Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation

Bournemouth, Dorset



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Congregation Data


Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation


Wootton Gardens, Bournemouth, BH1 1PW.

The site was purchased in 1909 and the purpose-built synagogue was opened in 1911.(i)

In 1923 the vestry was converted and extended to form a schoolroom with additional facilities. The synagogue was further extended in 1957-1962 and in 1970 the congregation bought the neighbouring Windsor Hotel, which was subsequently demolished and replaced with the Murray Muscat Centre, officially opened by the Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, in July 1974. In 1976, a new mikveh was built to the north side of the Synagogue.

The Synagogue is a Grade II Listed Building(ii) (number 1452943), designated 30 January 2018. View description on Historic England website.

Previously the congregation met at Belleview Assembley Hall, opposite the pier.(iii)

Current Status:





Ashkanazi Orthodox


Congregation is unaffiliated but under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.


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

Rev. M. Berkovitz - from 1905 until 1906(ix)

Rev. Leopold Wolf Klein - from August 1906 until May 1914(x)

Rev. David Lewis Halpern - from about July 1913 until 1926(xi)

Rev. Julius M. Hirsch - from August 1924 until about January 1927(xii)

Rev. Chaim Leib Heilpern - from about 1928 until 1946(xiii)

Rev. (later Rabbi) Jonah Indech - from 1947 until about January 1974(xiv)

Rabbi Sidney Silberg - from about March 1974 until 1981(xvii)

Rabbi Leon Benarroch - from 1982 until 1987(xviii)

Rabbi Alan Lewis - from 1988 until late 1989(xix)

Rabbi Simon Harris - from 1990 until June 1993(xx)

Rev. (later Rabbi) Geoffrey L. Shisler - from 1993 until 2000(xxi)

Rev. Lionel Rosenfeld - from 2001 until May 2005(xxiv)

Rabbi Yossie Alperowitz - acting minister from about May to November 2005(xxv)

Rabbi Adrian Jesner - from March 2008 until present (July 2021)(xxvi)

Readers (Chazanim):
(other than those also appointed minister)

Rev. Haim Joseph David Azulay - mid 1920s(xxix)

Rev. A. Bytensky - from 1928 until 1967(xxx)

Rev. (later Rabbi) Jacob Kahan - from about 1954 until about 1968(xxxi)

Rev. Israel Cohen - from 1968 until 1985, and thereafter emeritus(xxxii)

Rev. Meir Lev - from 2005 until 2008(xxxiii)

Sephardi Services:

The Bournemouth Sephardi Association holds services in the congregation's Menorah Suite.

Lay Officers and Trustees:

Lists of Honorary Officers and Trustees 1905-1980, which was initially included in the congregation's 75th Anniversary Souvenir Brochure.(xxxviii) 

List of Presidents 1905-1921, see Board below (Click on the image to view an enlarge image in a new window

Others Officers

Secretaries & Hon. Secretaries(xxxix) 

1905-1908 - N.L. Morris

1908-1911 - L.P. Lipman

1911-1914 - N.L. Morris

1914-1919 - J. Hayman

1921-1923 - Miss G.S. Nerwich

1923-1926 - Rev. D.L. Halpern

1926-1927 - Rev. J.M. Hirsch

1928-1929 - M. Leaf

1929-1937 - M. Ben-Levi

1937-1938 - B. Wykansky

1938-1939 - A. Levy

1939-1940 - Miss Haimwich

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1950 - Miss S. Halpern

1950-1952 - Montague Weinberg

1953-1954 - M. Rothstein

1955-1958 - Mrs. P. Kaplan

1960-1984 - M. Weinberg

1984-1986 - D. Silver

1986-1988 - Mrs. R. Bloom


1945-1947 - W. Galan

1945-1949 - R. Marriott

1947-1948 - M. Cress

1948-1949 - I.J. Woolfe

1949-1951 - J. Moore

1949-1956 - A. Kesselman

1953-1956 - A. Steinberg

Membership Data:

Number of Seatholders(xliii)













Reports & Survey(xliv)

1977 - 553 male (or household) members and 58 female members

1983 - 471 male (or household) members and 276 female members

1990 - 675 members (households)

1996 - 560 members (households)

2010 - listed as having 400 to 499 members (by household)

2016 - listed as having 300 to 399 members (by household)

Charitable Status:

Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation is a registered charity (no. 1152775), registered on 6 July 2013 (standard registration). The governing document is the congregation's constitution, adopted 26 August 1999, as amended 17 December 2020 and 10 February 2013.(xlv)


The Congregation used all three Jewish cemeteries in Bournemouth - Boscombe, Kinson and Throop. For details see Bournemouth Jewish Cemetery Information on Bournemouth home page. To search cemetery database, see below.

Bournemouth Synagogue - Ministers Borad

Bournemouth Synagogue - Presidents Board

Boards listing past Ministers and Presidents of the Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation
Courtesy Steven Jaffe, September 2023
(Click on an image to view enlarge image in a new window)

Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with this congregation include:

  • Burials:

    • Boscombe Cemetery 1911 - 1998 (716 records)

    • Kinson Cemetery 1955 - 2005 (867 records)

    • Throop Cemetery 1996 - 2001 (77 records)

For a list of other Bournemouth records in the Database that may also include records associated with this congregation, click here.


Online Articles, Bibliography and Other Material
relating to this Congregation


  • Press Extracts primarily relating to this congregation;

  • Bibliography:

    • Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation 1905-1980, - 75th Anniversary Souvenir Brochure;

    • Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation Centenary 1905-2005: A Celebration in writing and pictures of the Congregation's first 100 wonderful years (2005);

    • "Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation", Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland, (2015) by Sharman Kadish, pp. 99/100;

    • other Bournemouth bibliography.

On Third Party websites


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) This address was listed in Jewish Year Books from 1912.

  • (ii) Historic England website, List Entry Number 1452943.

  • (iii) This address was listed in Jewish Year Books 1906/7 through 1911. 

  • (iv) The Jewish Year Book 1905/6.

  • (v) to (viii) Reserved.

  • (iv) Listed as the first minoster of the congregation's Board listing ministers - see photograph on this page.

  • (x) Jewish Chronicle of 10 August 1906 reported on the congregation's first AGM and Rev. Klein's appointment as minister and on 29 May 1914, it reported on his departure. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1906/7 through 1914.

  • (xi) Jewish Chronicle of 11 July 1913 reported on Rev. Halpern leaving Aberdeen to take up his duties in Bournemouth. It appears from his Jewish Chronicle obituary of 25 June 1926, that he was still minister of the congregation at the time of his untimely death, although he had stepped down from his duties some months earlier due to illness. He was listed as minister and teacher of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1915 through 1924.

  • (xii) Jewish Chronicle of 22 August 1924 reported on Rev. Hirsch's appointment at Bournemouth. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1925 through 1927. There was no minister listed for the congregation in the 1928 edition.

  • (xiii) Jewish Chronicle of 22 August 1924 reported Rev. Heilpern in Bournemouth and a report of 27 December 1946 refers to his farewell reception in Bournemouth. Rev. (later Rabbi) Heilpern was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1929 through 1945/6. except for 1930-32 (no explanation) and 1940-45 (when there was no publication). There was no minister listed for the congregation in the 1947 edition.

  • (xiv) Jewish Chronicle of 7 March 1947 included a Notice for Induction Service of Rev. Indech in Bournemouth and on 11 January 1974 reported on Rabbi Indech's retirement and farewell address at Bournemouth . He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1948 through 1974.

  • (xv) and (xvi) Reserved.

  • (xvii) Jewish Chronicle of 15 March 1974 reported on farewell kiddush for Rabbi Silberg in Newcastle who was departing for Bournemouth and on 9 January 1981 reported on his succeeding Rabbi Hardman in Hendon in March. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1975 through 1981. There were no ministers listed for the congregation in the 1983 and 1983 editions.

  • (xviii) Jewish Chronicle of 30 April 1982 reported on Rabbi Benarroch's appointment as minister of the congregation and on 1 May 1987 reported on his upcoming departure, adding that "in the short term the vacancy will be filled by retired rabbis living locally". He was listed as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1984 and as "communal rabbi" in the 1985 and 1986 editions. There were no ministers listed for the congregation in the 1987 and 1988 editions.

  • (xix) Jewish Chronicle of 28 October 1988 reported on the Chief Rabbi inducting Rabbi Alan Lewis "into office last week as minister of the Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation" and on 5 January 1990 reported on on his move to Wanstead and Woodford Synagogue East London, where he had taken his first service. The Jewish Chronicle also further reported on 23 February 1990 on the "controversial departure" of Rabbi Alan Lewis to Wanstead, which resulted in a £2,000 payment to Bournemouth from his new community. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1989 and 1990.

  • (xx) Jewish Chronicle of 8 June 1990 reported on the president of the congregation welcoming Rabbi Harris as the new minister and on 25 June 1993 it reported on his farewell address at Bournemouth on being appointed as the new Irish Chief Rabbi. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1991 through 1993.

  • (xxi) The Jewish Chronicle of 16 July 1993 reported on Rev. Shisler's appointment as minister of the congregation from November 1993 and on 10 November 2000 it reported on Rabbi Shisler's farewell kiddush at Bournemouth. He was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1994 through 2003, with the title Rabbi from 1997.

  • (xxii) and (xxiii) Reserved.

  • (xxiv) Jewish Chronicle of 5 October 2001 reported on Rev. Rosenfeld's induction service in Bournemouth and on 25 November 2005 it reported that he had left Bournemouth in May 2005. Rev. (subsequently Rabbi) Rosenfeld was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 2004 through 2006.

  • (xxv) Jewish Chronicle of 25 November 2005 reported that Rabbi Alperowitz, as rabbi of Chabad Lubavitch of Bournemouth, had over the years assisted successive ministers at the congregation. In 2005 he was appointed acting minister of the congregation following Rev. Rosenfeld's departure but resigned in November amidst media reports that the community was very divided over offering him the permanent post.

  • (xxvi) Jewish Chronicle of 14 March 2008 reported that Rabbi Adrian Jesner had become the spiritual head of the congregation, adding that the congregation had been without a rabbi for more than two years. He still appeared as minister of the congregation on the congregation's website, last accessed 6 July 2021..

  • (xxvii) and (xxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxix) Jewish Chronicle obituary of Rev. Azulay of 17 February 1984 stated that "[h]e came to England in 1921 and took up a communal post in Bournemouth" and had left by January 1928, when he was appointed to Southend. The nature of his "communal post" in Bournemouth is unclear, but is presumed to include reader.

  • (xxx) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 11 February 1977. Rev. Bytensky was listed as second reader and subsequently as senior reader in Jewish Year Books 1935 through 1940 and 1945/6 through 1968.

  • (xxxi) Based upon his listing as reader of the congregation, as Rev. Jacob Kahan in Jewish Year Books 1955 through 1966, and as Rabbi Jacob Kahan in Jewish Year Books 1967 and 1968.

  • (xxxii) Jewish Chronicle report. Rev. I. Cohen is listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1969 through 1986.

  • (xxxiii) Jewish Chronicle report of 9 September 2005 describes Rev. Lev as the recently appointed chazan in Bournemouth and a report of 7 November 2008 refers to Bournemouth as having "an opportunity to say farewell to its chazan, Rev. Meir Lev". Rev. Lev was actually listed in Jewish Year Books as minister of the congregation, presumably as it did not have a formally appointed minister at the time.

  • (xxxiv) to (xxxvii) Reserved.

  • (xxxviii) Available on Old Synagogues website. Although the lists of presidents and treasurers are generally in line with those named in Jewish Year Books for the same period, there are some differences as regards dates of office and there are a number of officers in the lists who did not feature in the year books. The only significant omissions from the lists are: P. Fay (president c.1937/8); Dr. D. Braham (treasurer c.1937/8); and N. Snell (treasurer c.1953/4), who were listed in the relevant year books. The Jewish Year Books also listed presidents from 1987 through 2010 (not reproduced here)

  • (xxxix) The data on the secretaries of the congregation has been extracted from Jewish Year Books. Where a person is first listed in a year book as secretary, it has been assumed that his or her term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant 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 or she continued in office until the commencement of office of his or her successor. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and accordingly the actual years of office may differ slightly from those shown here.

  • (xl) The Jewish Year Books from 1945/6 through 1956 included the names of the wardens of the congregation. Listed below are such wardens. See the explanation in note (xxxix) above (relating to the congregation's treasurers) as to how the years of service have been calculated.

  • (xli) and (xlii) Reserved.

  • (xliii) Extracted from the Jewish Year Book for the relevant year.

  • (xliv) Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by 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.

  • (xlv) Charities Commission website, accessed 15 September 2023.

Bournemouth Jewish Community home page

Jewish Congregations in Dorset

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 24 February 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 4 July 2021
Page most recently amended: 21 September 2023

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

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