the former

Bath Jewish Community

and Synagogues

Bath, Somerset




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.

City of Bath

Bath is an historic and elegant city of about 90,000 inhabitants in southwest England, renowned since Roman times for its hot mineral springs. It forms the principal urban area of the district of Bath and Northeast Somerset, which is a unitary authority created 1996 and placed for ceremonial purposes in the county of Somerset.  Until 1996, Bath was a district of the now defunct county of Avon, which had been formed in 1974. Prior to then, Bath was a borough in the county of Somerset.

The Jewish Community

Jews began to settle in Bath from the mid-eighteenth century, although the first synagogue was not established until the early nineteenth century. The resident Jewish population was never very large and by the mid-1870s, regular services were no longer held, although the congregation continued to function into the early twentieth century. However, during this period, Bath and its mineral springs remained a popular destination for Jewish visitors, witnessed by the existence of a kosher restaurant until about 1900.(ii) Later, in the mid-twentieth century, a new congregation was established, but this also closed and there is no longer a Jewish community.

Advertisements from The Jewish Chronicle
27 October 1939

19th/Early 20th Century Congregation(iii)


Bath Synagogue


Community founded in about 1742. The synagogue dates from some time prior to 1815.

Earlier Address:


Kingsmead Street, Bath 

19 Kingsmead Street, Bath (now James Street West and Monmouth Street), from about 1815 to about 1841. The synagogue lay due west of Abbey Square. The building had formerly been the New Theatre and then a girls' school. The site is now occupied by a DHSS building and telephone exchange.

Subsequent Address:


Corn Street, Bath 

Corn Street, Street, Bath, Somerset (building dedicated in about 1841)

This was a purpose-built synagogue, the cost for which was provided in the will of Moses Samuel, who had founded the earlier synagogue (in Kingsmead Street) and who had died in 1839.

The site is now part of the Technical College.


Regular services ceased in about 1874 and the synagogue fell into a state of disrepair. Attempts were made to raise funds to restore the building and the synagogue was reactivated by 1880, with the assistance of 'minyan men' from Bristol. However, it fell on hard-times again and by 1881 was largely defunct. In 1894, the synagogue was badly damaged in flood and by 1903, had fallen completely out of use. In 1911, the lease expired and the building, by then derelict, was taken over by St Paul's Church, before being compulsory purchased by the local authority in 1938 as part of the Technical College development.


Ashkenazi Orthodox


None known, but presumably under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi

Spiritual Leaders:(v) (To view a short profile of a minister or reader whose name appears in blue, hold the cursor over his name.)

Rev. H. Bernstein - referred to as minister in about 1815(vi)

Rev. Solomon Wolfe - from 1816 until 1866. The congregation's first "minister". He was actually the shochet and reader of the congregation but, initially, until the appointment of a minister in the 1850s, effectively performed the functions of the minister.(vii)

Rev. Samuel Hermon - minister in mid/late 1850s.(viii)

Rev. Lewis Harfield - minister in about 1861-1862.(ix)

Rev. Simon Greenbaum - minister in about 1864.(xii)

Rev. Barnett Lichtenstein - minister in about 1868 (for about four years).(xiii)

Rev. Israel Greenberg - minister in about 1872.(xiv)

Rev. S. Bach - reader in about 1874.(xv)

Rev. Jacob Wittenberg - minister from at least 1878 to at least 1881.(xviii)

Rev. Simon (J.) Fine - minister in about 1882.(xix)

Rev. H. Dainow - minister from 1885 until at least 1888.(xx)

Rev. J. Rensohn - minister in about 1890.(xxi)

Rev. Isadore Burman - minister and shochet from 1894 until about 1897.(xxiv)

Rev. Lewis Horfield - minister in about 1898.(xxv)

Rev. J. Kandelschaine   - minister from about 1900.(xxvi)

Officers and Members:(xxx)


1874 - David Nyman(xxxi)

1876/1894 - Arthur J. Goldsmid(xxxii)

1895-1898 - M. Bertish(xxxiii)

1898-1899 - J.W. Jacobs(xxxiv)

1899-1901 - Simon Sperber(xxxv)

from 1901 - Reuben Somers(xxxvi)


1898-1901 - Reuben Somers(xxxvi)


1826 - I. Abraham

1833 - Lewis Lazarus

1833-1846 - Benjamin Samuel


1882-1886 - J.W. Jacobs

1890 - Abraham Leon

Hon. Secretary(xl)

1898-1907 - M. Franks

Membership Data:


1845 - 4 ba'alai batim and 5 seatholders (Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire)

Board of Deputies Returns - Number of male seatholders:(xli)












20th Century Congregation


Bath Hebrew Congregation


Congregation was re-established during the 1920s.(xlv)


Initially services were held at the Assembly Rooms, Bath.(xlvi

From about 1926, services were held at the Kerstein Hotel, which, at least from 1938, was at 10 Duke Street, Bath.(xlvii)


The congregation closed in the mid 1940s.(xlviii)


Ashkenazi Orthodox


None known.

Ministers or Readers:  

None known

Lay Officers:

The following data has been extracted from Jewish Year Books.(xlix)


1922-1926 - Reuben Somers

1926-1929 - M. Sperber

1932-1938 - N. Kerstein


1926-1929 - M. Sperber

1929-1932 - N. Kerstein

1932-1938 - Herbert Brickman
                  & Hyman Barnett


1929-1932 - M. Brickman

Hon. Secretaries

1922-1926 - Michael Myers

1926-1929 - J.E. Rivlin

1929-1935 - J. Gordon

1935-1938 - M. Littaur

Life Warden
& Superintendent of Cemetery

from 1926 - Reuben Somers


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Bath include:

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database, including Frome (10 miles to the south) (updated 2016)

    • Individuals who were living in:
      Bath during the 1780s (1 record), 1790s (8 records), 1800s (6 records), 1810s (13 records); 1820s (20 records), 1830s (25 records), 1840s (36 records), 1850s (46 records), 1860s (11 records), 1870s (4 record), 1880s (9 records), 1890s (6 records), 1900s (2 records) and 1910s (1 record); and
      Frome during the 1800s (7 records), 1810s (7 records), 1820s (8 records), 1830s (1 record) and 1860s (1 record).


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Bath Jewish Community


on Third Parties' websites

Some Notable Jewish Connections with Bath

  • Simon Barrow (1787-1862), London West Indian merchant, partner in Barrow & Lousada, became alderman and mayor of Bath in 1836 and 1837 respectively. This was after he and his family converted to Christianity in 1828, following the death of his wife. His large house at Lansdown Grove, Bath, later became a hotel. (Online biographies: one and two.)

  • Rabbi Nathan Jacobs (1826-1890) of the Cardiff Hebrew congregation, retired to Bath in or after 1872 and served the tiny community there in a voluntary capacity. His daughter Rosa Franks, kept a kosher restaurant and boarding house in Bath. The Rabbi is buried at Bath Jewish burial ground.

  • Nathan Kerstein kept a kosher hotel at 7 and 10 Duke Street, Bath, from 1927 until his death in the 1940s. He hosted regular religious services at the hotel and was remembered for his taking the mincha service on Yom Kippur every year.

  • Jonathan Lynn, stage and film director, producer, writer and actor, was born in Bath in 1943. He has won BAFTA awards for his work on the TV series, "Yes Minister".

  • Moses Samuel (1740-1839), born Moses ben Samuel Pulvermacher at Krotoschin, Poland, was one of the London magnates of the late Hanoverian period. He was Warden of the Great Synagogue in 1809, spent twenty-five years of retirement at Bath. He was an important figure in establishing and sustaining a Jewish congregation in Bath. (sculpture)


Community Records

  • Registration District (for BMD): Bath & North East Somerset (since 1 April 1996).

    • Previous Registration District
         Bath (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1996).

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

    • Link to Register Office website


Bath Jewish Cemetery
Bath Old Jewish Burial Ground

Bath Jewish Cemetery Information

There is an Old Jewish Burial Ground in Greendown Place, Bradford Road, Coombe Hill, Bath, with some 50 burials dating opened 1812, with interments from 1812 to 1963.

The Georgian era burial ground has recently been transformed following a conservation and repair programme by the Friends of Bath Jewish Burial Ground, established in 2005. See website of the Friends of Bath Jewish Burial Ground with separate grave guide.
See above for other material relating to the cemetery (a) on JCR-UK and (b) on third parties websites.

The Cemetery, its Walls and Ohel, are Listed Buildings, Grade II, first listed on 7 March 2006 (number 1396344). Historic England Listing & Description.

(For additional information, See also IAJGS International Jewish Cemeteries Project - Bath)


Bath Jewish Population Data






Chief Rabbi's Questionnaire of 1845 - Bath



The Jewish Year Book 1945/6)

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) A kosher restaurant was listed in the first Jewish Year Book (1896/7) and the 1897/8 edition at 2 Sunnybank Lyncombe Vale and in the editions from 1898/9 through 1900/01 at 9 Prior Park Buildings.

  • (iii) Unless otherwise stated, the source of all data on this congregation, is the section on "Bath" from The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth, 1950.

  • (iv) Reserved.

  • (v) All ministers listed here (other than Revs. Bernstein, Bach and Kandelschaine) appear in a list of ministers in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" by M. Brown and J. Samuel (JHSE Transaction Vol. XXIX 1982/1986) (Online version). None of such ministers remained for more than five years.

  • (vi) "H. Bernstein, made himself known in Bath in 1814, he stated that he was to be found at Mr. Durlacher's house. Bernstein also described himself as minister to the Hebrew Congregation." - The Jews of Bath" p.158.

  • (vii) "The Jews of Bath" pp.159/165. Rev. Wolfe was also listed in Appendix II as reader from at least 1824 to at least 1864.

  • (viii) Although Rev. Hermon was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as a minister in 1856, based upon local Bath Directories, it is likely he was just visiting Bath at the time. However by 1858-9 he was listed in the Bath City Directory as minister of the Bath congregation and teacher of Hebrew and German.

  • (ix) Listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1862, based upon local Bath Directories, he was a subscriber, as Rev. L. Harfield of Bath, to The Jewish Chronicle in 1861 and 1862.

  • (x) and (xi) Reserved.

  • (xii) Rev. Greenbaum was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1864, based upon local Bath Directories.

  • (xiii) Rev. Lichtenstein was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1868, based upon local Bath Directories.

  • (xiv) Rev. Greenberg was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1872, based upon local Bath Directories.

  • (xv) Michael Jolles's Encyclopaedia of British Jewish Cantors, etc.

  • (xvi) and (xvii) Reserved.

  • (xviii) Rev. Wittenberg was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1878, based upon local Bath Directories, and was listed as a rabbi in Bath in the 1881 Census.

  • (xix) Rev. Fine was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1882, based upon local Bath Directories.

  • (xx) The Jewish Chronicle of 9 October 1885 contained the following report:
    "BATH - During the recent holidays the services in the Bath Synagogue were conducted by the newly elected Reader, the Rev. H. J. Dainow, assisted by Mr. N. Jacobs and another resident member. The attendance at the synagogue showed great improvement on former years, and the prospects of the congregation appear decidedly promising."
    He was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1886, based upon local Bath Directories

  • (xxi) Rev. Rensohn was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1890, based upon local Bath Directories.

  • (xxii) and (xxiii) Reserved.

  • (xxiv) Rev. Burman was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1894 and 1895, based upon local Bath Directories and was listed as shochet of the congregation in the first Jewish Year Book (1896/7) and the 1897/8 edition.

  • (xxv) Rev. Lewis Horfield was listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" as minister in 1898, based upon local Bath Directories. He is believed to be the same Rev. Harfield who served the congregation in the 1860s.

  • (xxvi) Rev. J. Kandelschaine was recorded as a minister in Bath in 1900 (possibly from street directories) and a Rev. I. Kandekchain of Corn Street, Bath is included in a 1907 list of provincial ministers (Jolles's Encyclopaedia). Query whether the same person as Rev. Israel Candleshine.

  • (xxvii) to (xxix) Reserved.

  • (xxx) Extracted from Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896/7, and/or "The Jews Of Bath" article. Dates are approximate and the terms of officer would have extended beyond the single year shown.

  • (xxxi) Listed in the Jewish Director of 1874, compiled by Asher I. Myers.

  • (xxxii) "The Jews of Bath" refers on p. 166 to Alfred J. Goldsmid becoming president of the congregation in 1876 and in Appendix II Arthur J. Goldsmid (assumed to be the same person) is listed as president in 1894, based upon local Bath Directories. It is not known if he served continuously.

  • (xxxiii) In Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath", Bertish "of Swindon" is listed as president of the congregation in 1895, based upon local Bath Directories. M. Bertish is also listed as president of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1897/.

  • (xxxiv) J.W. Jacobs is listed as president of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1898/99.

  • (xxxv) In Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath", Simon Sperber is listed as president of the congregation in 1898 (but not in 1901), based upon local Bath Directories He is also listed as president in Jewish Year Books 1899/1900 through 1906/7, but is is assumed that from about 1901, this is an error.

  • (xxxvi) In Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath", Reuben Somers is listed as treasurer of the congregation in 1898 and as president and treasurer in 1901, based upon local Bath Directories. He is also listed as treasurer in Jewish Year Books 1 1898/9 through 1900/01 and was an officer of the congregation re-established in the 1920. His had been the last burial to take place in the Bath Jewish cemetery (in 1941) until the burial of his daughter, Adelaide, in 1963.

  • (xxxvii) and (xxxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxxix) As listed in Appendix II to "The Jews of Bath" for the relevant years, based upon local Bath Directories.

  • (xl) Listed as hon. secretary of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1896/7 through 1906/7.

  • (xli) Paper on "Bath" from 1975 conference on provincial Jewry, prepared by Aubrey Newman.

  • (xlii) to (xliv) Reserved.

  • (xlv) The listing of the congregation resumed in the Jewish Year Book 1923.

  • (xlvi) Listed in Jewish Year Books 1923 through 1926.

  • (xlvii) Listed in Jewish Year Books from 1927.

  • (xlviii) Last listed in Jewish Year Books 1947.

  • (xlix) 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. During this period, 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 1933 through 1937, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1932 and continued in office until 1937. 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. Year books were not published during the war years 1941 through 1944.

Jewish Communities in Somerset

Jewish Communities of England homepage

First Bath page created: 21 August 2005
Consolidation of Bath community & congregation pages and data significant expanded: 5 May 2017
Further significant expansion of data and notes added: 1 February 2023
Page most recently amended: 8 June 2023

Research by David Shulman, assisted by Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

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