In my collection of Jewish Year Books, 1947 is interesting because it reflects Jewish life in Britain after the war. It is also one of the years when the Federation of Synagogues had co-operated by supplying information. Come and join me as we go through the pages with London Synagogues. In 1947 there were 196 Orthodox Ashkenazi Synagogues and Shtiebls, four Sephardi, three Reform and eight Liberal congregations. We’ll start with the United Synagogue:
The list starts with the Bayswater Synagogue, which was one of the original constituent synagogues of the United Synagogue, was damaged in the London Blitz on May 10th, 1941, and was demolished in 1965 for a road building project.
Below, the Central Synagogue in Great Portland Street had been completely destroyed in the bombing on May 10th, 1941, and was temporarily housed in the Adolph Tuck Hall at Woburn House. The Chazan at the Dalston Synagogue in Poets road was Jacob Kucewicki. The Great Synagogue, the ‘cathedral synagogue’ of Anglo-Jewry, which I have previously written about, was also totally destroyed on May 10th 1941, and was housed in a temporary building in the ruins. The Chazan there was Simcha Kusevitsky. At the Hammersmith and West Kensington Synagogue, the Minister is Reverend Sam Venitt, who is listed as a student at Jews College in 1937 here. For the history of the Hammersmith Synagogue, click here.
In 1947, the temporary Minister at Hendon United Synagogue in Raleigh Close was Maurice Landy, although Reverend Hardman, who married my parents, was about to be appointed. The Chazan was David Kusevitsky.
Rabbi Smerditsky had been at Jews College in 1937, and was now at the Ilford Synagogue. At the West Ham Synagogue in Earlham Grove, Forrest Gate, my great-uncle, Charles Molen was the Financial Representative and my grandmother’s sister, Bella Molen was secretary of the Ladies guild.
The Principal Rabbi of the Federation of Synagogues was Rabbi Kopul Rosen. I have written about him here. The Bethnal Green Great Synagogue had been totally destroyed in the bombing, and was temporarily in Chance St. Similarly, the Black Lion Yard synagogue had been destroyed and had moved to 42a Old Montague St. You can read about this synagogue in the memoirs of Selig Oberman, In Meine Teg (In My Days), in Yiddish.
Rabbi Yitzchok Mordechai Rudnick was at the Cannon Street Road Synagogue. You can read about his book, Sade Yitzchok, here. Rabbi Louis Shaposnick, son of the controversial Rabbi Joseph Shapotshnick, was at the Great Garden street Synagogue.
Rabbi Lewis Levene was at the Jubilee Street Zionist Great Synagogue. His book, Diukno Shel Yaakov, includes a list of many members of this Synagogue in 1929. Rabbi Fisher (eventually Dayan Fisher) was at the Ainsworth Road North-East London Beth Hamedrash in Hackney. I have written previously about his book, Ateres Mordechai.
Rabbi Julius Newman, although not listed below, was at Notting Hill Synagogue (he is listed in the Who’s Who at the end of the volume. The Philpot Street Great Synagogue had been almost totally destroyed in the bombing, but a temporary building had been erected in the ruins, and Rabbi Aaron Jacob Singer soldiered on. I have written about his book L’Lev Ami here.
The Stepney Orthodox Synagogue had been destroyed in the bombing and was temporarily at 61 Redmans Road. The Chazan at the Woolwich and Plumstead Synagogue was Rabbi Gotlieb Rosenberg. Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld was at the Adath Yisroel, in Green Lanes, N.16. He was the son of the late Rabbi Victor Schonfeld, whom you can read about here, and was the son-on-law if the late Chief Rabbi Hertz. Rabbi Dr. Yechezkel Bornstein was at the Amhurst Park Synagogue. He published his book, Yad Yechezkel, in 1947.
The Biala Synagogue had been founded by the Biala Rebbe, Rabbi Nathan David Rabinowicz, who died suddenly in 1947. I have written about his will. Rabbi Jacob Henech Cymerman was at the Jewish Center Synagogue in Whitechapel, which was the only Agudah Synagogue in the East End of London. You can read about his book Imrei Yaakov here.
Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Ferber was a renowned Torah and Talmudic scholar who emigrated to who had been Rabbi and leader of the West End Talmud Torah in Soho since 1913. You can read about his book Shvil HaTzvi here. His commentary on Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the Fathers), Hegyonei Avos, was published in 1948.