the former

Worcester Hebrew Congregation

& Jewish Community

Worcester, Worcestershire




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

City of Worcester

The historic cathedral  city of Worcester lies on the river Severn in the English West Midlands and has a population of over 90,000. It was a county borough in the county of Worcestershire (of which it is the county town) until 1974, when it became a local government district, initially within the relatively short-lived county of Hereford and Worcester and, from 1998, within the newly reconstituted county of Worcestershire.

Worcester Jewish Community

Although there was a medieval Jewish community in Worcester, the modern Jewish community was not established until the 1940s, when, initially, a Synagogue Group was established by World War II evacuees. The congregation continued to function until the 1970s.

Congregation Data


Worcester Hebrew Congregation(iii)

Formation and Affiliation:

World War II saw the influx into Worcester of Jewish evacuees, initially from Birmingham and later from other heavily populated areas, as well as Jewish refugees from Nazi controlled Europe. Religious services were first held in early 1941.(iv) Following the US entry into the war, American Jewish servicemen stationed nearby, also attended services and received hospitality. By at least 1943(v) the congregation became linked to the United Synagogue as the Worcester United Synagogue Membership Group.

By 1947, the membership group had developed into the Worcester Hebrew Congregation,(vi) which became an affiliated synagogue of the United Synagogue in 1948.(vii)  


2 New Street, Worcester.

Isaac Wolfson and Mr. S. Freeman were largely responsible for the acquisition and furnishing of these premises, which were consecrated as a synagogue on Sunday, 28 February 1943 by Chief Rabbi Hertz.(x)
Previously it appears that services were held at the home of Mr. J. Zuck (11, High Street, Worcester),(xi) with high holy day services at Friends Hall, Sansome Place, Worcester.(xii)


The congregation was dissolved in about the early 1970s.(xiii)


Orthodox - Ashkenazi


Rev. Judah Hosea Rockman - minister and secretary from 1943 until about 1945(xvi)

Lay Officers:(xvii)

Principal Executive Officers

J. Zuck - founder of the congregation (1941), chairman (1943 and from 1947 until at least 1956) and president (1946 until 1947).

Isaac Wolfson -  hon. president (1953), co-warden (at least 1945 until 1947) and president (1947 until at least 1956).

S. Freeman - vice president (1953 and from 1947 until 1956) and co-warden (at least 1945 until 1947).

Dr. W. Hirshow - vice chairman (1947 until 1956)


1945-1947 - Victor Barnett

1947-1949 - S. Kornfield

1949-1956 - H. Corfield

Hon. Secretaries

1946-1948 - B. Bowe

1948-1957 - H. Recce

1957-1970s - A.J. Bergerd

Membership Data:

Male Seatholders(xx)









Registration District:

Worcestershire from 1 April 2006(xxi) - Link to Register Office website.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Worcester include:

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

    • Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Worcester during the 1810s (1 record), 1820s (1 record), 1840s (3 records), 1850s (16 records), 1860s (9 records), 1870s (2 records) and 1880s (2 records).


Online Articles and Other Material
relating to the Worcester Jewish Community


Notable Jewish Connections with Worcester

  • Sir Isaac Wolfson (1897-1991), Scottish born businessman and philanthropist, head of Great Universal Stores, president of the United Synagogue (1962-1973) and the only non-religious figure to have a college named after him at both Oxford and Cambridge universities, lived in Worecester until 1960.


Other Worcester Jewish Institutions & Organisations

  • Worcester Jewish Ladies Guild (xxii)

  • Worcester Women's Zionist Society (xxiii)


Jewish Cemetery Information

There is a no Jewish cemetery in Worcester.

However, see Cemeteries of the United Synagogue.


Worcester Jewish Population Data



(The Jewish Year Book 1952)



(The Jewish Year Book 1960)



(The Jewish Year Book 1973)


Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  • (i) and (ii) Reserved.

  • (iii) Listed under this name from Jewish Year Book 1948.

  • (iv) The Jewish Chronicle of 21 March 1941 reported that the community services for the second time.

  • (v) The Jewish Chronicle of 5 March 1943 contains the earliest known mention of the membership group.

  • (vi) The congregation was listed as a membership group in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 and 1947 and first fisted as Worcester Hebrew Congregation in the 1948 edition.

  • (vii) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pp.218 and 222.

  • (viii) and (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) The Jewish Chronicle of 5 March 1943. 3 New Street was given as the address of the congregation in all editions of the Jewish Year Book.

  • (xi) The Jewish Chronicle of 21 March 1941.

  • (xii) The Jewish Chronicle of 12 September 1941.

  • (xiii) The congregation was last listed in Jewish Year Books 1973, the 1974 edition stating that it had been dissolved, although such dissolution may have taken place a few years earlier.

  • (xiv) and (xv) Reserved.

  • (xvi) The Jewish Chronicle of 5 March 1943 identifies Rev. Rockman as the resident reader and teacher and he is listed as reader and secretary in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  • (xvii) The source of data to 1943 is the extracted Jewish Chronicle reports. Data from 1945 has been extracted from Jewish Year Books, which were not published during World War II (the first post-war edition being 1945/6) and they ceased providing details of lay officers (other than secretary) from the 1957 edition. Where a person is first listed in a year book as holding a particular office, it has been assumed that his or her term of office commenced in the year of publication of the relevant year book and that he or she continued in office until the commencement of office of his successor. 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 1951 through 1955, it is assumed that he or she commenced office in 1950 and continued in office until 1985. However, it should be noted that this is only an assumption and, accordingly, an officer's actual years of office may differ somewhat from those shown here.

  • (xviii) and (xix) Reserved.

  • (xx) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pp.218/9.

  • (xxi) Previous Registration District: Worcester (from 1 July 1837 to 1 April 2006). All registers would now be held by the current office.

  • (xxii) Listing in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 and 1947.

  • (xxiii) Just listed in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

List of United Synagogue Congregations (and Membership Groups)

World War II Evacuee Communities

Jewish Congregations in Worcestershire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 9 November 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 14 January 2024
Page most recently amended: 15 January 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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