Cambridge Synagogue

(incl. Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation)

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire




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 Congregation Data


Cambridge Synagogue, encompassing the Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation.

Previously known as the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation.


The date of formation of the congregation is generally given as 1888,(iii) although there were predecessor congregations from at least 1847 (see below) and an earlier congregation, Cambridge's "Lyon's" Synagogue, was founded in the late 18th century, but did not continue long into the 19th century.

In 1937, in conjunction with the construction of the congregation's purpose built synagogue in Thomson's Lane (see below), the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation combined with a number of other organisations (including The Schechter Society, the Oxford Zionist Society and the Oxford branch of the Anglo-Jewish Association) to become the Cambridge University Jewish Society (the CUJS).(iv) (For general data relating to the CUJS see here on the Cambridge Jewish Community home page.)

In about 1979,(v) the Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation (the CTRC) was established as an independent orthodox community, sharing the synagogue building with the students, who, through the CUJS, run shabbat services during term-time, and the CTJC organises other services.(vi)

Current Address:

The Synagogue, 3 Thompson's Lane (formerly known as Ellis Court), Cambridge CB5 8AQ. (viii)

This purpose-built synagogue was designed by architects Cecil J. Eprile, FRIBA and R.J. Hersh(x) and opened in 1937. The foundation stone was laid by Sir Robert Waley-Cohen, MA, KBA, on 25 April 1937(xi) and the building consecrated by the Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Dr. Joseph Herman Hertz, on 21 October 1937.(xii)

Previous Addresses:

1912 to 1937 - 41 Sidney Street, Cambridge (behind cycle shop opposite entrance to Sidney Sussex College.(xiv)

Previously at Park Terrace (then known as Camden Terrace), Cambridge.(xv)

Prior thereto, from 1889, a room (at Messrs. Barrett's china shop) in Great St. Mary's Passage, on the corner of Market Place, Cambridge. (xvi)

Predecessor Congregations:

Below are addresses of the Jewish congregation in Cambridge prior to 1888. Congregations had been re-established in the mid 19th century. (Note: some of the data appears contradictory.)

Until 1889/9 - Petty Curry.(xix)

1873 - The Congregation met in Regents Street.(xx)

(In 1850, services were temporarily discontinued.)(xxi)

1847 - A residents' congregation worshipped on the Union Society premises.(xxii)

1847 - Services re-established and held at home of M. Lazarus Cohen, at 1 Hobson Street (previosly Hobson's Lane), Cambridge.(xxiii)

Also, see Cambridge's "Lyon's" Synagogue for an earlier congregation.

Reportedly, there had been an organised community as early as 1774.(xxiv)



Ritual and Affiliation:

Orthodox Ashkenazi.

An independent congregation under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi. 


Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation - https://www.ctjc.org.uk

Cambridge University Jewish Society - https://www.cujs.org/#who-we-are

Congregation Magazine:

The CTJC Magazine (approximately 40 bulletins dated from September 2008) may be viewed online.

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

From 1899, the students of the University took over the running of the Synagogue from the residents,(xxx) and they continue to do so during term time, the CTJC running services at other times.

The following rabbis have served as chaplain to the Jewish students of the University:

Rabbi Shaul Robinson - chaplain from about 1994 until about 1997(xxxi)

Rabbi Julian (Yedidya) Sinclair - chaplain from 1999 until 2003(xxxii)

Rabbi Ben Baruch & Rebbetzin Atira Baruch - chaplain couple from September 2022 until present (October 2023)(xxxiii)

In addition, in September 2009 the CTJC announced the appointment of the rabbi and rabbetzin of Chabad of Cambridge as its rabbinic couple, the first appointment of a resident rabbi to serve that congregation:

Rabbi Dr. Reuven Leigh and Rebbetzin Rochel Leigh, as rabbinic couple from 2009 to present (October 2023)(xxxiv)

Lay Officers of the Cambridge Hebrew Congregation(1896-1933):

The data on these lay offices has been extracted from listing in Jewish Year Books, first published 1896/7.(xl)


1896 - H.L. Pass

1897 - O.E. d'Avigdor

1898 - H.M. Weiner

1899 - A. Alexander (St John's Coll.)

1900 - G.H. Cohen (Christ's Coll.)

1901 - G.M. Lazarus (King's Coll.)

1902 - H.G. Lewis (St John's Coll.)

1903 - D.L. Cohen (Christ's Coll.)

1904 - N. de M. Bentwich (Trinity Coll.)

1905 - H.H. Joseph (St John's Coll.)

1906 - Adolphe Abrahams (Emmanuel Coll.)

1907 - D.L. Lipson (Corpus Christi Coll.)

1908 - Selig Brodetsky (Trinity Coll.)

1909 - E.J. Nathan (King's Coll.)

1910 - S. M. Green (St John's Coll.)

1911 - L.M. Mosseri (Pembroke Coll.)

1912-1919 - no data

1920 - L.V. Snowman (Downing Coll.)

1921 - E.H. Samuel (Trinity Coll.)

1922 - E.H. Samuel (Trinity Coll.)

1923 - M.H. Salaman (Trinity Coll.)

1924 - J.H. Quastel (Trinity Coll.)

1925 - L. Roth (Clare Coll.)

1926 - C. Fox (Christ's Coll.)

1927 - L.I. Edgar (Christ's Coll.)

1928 - H. Hinden (Trinity Coll.)

1929 - R.D. Barnett (Corpus Christi Coll.)

1930 - A.B. Lyons (Downing Coll.)

1931 - A.B. Lyons (Downing Coll.)

1932 - H. Wiseman (Jesus Coll.)

1933 - D.M. Bueno de Mesquita (Corpus Christi Coll.)


1896 - O.E. d'Avigdor

1897 - E.M. Cohen

1898 - A. Alexander

1899 - G.H. Cohen (Christ's Coll.)

1900 - L.H. Frankenburg (Emmanuel Coll.)

1901 - H.G. Lewis (St John's Coll.)

1902 - D.L. Cohen (Christ's Coll.)

1903 - N. de M. Bentwich (Trinity Coll.)

1904 - A.E. Woolfe (Emmanuel Coll.)

1905 - C.M. Kohan (Trinity Coll.)

1906 - G.M. Meyer (Emmanuel Coll.)

1907 - M. Kraus (St John's Coll.)

1908 - H.M. Sonnenthal (Pembroke Coll.)

1909 - S.M. Green (Trinity Coll.)

1910 - L.M. Mosseri (Pembroke Coll.)

1911 - A. Alexander (St John's Coll.)

1912-1919 - no data

1920 - J.A. Woolfe (Christ's Coll.)

1921 - S. Levy-Simpson (Downing Coll.)

1922 - S. Levy-Simpson (Downing Coll.)

1923 - T.L. Freedman (Christ's Coll.)

1924 - S. Goldstein (St John's Coll.)

1925 - L. Nathan (Clare Coll.)

1926 - F.D. Kessler (Clare Coll.)

1927 - E.J. Frank (Jesus Coll.)

1928 - L.J. Hirschell (Trinity Hall Coll.)

1929 - J. Cohen (St John's Coll.)

1930 - H. Klein (Trinity Coll.)

1931 - H. Klein (Trinity Coll.)

1932 - senior R.F. Kahn (King's Coll.)

1932 - junior J.M. Keidan (St John's Coll.)

1933 - junior C.D. Rappaport (St John's Coll.)

Hon. Secretaries

1896 - E.M. Cohen

1897 - M.M. Gubay

1898 - J.L. Sager

1899 - H.M. Joseph (Trinity Coll.)

1900 - H.E. Seligman (Trinity Coll.)

1901 - D.L. Cohen (Christ's Coll.)

1902 - N. de M. Bentwich (Trinity Coll.)

1903 - H.M.J. Loewe (Trinity Coll.)

1904 - H.H. Joseph (King's Coll.)

1905 - G.M. Meyer (Emmanuel Coll.)

1906 - Adolphe Abrahams (Emmanuel Coll.)

1907 - M. de A. Laredo (Downing Coll.)

1908 - E.J. Nathan (King's Coll.)

1909 - L.M. Mosseri (Pembroke Coll.)

1910 - A. Alexander (St John's Coll.)

1911 - P. Vos (Gonville & Caius Coll.)

1912 - L.H. Stern (Magdalen Coll.)

1913 - no data

1914 - George H.S. Montague (Corpus Christi Coll.)

1915-1920 - Leonard H. Spero (Downing Coll.)(xli)

1920 - G.H. Whitehill (Trinity Coll.)

1921 - L. Bellig (Trinity Coll.)

1922 - L. Bellig (Trinity Coll.)

1923 - S.D. Isaac (Emmanuel Coll.)

1924 - B. Kyanski (Downing Coll.)

1925 - A.W. Joseph (Trinity Coll.)

1926 - S.M. Hertz (St Catherine's Coll.)

1927 - D.E. Eichholz (Emmanuel Coll.)

1928 - A.S. Super (Emmanuel Coll.)

1929 - L.D. Nathan (Emmanuel Coll.)

1930 - H. Bornstein (Emmanuel Coll.)

1931 - H. Bornstein (Emmanuel Coll.)

1932 - I. Caplan (Fitzwilliam Coll.)

1933 - W.M. Schwab (Trinity Coll.)

Secretaries of the Synagogue(1939-1969):

Apart from those listed below, Jewish Year Books provided no specific data on lay officers of the synagogue between the listing of the officers of the Oxford Hebrew Congregation until 1933 (above) and the listing of the officers of Oxford Traditional Jewish Congregation from about 1979 (below). However, certain officers of the Oxford University Jewish Society (from about 1950 to 1990) were included in Jewish Year Books and these are listed here on the Oxford Jewish Community home page.

Hon. Secretaries

c.1939-c.1940 - A. Singer(xliv)

c.1963-c.1964 - R. Loftus (St Catherine's Coll.)(xlv)

c.1964-c.1965 - N. Ross(xlvi)

c.1965-c.1979 - B. Cohen(xlvii)

Lay Officers of the Oxford Traditional Jewish Congregation:(xlviii)


1980-1983 - B. Landy

1983-1985 - R.B. Domb

1985-1987 - Dr. D. Stone

1987-1988 - Dr. L. Freedman

1988-1996 - Dr. D. Stone

1996-2002 - no data

2002-2004 - Dr. Simon Goldhill

2004-2005 - R. Landy

2005-at least 2014 - Dr. Simon Goldhill


1997-2002 - Sharon Blaukopf


Hon. Secretaries

1979-1980 - S. Romm

1980-1983 - S Fischel

1983-1984 - D. Eilon

Membership Data:

Number of Seatholders - as reported by Jewish Year Books





















Reports & Surveys (Members of the CTJC)(lii)

1983 - 35 male (or household) members and 34 female members

1990 - 35 household members

1996 - 45 household members

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

Charitable Status:

Charitable entities relating to the congregation and synagogue:(liii)

  • The Cambridge Traditional Jewish Congregation Trust is a registered charity (no. 282849), registered on 1 April 1982 (standard registration). The Deed of Trust of 5 April 1981, as amended may be viewed here on the congregation's website.

  • Cambridge Jewish Chaplaincy Board is a registered charity (number 1089484), registered on 26 November 2001 (standard registration).

  • Cambridge University Jewish Student Centre CIO (formerly Cambridge Jewish Students Centre) is a registered charity (number 1197555), registered on 18 january 2022 (CIO registration).


There are two (orthodox) Jewish cemeteries in Cambridge - the Jewish Sections of the Newmarket Road Cemetery (opened 1941) and the new Dry Drayton Cemetery. Membership gives entitlement to orthodox burial rites at these cemeteries through the Cambridge Jewish Resident Association Chevra Kadisha - (see Cambridge Cemetery Information)


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation


on Third Party Websites



  • Synagogue Records

    • Marriage Records 1896-1977 held by Cambridge University Library.


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved.

  • (iii) Note in the first Jewish Year Book (1896/7).

  • (iv) Jewish Year Book 1938.

  • (v) The CTJC was first listed in the Jewish Year Book 1980. However, the Declaration of Trust of the CTJC (which may be viewed here) is dated 5 April 1981.

  • (vi) The CTJC's website, accessed October 2023.

  • (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) Jewish Year Books from 1938 and the CTJC website.

  • (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) Carol Herselle Krinsky - Synagogues of Europe - Architecture, History, Meaning, 1996, Appendix I, p. 430 and and Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland, by S. Kadish, (2015) pp. 138/9. To view a description of the Jewish architectural works by C.J. Eprile, hold your cursor over his name.

  • (xi) The foundation stone can be viewed here.

  • (xii) A short history of Cambridge Jewry (the "Short History") on the CTJC website.

  • (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) The Jewish Year Book 1912 gives the new address of the congregation as 49 Sydney Street, although from the 1914 edition it is given as 41 Sydney Street. The Short History refers to a move in 1912 to premises behind a cycle shop opposite the entrance to Sidney Sussex College.

  • (xv) The Short History states that, prior to the move to premises behind a cycle shops, the congregation moved to a studio in a garden in Camden Terrace, but no dates are given. Such address is not mentioned in the Jewish Year Books.

  • (xvi) The Short History states that the Congregation was in the St Mary's Passage premises in 1900. This, however, is the address given in Jewish Year Books from 1896/7 (the first Jewish Year Book) through 1911.

  • (xvii) and (xviii) Reserved.

  • (xix) The Rise of Provincial Jewry by Cecil Roth, 1950 ("Roth") states that, sometime after the discontinuation of services in 1850 (without mentioning the date), the "synagogue was subsequently transferred to Petty Curry, where it continued in existence until the autumn of 1889, when it had to be removed owing to street improvements". However, the Short History refers to "a brief move" to Petty Curry in 1888.

  • (xx) The Short History.

  • (xxi) Roth.

  • (xxii) The Short History.

  • (xxiii) Roth.

  • (xxiv) Note in Jewish year Book 1945/6.

  • (xxv) to (xxix) Reserved.

  • (xxx) The Short History.

  • (xxxi) Although Rabbi Robinson was listed as chaplain in Jewish Year Books 1998 through 2000, he would appear to have served somewhat earlier as according to his online biography, he was already at Barnet Synagogue in 1997, having served three years in Cambridge.

  • (xxxii) Although Rabbi Sinclair was listed as chaplain in Jewish Year Books 2001 through 2005, according to an online profile these are the dates during which he served.

  • (xxxiii) Rabbi and Atira Baruch - the CUJC website, accessed October 2023.

  • (xxxiv) Chabad UK announcement "Cambridge Synagogue Appoints its First Rabbi" dated 7 September 2009.

  • (xxxv) to (xxxix) Reserved.

  • (xl) The Jewish Year Book (in editions from 1914) stated that these officers are elected terminally and (from the 1926 edition) that they are elected three times a year. In the 1927 edition, it specifically stated that the officers listed were "officers for the Michaelmas Term 1926" (which generally runs from early October to early December). Accordingly the year shown here is the year of publication of the year book, which, from 1909, was the year prior to the year appearing in the title of the year book and, prior to then, was the first year of the title years of the year book (i.e. 1904 in the case of the year book 1904/5). The officer listed here would, for reasons as stated above, generally be only one of possibly three officers assumed to have served in such office during the year in question.

  • (xli) Leonard H. Spero was listed as hon. Secretary of the congregation Jewish Year Books 1916 through 1920.

  • (xlii) and (xliii) Reserved.

  • (xliv) A. Singer was listed as secretary of the synagogue in the Jewish Year Book 1940.

  • (xlv) R. Loftus was listed as secretary of the synagogue in the Jewish Year Book 1964.

  • (xlvi) N. Ross was listed as secretary of the synagogue in the Jewish Year Book 1965.

  • (xlvii) B. Cohen was listed as secretary of the synagogue in Jewish Year Books 1966 through 1969.

  • (xlviii) Data extracted from Jewish Year Book listings. 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 1984 through 1986, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1983 and continued in office until 1986. 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. The last Jewish Year Book was published in 2015

  • (xlix) to (li) Reserved.

  • (lii) 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. A 1977 report also gives figures of 86 male and 32 female members of the Cambridge Jewish Residents Association. Click HERE for links to the various reports.

  • (liii) Charity Commission website, accessed October 2023.

Cambridge Jewish Community home page

Jewish Congregations in Cambridgeshire

Jewish Communities of England homepage

Page created: 12 June 2002
Data and notes significantly expanded: 12 October 2023
Page most recently amended: 5 May 202

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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