St Albans Synagogue

St Albans, Hertfordshire




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The exterior of St Albans Synagogue
David Newman 2017


Congregation Data


St Albans United Synagogue, (also known as St Albans Synagogue)

Former Name:

St Albans Affiliated Synagogue, from 1948 to 2011(ii)

Formation and Earlier Names:

Although a congregation had been formed in St Albans in about 1910, which became defunct after a few year (see below), the present St Albans Hebrew Congregation, established in 1933, is the oldest extant Jewish congregation in Hertfordshire,(iii) with services initially taking place in the homes of members. During World War II, the congregation increased in size with the arrival of evacuees from heavily populated areas of central and eastern London and a St Albans United Synagogue Membership Group,(iv) linked to United Synagogue, was established. The exact relationship between the Membership Group and the earlier congregation is not clear. Subsequently, the congregation sought formal affiliation to United Synagogue.


Oswald Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3AQ (a purpose-built synagogue completed in March 1951)(vi)

The congregation's previous address was 54 Clarence Road, St Albans (from 1942 to 1951)(vii)

Current Status:



Orthodox - Ashkenazi


A constituent (full member) of the United Synagogue since 26 September 2011, and previously an affiliated synagogue of the United Synagogue from 5 April 1948.(viii) Prior to 1948, the congregation had been linked to the United Synagogue as a United Synagogue Membership Group formed during World War II.

The Congregation is part of the 5+1 group, consisting of six small United Synagogue communities, five in Hertfordshire and one in Bedfordshire.(ix) The 5+1 has a intercommunal social programme intended to match those provided by large synagogues, whilst retaining the closeness of smaller communities.



Earlier Congregation:

An earlier, St Albans Hebrew Congregation, had been formed in about 1910 and continued until about 1924. The only known officers of this congregation were the following hon. secretaries:(x)

L. Cohen - from about 1910 to about 1919.

S. Myhill - from about 1919 to about 1924.

Ministers and Rabbinic Couple:
(To view a short profile, hold the cursor over name shown in blue.)

Rev. Maurice Landy - from 1942 to 1943(xi)

Rabbi Leslie Turetsky - mid-1940s to about 1946(xii)

Rev. Dr. Harry Rabinowicz - from 1947 to 1949(xiii)

Rev. Avrom Simon Chaitowitz - from 1949 to 1952(xiv)

Rev. J. Weinberger - from April 1953 to 1955(xv)

Rabbi Isaac Newman - from 1956 to 1958(xvi)

Rev. H.J. Levy - from 1959 to about 1962(xix)

Rev. Philip Somen - from 1964 to 1967(xx)

No minister appointed from 1967 to 2014(xxi)

Rabbi Daniel & Rebbetzen Alli Sturgess - from August 2014 to present (September 2023)(xxii)

Lay Officers:

Except where otherwise stated, the data below has been extracted from Jewish Year Books.(xxvii)


1945-1946 - J. CharkhamH. Greenfield

1947-1948 - M. TreeL. Larholt

1948-1949 - M. HalpernJ. Harris

1949-1950 - J. HarrisL. Larholt

1950-1951 - J. HarrisM. Tree

1951-1952 - L. LarholtP. Ratner

1952-1953 - M. TreeP. Ratner

1953-1954 - L. Larholtuncertain

1954-1956 - M. TreeL. Larholt

Financial Representatives

1947-1948 - J. Kaufman

1948-1949 - P. Ratner

1949-1950 - A.S. Wilson

1950-1952 - D. Geller

1952-1953 - A.S. Wilson

1953-1956 - J.J. Black

President - Membership Group

1945-1946 - D. Geller

Hon. Secretaries

1946-1947 - Edward Nakhimoff

1949-1950 - S. Fieldman

1952-1955 - J. Harris

1962-1968 - B. Claret

1968-1969 - D. Geller

1969-1970 - V. Warner

1970-1982 - J.J. Black

1982-1988 - Dr. T. Grenby

1988-2000 - H. Turner

Membership Data

United Synagogue (male seat-holders)(xxviii)









Reports & Surveys(xxix)

1977 - 34 male (or household) members and 8 female members

1983 - 66 male (or household) members and 10 female members

1990 - 75 members (comprising 74 households and 1 individual female member)

1996 - 60 members (households)

2010 - listed as having 50 to 99 members (by household)

2016 - listed as having 100 to 199 members (by household)

Charitable Status:

As a constituent of the United Synagogue, the congregation operates within that organisation's registered charity status (registered charity no. 242552).

Registration District (BMD):

Hertfordshire(xxx) (since 1 April 2008) - Link to Register Office website


There is no Jewish cemetery in St Albans. For cemeteries used by the Congregation, see Cemeteries of the United Synagogue, of which Bushey Cemetery is only some 10 miles away and Waltham Abbey some 20 miles.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) The was the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books from 1948 through 2010 edition and thereafter it was listed as St Albans United Synagogue.

  • (iii) History on the congregation's website - the congregation was not listed in Jewish Year Books until 1945/6. There had been medieval Jewish communities in Hertfordshire, in particular Berkhamsted.

  • (iv) The was how the congregation was styled in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 (its first appearance) and 1947.

  • (v) Reserved.

  • (vi) The congregation's website. It was also the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1951.

  • (vii) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1945/6 (the first edition to be published following the cessation of publication during WWII) through 1950. According to the congregation' website, it was a private house, purchased in 1942 and converted to a synagogue. 

  • (viii) These dates had previously been given on the congregation's website, but, as of March 2021, they no longer appear. The date in 1948 conflicts with 1947, stated by Aubrey Newman in The United Synagogue 1870-1970, p.218.

  • (ix) The other five congregations are: Potters Bar & Brookmans Park United Synagogue, Shenley United Jewish Community, Watford and District Synagogue and Welwyn Garden City Synagogue in Hertfordshire; and Luton United Synagogue in Bedfordshire.

  • (x) Listed in Jewish Year Books from 1911 through 1924, L. Cohen being listed as hon. secretary until 1919, and L. Myhill from 1920 to 1924. As both were listed with the address of 59 Burnham Road, this could have been where the congregation held services.

  • (xi) Jewish Chronicle obituary of Rev. (later Rabbi) Landy of 24 May 1996 stated that "in 1942 he found himself in St Albans as minister and secretary of the United Synagogue membership group. Two years later he was appointed temporary minister at Hendon synagogue." His term of office at Hendon, actually commenced in December 1943.

  • (xii) Rev. Turetsky is listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6 as minister of the St Albans US Membership Group, although it is uncertain as to when he was appointed.

  • (xiii) The Jewish Chronicle report of 4 June 1948 refers to Rev. (later Rabbi) Rabinowicz's appointment the previous year and on 22 April 1949, the Jewish Chronicle reported on a large gathering paying tribute to him, as he was leaving to take up an appointment in Ilford. He is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1947 through 1949.

  • (xiv) The Jewish Chronicle obituary of 27 November 1992 gives Rev. (later Rabbi) Chaitowitz's years of service here as 1949 to 1951. However, a Jewish Chronicle report of 22 February 1952 refers to his upcoming departure to take up his post at Finsbury Park Synagogue. He is listed as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1951.

  • (xv) Based upon Jewish Chronicle reports of 22 January 1954 and 13 May 1955. Rev. (later Rabbi) Weinberger is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1954 and 1955.

  • (xvi) Based upon Rabbi Newman's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1957 and 1958 and Jewish Chronicle report of 25 July 1958.

  • (xvii) and (xviii) Reserved.

  • (xix) Based upon Rabbi Levy's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1961 and 1962.

  • (xx) Based upon Jewish Chronicle report of 21 August 1964 on Rev. (later Rabbi) Somen's appointment and his obituary of 18 October 1968. He is also listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1965 through 1967.

  • (xxi) Although no minister was appointed by the congregation during this period of nearly fifty years, Jewish educator, Rabbi Jonathan Gorsky, was resident in St Albans and led services and educational programmes in the early 1990s. (Congregation's website).

  • (xxii) Congregations website, last accessed September 2023.

  • (xxiii) to (xxvi) Reserved.

  • (xxvii) 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. Year books were 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 1949 through 1952, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1948 and continued in office until 1952. 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. There were no Jewish Year Book listings of lay officers (other than secretary) subsequent to 1956.

  • (xxxiv) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pages 218/9.

  • (xxix) 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.

  • (xxx) The former Registration District was St Albans, from 1 July 1837 until 1 April 2008. Any registers would now be held by the current register office, which is situated in Hatfield.


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation

© D. Wenzerul 2001
One of the Synagogue's Stained Glass Windows by artist David Hillman


on third party websites

St Albans Jewish Community home page

List of United Synagogue Congregations (and Membership Groups)

World War II Evacuee Communities

Jewish Congregations in Hertfordshire

Jewish Communities in Greater London and its Outskirts

Greater London home page

Page created: 12 March 2006
Data and notes significantly expanded: 11 March 2021
Page most recently amended: 11 September 2023

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

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