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Barrow-in-Furness Jewish Community & Synagogue

Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria




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Town of Barrow-in-Furness

Barrow-in-Furness, a town in North West England, is situated on Morecambe Bay, facing Walney Island. It is the main component of the district and borough of Barrow-in-Furness, in the county of Cumbria.  The present district, which has a population of about 70,000, was formed in 1974, when the county borough of Barrow-in-Furness was merged with adjoining areas.  Until 1974, Barrow-in-Furness, together with the rest of Furness (a peninsula jutting into the Irish Sea), was a detached part of the county of Lancashire.

Barrow-in-Furness Jewish Community

Although there were Jewish residents in Barrow-in-Furness in the latter part of the nineteenth century, the small organised Jewish congregation dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century, but which became defunct following World War II.

There was also a small short-lived Jewish community in the coastal town of Whitehaven, some forty-five miles north of Barrow.

Congregation Data


Barrow-in-Furness Hebrew Congregation

Last Address:

62 School Street, Barrow-in-Furness, from about 1925.(iii)

Previous Addresses:

29 Crellin Street, Barrow-in-Furness, from about 1917 to about 1925.(iv)

Abbey Road, Barrow-in-Furness, from May 1901 (the synagogue having been consecrated on 13 June 1901) to about 1917.(v)

Date Founded:

Services first held on the high holy days in September 1900.(viii)

Current Status:

Synagogue closed, probably in about 1974, although it continued to be listed in Jewish Year Books until 1993.(ix)


Ashkenazi Orthodox.


The congregation was unaffiliated but under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi. In 1901, it was reported that the congregation approved a resolution to seek affiliation to the Federation of Synagogues.(x) However, such affiliation would have been extremely unlikely as no provincial congregations were at that time affiliated to the Federation.

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

Rev. W.E. Dobkin - from 1900 until at least 1902(xiv)

Rev. S. Garstenfeld - from about 1903 until about 1904(xv)

Rev. S. Jaffe - from about 1904 until about 1907(xvi)

Rev. Hyams - from uncertain date until 1914(xvii)

Rev. Max Franks - from 1914 until about 1920(xviii)

Rev. Daniel Caplan (1st term) - from about 1924 until 1928(xix)

Rev. E. Slotki - from about 1928 until December 1945(xxii)

Rev. Emanuel Susman (also serving two other communities) - from 1950 until 1952(xxiii)

Rev. Nathaniel H. Rockman (temporary) - from about 1952 until about 1954(xxiv)

Rev. Daniel Caplan (2nd term) - from about 1954 until 1959(xxv)

Rev. Alex Brown - visiting minister and teacher - 1960s(xxvi)

Lay Officers:

For details of the congregation's lay officers, see Jewish Year Book Entries (1901/02 through 1993), which lists all presidents, treasurers and hon. secretaries of the congregation, together with additional notes.

Membership Data:

Number of Seatholders(xxx)







National Reports & Surveys(xxxi)

1983 - 3 male (or household) members and no female members

Registration District (BMD):

Cumbria (since 1 December 2011)(xxxii) - Register Office Website.

Cemetery Data:

There was no Jewish Cemetery in Barrow-in-Furness.


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Barrow-in-Furness Jewish Community


Notable Jewish Connections with Barrow-in-Furness

  • Cecil Simon Franks (1935-2014), the Manchester solicitor and politician elected as the Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness from 1983 until 1992, was Jewish.



Other Barrow-in-Furness Jewish Institutions & Organisations
(for details of officer holders see Jewish Year Book Entries)

  • Mutual Aid Society (founded by 1908)

  • Jewish Ladies' Benevolent Society (founded by 1909)

  • Jewish Sports Club (founded by 1929)

  • Zionist Society (founded by 1939)


Barrow-in-Furness Jewish Population Data

See Jewish Year Book Entries under heading "Jewish Population


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved .

  • (iii) School Street was first listed as the congregation's address in The Jewish Year Book 1926, and the number (62) was first mentioned in the 1948 edition.

  • (iv) This was the address listed for the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1918 through 1925.

  • (v) The Jewish Chronicle of 31 May 1901 and 21 June 1901 reported, respectively, on the first services held at the synagogue (Succoth 1901) and the consecration of the synagogue in Abbey Road. It was the address listed for the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1902/03 through 1917.

  • (vi) and (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) Jewish Chronicle report of 5 October 1900.

  • (ix) There were no officers listed for the congregation in Jewish Year Books after about 1970 and almost no changes to the congregation's details of Jewish Year Book listings.

  • (x) Jewish Chronicle report of 13 December 1901.

  • (xi) and (xii) Reserved.

  • (xiii) Although the earlier persons listed here were appointed as reader (and generally shochet), they would actually have performed most of the functions of a minister and were often referred to as such.

  • (xiv) Jewish Chronicle reports from 5 October 1900 to 24 October 1902 refer to Rev. Dobkin serving as chazan and conducting the congregation's services and the report of 21 June 1901 specifically refers to him as resident minister. He is not listed in the Jewish Year Book with reference to Barrow.

  • (xv) The Jewish Chronicle of 9 October 1903 reported him as conducting the congregation's services and in the report of 17 June 1904 Rev. Garstenfeld is referred to as being late of Barrow. He is not listed in the Jewish Year Book with reference to Barrow.

  • (xvi) Jewish Chronicle reports of 23 September 1904 and 24 May 1907 refer to Rev. Jaffe conducting the services in Barrow.

  • (xvii) Jewish Chronicle of 6 February 1914 reported on Rev. Hyams's departure from Barrow.

  • (xviii) Jewish Chronicle reports of 23 October 1914 place Rev. Franks in Barrow. He is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1917 through 1920.

  • (xix) Jewish Chronicle reports of 5 February 1923 and 3 June 1927 place Rev. Caplan in Barrow. He is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1925 through 1929.

  • (xx) and (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) Rev. Slotki is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1930 through 1940 and 1945/6 (there was no publication of the year book during the intervening war years). Jewish Chronicle of 21 December 1945 reported on his departure from Barrow after 17 years service.

  • (xxiii) Rev. Susman was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1951 and 1952. The Jewish Chronicle of 11 August 1950 reported on his appointment and of 18 July 1952 and his departure.

  • (xxiv) Based upon Rev. Rockman listing as temporary minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1953 and 1954.

  • (xxv) Rev. Caplan was listed a second time as minister of the congregation, in Jewish Year Books 1955 through 1959, and was the last minister listed for the congregation. Rev. Caplan died in 1959.

  • (xxvi) Rev. Brown's Jewish Chronicle obituary of 18 May 2007.

  • (xxvi) to (xxix) Reserved.

  • (xxx) Extracted from the Jewish Year Book for the relevant year.

  • (xxxi) Report 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 the link to the report.

  • (xxxii) Previous registration districts: Ulverston - 1 July 1837 to 1 July 1876; Barrow-in-Furness - 1 July 1876 to 1 December 2011. Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

Jewish Congregations in Cumbria

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 25 August 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 17 June 2021
Latest revision or update: 27 July 2021

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