the former

South Shields Hebrew Congregation

& Jewish Community

South Tyneside, Tyne & Wear




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

Town of South Shields

The port of South Shields (population approximately 80,000) is in the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside (which, until 1986, was a district) in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, in the North East of England.  Until 1974, South Shields was a county borough in County Durham.  It lies on the south side of the Tyne estuary, opposite North Shields, about 7 miles east of Newcastle and 8 miles north of Sunderland.

The former South Shields Synagogue, 25 Beach Road, now offices (May 2013)
© David Shulman 2013

South Shields Jewish Community

Jews began to settle in South Shields in the mid-nineteenth century and a community was established by the 1880's with a synagogue building being acquired in 1897. Although for most of its existence there was a single Jewish congregation in the town, the South Shields Hebrew Congregation, for a few years in the early part of the twentieth century there was a rival congregation. A Jewish cemetery was in use from 1899. The synagogue closed in the 1990s and the community is now defunct.

Congregation Data


South Shields Hebrew Congregation


25 Beach Road (previously known as 14 Ogle Terrace), South Shields NE 33 2QA (from about about 1914 or possibly later).(i)

In 1932, the synagogue was rebuilt, designed initially by Marcus T. Glass, FRIBA, and following his untimely death, the project was completed by architects J.A. Page and Son.(ii)

It was reconsecrated 29 January 1933 by Chief Rabbi Dr. Hertz.(iii)

Previous Addresses

38 Charlotte Street, South Shields (from about 1896 until about 1914 or later(iv)).

Prior to then in hired halls (in Thompson Hill, in Palantine Street, in Mill Dam and in Sunny Terrace(vi)) and members' homes.

Date Formed:

By 1857.(vii) However, during the 1870s a short-lived united congregation appears to have been formed with North Shields - North & South Shields Hebrew Congregation.(viii)

Rival Congregation:

In about 1902, there was a split in the Congregation and a rival congregation, the New Hebrew Congregation, was established by J. Foster (President) and M. Kossick (Secretary), with Rev. I. Litovitz as minister/teacher. It lasted for just a few years, when the congregations were amalgamated.(ix)

Current Status:

Closed in 1994, but services continued for a while in members homes.(x)


Ashkenazi Orthodox

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

Rev. Samuel Friedeberg - visiting minister from Newcastle from 1888 to 1891(xv)

Rev. Louis Mendelsohn - visiting minister from Newcastle from 1891(xvi)

Rev. Bernard Lipkin - minister from 1890 until about 1900(xvii)

Rev. Avraham Rosenberg - minister from 1899 until 1902(xix)

Rev. Israel Litovitch - minister from 1903 until 1910(xx)

Rev. Shachtel - from 1908 to ?(xxi)

Rev. D. Lyons - from about 1911 to 1912(xxii)

Rev. M. Gordon - minister from about 1913 until about 1914(xxiii)

Rev. David Rabinovitch - minister from about 1914 until about 1920(xxiv)

Rev. Abraham Plaskow (of Sunderland) - minister from 1920 until 1923(xxv)

Rev. I. J. Goldston - minister from about 1924 until about 1933(xxvi)

Rev. Michael Isaacs - reader from about 1933 until about 1936(xxvii)

Rev. Michael Landau - reader from about 1936 until about 1946(xxviii)

Rev. David Louis Landy - reader from about 1946 until about 1948(xxix)

Rev. Maurice Isaac Fabritz - reader from September 1950 until March 1951(xxx)

Thereafter, there does not appear to be any further persons appointed as minister or reader of the congregation.

Lay Officers:

See lists below

Congregation Numbers:

Number of Seatholders - earlier period - based upon Jewish Year Book entries (unless otherwise noted)(xxxi):

























    * Board of Deputies returns
    ** The Board of Deputees return, however, gives a figure of 54 seatholders for 1900


Number of Members - later period - National Reports and Surveys(xxxii)

1977 - 13 male (or household) members and 1 female member

1983 - 8 male (or household) members and no female members

1990 - 10 members (comprising 6 households, 3 individual male and 1 individual female member)

Notes & Sources (Part 1) ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Although Lewis Olsover in The Jewish Communities of North-East England (1980), Book Two, Chapter Three, pages 256-260 refers to 14 Ogle Terrance as being purchased by the congregation in 1914, it was not until the Jewish Year Book 1922 that it was listed as address of the congregation's synagogue. From the 1952 edition, the address 25 Beach Road was given, although these were the same premises.

  • (ii) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland by Sharman Kadish, 2015, p.230.

  • (iii) Olsover (1980 book, see note (ii)).

  • (iv) Olsover in his 1980 book (see note (ii)) refers to the congregation purchasing this address in 1897. However, a Jewish Chronicle press report of 30 August 1895 already refers to the purchase. Furthermore, it is already shown as the address of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1896/97, the first edition, published in 1896. It remained listed as the congregation's address until the Jewish Year Book 1921, but see note (ii) above.

  • (v) Reserved.

  • (vi) The earliest address, Thompson Hill, is given in the Jewish Directory for 1874 by Asher I. Myers. the next three are from Olsover's 1980 book (see note (ii)).

  • (vii) Jewish Chronicle press report of 11 December 1857 referred to existence of a congregation in South Shields. The Jewish Directory for 1874 by Asher I. Myers, which lists a synagogue at Thompson Hill, states that it was erected in 1862. No mention is made of this in Olsover's 1980 book, in which he states that "by 1880 they had started services in a private house". Furthermore all post-WWII Jewish Year Books gave the founding date as 1875, whereas pre-WWII editions, commencing with the first Jewish Year Book (1896/7), give the date the congregation was founded as 1890. As to what constitutes incident constitutes the founding of a congregation is a matter of discussion. 

  • (viii) The Jewish Chronicle press reports of 11 April 1873 and 18 September 1874.

  • (ix) The breakaway congregation was listed in the Jewish Year Books 1903/4 and 1904/5, which stated that it had been founded in 1902 and both editions list the two officers mentioned, with no reference to a minister/teacher. The 1905/6 edition already referred to the New Hebrew Congregation as having been amalgamated with the main congregation, and there is a Jewish Chronicle press report of 10 June 1904, which refers to the two congregations settling their differences. However, Olsover, in his 1980 book (which refers to the breakaway congregation's teacher as Rev. Litovitz) states that the split took place in 1903 and and lasted until 1909, both of which dates appear to be incorrect. Olsover also refers to the president as J. Furstein rather than Forster.

  • (x) The congregation is listed as having the synagogue until the Jewish Year Book 1994. Thereafter, for some years, the Jewish Year Books refer to ser In a vices being held in members' homes. Subsequently this was not even stated, although the community remained listed until the 2009 edition.

  • (xi) to (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) The two principal sources for this data are Lewis Olsover's The Jewish Communities of North-East England (1980), Book Two, Chapter Three, pages 256-260 and the Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896. However, at times the information is contradictory, as explained in the Notes to the entries and a number of gaps remain.

  • (xv) Jewish Chronicle reports of 17 August 1888 and 6 July 1891.

  • (xvi) Jewish Chronicle report of 6 July 1891.

  • (xvii) The year of Rev. Lipkin's appointment in given in Olsover's 1980 book, (although he then lists Rev. Blaser from 1893 - see note (xviii) below). The Jewish Year Books list Rev. Lipkin as minister from the first edition (1896/97) until 1899/1900. Based upon a Jewish Chronicle press report of 30 November 1894, he was still then in South Shields.

  • (xviii) Reserved.

  • (xix) Jewish Chronicle reports of 22 December 1899 (appointment), 4 July 1902 (still conducting a service at South Shields) and 8 August 1902 (congregation placed an advert for a reader). Rev. Rosenberg's is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1900/01 through 1902/03. He is not listed in Olsover's 1980 book.

  • (xx) Also spelled Litovitz. Based upon Rev. J. Litovitz's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1903/04 through 1910 and a Jewish Chronicle press report of 19 August 1910 of Rev. I. Litovitz's leaving the community (for the United States). Thereafter the office is shown as vacant until the 1914 edition. The 1903 date is confirmed in Olsover's 1980 book (Olsover giving his initial as "I"). However it is during this period that the split developed in the community (see above) and a rival congregation was formed of which, according to Olsover, "the minister/teacher in charge was Rev. I. Litovitz". Rev. Litovitz's first name is provided in Jolles's Encyclopaedia. The Jewish Year Book entries make no reference to Rev. Litovitz in relation to the rival congregation and he is shown as minister of the main congregation throughout the period. 

  • (xxi) Rev. Shachtel is listed in Olsover's 1980 book as being appointed in 1908. He is not mentioned in any Jewish Year Book and Rev. Litovitz is shown as continuing in office until about 1910. It is probable that Rev. Shachtel served as an assistant minister or teacher.

  • (xxii) Jewish Chronicle reports of 22 December 1911 and 3 May 1912, the latter reporting Rev. Lyons's departure from South Shields.

  • (xxiii) Based upon Rev. Gordon's listing as minister of the congregation solely in the Jewish Year Book 1914. He is not listed in Olsover's 1980 book. However, Olsover makes reference to a Rev. Gardner (without dates), not listed in any Jewish Year Book, which may have been an incorrect reference to Rev. Gordon.

  • (xxiv) Based upon Rev. Rabinovitch's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1915 through 1920. He is not listed in Olsover's 1980 book.

  • (xxv) Based upon Rev. Plaskow's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1921 through 1923. He is not listed in Olsover's 1980 book and was the minister in the Sunderland Hebrew Congregation and, presumably, acted, when necessary, as minister of the South Shields congregation.

  • (xxvi) Based upon Rev. Goldston's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1925 through 1933. He is not listed in Olsover's 1980 book. However, Olsover refers to a Rev. Goldstein (without dates) which presumably is an incorrect reference to Rev. Goldston.

  • (xxvii) Based upon Rev. Isaacs's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1934 through 1936. He is listed in Olsover's 1980 book without date (although the indication from Olsover was that he served somewhat earlier).

  • (xxviii) Based upon Rev. Landau's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1937 through 1940 and in 1945/6 (there were no editions during the intervening war years). He is listed in Olsover's 1980 book without dates.

  • (xxix) Based upon Rev. Landy's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1947 through 1950. He is listed in Olsover's 1980 book without dates.

  • (xxx) Based upon Rev. Fabritz's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Book 1951 and Jewish Chronicle press report of 9 March 1951. Following his departure, the office is shown as vacant in Jewish Year Books. Rev. Fabritz is listed in Olsover's 1980 book without dates.

  • (xxxi) From 1896 until 1906, the data is extracted for the Jewish Year Book published for the Jewish Year that began in that year and ended in September/October of the following year. From 1910, the data is extracted from the Jewish Year Book for the subsequent year (since, commencing 1909, Jewish Year Books were published for the year according to the Gregorian calender). The table only provides the numbers of seatholders for those years when a different figure is given in the Jewish Year Book from the previous year. Accordingly, for any year not appearing in the table (from 1897 until 1924) the number of seatholders reported was the same as that stated for the most recent year appearing in the table prior to the year in question.

  • (xxxii) 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.

  • (xxxiii) to (xxxvi) Reserved.




Search the South Shields Harton Jewish Cemetery Database,
including burial records and photographs of the headstones,
as well as a description of the cemetery

Basic Cemetery Information

Harton Cemetery, Jewish Section, Shields-Sunderland Road (A1018), Harton, South Shields. The first burials date from 1899. Prior to then the community used the cemetery in Preston, North Shields. The Burial Register is held by local council. The Database includes approximately 257 burials (including photographs of 179 headstones) to 31 December 2022. (An earlier database, with burials to 2012, is included in JOWBR. See below.)

(For some additional information, also see IAJGS Cemetery Project - South Shields)


Search the All-UK Database
(including JOWBR UK records)

The records in the database associated with South Shields include:


Harton Cemetery (Jewish Section), South Shields, 1899-2012 (244 records), included in JOWBR - submitted by JCR-UK

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in South Shields during the 1840s (1 record), 1850s (6 records), 1860s (22 records), 1870s (5 records), 1880s (7 records), 1890s (2 records), 1900s (2 records) and 1910s (1 record).


Souith Shields Synagogue
South Shields Synagogue interior
(Courtesy Peter Gatoff)

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



Other South Shields Jewish Institutions & Organisations
(that had been formed by 1900*)

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew School (founded c. 1890s)

Other Institutions & Organisations
(that had been formed by 1900)

  • Chevra Kadisha (founded about 1899)

  • Board of Guardians  (founded about 1900)

  • Chovevi Zion Association branch (founded 1888)

  • Ladies Benevolent Society (founded about 1900)

* As listed in the Jewish Year Books 1896 & 1900 article by L. Olsover (see above).




Numerous records of the Jewish Communities in Northeast England (only a sample of which are listed below) are deposited with the Tyne and Wear Archives Service (http://www.legacyarchives.org.uk).   CLICK HERE to view a full list of these records (correct to December 2005).

Synagogue Records :

  • Synagogue Records 1890-1933 -  Tyne and Wear Archives Service (see above).

  • Plans 1922 -  Tyne and Wear Archives Service (see above)

Marriage Records & Registration District (BMD):

  • First Marriage solemnised in 1892.

  • South Tyneside - Register Office website

    • Previous Registration District:
      South Shields - from founding of congregation until 1 January 2001.
      (All records would now be held by current office.)


Lay Officers

Officers (1874):(xxxvii)

Secretary - Aaron Simon

President - Isaac Kempner

Officers (1896 to 1950s):(xxxviii)

Presidents Vice Presidents
& Treasurers
Secretaries or
Hon. Secretaries

c.1896-97 - Aaron Simon Gomertz

c.1897-99 - Joseph Pearlman

c.1899-1901 - Samuel Levy

c.1901-02 - Lazarus Josephs

c.1902-03 - David Kossick

c.1903-04 - Joseph Pearlman

c.1904-05 - David Kossick

c.1905-06 - Lazarus Josephs

c.1906-08 - Julius Jacobs

c.1908-09 - M. Cossick

c.1909-10 - Samuel Levy

c.1910-11 - J. Levy

c.1911-13 - Simpson Gometz

c.1913-16 - Councillor Sol Cohen

c.1916-17 - M. Schectman

c.1917-18 - M. Levy

c.1918-21 - M. Schechtman

c.1921-24 - S. Levy

c.1924-26 - D. Kossick

c.1926-27 - H. Saltman

c.1927-28 - J. Pearman

c.1928-29 - M. Levy

c.1929-30 - W. Levy

c.1930-36 - Sam Tarroges

c.1936-51 - H. Louis

c.1951-56 - H. Lipman(xxxix)


c.1896-97 - Lazarus Josephs (Tr.)

c.1897-99 - Samuel Levy (Tr.)

c.1899-1904 - J. Jacobs (Tr.)

c.1904-05 - W. Shechtman (Tr.)

c.1905-06 - J. Foster (Tr.)

c.1906-08 - John Jacobs (Tr.)

c.1908-09 - M. Levy (VP & Tr.)

c.1909-10 - Joseph Pearlman (VP & Tr.)

c.1910-11 - P. Joseph (Tr.)

c.1910-11 - H. Saltman (VP)

c.1911-12 - Sol Cohen (VP)

c.1912-13 - M. Shectman (Tr.)

c.1913-14 - Lazarus Josephs (VP)

c.1914-15 - M. Shectman (VP)

c.1915-16 - C. Pearlman (VP)

c.1916-17 - M. Levy (VP & Tr.)

c.1917-18 - H. Saltman (VP & Tr.)

c.1918-20 - B. Taylor (VP & Tr.)

c.1920-21 - J. Levy (VP & Tr.)

c.1921-24 - W. Levy (VP & Tr.)

c.1924-28 - Sam Tarroges (VP & Tr.)

c.1928-36 - G. Gompertz (VP & Tr.)

c.1936-38 - J. Segal (VP & Tr.)

c.1938-39 - P. Caplan (VP & Tr.)

c.1939-40 - N. Gatoff (VP & Tr.)

c.1940-45 - No Data

c.1945-46 - M. Rose (Tr.)

c.1946-47 - A. Josephs (Tr.)

c.1947-56 - Max Simon (Tr.)(xxxix)

c.1896-99 - J. Gomertz

c.1899-1902 - P. Josephs

c.1902-04 - M. Levy

c.1904-05 - P. Josephs

c.1905-06 - M. Kossick

c.1906-07 - Isaac Josephs

c.1907-08 - D. Cossick

c.1908-09 - J. Levy

c.1909-11 - P. Josephs

c.1911-15 - Bert Josephs

c.1915-17 - Phil Sherman

c.1917-18 - Miss L. Rabinovitch

c.1918-20 - D. Kossick

c.1920-25 - Ernest Gomertz

c.1925-29 - H. Stein

c.1929-33 - P. Davis

c.1933-36 - M. Levy

c.1936-39 - A. Kossick

c.1939-40 - J. Kremer

c.1940-45 - No Data

c.1945-47 - M. Simon

c.1947-50 - S. Brooke

c.1950-51 - Ivor Saville

c.1951-61 - J. Kersh(xl)

Notes & Sources (Part 2) ( returns to text above)

  • (xxxvii) Listed in the Jewish Directory for 1874 by Asher I. Myers.

  • (xxxviii) The years of service of the Officers are extracted from Jewish Year Books.  Until 1907/08, the years of service correspond with the date of the relevant Jewish Year Book (as these published on the basis of the Jewish Year, beginning in September/October in one year until September/October of the following year). From 1909 (when the books were published according to the Gregorian calendar), it is assumed that the officer assumed office in the year prior to the year of the book and continued until at least the following year. In a number of instances, an Officer's first name has been inserted based upon such name appearing in Olsover's 1980 book.

  • (xxxix) Generally, after 1956, the Jewish Year Books ceased listing Presidents, Vice Presidents or Treasurers for this congregation, apart from a few instances in later years.

  • (xl) J. Kersh also served as Secretary of the congregation on many subsequent occasions, and for long periods, until the end of the 1990s.


South Shields Jewish Population Data*


          First Jewish settlement



Jewish Year Book 1896/97



Jewish Year Books 1899/1900



Jewish Year Books 1901/02



Jewish Year Books 1903/04



Jewish Year Book 1905/06



Jewish Year Books 1906/07



Jewish Year Book 1911



Jewish Year Books 1912



Jewish Year Books 1922



Jewish Year Books 1912



Jewish Year Books 1945/6



Jewish Year Books 1952



Jewish Year Books 1969



Jewish Year Books 1973



Jewish Year Books 1981


generally less than 10

Jewish Year Books 1983

* In many (if not, most) instances, the fact that the number was unchanged from the previous year probably reflects the fact that no updated data was received, rather than the population figure was unchanged.

Jewish Congregations in Tyne and Wear

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 6 March 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 29 June 2018
Page most recently amended: 22 April 2023

Formatting and research by David Shulman

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