the former

Woking United Synagogue Membership Group

Woking, Surrey




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Town of Woking

Woking, a town in southeast England with a population of about 63,000, lies some ten miles southwest of the administrative boundary of Greater London and approximately six miles north of Guildford. It is in the Borough of Woking, a local government district in the county of Surrey. Until 1974, it was an urban district.

Woking Jewish Community

There were a number of Jews among those evacuated to Woking during World War II, who established a local synagogue group, which closed shortly after the end of the War.

Congregation Data


Woking United Synagogue Membership Group


Services for the High Holydays were usually held each year at the Atlanta Hall, Commercial Road, Woking (the Sunday School and Manse of a Wesleyan Chapel).

In 1945, the Day of Atonement services were to be held at the Spiritualist Hall, Bath Road, Woking.(iii)


Formed in March/April 1941, when a number of Jewish residents met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. G. Goodhart, Woking, and agreed to organise a United Synagogue Membership Group, under which services and religion classes could be held. The meeting was addressed by Rabbi (later Dayan) Morris Swift.(iv)

Regular Friday night services were to be held from 20 June 1941.(v)


The Ladies Guild (which had been formed in January 1941 and thus preceding the formation of the Membership Group) met on Wednesdays at different houses, where garments were knitted for air raid victims at the local War Hospital, the Children's Hospital, and the Maternity Home. The Guild also inaugurated a hospitality scheme for Jewish soldiers who were invited to the homes of members on Friday evenings and at week-ends. The Hon. Secretary was Mrs. B. Goldman, " Bodicote," Park Road East.(viii)

In 1941 over 200 Jewish residents attended a social gathering arranged by the Woking Jewish Ladies' Guild at the Labour Hall. The proceeds of the function were devoted to local and London charities.

Rabbi Dr. S. M. Lehrman preached before the congregation in January 1943. He also examined the Hebrew classes and gave a lecture on education.(ix)

Jewish troops stationed in and around Woking were invited to make use of congregational facilities.

Date Closed:

Closed in or about 1945/6.(x) It was not among those Membership Groups which applied to affiliate with the United Synagogue after the Membership Group scheme was wound up.

Later a congregation was established in near-by Guildford, which invited Woking members to join.


Ashkenazi Orthodox


The congregation was within the United Synagogue Members Group scheme.


Rev. Cyril Shine - from 1942 until about 1944(xiv)

Rabbi H. Rashbass - from about 1944 until about 1945(xv)

Lay Officers:


S. Sinclair - 1941-c.1945(xviii)


L. Austin and B. Boldman - about 1941(xix)

J. Harris and M. Marks - 1943-c.1945(xx)

Financial Representative

H. Levene - 1941-c.1945(xxi)


Walter Harris - 1941-c.1943(xxii)

Rabbi H. Rashbass - c.1945(xxiii)

Registration District (BMDs):

Surrey, since 4 August 2008.(xxvi)  - Link to Register Office Website

Cemetery Details

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


Other Woking Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew & Religious Classes - for most of the war, Hebrew classes were organised by the Ladies Guild, in 1941 conducted by Mrs. Falk, meeting every Tuesday at 5.30 p.m.

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Ladies Guild - see under Activities, above.

  • During World War II the Bet Holim (the Spanish and Portuguese home for the elderly and infirm) and, from May 1942, the Board of Guardians convalescent home (transferred from Hove) were based in Woking.


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved.

  • (iii) Jewish Chronicle report of 31 August 1945.

  • (iv) Jewish Chronicle report of 1 April 1941.

  • (v) Jewish Chronicle report of 20 June 1941.

  • (vi) and (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) Jewish Chronicle report of 21 March 1941.

  • (ix) Jewish Chronicle report of 8 January 1943.

  • (x) The congregation was only listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6, the first to be published following the cessation of publication durng World War II.

  • (xi) to (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) Jewish Chronicle profile of 20 September 1946. Rev. Shine, as a student at Jews' College, previously conducted Shavuot services at Woking in June 1941.

  • (xv) Jewish Chronicle report of 14 January 1944, referred to the the Hebrew classes as being under the direction of the Rev. H. Rashbass. Rev. H. Rashbass was listed as minister (and secretary) of the congregation in Jewish Year Book 1945/6. However, it appears that he already had semicha at the time and is thus descibed here as Rabbi.

  • (xvi) and (xvii) Reserved.

  • (xviii) As the Jewish Chronicle of 20 June 1941 reported on S. Sinclair's election as chairman and he was listed as chairman in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6, it is assumed that he also served as such in the intervening years.

  • (xix) Election as wardens reported in the Jewish Chronicle of 20 June 1941. No further mention.

  • (xx) As the Jewish Chronicle of 9 July 1943 reported on their election as wardens and they were listed as such in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6, it is assumed that they also served as wardens continuous from 1943.

  • (xxi) As the Jewish Chronicle of 20 June 1941 reported on H. Levene's election as financial representative and he was listed as such in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6, it is assumed that he also served in such capacity in the intervening years.

  • (xxii) The Jewish Chronicle of 20 June 1941 reported on Walter Harris's appointment as hon. secretary and he referred to as such in the Jewish Chronicle of 28 August 1942.

  • (xxiii) "Rev." Rashbass is listed as secretary (and minister) in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6. See note (xv) above.

  • (xxiv) and (xxv) Reserved.

  • (xxvi) Previous Registration Districts:  Guildford (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1934);  Surrey North West (from 1 April 1934 to 1 October 1996; North Surrey (from 1 October 1996 to 4 August 2008). Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

List of United Synagogue Congregations (and Membership Groups)

World War II Evacuee Communities

Jewish Congregations in Surrey

Jewish Congregations in Greater London and its Outskirts

Jewish Communities of England homepage

Page created: 2 May 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 23 November 2021
Page most recently amended: 10 September 2023

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatted by David Shulman

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