Margate Jewish Community

& Hebrew Congregation

Margate, Thanet, Kent




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The Town of Margate

Margate (population about 57,000) is a coastal resort on the English Channel in southeast England, and includes the district of Cliftonville. It is part of the Isle of Thanet, which, although originally separated from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel, is now practically joined to the mainland as a result of the build up of silt and shingle.  Margate is in the local government district of Thanet in the county of Kent, formed in 1974 by the merger of the municipal borough of Margate with of the municipal borough of Ramsgate and adjoining areas..

Margate Synagogue
Margate Synagogue c.2020
curtesy David Newman

Margate Jewish Community

The Jewish Community of Margate was founded in the early part of the twentieth century, the Jews being mainly resident in the neighbourhood of Cliftonville. The town was a popular vacation resort and, at one stage, there were a number of Kosher or Jewish-owned hotels in Margate and Cliftonville, including the Northumberland, the Majestic, the Carmel, the Highcliffe Hall, the Windsor Hall and the Clarence.

Congregation Data


Margate Hebrew Congregation


Albion Road (corner with Goodwin Road), Cliftonville, Margate, CT9 2HP(ii)

The foundation stone of the synagogue was laid By Mr. Joseph H. Jacobs on 13 June 1928 (see report of ceremony) and the building, which was completed to following year, was consecrated by Chief Rabbi Dr Joseph Hertz.

Previous Addresses:

Edgar Road, Cliftonville (1914 to about 1926).(iii)

These premises. also known as Grasmere Lodge, included a residence for a minister, and were completed and consecrated as a synagogue in 1915 at ceremony lead by Rev. S. Levy, MA and the congregation's first minister, Rev. S. Fogelnest. (iv)

Services were previously held in a room at Brooklyn Lodge, Cliftonville, the residence of Mr. Bonny (from 1910 to 1914).(v)

Date Founded:

Although Jewish Year Books from 1947 state that the congregation was established in 1904, this clearly relates to an earlier congregation founded at about that time, but subsequently dissolved (see below). The present congregation dates from  1910.(vii)

However, during World War II, from 1940 until about 1945. the congregation was "temporarily dissolved", its activities being suspended because of the war emergency.(viii)

Earlier Congregation:

The earlier congregation was founded at the Margate Jewish College, "Rostellan", Approach Road, Cliftonville, in July 1902, where services were held, under the name Margate Hebrew Congregation, for pupils, local residents and visitors. The congregation was dissolved in April 1906, as it had "made no headway" and had "no prospects of success".(ix)

Current Status:

There has been no formal services since before the 2017 high holydays, when services were forced to be cancelled because of lack of numbers. There were plans for the proposed auction of the building(x) but, at the eleventh hour, the synagogue has been taken out of an auction planned for 23 December 2020, following a campaign to save the building from redevelopment.(xi) Ultimately, the synagogue was saved by four women of Jewish heritage who organised a Save our Synagogue campaign to raise funds. The building - now known as the Cliftonville Cultural Space - hosts an oral history project and exhibition of life in the town entitled Cliftonville Voices (project's website is here - https://www.cliftonvillevoices.com). The exhibition includes sections on Jewish shops and Jewish hotels.


Ashkenazi Orthodox


None, but under the aegis of the (UK) Chief Rabbi  .


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

Rev. Philip Wolfers - hon. minister of the earlier congregation from 1902 until 1906(xiv)

Rev. Solomon Fogelnest - from 1913 until about 1918(xv)

Rev. Alexander Schloss - from 1919 to about 1924(xvi)

Rev. Joseph Herman - from 1925 to 1929(xvii)

Rev. Isaac Waller - from 1929 to 1931(xviii)

Rev. M. Cohen - from at least 1932 to 1940(xix)

(1940-1945 - Congregation's activities temporarily suspended.)

Rev. Emmanuel Morris - from 1946 to about 1947(xxii)

Rev. Michael Isaacs - from about 1947 to about 1950(xxiii)

Rev. Bernard Landau - from 1951 to 1984(xxiv)

Rev. Herschel Caplan - from 1986 to 1988(xxv)

Rev. D Silverstein - in about 1989(xxvi)

Officers of the Earlier Congregation:(xxix)

President - S. Bonny

Hon. Secretary - Rev. G.S. Belasco

Other Lay Officers:

Except where otherwise stated, the data below has been extracted from Jewish Year Books. Generally, where a first name is given, this has been obtained from other sources.(xxx)


1910-1915 - Herman S. Mayer(xxxi)(xxxii)

1915-1923 - J. Rosenthall(xxxiii)

1923-1929 - H. Shaw(xxxiv)

1929-1930 - B. Hann

1930-1932 - J. Sokel

1932-1933 - L. Silverberg

1933-1935 - H. Shaw(xxxiv)

1935-1937 - H. Black

1937-1940 - Alex Hirschfeld

1940-1945 - activities suspended

1947-1948 - Arthur B. Leigh

1948-1949 - B. E. Hann

1949-1950 - H. Stander

1950-1951 - A. Gradel

1951-1953 - H. Black

1953-1954 - A. Gradel

1954-1956 - P. H. Black


1910-1913 - H. Shaw(xxxi)(xxxiv)

1913-1915 - Herman S. Mayer(xxxii)

1915-1923 - H. Shaw(xxxiv)

1923-1926 - M. Usluck

1926-1929 - E. Ricardo

1929-1932 - M. Black

1932-1933 - L. H. Edgard

1933-1940 - Dr. D. Braham

1940-1945 - activities suspended

1946-1947 - H. Black

1947-1949 - S. Jacobs

1949-1950 - S. Moss

1950-1951 - Mrs. A. Collier

1951-1955 - S. Godfrey

1955-1956 - B. Gradus

Vice Presidents

1923-1929 - E. Ricardo

1929-1930 - H. Black

1930-1933 - D. Black

1933-1937 - B. Hann

1937-1940 - Dr. D. Braham

1940-1945 - activities suspended

1946-1947 - H. Black

1947-1948 - I. Arone

1948-1949 - H. Black

1949-1950 - A. Gradel

1950-1951 - H. Angel

1951-1952 - S. Walters

1952-1953 - N. Wise

1953-1954 - H. Black

1954-1955 - A. Gradel

1955-1956 - H. Angel

Hon. Secretaries

1910-1913 - E. Ricardo(xxxi)

1913-1915 - S. Bonny(xxxii)

1915-1918 - E. Ricardo

1918-1923 - H. Shaw(xxxiv)

1923-1928 - J. Sokel

1928-1932 - L. Pletz

1932-1933 - S. Green & L. Herman

1935-1937 - L. Pletz

1937-1940 - J. Taylor

1940-1945 - activities suspended

1946-1947 - A. A. Sober

1947-1949 - H. Stander

1949-1950 - A. Brooks

1950-1960 - H. Taylor

1960-1962 - M. Stone

1962-1964 - H. Taylor

1964-1966 - H. Stander

1966-1967 - M. A. Finestone

Membership Data:

National Reports & Surveys(xxxv)

1977 - 105 male (or household) members and 22 female members

1983 - 69 male (or household) members and 31 female members

1990 - 78 members (comprising 30 households, 19individual male and 29 individual female member)

1996 - 59 members (comprising 21 households, 16 individual male and 22 individual female member)

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

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

Presss Report(xxxvi)

2020 - 11 member (comprising 5 male members and 6 female members)

Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered charity (no. 273506), registered on 23 November 1978.(xxxvii)

Notes & Sources - In light of the large number of notes, these now appear towards the foot of this page, instead of the foot of this box. However, the note can also still be viewed in a pop-up box when the cursor is held over the note number.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Margate include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Margate during the 1770s (1 record), 1780s (3 records), 1790s (2 records), 1800s (4 records), 1810s (3 records); 1820s (5 records), 1830s (12 records), 1840s (3 records), 1850s (3 records), 1870s (2 record); 1880s (4 records) and 1890s (2 records).


Bibliography, Online Articles and Other Material relating to
the Margate Synagogue and Jewish Community


Notable Jewish Connections with Margate

  • Harry Anish MBE (1911-1996), became Margate's first Jewish in 1971.

  • Juliette Kaplan (1939-2019) (married name Marlene Hoser), actress best known for playing Pearl in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, was a Margate resident and died there.

  • Arnold Schwartzman OBE, designer, author and film director, grew up in Margate after World War II where his parents owned the kosher Hotel Majestic. He won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 1982 for Genocide, a film about the Holocaust. A resident in Los Angeles, he has designed Margate's mural to the poet TS Elliott and has supported the work of the Margate civic society.


Other Margate Jewish Institutions & Organisations

Educational & Theological

  • Margate Jewish College, "Rostellan", Approach Road, Cliftonville (founded 1902)

  • Hebrew and Religious Classes (founded by 1928)

Other Institutions & Organisations

  • Margate Jewish Philanthropic Society (founded by 1926).

  • Margate Ladies' Social Society (founded by 1926).


Communal Records

Registration District (BMD):

  • Kent (since 1 April 2003) - Link to Register Office website

  • Previous Registration Districts:
       Thanet - from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 1998.
       Thanet with Dover - from 1 April 1998 to 1 April 2003.
       (All registers would now be held by current office.)

  • Worship Number: 63019


Margate Jewish Cemetery Information

There are two Jewish sections at the Margate (St. John's) Cemetery, Manston Road, Margate::

  • The Margate Cemetery Hebrew Section, used by members of the orthodox Margate Hebrew Congregation, which is separated from the rest of the cemetery and has its own ohel; and

  • The Reform Hebrew Section (part of section LIII) used by the Thanet and District Reform Jewish Community, based in Ramsgate, since 1986.

(For additional information, see also IAJGS Cemetery Project - Margate)


Margate Jewish Population Data






Jewish Year Book 1945/6



Jewish Year Book 1949



Jewish Year Book 1950



Jewish Year Book 1974



Jewish Year Book 1980



Jewish Year Book 1985



Jewish Year Book 1990



Jewish Year Book 1991

Notes and Sources:
( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) The address was listed as Goodwin Road (Jewish Year Books 1927 through 1991 and 1999 through 2001) and Albion Road (Jewish Year Books 1992 through 1998 and 2022 through 2015).

  • (iii) This was the address listed in Jewish Year Books 1916 through 1926.

  • (iv) The Isle of Thanet Gazette article of 16 June 1928, in the "Brief History" section.

  • (v) The Isle of Thanet Gazette article of 16 June 1928, in the "Brief History" section refers to these premises as being used from 1910 to 1914. It is also the address listed in the Jewish Year Book 1915, which gave no address in the previous edition (the first listing of a congregation in Margate since 1904/5).

  • (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) This was the year the congregation was organised according to The Isle of Thanet Gazette article of 16 June 1928, in the "Brief History" section. It was not listed in Jewish Year Book until 1914. However, it appears that prior to the formation of the congregation, but after the dissolution of the earlier ccongregation, there were some services held, including at the Severn Hotel of Amelia Collier.

  • (viii) In the Jewish Year Book 1945/6, Mr. H. Black was named as the resident Trustee.

  • (ix) The Jewish Chronicle article of 17 December 1954 on the Origins of the Margate Congregation. This congregation is also listed in Jewish Year Books 1903/4 and 1904/5. There were no further listings of a congregation for Margate until 1914. 

  • (x) The Jewish Chronicle report of Summer 2020.

  • (x) The Jewish Chronicle report of 18 December 2020.

  • (xii) and (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) The Jewish Chronicle article of 17 December 1954 on the Origins of the Margate Congregation. Rev. Wolfers was listed as hon. minister only in the Jewish Year Book 1904/5.

  • (xv) Based upon Rev. Fogelnest's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1914 (the first listing of the present congregation) through 1918.

  • (xvi) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports. Rev. Schloss is not listed as minister of this congregation in any Jewish Year Book.

  • (xvii) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports and the listing of Rev. Herman as minister of this congregation in Jewish Year Books 1927 through 1929.

  • (xviii) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports and the listing of Rev. Waller (later Rabbi Waller) as minister of this congregation in Jewish Year Books 1930 through 1932.

  • (xix) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports and the listing of Rev. Cohen as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1933 through 1940.

  • (xx) and (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports and the listing of Rev. Morris as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1947.

  • (xxiii) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports and the listing of Rev. Isaacs as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1948 through 1951.

  • (xxiv) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports, including obituary of 31 August 1984, and the listing of Rev. Landau as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1952 through 1985 (although he had died in office the previous year). There was no minister listed in the 1986 edition.

  • (xxv) Based on Jewish Chronicle reports and the listing of Rev. Caplan as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1987 through 1989. There were no subsequent listings of ministers of the congregations in any later editions.

  • (xxvi) Rev. Silverstein is described in a Jewish Chronicle report of March 1989 as the newly appointed minister at Margate. He is not listed in any Jewish Year Book and no further information is currently known.

  • (xxvii) and (xviii) Reserved.

  • (xxix) Listed solely in the Jewish Year Book 1904/5.

  • (xxx) 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. 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 the title of the year book. For example, if an officer is listed in Jewish Year Books 1935 through 1938, it is assumed that he commenced office in 1934 and continued in office until 1938. 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 Books were not published during World War II and ceased providing details of lay officers (other than secretaries) after 1956.

  • (xxxi) Referred to in The Isle of Thanet Gazette article of 16 June 1928 as being the first officers of the congregation, elected at the inaugural meeting.

  • (xxxii) Officers named in the Jewish Year Book 2014, the first to list the congregation.

  • (xxxiii) The Isle of Thanet Gazette article of 16 June 1928 refers to J. Rosenthall moving to Bournemouth after three years as president, being succeeded by H. Shaw. However, he remained listed as president in Jewish Year Books from 1916 through 1923.

  • (xxxiv) In the Jewish Year Book 1947, Mr. H. Shaw was named as life warden.

  • (xxxv) 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.

  • (xxxvi) The Jewish Chronicle report of 18 December 2020.

  • (xxxvii) Website of the Charities Commission, accessed 17 December 2020.

Other Jewish Communities in Thanet (in Ramsgate)

Jewish Congregations in Kent

Page created: 18 April 2003
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 15 December 2020
Latest revision or update: 28 May 2023

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