the former

Epsom and District Affiliated Synagogue

Epsom and Ewell, Surrey





Press Reports relating to the Epsom Synagogue

Compiled by Harold Pollins

(unless otherwise stated)

Jewish Chronicle, 30 May 1941, page 25

“It will interest readers living in Epsom, Ewell, or district that regular services have been established  at Epsom. The first was held on Saturday last at a private house and was attended by 15 people. Future services will be held at Church House, Church Street, Epsom, on Saturday mornings at 9.30. On Shavuot services will be held on Saturday evening at 9, on Sunday morning at 9.15, and evening at 9, and on Monday morning at 9.15. - H.L. LEHMANN, “Cranmere”, Woodcote Rd., Epsom, Surrey.”

Jewish Chronicle, 22 August 1941, page 4

Church House, Church-street (by courtesy of the Parish Church Authority), Epsom, Surrey.
Hon. Officers will be in attendance for the letting of seats Sundays 10 a.m.tp 12 noon, at the above address, and Wednesdays, 6.30 to 9 p.m., at “Cranmere”. Woodcote-road, Epsom. ‘Phone: Epsom 1150.”

Jewish Chronicle, 27 July 1945, page 4

High Festival Services of Epsom and District Synagogue. All Communications to Rabbi Dr. Holzer, 26 Worple Road, Epsom, Surrey. (Epsom 1383.)”

Jewish Chronicle, 13 September 1946, page 14

Holy-day Services will be held at the Lecture Hall, Upper High Street, Epsom. All communications to 26 Worple Road, Epsom. (Epsom 1381.)”

Jewish Chronicle, 2 February 1951, page 22

More than 60 people attended the first meeting of the Epsom and District Synagogue Ladies’ Guild held recently.”

Jewish Chronicle, 29 October 1954, page 21

Former Baptist Chapel
The Epsom and District Synagogue was recently consecrated by Dayan Dr. M. Lew.
The synagogue, at Prospect Place, was formerly a Baptist chapel and renovations were undertaken by members of the community in a voluntary capacity.
The consecration was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Epsom and Ewell, and the Vicar of Epsom. Dayan Dr. Lew referred to the hospitality of the Gentile clergy who had helped the Epsom community to find accommodation for their services in the past.
Regular services on Sabbaths and Holy-days have been held at Epsom since May, 1941, and religious instruction has been given to the children.”

Jewish Chronicle, 13 October 1967

Profile of the Epsom community - "Gentile woman's gift to Epsom"

For nearly 26 years the now tiny Epsom congregation has dreamed of possessing its own sefer Torah. On Sunday of last week the dream came true and the scroll was consecrated at a service held in the Epsom and District Synagogue, which is affiliated to the United Synagogue. But had it not been for the generosity of a non-Jewish woman, the synagogue may have had to wait even longer for its most treasured possession.

Some months ago, Mrs. Janie Smith went to the synagogue on a Shabbat and asked if she could stay for the service. She subsequently attended the synagogue regularly, even though unable to read Hebrew, and was often the only woman present at services. During this period the synagogue began negotiations with Rabbi Reinhart, of the Westminster Synagogue, to purchase one of the Sifrei Torah rescued from the Nazis and recovered from Czechoslovakia. At that time, the synagogue was not certain whether to proceed, first, because of the cost involved, and secondly, because the Six-Day War entailed outlay by Jewish organisations in other directions.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Smith died and the synagogue, still undecided whether or not to buy the scroll, was informed by her solicitors that she had left it a legacy. This was enough to cover the cost of the scroll, which was then purchased. The service was conducted by the synagogue's vice-president and honorary reader, Mr. F. Hirsch.

The congregation, which has only 26 subscribing members, is closely knit During the war the membership, mainly refugees from Nazism and evacuee residents, was about 200, but few remain since the drift back to London. Some local Jewish residents attend services at Sutton.

The Epsom Synagogue building was consecrated in 1954 by Dayan Dr. M. Lew and the community, founded in 1941, once had a minister, from 1941-47, in the person of Rabbi Dr. P. Holzer, who was present on Sunday. Mr. M. G. Jones, the synagogue's financial representative, told me: "This is really a do-it-yourself congregation. We obtained seats and pews from the Great Synagogue, Adler Street, and Dr. H. L. Lehmann (the president) did some carpentry work on them. I saw to the plumbing and others gave a hand with the decorations of what was once a Baptist church. We are very comfortable here."

[Article extracted by Steven Jaffe.]

Jewish Chronicle, 28 October 1977

Dr H. L. Lehmann, president and leading light of the tiny Epsom Jewish community, celebrates his seventieth birthday tomorrow (Shabbat). A chemist by profession, he founded the Epsom and District Synagogue in the dark war days of 1941 and has been president and honorary secretary ever since, building up the congregation with the help of his friend, Mr M. E. Jones. Dr Lehmann conducts all the Sabbath and festival services and even delivers a short address on the weekly sidra. A number of Epsom's barmitzvah boys were taught by him and he recently had the deep satisfaction of teaching the son of one of his former pupils.
[This report was extracted by Steven Jaffe.]

Jewish Chronicle, 22 May 1992, page 13

Obituary of Dr Hans Lehmann, aged 84.
“…the minuscule Epsom Jewish community has suffered a grievous loss.  He kept alive the synagogue, located in an 18th-century Baptist chapel, regardless of how he was supported by other congregants.” Reference to “Despite the community’s decline after the Second  World War.”

Jewish Chronicle, 2 July 1993 [no pagination]

[In a section relating to four United Synagogue communities merging with other congregations’]
“Plans are … under way to merge Epsom Synagogue with Sutton some four miles away. Male membership at Epsom Synagogue has dwindled to nine and total membership numbers only 13. Formal services ended last summer. Sutton secretary Leonard Gooblar said that some Epsom members had begun to attend Sutton services last year.”

[Jewish Chronicle, 3 September 1993, page 4.

Advert for United Synagogue services includes Epsom Synagogue. Probably an error]

Epsom Jewish Community & Synagogue home page

List of JCR-UK Articles and Press Extracts by Harold Pollins

Page created: 4 May 2006
Contents expanded: 19 February 2023

Initial formatting by Louise Messik
Subsequent formatting by David Shulman


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