the former

Hammersmith & West Kensington Synagogue




Selected Press Reports relating to
Hammersmith & West Kensington Synagogue

Jewish Chronicle, 23 February 1990

Over 300 people celebrated the 100th anniversary of Hammersmith and West Kensington Synagogue at a centenary service and reception on Sunday. The Chief Rabbi, Lord Jakobovits, addressed the congregation, which included the president of the United Synagogue, Sidney Frosh, the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, Ian Gray, and two local MPs. The service was a landmark in the fluctuating life of the West London synagogue. With 300 members, it is "a vibrant and active community," according to its financial representative, David Arram. "In my youth, extra chairs would be placed in the aisles for the overflow on the High Holy Days," he told LONDON EXTRA. "Though we are not so full nowadays, we are a happy community and our synagogue is still very viable. "We have a new and enthusiastic part-time minister, Rabbi Moshe Simons (who was inducted last year), and because we are in an area where there is no other synagogue, people attend our services. We have many overseas visitors, who have remarked on the warmth and friendliness of the synagogue.


The foundation stone was laid at 71 Brook Green on February 2, 1890, by Benjamin Louis Cohen, the then vice president of the United Synagogue. The architect of the synagogue, which cost 3,200 to build, was Delissa Joseph. Three local residents initiated the project: Isaac Morris, a furniture dealer, dentist Isaac Sandheim, and Joseph Levy, who had a clothing business. Mr Levy was subsequently warden for 24 years, and later became the borough's first Jewish mayor. Last year, the congregation yielded its second mayor Joseph Mirwitch, a solicitor, who was Chatan Bereshit at the same time. The synagogue was consecrated in September, 1890. It was later extended to cater for the growing congregation, which came from the communities of Fulham, Putney, Ealing, Acton, Richmond and Kew. The first minister to be appointed was the Rev Michael Adler, who was also reader, secretary and superintendent of the religious classes, which had 36 children by the end of its first year. He served until 1903, and was succeeded the following year by the Rev Solomon Adler (no relation}, who was the only son of the then Chief Rabbi. Owing to ill health, Mr Adler retired in 1908, and was succeeded by the Rev Solomon Lipson (1909-1938). During the Second World War, Hammersmith Synagogue had the services of Rabbi Ephraim Moses Levy, and Rabbi Dr Ernest Wiesenberg, who ministered for four years, until the end of the war. Senior warden, Moss Amias, told LONDON EXTRA: "In the early 1940s, many Jewish people began to move into the area. At one time, there were over 50 doctors in the congregation. When I used to sit in the body of the synagogue, before my elevation to the wardens box, I was the only patient in my block." Hammersmith's emeritus minister, the Rev Sam Venitt, joined the synagogue in 1946, retiring in 1988 after 42 years' service to the congregation. During the earlier years, the Hebrew classes flourished with 80 children attending in 1950. Today, there is no longer a religion school, and the membership, which peaked at about 600, has settled at "a fairly static 300", according to Mr Arram.

Jewish Chronicle,
6 December 2002

Hammersmith and West Kensington Synagogue has been sold for 2.8 million, the United Synagogue revealed this week. "It's a very satisfactory price," US president Peter Sheldon told the JC. The synagogue, which was opened in 1891, closed last year, after its congregation had dwindled below 100. It had been without a rabbi for two years. Mr Sheldon said that "a lot of the fixtures and fittings had been removed either for storage or donation elsewhere. One Sefer Torah had been given to JFS. Another used by Shenley."

Jewish Chronicle,
29 February 2008

A 118-year-old time capsule has been found during the conversion of a former london synagogue. A jar containing a copy of the Jewish Chronicle dated January 31, 1890, as well as two now defunct Jewish newspapers, was found by a builder at the site of the former West Kensington and Hammersmith Synagogue. The papers had been buried in the fabric of the building days before it opened in Brook Green, Hammersmith. It was sold in 2001, when most of its members moved to the New West end and Ealing synagogues. Builder Mick Hodson, 56, had been working at the site when he found the capsule in a hole in the wall. As well as the Jewish Chronicle, it contained Jewish World, the Jewish Standard and a local newspaper, the Kensington and Hammersmith Reporter. There was also an order of service for the synagogue and a card bearing the name Benjamin Louis Cohen....Sir Benjamin, vice-president of the United Synagogue and the Conservative MP for east Islington, laid the foundation stone. He was also the president of the Jewish Board of Guardians (the predecessor of Jewish Care) for 13 years

Hammersmith & West Kensington Synagogue congregation page

Page created: 27 May 2022
Page most recently amende: 27 May 2022

Research by Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman



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