Information:

There is a Jewish cemetery in Southend, which includes both Orthodox and Reform sections. See Jewish Cemetery Information on the Southend Jewish Community home page.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) The Jewish Chronicle 8 December 1905. Prior to then it appears that the congregation was simply known as Southend Hebrew Congregation.

  • (iii) First listed as a synagogue of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1968. The congregation's website contains a detailed description of the synagogue and its amenities.

  • (iv) and (v) Reserved.

  • (vi) First listed as the congregation's address in the Jewish Year Book 1912 and continued to be listed as the only address until the 1928 edition. From 1929 through 2001, it was listed as one of the congregation's two synagogues. Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland by Sharman Kadish (2015), pp. 42, contains a detailed description of the building.

  • (vii) Listed as one of the congregation's two synagogues in Jewish Year Books from 1929 through 1969.

  • (viii) Although this address was only listed in Jewish Year Books 1910 and 1911, it is clear from other sources, including later editions of the Jewish Year Book, that these premises were in use from 1906.

  • (ix) "Jewish Southend-on-Sea - the early years" by Anne Marcus Shemot magazine December 2020, Vol 38, pp.48-50.

  • (x) A Jewish Chronicle report of 12 October 1900 states that services were held at "Rose Lawn", Warrior Square, which was one of the boarding houses owned by Samuel Shmith and the congregation's address of 5 Avenue Road, listed in Jewish Year Books from 1905 through 1909 (the latter date clearly being an error) was the home of Samuel Shmith ("Jewish Southend-on-Sea - the early years" by Anne Marcus).

  • (xi) It was never listed as a separate congregation in Jewish Year Books.

  • (xii) The article was originally published in "Community Voice" ,the newsletter of the congregation and is reprinted here with Anne Marcus's kind permission.

  • (xiii) to (xv) Reserved.

  • (xvi) Profile on the congregation's website. Rev. (later Rabbi) Yudelovitch (initially spelled Judelovitch) was actually listed as teacher and shochet (which generally also go together with reader) in Jewish Year Books from 1904/5 (i.e. prior to the formal organisation of the congregation) through 1913. In light of the absence of any other officiating minister, he would effectively have acted as minister of the congregation, and is thus listed here rather than in the "Readers" list.

  • (xvii) Jewish Chronicle reports of 14 March 1913 and Profile on the congregation's website and Jewish Chronicle report of 20 February 1914. Rev. (later Rabbi and Dayan) Gollop's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1914 through 1923.

  • (xviii) Based upon Jewish Chronicle reports of 24 August 1943 (appointment) and 21 August 1951 and Rev. Plaskow's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1924 through 1951.

  • (xix) Profile on the congregation's website and Jewish Chronicle obituary dated 6 September 1985. Rabbi Shebson is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1952 through 1979.

  • (xx) Profile on the congregation's website. Rabbi Levy was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1981 through 1987.

  • (xxi) and (xxii) Reserved.

  • (xxiii) Profile on the congregation's website. Rabbi Rozwaski was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1989 through 1992.

  • (xxiv) Profile on the congregation's website. Rabbi Harris was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1993 through 1995.

  • (xxv) Profile on the congregation's website. Rabbi Lew was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1997 through 2007.

  • (xxvi) Profile on the congregation's website. Rabbi Bar was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 2008 until the last publication in 2015. The Jewish Chronicle report of 2 August 2019 reported on his leaving the congregation.

  • (xxvii) Rabbi Hyman is on congregation's website, last accessed 26 February 2021.

  • (xxviii) to (xxxi) Reserved.

  • (xxxii) Based upon Jewish Chronice report of 14 March 1913 and Rev. Bach's listing as shochet and teacher (which generally go together with reader) in Jewish Year Books from 1914 through 1917.

  • (xxxiii) Rev. Anekstein was listed as shochet and teacher in Jewish Year Books from 1918 and 1919, as reader and shochet in the editions from 1920 through 1924, and as reader in the editions from 1925 through 1927.

  • (xxxiv) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 17 February 1984 and reports of 20 January 1928 and 14 April 1967, as well as information provided by Dr Arnold Azulay. He  was initially appointed as shochet, teacher and mohel. He is not listed in Jewish Year Books with regards to SWHC.

  • (xxxv) Based on Rev. Schechter's listing as reader at SWHC in Jewish Year Books from 1928 and Jewish Chronicle report of 21 March 1930 on his leaving SWHC to take up appointment in Cricklewood.

  • (xxxvi) Online biography. Rev. Garbacz was listed as reader at SWHC in Jewish Year Books from 1932 through 1975.

  • (xxxvii) Based on Rev. Goodman's listing as reader at SWHC's Ceylon Road Synagogue in Jewish Year Books 1932 through 1940.

  • (xxxviii) and (xxxix) Reserved.

  • (xl) Based on Rev. Ginsburg's listing initially as assistant minister and reader (Jewish Year Books 1950 through 1953) and the just as reader, jointly with Rev. Garbacz (Jewish Year Books 1954 through 1956) .

  • (xli) Jewish Chronicle reports of 1 February 1957 and 24 January 1964. Rev. Fischer is also listed as second reader of SWHC in Jewish Year Books 1959 through 1964.

  • (xlii) Rev. Caplan is listed as second reader of SWHC in Jewish Year Books 1965 through 1967.

  • (xliii) Rev. (later Rabbi) Book was listed as second reader of SWHC in the Jewish Year Book 1968.

  • (xliv) Rev. (later Rabbi) Benzaquen is listed as reader of SWHC in Jewish Year Books 1972 through 1979 (in 1972 through 1975, jointly with Rev. A. Garbacz). According to Rabbi Benzaquen's online profile, he actually served as assistant minister during this period.

  • (xlv) Although Rev. Sober is listed as reader of SWHC in Jewish Year Books only from 1985 through 1991, he was already in Southend by 1981, as he was listed as joint secretary in the Jewish Year Book 1981, and is believed to have served the congregation from 1979.

  • (xlvi) Based upon Rev. Ordman's listing as second reader of SWHC in Jewish Year Books 1987 and 1988.

  • (xlvii) Although Rev. Sober is listed as assistant minister of SWHC in Jewish Year Books only from 1995 through 1997, his online profile refers to his serving six years with the congregation.

  • (xlviii) to (li) Reserved.

  • (lii) As regards methodology, see note (lvi).

  • (liii) See Brief Profiles of Presidents of the Congregation, by Anne Marcus.

  • (liv) and (lv) Reserved.

  • (lvi) 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 1925 through 1928, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1924 and continued in office until 1928. 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. There were generally no Jewish Year Book listings of lay officers (other than secretary) subsequent to 1956.

  • (lvii) Although D. Kontili was listed as vice president of SWHC in Jewish Year Books until 1933, he died in 1931.

  • (lviii) Although the Jewish Year Book was not published during the war years from 1940 to 1945, as Mr Webber was listed as treasurer of the congregation in Jewish Year Books both before publication ceased (the 1939 and 1940 edtions) and in the year book published immediately following the war (the 1945/6 edition), it is therefore assumed that he also held such position throughout the war years.

  • (lix) As stated in profile orovided by Anne Marcus.

  • (lx) Although the Jewish Year Book was not published during the war years from 1940 to 1945, as Rev. Plaskow was at all times listed in Jewish Year Books, both before and after the war, as serving as secretary, as well as minister, of the congregation, it is assumed that he also held both offices throughout the war years.

  • (lxi) Reserved.

  • (lxii) Jewish Year Book 1912.

  • (lxiii) Extracted from the Jewish Year Book for the relevant years.

  • (lxiv) and (lxv) Reserved.

  • (lxvi) Extracted from the Jewish Year Book for the relevant years.

  • (lxvii) Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by 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) Companies House website, last accessed 29 January 2021.

  • (lxix) Charities Commission website, last accessed 29 January 2021. &↵

 

SWHC Beit Hamidrash
The Congregation's Beit Hamidrash
(Courtesy the Southend & Westcliff Hebrew Congregation)


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

JCR-UK wishes to express its thanks and appreciation to Anne Marcus for
all her input in connection with the preparation of profiles of SWHC's
ministers and other officers, including the granting of permission to use
the contents of profiles prepared by her currently on SWHC's websites.
We are also extremely grateful to Steven Jaffe for his usual unvaluable
assistance in the preparation of such profiles.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

 

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Page created: 23 March 2003
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: February 2021
Latest revision or update: 9 March 2021


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