Staines and District Synagogue

Staines-upon-Thames, Spelthorne, Surrey




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Towns of
Staines-upon-Thames and Egham

Staines-upon-Thames, formerly Staines, (population 18,500) lies immediately to the southwest of the administrative boundary of Greater London. It is in the borough of Spelthorne, a local government district of the county of Surrey, formed in 1974. Prior to 1974, Staines had been an urban district since 1894, originally in the former county of Middlesex, but transferred to Surrey in 1965 (although its postal address remained in Middlesex). Egham, a small town (population about 6,400) situated a couple of miles to the east of Staines, is now in the borough of Runnymede and was previously, from 1906 until 1974, in the urban district of Egham, in the county of Surrey.

Jewish Community

The first organised Jewish community in Staines was established during World War II by evacuees from London.

Congregation Data


Staines and District Synagogue

Alternative and Former Names:

Staines and District Affiliated Synagogue(ii)

Staines and District Hebrew Congregation(iii)

Staines, Egham and District Hebrew Congregation(iv)


Although the congregation was formally established in 1946, it had developed from the Staines, Egham and District United Synagogue Membership Group,(v) which had been formed in 1943(vi) by World War II evacuees from heavily populated areas of central and eastern London.


Westbrook Road, South Street, Staines-upon-Thames TW18 4PR. (from about 1976)(viii)

Former Addresses:

Tothill Street, Staines from 1953(ix)
and prior thereto, the Jewish Institute, 2-4 High Street, Staines.(x)

Current Status:



Orthodox - Ashkenazi


The congregation has remained an affiliated synagogue of the United Synagogue since joining the organisation in 1946(xi), having developed from a United Synagogue Membership Group.



Incorporated congregation:

The congregation incorporated the Slough & Windsor Affiliated Synagogue following the closure of that congragation in about 1986. (xii)


(To view a short profile of a minister - hold the cursor over his name.)

Rev. Lewis Rosenberg - from 1943 until 1979(xvii)

Rev. Alan Shaw - from 1979 until 1981 and from 1986 until 1988(xviii)

Rev. Herschel Caplan - from 1981 until 1986(xix)

Rev. Gavin Broder - from 1988 until 1990(xx)

Rabbi Yehudah Black - from 1990 until 1995(xxi)

Rabbi Nir Menashe - from about 1995 until about 1997(xxii)

Rev. Michael Binstock - from 1997 until 2008(xxiii)

Rev. David Kale - from about 2008 until 2018(xxiv)

Rabbi Claude Vecht-Wolf - from about 2018 until present (March 2023)(xxv)

Lay Officers:(xxx)


1945-1946 - A. Rosner

1946-1949 - H. Cyzer


1945-1947 - M. ChodickJ. Melzack

1947-1948 - D. FererJ. Melzack

1948-1954 - T. DavisJ. Melzack

1954-1955 - T. DavisE. Westbrook

1955-1956 - C. LinderE. Westbrook


1946-1956 - A. Rosner

Vice Chairmen

1946-1947 - N. Fox

1947-1949 - J. Gilbert

1949-1956 - E. Westbrook


1945-1946 - J. Gilbert

1946-1956 - R.S. King

Additional Local Congregation:

From 1945 until about 1953(xxxii), the Staines Jewish Theological College and Preparatory Classes (which was also known as Yeshivas Toras Chayim)(xxxiii), which had moved from Bletchley to premises between Staines and Egham, had at one stage developed into an alternative congregation. Referred to as the Law of Life College and Synagogue in 1945(xxxiv), it appears to have briefly adopted the name Staines Hebrew Congregation (affiliated to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations)(xxxv) the following year, although subsequently it was merely listed as "Jewish Theological College". Its address was Thorpe Lea House, Egham from at least 1949.(xxxvi)

Its officers, from at least 1945, were(xxxvii):

Rabbi S.J. Rabinow - Hon. President from at least 1945 to about 1953

Rabbi Dr. Solomon Schonfeld - President from about 1947 to about 1953

Rabbi Chayim Yitzchok Weingarten - Rab. in about 1945 and Principal from about 1947 to about 1953

D. Binstock & M.A. Retter - Joint Treasurers in about 1945

M. Rabinowitz & S. Rabin - Joint Treasurers from about 1949 to about 1953

M.A. Retter - Hon. Secretary from about 1949 to about 1953

Membership Data:

United Synagogue(xl) - Number of male seat-holders:









Reports & Surveys(xli)

1977 - 101 male (or household) members and 28 female members

1983 - 87 male (or household) members and 32 female members

1990 - 148 members (comprising 146 households and 2 individual male members)

1996 - 120 members (comprising 108 households and 14 individual female members)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 50 to 99 members (by household)

Registered Charity:

The congregation is supported, in part, by a registered charity, Staines Synagogue Charitable Trust (registered charity no. 1023277) registered on 29 June 1993. The governing document is a Trust Deed of Trust dated 29 March 1993.(xlii)


The synagogue in South Street was registered as a Place of Worship - Worship Register Number 74130 - under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855.(xliii)

Registration District:

Surrey, from 4 August 2008(xliv) - Link to Register Office website.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) This was the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books 1962 through 2009, the congregation previously (from 1949) and subsequently being listed under its present name.

  • (iii) Listed under this name in the Jewish Year Book 1948.

  • (iv) Listed under this name in the Jewish Year Book 1947.

  • (v) This was the name of the entity listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945-6.

  • (vi) The congregation celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2003 with the publication of a commemorative brochure containing "The History of our Community 1943-2003".

  • (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) The South Street address was the address given for the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1976.

  • (ix) This was the address given for the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1954 through 1975.

  • (x) This was the address given for the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1947 through 1953, and was also the address given for the Membership Group in the Jewish Year Book 1945-6.

  • (xi) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), page 222.

  • (xii) The congregation's listing in all Jewish Year Books from 1987 included the wording "(Incorporating Slough and Windsor)" and the congregation's website contains similar wording ("Incorporating Slough and Windsor Communities").

  • (xiii) to (xv) Reserved.

  • (xvi) JCR-UK is grateful to Steven Jaffe and his wife, Sarah Tarzi, for compiling details of the ministers of this congregation.

  • (xvii) Rev. Rosenberg's was listed as minister and secretary of the congregation in all Jewish Year Books from 1945-6 (the first following the war years) through 1979.

  • (xviii) Based upon information provided by Steven Jaffe and Sarah Tarzi. Rev. Shaw is listed as minister in of the congregation Jewish Year Books 1981, 1987 and 1988.

  • (xix) Rev. Caplan is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1983 through 1986.

  • (xx) Rabbi Broder is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1989 and 1990.

  • (xxi) Rabbi Black is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1993 through 1995.

  • (xxii) Based upon information provided by Steven Jaffe and Sarah Tarzi. Rabbi Menashe is not listed in any Jewish Year Book.

  • (xxiii) Based upon information provided by Steven Jaffe and Sarah Tarzi. Rabbi Binstock is however listed as minister in Jewish Year Books 2002 through 2009. During his ministry, Mr Tony Brown officiated at Sabbath and Festivals services when Rev. Binstock was unable to do so.

  • (xxiv) Based upon information provided by Steven Jaffe and Sarah Tarzi. David Kale is listed in Jewish Year Books from 2010 until the final edition (2015).

  • (xxv) Based upon information provided by Steven Jaffe and Sarah Tarzi and the congregation's website, last accessed March 2023. Rabbi Nicolas Goldmeier officiates on Sabbath and Festivals services when Rabbi Vecht-Wolf is unable to do so.

  • (xxvi) to (xix) Reserved.

  • (xxx) All the data as listed here has been extracted from Jewish Year Books. Where a person is first listed in a year book as holding a particular, it has been assumed that his term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevent year book (which was generally towards the end of the year prior to year appearing the the title of the year book) and that he continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor (e.g. if he is listed in Jewish Year Books 1951 through 1954, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1950 and continued in office until 1954). However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and accordingly his actual years of office may differ slightly from those shown here. Jewish Year Books were not published during WWII and there were no listings of officers (other than secretary, who was Rev. Rosenberg until until 1979) subsequent to 1956.

  • (xxxi) Reserved.

  • (xxxii) The Jewish Year Book 1950 first refers to the college as being established in 1940 and it is last mentioned in the 1953 edition.

  • (xxxiii) UOHC Shuls of Yesteryear - Addendum to UOHC Hakohol Madrich HaKashrus 2015, p.49.

  • (xxxiv) The Jewish Year Book 1945-6.

  • (xxxv) The only reference to this name and affiliation is in the Jewish Year Book 1947, without any mention of officers. As the theological college and synagogue is not listed in the 1947 edition, it is assumed that temporarily it assumed the name Slough Hebrew Congregation. This assumption is reinforced by the fact that such congregation is stated as being affiliated to the UOHC, and that Rabbi Dr. S. Schonfeld, head of the UOHC, is subsequently listed as president of theological college.

  • (xxxvi) This address appears in Jewish Year Books 1950 through 1953.

  • (xxxvii) As per note (xxx) above.

  • (xxxviii) and (xxxix) Reserved.

  • (xl) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pages 218/19.

  • (xli) Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by or on behalf of 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 links to the various reports.

  • (xlii) Result of search on Charities Commission website, accessed 8 September 2020.

  • (xliii) Page 1363 of the 2010 List of Places of Worship.

  • (xliv) The former Registration Districts were: Staines from 1 July 1837 to 1 October 1947; Middlesex South from 1 October 1947 to 1 April 1965; Surrey Northern from 1 April 1965 to 1 October 1996; North Surrey from 1 October 1996 to 4 August 2008. All registers would now be held by current register office.



  • Staines & District Synagogue - The History of our Community 1943 - 2003, a brochure published in 2003 by the congregation to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the synagogue

  • Other Staines bibliography, if any


Jewish Cemetery Information

There is no Jewish cemetery in Staines. For details of the cemeteries of the United Synagogue, see Cemeteries of the United Synagogue.


Staines Jewish Population Data



(The Jewish Year Book 1948)



(The Jewish Year Book 1951)



(The Jewish Year Book 1944)



(The Jewish Year Book 1982)



(The Jewish Year Book 1985)



(The Jewish Year Book 1986)



(The Jewish Year Book 1987)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)


List of United Synagogue Congregations (and Membership Groups)

List of UOHC-Affiliated Congregations

World War II Evacuee Communities

Jewish Congregations in Surrey

Jewish Congregations in Greater London and its Outskirts

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 2 May 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 8 September 2020
Page most recently amended: 27 December 2023

Reaearch by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Dormatting by David Shulman

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