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the former

Coventry Hebrew Congregation

Coventry, West Midlands

 

 

   


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

Congregation Data

Name:

Coventry Hebrew Congregation (or Coventry Synagogue)

Address:

Barras Lane, Coventry CV1 3AF.

The synagogue, built in 1870, which included the Rabbi's house on the upper floor, was temporarily closed in about 1890 due to falling membership but reopened in about 1906.(iii)

In addition, for much of the years of World War II, synagogue services were suspended as a result of heavy aerial bombing of Coventry and evacuation of many of its citizens.

By 2003 the synagogue had ceased holding regular services and it gradually fell into disuse and disrepair, closing finally in 2008.(iv)

However, on 18 June 2009, it was designated a Grade II Listed Building (number 1393332). View description on Historic England website.

In 2013, it was sold to a private individual, who announced his intentions to restore the building and reopen it as a functioning synagogue and to host school visits.(v)

Addresses of Earlier Congregations:

Initially, from the early nineteenth century, services were held in a timber-framed mediaeval building in Great Butcher Row, the home of Isaac Cohen (which was demolished in 1936)(vi)

The congregation then rented rooms in Derby Lane, Fleet Street (now also demolished).

Subsequently, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the congregation used upper rooms at No. 16 Spon Street until the construction of the synagogue in Barras Lane in 1870.

Date Formed:

There had been Jewish congregation in Coventry from the early 1800s,(x) although the year the congregation was founded is generally given as about 1850(xi) or sometime between 1864(xii) and the establishment of the Barras Lane Synagogue in 1870. Until the 1860s, many Jewish residents of Coventry were non-resident members of Singers Hill Synagogue in Birmingham.(xii)

Current Status:

The synagogue having ceased to hold regular services, membership merged with Solihull & District Hebrew Congregation in about 2003.

Ritual:

Ashkenazi Orthodox

Affiliation:

The congregation was unaffiliated but under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi.

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

Rev. Moses Hirsch Hollander - from about 1854 until 1856(xvi)

Rev. Solomon Cohen - from at least 1869 until at least 1885(xvii)

Rev. M. Shatz - from at least 1896 until unknown date(xviii)

Rev. Daniel Caplan - from 1901 until unknown date(xix)

Rev. Solomon Katz - from 1906 until 1911(xx)

Rev. A. Behrman - from about 1911 until about 1914(xxi)

Rev. P. Friedman - from about 1914 until about 1916(xxiii)

Rev. Israel Candleshine - from about 1916 until about 1918(xxiv)

Rev. David Isaac Devons - from 1918 until 1922(xxv)

Rev. Menachem BenZion Ordman - from 1923 until 1924(xxvi)

Rev. S. Bronstein - from about 1924 until about 1926(xxvii)

Rev. Phillip Isaacs - from about 1926 until 1950(xxx)

Rev. David L. Landy - from 1950 until 1954(xxxi)

Rev. Harold Z. Greenberg - from 1954 until 1959(xxxii)

Rev. Sidney Israel Lubin - from 1961 until about 1962(xxxiii)

Rev. Solomon Greenstein - from about 1962 until about 1964(xxxiv)

Rev. Nathaniel H. Rockman - from 1964 until 1971(xxxv)

Rev. Michael Atkins - from 1972 until 1975(xxxvi)

Rev. Avrom Sherr (part-time, non-resident) - about 198775(xxxvii)

Lay Officers in 1874 and from 1896:

Unless where otherwise stated, the data on the lay officers of the congregation has been extracted Jewish Year Book listings.(xl)

Presidents

in 1874 - M. Baum(xli)

1896-1898 - F. Silverston

1898-1899 - Phillip Cohen

1899-1912 - E. Kalker

1912-1914 - M. Salmon

1914-1918 - M. Angel

1918-1921 - A. Salmon

1921-1923 - M. Angel

1923-1925 - A. Salmon

1925-1934 - S. Phillips

1934-1938 - M. Cohen

1938-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - M. Angel

1946-1948 - A. Simon

1948-1950 - L. Brown

1950-1951 - M. Angel

1951-1952 - S. Dean, ACA

1952-1954 - R. Williams

1954-1956 - C. Angel

 

Treasurers

in 1874 - J. Radges(xli)

1896-1909 - E. Kalker

1909-1912 - A. Salmon

1912-1914 - E. Gliberman

1914-1918 - I. Bernow

1918-1921 - M. Angel

1921-1923 - J. Goldstein

1923-1934 - N. Marks

1934-1938 - D. Glieberman

1938-1945 - no data

1945-1950 - D. Glieberman

1950-1952 - H. Bass

1952-1954 - Dr. E. Bindman

1954-1956 - D. Norton

Hon. Life President

1946-at least 1956 - M. Angel

 

Vice Presidents

1946-1950 - R. Williams

1950-1954 - C. Angel

1954-1956 - Dr E. Bindman

 

Wardens

1946-1950 - B. Fisher

1950-1983 - Michael L. Hyam

 

Hon. Secretaries

in 1874 - A.E. Fridlander(xli)

1896-1910 - A.E. Fridlander

1910-1911 - Rev. S. Katz

1911-1912 - A.E. Fridlander

1912-1914 - S. Phillip

1914-1915 - O. Lamm

1915-1918 - P. Jacobs

1918-1921 - W. Goldberg

1921-1923 - O. Lamm

1923-1924 - P. Fisher

1924-1925 - Mark Fisher

1925-1934 - Miss M. Fisher

1934-1937 - M. Fisher

1937-1940 - F.M. Cohen

1940-1945 - no data

1945-1946 - Cecil AngelMichael L. Hyam

1946-1983 - Michael L. Hyam

1983-1984 - A. Berger

1984-1985 - A. Grey

1988-1992 - R.R. Engleman

1992-2006 - L.R. Benjamin

Membership Data:

Number of Seatholders - Board of Deputies Returns(xlv)

1869

1870

1880

1890

1900

16

17

13

6

5

Number of Seatholders - Jewish Year Books(xlvi)

1896

1899

1901

1902

1907

1912

1913

1914

10

6

8

0

12

30

28

23

National Reports and Surveys(xlvii)

1977 - 51 male (or household) members and 54 female members

1983 - 39 male (or household) members and 17 female members

1990 - 56 members (comprising 36 households, 6 individual male members and 14 individual female members)

1996 - 47 members (comprising 31 households, 2 individual male members and 14 individual female members)

Registration District

Coventry (since 1 July 1837). Link to Register Office website.

Burial Arrangements:

There is a Jewish cemetery in Coventry. For details and database see Cemetery Information (on Coventry Jewish Community home page).

 

Online Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation

 

on JCR-UK

on Third Party Websites

 

Other Coventry Institutions connected to the Congregation

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew and Religious Classes - approximately 30 pupils in 1920(l)

Other

  • Chevra Torah (founded by 1909)(li)

  • Hebrew Philanthropic Society (founded by 1912)(lii)

  • Social and Literary Society (founded by 1913)(liii)

  • Women's Zionist Society (founded by 1939)(liv)

 

Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved.

  • (iii) Jewish Year Books from 1902/3 through 1911, refer to the synagogue as closed.

  • (iv) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland by S. Kadish, 2015, pp.150/151.

  • (v) Jewish Chronicle article of 17 September 2021, entitled "Israeliís labour of love to restore Midlands shul".

  • (vi) The Rise of Provincial Jewry - Coventry by Cecil Roth, 1950.

  • (vii) to (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) Jewish Year Books (e.g. 1945/6) refer to the existence of a congregation from about 1800.

  • (xi) The Jewish Directory of 1874 by Asher I. Myers, p.64.

  • (xii) Coventry from "Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain".

  • (xiii) to (xv) Reserved.

  • (xvi) Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry, 1970 p.44. A letter from Rev. Hollander to the Jewish Chronicle of 7 March 1856 indicates he was still resident in Coventry, while later reports that year placed him in Birmingham.

  • (xvii) Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry, 1970 p.39 and Jewish Chronicle reports. The Jewish Directory of 1874 lists Rev. Solomom Cohen as reader and shochet of the congregation.

  • (xviii) Based Jewish Chronicle report of 29 September 1898 in which Rev M Shatz is described as the chazan of the Coventry synagogue and Rev. Shatz's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from the first edition (1896/7). Although he continued to be so listed until the 1907/8 edition, it is likely that he ceased to serve the congregation some time earlier, as the synagogue was closed for much of the period and his successor, Rev. Katz, was in office by 1906.

  • (xix) Various Jewish Chronicle reports and obituary of Rev. Daniel Caplan 27 February 1959.

  • (xx) Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry, 1970 pp.42/3. Rev. Katz was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1909 through 1911.

  • (xxi) Based on Rev. Behrman's listing as reader and shochet of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1912 through 1914.

  • (xxii) Reserved.

  • (xxiii) Jewish Chronicle reported on 30 October 1914 that at a general meeting of the Coventry congregation held on Sunday, Rev. P. Friedman was unanimously elected minister (an earlier report in July 1914 had placed him in Leeds) and on 16 August 1916 it reported that Rev. P. Friedman, minister and shochet of the Coventry congregation, had accepted a similar position in South Wales. Rev. Friedman is listed as minister and shochet of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1915 and 1916.

  • (xxiv) Based on Rev. Candleshine's listing as minister and shochet of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1917 and 1918. (Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry, 1970 p.44 incorrectly states that Rev. Candleshine served from 1918 to 1921.)

  • (xxv) Jewish Chronicle on 6 September 1918 reports that Rev. D. I. Devons, the newly appointed minister of Coventry, was installed in his office on Sabbath last and on 21 July 1922 reports that Rev. D. I. Devons of Coventry, has accepted a "call" from the Hanley Congregation to serve as chazan. He is listed as minister of the Coventry congregation in Jewish Year Books 1919 through 1922

  • (xxvi) Jewish Chronicle obituary 9 June 1967 and Rev. Ordman's listing, as Rev. B. Ardman (sic), as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1924.

  • (xxvii) Jewish Chronicle on 25 July 1924 reported that Rev. S. Bronstein of Bethnal Green, had been appointed minister to the Coventry congregation and on 13 August 1926 it reported that Rev. S. Bronstein of Coventry had been elected as reader, baal koreh, teacher, etc. to the Fulham and Kensington Congregation and Talmud Torah. Rev. Bronstein is listed as minister of the Coventry congregation in Jewish Year Books 1925 and 1926.

  • (xxviii) and (xxix) Reserved.

  • (xxx) Rev. Isaacs is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1927 through 1950 (except for war years when there was no publication). Jewish Chronicle report of November 1927 places him in Coventry and a report of 17 March 1950 refers to his farewell reception. (Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry 1970 p.45, incorrectly states Rev. Isaac left Coventry permanently for Reading in 1940. It is likely he left Coventry that year because of the blitz on the city but he returned to serve the congregation prior to or shortly following the end of the war.)

  • (xxxi) Rev. Landy is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1951 through 1954. Jewish Chronicle of 21 April 1950 reported that Rev. David L. Landy, minister of the Ayr congregation, has accepted a "call" from the Coventry Jewish community to be minister in succession to the Rev. P.Isaacs and a report on 25 December 1953 placed Rev. Landy in Coventry. His successor was in place by December 1954. Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry 1970 p.45 states Rev. Landy emigrated to Australia after four years in Coventry.

  • (xxxii) Jewish Chronicle of 17 December 1954 reported that on a reception held recently in the Coventry Synagogue Hall in honour of the newly appointed minister, the Rev. Harold Greenberg, and his wife. (Harry Levine, The Jews of Coventry 1970 p.45 incorrectly gives Rev Greenberg's start year as 1956, possibly taken from the Jewish Year Book 1957 which first listed him as minister). Jewish Chronicle of 5 June 1959 reported that a special meeting of the Coventry Hebrew Congregation had been held at the Synagogue Hall on Thursday of previous week, to bid farewell to the Rev. H. Greenberg, who was leaving to take up his duties as minister to the Whitley Bay congregation (Harry Levine (ib.) incorrectly states that Rev. Greenberg left Coventry in 1961, again possibly due to that being the last year in which he was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books.)

  • (xxxiii) Rev. Lubin is listed as minister of the congregation solely in the Jewish Year Book 1962. Jewish Chronicle report of 19 May 1961 refers to Rev. S. J. Lubin as the newly appointed minister of the congregation

  • (xxxiv) Although the Jewish Chronicle of 4 July 1963 reported on Rev S. Greenstein's induction at Coventry, as he was already listed as minister in the Jewish Year Book 1963, published in 1962, it appears that the induction took place some months after he commenced serving as minister. He was also listed as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1964.

  • (xxxv) Jewish Chronicle on 8 May 1964 reported that Rev. N. H. Rockman, of Blackpool, had been appointed minister, reader and headmaster ol the religious classes of the congregation, to take up his new duties in July, and on 22 October 1971 reported that he had relinquished his position as minister of the congregation. He is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1965 through 1971.

  • (xxxvi) Jewish Chronicle on 21 July 1972 reported that Rev Michael Atkins, aged 26, had been appointed minister of the congregation in succession to the Rev. N.H. Rockman and on 31 January 1975 reported that Rev. Atkins, of the Coventry Hebrew Congregation, had been appointed minister of the Chigwell and Hainault Synagogue. He is only listed as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1975 and there are no subsequent listings of ministers for this congregation.

  • (xxxvii) Jewish Chronicle reports of 1987.

  • (xxxviii) and (xxxix) Reserved.

  • (xl) 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. Initially year books corresponded to the Hebrew year, and thus ran roughly from autumn of one year - the year of publication - until autumn of the next year. From 1909, 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 1949 through 1954, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1948 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 somewhat from those shown here. The Jewish Year Book was not published during World War II. There were no Jewish Year Book listings of officers of this congregation, other than the secretary, subsequent to 1956.

  • (xli) The Jewish Directory of 1874 by Asher I. Myers, p.64.

  • (xlii) to (xliv) Reserved.

  • (xlv) Extracted from table from Coventry from "Provincial Jewry in Victorian Britain".

  • (xlvi) Dates reflect year of publication of relevant Jewish Year Book.

  • (xlvii) 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.

  • (xlvii) and (xlix) Reserved.

  • (l) Jewish Year Book 1921.

  • (li) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1910.

  • (lii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1913.

  • (liii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1914.

  • (liv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1940.

 
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Page created: 24 July 2003
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 20 September 2021
Page most recently amended: 2 August 2023

Reserach and formatting by David Shulman


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