the former

Lurgan Jewish Community

& Hebrew Congregation,

Lurgan, Northern Ireland




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

Town of Lurgan

Lurgan (An Lorgain in Irish), a town in Northern Ireland with a population of approximately 25,000, is situated near the southern shore of Lough Neagh, approximately 18 miles southwest of Belfast. Since 2015, it has been part of the District of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and, from 1973 to 2015, was within the former Borough of Craigavon. Prior to 1973, it formed the Urban District of Lurgan within County Armagh, one of the six counties of Northern Ireland (which are now purely traditional counties, no longer with administrative authority).

Lurgan Jewish Community

The town of Lurgan had a small Jewish community and congregation from the early years of the twentieth century which was dissolved in the 1920s. However, in 1941, Jewish services were again held in Lurgan by families from the Belfast Jewish community who had been evacuated to the town following the Belfast blitz. A hall for worship was provided by the local military authorities.(i)

Congregation Data


Lurgan Hebrew Congregation

Synagogue Address:

49 North Street, Lurgan from at least 1916(ii)

Date Founded:

Founded in about 1903. The earliest known report of the community relates to the High Holydays 1903, when "the joint communities of Lurgan and Newry" held services at the home of J. Hamel which was fitted up as a temporary synagogue. Services were conducted by Rev. N. Trupp. At a meeting held shortly afterwards it was decided the community should buy a Sefer Torah.(iii)

Current Status:

Closed in about 1926 - in October 1926 the community was described as "recently dissolved". Two Sifrei Torah were presented to the Belfast Jewish community.(iv)

However, in 1941, Jewish services were again held in Lurgan by families from the Belfast Jewish community who had been evacuated to the town following the Belfast blitz. A hall for worship was provided by the local military authorities.


Orthodox - Ashkenazi

Readers (Chazanim):
(To view a short profile of a reader, hold the cursor over his name.)

There were no ministers listed for the congregation. However in small communities, the congregation's Reader (Cantor / Chazan) generally performed many of the functions of a minister and was frequently an authorised shochet and/or mohel.

Rev. Joseph Blachman - from about 1909 until about 1915(vii)

Rev. Salem Turtledove - From about 1914 until about 1918(viii)

Lay Officers:(xi)


1904-1911 - Joseph Herbert(xii)

1906-19?? - N. Lazarus(xiii)

1911-1913 - D. Lewis(xiv)

1913-1915 - L. Rosenberg(xv)

1915-1917 - Joseph Herbert

1917-1925 - J. Kantor

Hon. Secretaries

1904-1911 - N. Trupps

1911-1913 - P. Isaacson

1913-1915 - J. Bernstein

1915-1918 - Rev. Salem Turtledove(viii)


1904-1913 - Isaac Mathews

1913-1915 - Joseph Herbert

1915-1917 - J. Kantor

1917-1925 - Robert Robinson


There was no Jewish cemetery in Lurgan. The only Jewish cemeteries in what is now Northern Ireland are in Belfast. For details, see Belfast Jewish Cemeteries Information on the Belfast home page.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Jewish Chronicle (JC) report, provided by Steven Jaffe. JCR-UK is also grateful to Mr. Jaffe for providing a number of other JC reports mentioned below.

  • (ii) This was the address given for the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1917 through 1927.

  • (iii) Jewish Chronicle reports. The first listing of the community in a Jewish Year Book was the 1904/05 edition.

  • (iv) Jewish Chronicle reports, although the congregation continued to be listed in Jewish Year Books until 1928.

  • (v) and (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) Based upon Jewish Year Book listings. The reader named in the 1910 and 1911 editions is Rev. J. Bachrach, whereas in the 1912 through 1915 editions the name is given as Rev. J. Blachman. In light of the similarity between the two names, it is assumed that both references are to the same person, the first two entries being either a typographical error or prior to a change of name.

  • (viii) Rev. Turtledove is mentioned in a Jewish Chronicle report of December 1914 as being in Lurgan. Although he is listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1916 through 1925, the latter date is believed to be incorrect, as he was already elsewhere by 1918.

  • (ix) and (x) Reserved

  • (xi) Unless otherwise stated, the data listed here has been extracted from Jewish Year Books. 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 relevent 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 1912 through 1916, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1911 and continued in office until 1916.) However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, the actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here. Furthermore, it is noted that there were no changes in the listings of officers from 1918 until the last listing of officers in 1925 and it is possible that the year books were merely repeating the previous year's information as they had not been notified of any changes or even of the demise of the congregation.

  • (xii) Date of election confirmed by Jewish Chronicle in a report of 1904. See also the Note provided by Mr. Herbert's great-grandson.

  • (xiii) Mr. Lazarus's election appears in a Jewish Chronicle report of 1906. He is not listed in any Jewish Year Book, which during the relevant period continued to list Mr. Herbert as president.

  • (xiv) Mr. Lewis's date of election confirmed by a Jewish Chronicle report of 1911.

  • (xv) Mr. Rosenberg's date of election confirmed by a Jewish Chronicle report of 1913.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Lurgan include:


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Lurgan Jewish Community


  • Joseph Herbert, Founder of the Lurgan Hebrew Congregation, by his great grandson, Derek Davis.

  • Bibliography:

    • More than a Suitcase of Memories (Belfast, 2013) by Linda Fullerton, published by Brandedbooks.com/Appletree press, an account of the Matthews family, one of the last Jewish families to live in Lurgan during the interwar period.

    • "Alan quits his North Street store" Lurgan Mail, 10 September 1998 - on the closure of J Herbert and Sons, North Street, the shop founded by Joseph Herbert.

    • "Lurgan's Jewish Community", an article by Jim McCorry in Craigavon Historical Society Review, 2010/2011.

    • Other Lurgan Bibliography (if any)

on third parties' websites

  • Lurgan Jewry by Stanley Shapiro, Belfast Jewish Record, April 1961, p. 2 on the Queen's University Belfast Special Collections website.

  • 'Lurgan' (article entitled "The Minyan Rooms") on the Northern Ireland Jewish Heritage Map website, affiliated to JCR-UK.

  • 100 Years of Jewry in Ulster by Steven Jaffe, Belfast Jewish Record, September 1989, pp. 9-11 on the Queen's University Belfast Special Collections website.


 Jewish Communities & Congregations in Northern Ireland

Page created: 12 June 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 14 October 2020
Page most recently amended: 27 March 2024

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

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