Edinburgh Jewish Community

Edinburgh, Scotland




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City of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is the capital and second largest city in Scotland. It is situated on the east coast of Scotland's central lowlands on the south shore of the Firth of Forth.  Since 1996, the City of Edinburgh, including surrounding villages, has constituted a self-contained unitary local authority, with a population of about 450,000, and from 1975 to 1996 it formed a district of the now defunct Lothian Region. Prior to 1975, Edinburgh was in the traditional county of Midlothian. Although Leith, the port of Edinburgh, had historically been a separate burgh, it has been administered as part of Edinburgh since 1920.

The Edinburgh Jewish Community

Edinburgh is where the first professing Jew settled in Scotland, a David Brown in 1691, and where a small Jewish community grew up. The first synagogue and cemetery were opened in 1816.

Jewish Congregations

The following are the Jewish congregations that exist or existed in Edinburgh:

* An active congregation.

The following are former or alternative names of the above congregations:


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Edinburgh include:

  • Burials:

    • JOWBR (JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Register):

      • Braid Place Cemetery (29 records); and

      • Echobank (Newington) Cemetery (Jewish Section) (130 records).

  • UK Jewish Communal Leaders Database - Edinburgh records:

    • Jewish Directory for 1874 and Jewish Year Book 1896/7 (records of 22 individuals); and

    • JCR-UK Listings (records of 39 individuals - as of the March 2024 update).

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (as of the 2016 update):

    • Individuals in the "1851" database who were living in Edinburgh during the 1800s (1 record); 1810s (1 record); 1820s (25 records), 1830s (43 records), 1840s (42 records), 1850s (67 records), 1860s (15 records), 1870s (9 records), 1880s (3 records), 1900s (3 records) and 1910s (1 record).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Edinburgh Jewish Community


on third party's website

  • Edinburgh Jewish Community on Scottish Jewish Archives Centre website.

  • Jewish Encyclopaedia article on Edinburgh by Joseph Jacobs and Isadore Harris, c-1906.

  • For photographs and text on the SciennesHouse Place (formerly Braid Place) Cemetery, the first Jewish cemetery in Scotland, see below.


Other Edingburgh Jewish Institutions & Organisations
(that had been formed by 1900*)

Educational & Theological

  • Hebrew & Religious School (founded by 1896). The school met every afternoon from five until seven o'clock

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Benevolent Loan Society (founded 1891) to provide loans to Industrious poor.

  • Ladies' "Lying-In" Society (founded by 1875) to assist poor lying-in women.

  • Board of Guardians (re-established 1899)

  • Jewish Literary Society (founded 1886)

  • Jewish Amateur Orchestral Society (founded 1900)

* As listed in the Jewish Directory of 1874 and the Jewish Year Books 1896 & 1900


Edinburgh Jewish Cemeteries Information

The Scottish Jewish Cemeteries website, created and maintained by Derek Tobias, includes a searchable database in respect of burials at all the Edinburgh Jewish cemeteries.

Edinburgh has the following Jewish cemeteries:

  • Braid Place (now Sciennes House Place) Old Jews Burial Ground, off Causewayside. In use from 1820 (or possibly 1790) until 1867. Contains some 29 burials (searchable in JOWBR database, see above).
    The burial ground is a Scottish Category B Listed Building (number LB30476), designated on 3 March 1990. View description on Historic Environment Scotland website.
    See also photographs and text on the Sciennes House Place Cemetery on Cemetery Scribes website.

  • Newington Cemetery, Jewish Section (also known as Echobank Cemetery), Dalkieith Road. EH16. In use from 1867 until about 1918. Some 130 burials (searchable in JOWBR database, see above).
    A Scottish Category B Listed Building.

  • Piershill Cemetery, Jewish Section, Piersfield Terrace, Portobello, EH8. In use from 1892 (or possibly 1889). The largest of the three cemeteries.

  • Dean Cemetery (Extension), Liberal Jewish Section, 63 Dean Path, Edinburgh EH4 3AT. Succah Shalom, Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Community has reserved plots in the new part of this cemetery.

  • Carlton Hill Cemetery - "In 1795, the Town Council sold a plot of ground on the Calton Hill to Hermon Lyon, a Jewish dentist, to provide a burial place for himself and his family." [Source: The Jewish Travel Guide. London: Jewish Chronicle, 1992]

(For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Edinburgh)


Edingburgh Jewish Population Data


First record of Jewish residents


First organized Jewish community (no records)


20 families

Organization of current Jewish Community (Hebrew Congregation web site, accessed 2017)


20 families

(Statistical Account of Scotland)


250 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1895/6)


250 families

(The Jewish Year Book 1910)



(The Jewish Year Book 1935)



(The Jewish Year Book 1945/46)



(The Jewish Year Book 1955)



(The Jewish Year Book 1962



(The Jewish Year Book 1971)



(The Jewish Year Book 1976)



(The Jewish Year Book 1981)



(The Jewish Year Book 1986)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2005)

Jewish Communities of Scotland home page

Page created: 21 August 2005
Page most recently amended: 29 March 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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