JCR-UK

the former

Wrexham Jewish Community

and Synagogue

Wrexham, North Wales

 

 

 


JCR-UK is a genealogical and historical website covering all Jewish communities and
congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.

Town of Wrexham

The town of Wrexham (in Welsh: Wrecsam), with a population of about 60,000, is in north-east Wales, close to the English border. It is situated about 40 miles south of Linerpool.

Until 1974, Wrexham was a municipal borough in the old county of Denbighshire. From 1974 to 1996, it was part of the Wrexham Maelor district in the then new county of Clwyd. In 1996, Clwyd was abolished as an administrative county and Wrexham became the county borough of Wrexham, a unitary authority (within the ceremonial, or preserved, county of Clwyd).

The Wrexham Jewish Community

There are reports of Jewish residents in Wrexham from at least the early 1890s, during which decade two competing Jewish congregations were established, although these were united before the end of the century. The community was never large and, although it saw a rise in numbers during World War II due to the influx of evacuees, it became defunct a few years following the war.

Congregation Data

Name:

Wrexham Synagogue

Alernative Name:

Wrexham Hebrew Congregation

Founding and Two Congregations:

The early history of the congregation is far from clear.

There was a decision made in 1892 to establish a congregation and high holyday services were held.(iv) However, it is uncertain whether this marked the birth of the community's first congregation or whether it was just a one-off service. If the former scenario is correct and regular services continued thereafter, this would probably have been the establishment of what later became known as the Wrexham Old Hebrew Congregation(v) and would have been the first Jewish congregation in North Wales since the Medieval times.(vi)

On the other hand, if the latter scenario is correct (as favoured by Harold Pollins in his history of the community(vii)), the first Wrexham Jewish congregation would not have been established and commenced services until September 1894(viii) and only later did a split occur in the congregation, which split would have been of relatively short duration.

However, as now seems more probable, September 1894 saw the establishment of second congregation, the Wrexham New Hebrew Congregation(ix) and where the press report at the time(x) stated that "Although a place of worship has existed for three years, it has been more a private than a congregational undertaking", it was,in fact. referring to the previously established congregation.

The two congregations became united in August 1899,(xi) the united congregation apparently being more closely based on the "New" congregation, which also appears to have been the primary congregation during the split.

Synagogue Addresses:

The earlier years are not totally clear.

The first recorded (high holyday) services were held at Manley Street, Wrexham.(xiv)

The first synagogue was in the Old Guildhall, 10 Hill Street, Wrexham, first mentioned in 1892(xv) but possibly not used as a synagogue until 1894(xvi) , during the years in which there were competing congregations, it appears to have been used by the New Hebrew Congregation and continued in use until about 1900.(xvii)

The Old Hebrew Congregation's synagogue was at Queens Street.(xviii)

Subsequent synagogue addresses were at:

84 Bradley Street, Wrexham (from about 1900 until about 1918)(xxi)

12 Derby Road, Wrexham (from about 1918 until about 1924)(xxii)

31 Smithfield Road, Wrexham (from about 1924 until about 1929)(xxiii)

37 Rhosddu Road, Wrexham (from about 1930 until closure)(xxiv)

Date Closed:

About 1950.(xxv)

Ritual:

Orthodox - Ashkenazi

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

Rev. Eli Bloom - from at least 1896 until about 1897(xxix)

Rev. Joseph Rees - from about 1898 until about 1899(xxx)

Rev. Lewis Smorgansky - from about 1899 until about 1900(xxxi)

(Rev. L. Abrahamson - visiting minister in 1900 and 1901(xxxii))

Rev. J. M. Brooks - about 1905(xxxiii)

Rev. M. Berkowitz - from about 1906 until about 1907(xxxvi)

Rev. Abraham Snadowitch - from about 1908 until 1909(xxxvii)

Rev. W. Jacobs - from about 1910 until about 1911(xxxviii)

Rev. G. Greyewsky - from about 1917 until about 1924(xxxix)

Rev. S. Silver - from about 1924 until about 1927(xl)

Rev. B. Cohen - from about 1927 until about 1929(xli)

Lay Officers
(Old Hebrew Congregation):

Assuming the scenario that the Old Hebrew Congregation had been established in 1892 and continued to operate until the congregations were united in 1899 (see discussion above), based upon Jewish Chronicle press reports the following are believed to be have been officers of the Old Hebrew Congregation:

Presidents

1892 - S. Rosenthal(xlv)

1898 - B. Adler(xlvi)

1899 - S. Liberman(xlvii)

Vice President

1892 - S.A. Karasov(xlv)

 Treasurers

1892 - B. Adler(xlv)

1899 - B. Myers(xlvii)

Hon. Secretaries

1892 - S. Green(xlv)

1898 - A. Greenberg(xlvi)

Lay Officers
(New Hebrew Congregation or the united congregation):

The following individuals are believed to have served as officers of the New Hebrew Congregation or served as officers of the congregation when it was the only congregation in Wrexham. Generally, the data has been extracted from Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896/97,(l) supplemented, as indicated, by Jewish Chronicle press reports, in particular with regard to the period prior to 1896.

As regards the later years of the congregation, it is noted that from 1933 until the congregation's last appearance in the Jewish Year Book 1950, no changes were recorded as to officers or any other information relating to the congregation. Whereas it is possible that no changes actually took place (and the lists below have been formulated on that basis), it is far more likely that the publication was not not advised of the changes and merely reproduced the previous year's data.

Presidents

1894-1895 - Solomon Myers(li)

1895-1896 - S. Green(lii)

1896-1897 - Solomon Myers

1897-1898 - Joseph Carasov

1898-1899 - S. Green

1899-1901 - Joseph Carasov

1901-1902 - Solomon Myers

1902-1904 - E. Rosenthal

1904-1908 - Joseph Carasov

1909-1917 - Joseph M. Mack

1918-1929 - Barnett Harris

1929-1932 - J. Reuben

1932-1950 - Morris Reuben

Vice President

1830-1950 - D. Fisher

Treasurers

1894-1895 - A.D. Epstein(li)

1895-1896 - L. Adler(liii)

1896-1897 - Joseph Carasov

1897-1898 - S. Green

1898-1899 - B. Silver

1899-1900 - S. Bloom

1900-1901 - Max L. Woolfe

1906-1908 - H. L. Mack

1908-1917 - Barnett Harris

1917-1929 - D. Fisher

1929-1932 - H. Black

1932-1950 - Mrs. Leah Harris

Hon. Secretaries

1894-1896 - M. Levensohn(liv)

1896-1897 - A.D. Epstein

1897-1899 - M. Kelly

1899-1900 - Max L. Woolfe

1901-1905 - N. Speakmaster

1905-1908 - M. Levensohn

1908-1910 - Max L. Woolfe

1910-1917 - S. Harris

1917-1929 - H. Black

1929-1932 - S. Harris

1932-1950 - Mrs. Leah Harris

Membership Data:

1896 - 23 seatholders (Jewish Year Book 1896/97)

1900 - 20 seatholders (Jewish Year Book 1900/01)

1908 - 14 seatholders (Jewish Year Book 1909)

1917 - 13 members (Jewish Chronicle report of 2 February 1917)

Notes & Sources - These now appear towards the foot of this page, instead of the foot this box. However, the note can also still be viewed in a pop-up box when the cursor is held over the note number.

 


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Wrexham Jewish Community

on JCR-UK website

 

 Congregational & Marriage Records

Registration District (BDM):

  • Wrexham (since 1 April 1996)

  • Previous registration district:

    • Wrexham - 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1974.

    • Wrexham Maelor - 1 April 1974 to 1 April 1996.

  • Any registers would now be held by current register office.

  • Register Office website

 

Jewish Cemetery Information

There were no Jewish cemeteries in north Wales, the closest such cemeteries being in Liverpool and Manchester. However, in 2010, a Jewish cemetery (along Liberal lines) was established in Llanrhos, Llandudno.

 

Wrexham Jewish Population Data

Year

Number

Source

1896

40

Jewish Year Book 1896/97

1900

66

Jewish Year Book 1900/01

1904

30

Jewish Year Book 1904/05

1908

67

Jewish Year Book 1909

1910

69

Jewish Year Book 1911

 

Notes and Sources:
( returns to text above)

  • (i) to (iii) Reserved.

  • (iv) Jewish Chronicle reports of 23 July 1892 and 23 September 1892.

  • (v) Name first mentioned in Jewish Chronicle report of 19 May 1899.

  • (vi) Otherwise, such honour would go to Bangor Hebrew Congregation, whose synagogue opened in July 1894.

  • (vii) As discussed in his article The Jews of Wrexham.

  • (viii) Jewish Chronicle report of 7 September 1894, and some two months after the establishment of the Bangor congregation.

  • (ix) Name first mentioned in Jewish Chronicle report of 16 December 1898.

  • (x) Jewish Chronicle report of 7 September 1894.

  • (xi) Jewish Chronicle report of 11 August 1899.

  • (xii) and (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) Jewish Chronicle report of 23 September 1892.

  • (xv) Jewish Chronicle report of 23 July 1892.

  • (xvi) Jewish Chronicle report of 7 September 1894.

  • (xvii) It was the address listed in Jewish Year Books From 1896/67 (the first publication) through 1899/1900.

  • (xviii) The Jewish Year Book 1901/02 stated that the "old synagogue in Queen Street" having been closed" following the combining of the two congregations. It is also listed as a synagogue in the Wrexham Advertiser of 30 December 1899.

  • (xix) and (xx) Reserved.

  • (xxi) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1900/1901 through 1918.

  • (xxii) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1919 through 1924.

  • (xxiii) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1925 through 1929.

  • (xxiv) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books from 1930 until the congregation's last appearance in the 1950 edition.

  • (xxv) Based upon the congregation's last appearance in the Jewish Year Book 1950.

  • (xxvi) to (xxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxix) Based upon Rev. Bloom's listing as minister of the congregation in the first Jewish Year Book 1896/97, although there is no known press report referring to him as the minister. There was no minister listed for the congregation in the 1897/98 edition.

  • (xxx) Based upon Rev. Rees listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1898/99 and 1899/1900. He is also mentioned in press reports of 25 March 1898

  • (xxxi) Although Rev. Smorgansky is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1900/01 through 1903/04, it is believed that he ceased to serve the congregation in 1900. He is only referred to as minister of the congregation in Jewish Chronicle press reports of 11 August 1899 and 28 September 1900, with no later references, although there mention of the congregation being served by a visiting minister during such period. In addition other sources place him elsewhere from 1901.

  • (xxxii) Rev. Abrahamson is referred to visiting the congregation in Jewish Chronicle press reports of 28 December 1900 and 8 February 1901. He is not listed as minister of the congregation in any Jewish Year Books.

  • (xxxiii) Rev. Brooks is referred to as minister of the congregation in Jewish Chronicle press report of 13 October 1905. He is not listed as minister of the congregation in any Jewish Year Books.

  • (xxxiv) and (xxxv) Reserved.

  • (xxxvi) Rev. Berkowitz's is first referred to as minister of the congregation in Jewish Chronicle press reports of 9 September 1906, although he is only listed as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1907/08, there being no listing of the minister in the editions from 1904/05 through 1906/07.

  • (xxxvii) Based upon the Jewish Chronicle press report of 16 October 1908, which refers to Rev. Snadowitch as being in Wrexham and report of 3 September 1909, which refers to his appointment, as Rev. Snadow, in Abertillery. He is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1909 and 1910.

  • (xxxviii) Based upon Rev. Jacob's listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1911, although there are no known press reports referring to him as such There are no ministers listed in the editions 1912 through 1917.

  • (xxxix) Based upon Rev. Gretewsky's listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1918 through 1924. He is also mentioned in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 9 February 1917,

  • (xl) Based upon Rev. Silver's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1925 through 1927, although there are no known press reports referring to him as such.

  • (xli) Based upon Rev. Cohen's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1928 and 1929, although there are no known press reports referring to him as such. There are no subsequent listings of any minister for the congregation.

  • (xlii) to (xliv) Reserved.

  • (xlv) Appointed at the inaugural meeting described in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 23 September 1892.

  • (xlvi) Elected at the meeting described in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 4 March 1898.

  • (xlvii) Named as officer of Old Hebrew Congregation in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 19 May 1899.

  • (xlviii) and (xlix) Reserved.

  • (l) Unless more precise data is available from press reports, 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. Initially year books corresponded to the Hebrew year, and thus ran roughly from autumn of one year - the year of publication - until autumn of the next year. From 1909, year books were published according to the Gregorian year, being published generally towards the end of the year prior to the year appearing in the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1909 through 1912, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1908 and continued in office until 1912. 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.

  • (li) Service commenced with election at the first annual general meeting described in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 7 September 1894 and terminated on appointment of successor.

  • (lii) Service commenced with election at the half-yearly meeting described in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 26 April 1895 and his successor was appointed prior to Chief Rabbi's April 1896 visit reported in Jewish Chronicle press report of 8 May 1896.

  • (liii) Service commenced with election at annual general meeting described in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 27 September 1895 and his successor was appointed prior to Chief Rabbi's April 1896 visit reported in Jewish Chronicle press report of 8 May 1896.

  • (liv) Service commenced with election at the first annual general meeting described in the Jewish Chronicle press report of 7 September 1894 and his successor was appointed prior to Chief Rabbi's April 1896 visit reported in Jewish Chronicle press report of 8 May 1896.

 

Jewish Congregations in the former county of Denbighshire

Jewish Congregations in Wales, listed according to current unitary authorities

Jewish Communities & Congregations in Wales home page


Page created: 9 October 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 24 November 2020
Latest revision or update: 15 September 2021


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