York Jewish Community

and Synagogues

York, North Yorkshire




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
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Clifford's Towers

Clifford's Tower, the scene of the 1190 York Massacre
Courtesy Steven Jaffe, 2024

City of York

York, a historic city in Northern England located at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss, has a tragic place in Jewish history, remembered for the massacre of the Jewish community which occurred at Clifford's Tower in 1190.

The city's present boundaries date to 1996, when it became a unitary authority, within the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, and it currently has a population of about 180,000. From 1974 to 1996, the somewhat smaller city of York was a district within the county of North Yorkshire. It is in the traditional county town of Yorkshire and was a county borough not forming part of any of the three Ridings into which Yorkshire was divided until 1974.

York's former synagogue
The former synagogue in Aldwark
Courtesy Steven Jaffe, 2024

York Jewish Community

There was an important Jewish community in York in the medieval period. In modern times, there have been two organised Jewish congregations, the York Hebrew Congregation, whose synagogue closed in 1975 and is now effectively defunct, and the York Liberal Synagogue, formed in 2014.

Data on First Congregation


York Hebrew Congregation

Foundation, Address and Current Status:


Rabbi in Green Jacket

Religious services were first held in 1892.(i)

The synagogue was opened in 1893 at Aldwark, York.(ii)

In about 1975, the synagogue closed and the Jewish community ceased to have a formal place of worship. Certain Jewish communal events (communal seder, chanukah party, Friday night suppers, etc.) continued to take place for some years after closure of the synagogue.


The congregation was Ashkenazi Orthodox, although, after closure of the synagogue, it became non-denominational.


Became affiliated to Leeds United Hebrew Congregation (UHC) solely for the purposes of burial rights.

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

Rev. Moses Eker - prior to 1894(v)

Rev. M. Isaacs - from at least 1896 until about 1899(vi)

Rev. Leopold Wolf Klein - from about 1899 until 1901(vii)

Rev. David Isaac Devons - from 1902 until 1909(viii)

Rev. Alter Behrman - from about 1910 until about 1911(ix)

Lay Officers:(xi)


1892-1903 - J. Rudolph(xii)

1903-1905 - B. Cohen

1905-1909 - M. Liggi

1909-1910 - P. Cramer

1910-1924 - S. Morris

1924-1953 - C. Hart(xiii)

1954-1955 - B. Sugar

1955-1956 - S. Morris


1896-1903 - J. Rudolph

1903-1905 - B. Cohen

1905-1908 - M. Morris

1908-1910 - A. Rosen

1910-1911 - S. Morris

1911-1918 - A. Rosen

1918-1924 - C. Hart

1924-1933 - Solly Morris

1933-1937 - A. Levy

1938-1940 - M. J. Howitts(xiv)

1940-1945 - War Years (no data)

1945-1956 - I. Morris

Shochet & Teacher

1914-1918 - Rev. Goldwater

Vice Presidents

1905-1906 - B. Cohen

1906-1907 - M. Kramer

1907-1909 - M. Morris-Saul

1909-1910 - L. Skulski

1910-1911 - M. Liggi

Hon. Secretaries

1896-1899 - J. Cohen

1899-1903 - S. Cohen

1903-1904 - N. Rosenfeld

1904-1907 - W. Levine

1907-1909 - Rev. David Isaac Devons

1910-1911 - Rev. A. Behrman

1911-1918 - M. J. Horwitz(xiv)

1918-1924 - S. Morris

1924-1928 - C. Hart

1928-1930 - J. Cohen

1930-1933 - M. Horwitts(xiv)

1933-1937 - Solly Morris

1937-1958 - M. Rosenfeld/Rossfield(xv)

1958-1970 - B. Sugar

1970-1974 - F. Vigon

Membership Data:

Jewish Year Books (number of seatholders)















National Reports and Surveys(xvi)

1977 - 6 male (or household) members and 10 female members (with a note that the congregation was "temporarily disbanded)

1983 - 6 male (or household) members and 12 female members

1990 - 10 male (or household) members

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

Cemetery Information:

For details of the Leeds UHC Cemetery (including database), see Cemetery Information on Leeds Jewish Community home page.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Jewish Chronicle report 23 September 1892, p. 14.

  • (ii) Jewish Chronicle report 1 September 1893, p. 13.

  • (iii) to (iv) Reserved.

  • (v) According to Hilary Thomas's From Poland To Paradise Lane and Other Journeys - a history of the Jewish community of Blackburn (2018), Rev. Eker served the York congregation before his appointment as minister at Blackburn in 1894.

  • (vi) Based upon Rev. Isaacs's listing as minister of the congregation from the first Jewish Year Book (1896/7) through 1898/9.

  • (vii) Although Rev. Klein was listed (as Rev. W.L. Klein) as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1899/1900 through 1902/1903 he was reported in the Jewish Chronicle to have taken up a post in Hull by 1901.

  • (viii) Based upon Rev. Devons's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1803/1904 through 1909. There was no minister listed for the congregation in the 1910 edition.

  • (ix) Based upon Rev. Behrman's listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1911. There were no subsequent listings of a minister for this congregation.

  • (x) Reserved.

  • (xi) Unless stated otherwise, the data listed here has been extracted from Jewish Year Books, first published in 1896/97. 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 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 the years shown here are approximate and may differ from the actual years of office. Jewish Year Books were not published during WWII subsequent to 1940. There were no Jewish Year Book listings of officers (other than secretary) subsequent to 1956.

  • (xii) Jewish Chronicle report 26 October 1894, p. 17 refers to Mr Rudolf's election as president of the congregation for the 3rd year.

  • (xiii) Mr. Hart was listed as president of the congregation in Jewish Year Books both prior to World War II (year books 1925 through 1940) and following the war (year books 1945/6 through 1953), although no data is available for the war years, it is assumed that he also served in such capacity throughout the war.

  • (xiv) It is assumed that M.J. Horwitz and M.J. Howitts are the same person, the name having been anglicized sometime following World War I.

  • (xv) Surname shown as Rosenfeld until Jewish Year Book 1953 and anglicized to Rossfield from 1954. Clearly the same person, based upon address. As he was listed as hon. secretary of the congregation in Jewish Year Books both prior to World War II (year books 1938 through 1940) and following the war (year books 1945/6 through 1958), it is assumed that he also served in such capacity throughout the war, although no data is available for the war years.

  • (xvi) 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.

  • (xvii) to (xx) Reserved.


Data on Second Congregation


York Liberal Synagogue


No permanent address, although monthly Sabbath morning services are usually held at Friergate Quaker House.(xxi)

Current Status:


Date Founded:

May 2014.(xxii)


Liberal / Progressive


A constituent community of Liberal Judaism since 28 April 2015.




Rabbi Dr. Elisheva Salamo - from August 2023 until present (September 2023)(xxiii)

Membership Data

National Reports and Surveys(xxiv)

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

Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered charity (no. 1166145), being a "charitable incorporated organisation" (CIO) registered on 21 March 2016.(xxv)

Cemetery Information:

The congregation now has a designated burial section at Fulford Cemetery, Fordlands Road, Fulford, York YO19 4QG, which was consecrated in December 2017.(xxvi)

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (xxi) Congregation's website, last accessed 30 July 2019.

  • (xxii) Congregation's website, accessed 25 August 2017.

  • (xxiii) "'Our doors are open': York gets its first resident rabbi in more than 800 years" - press report in The Guardian, 3 August 2023. Although Rabbi Elisheva was the congregation's first ordained rabbi, it had at times been served by student rabbis, including Daniel Lichman from 2015 until about 2016.

  • (xxiv) 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.

  • (xxv) Charity Commission website, in beta development, and Open Charities website, both accessed 30 July 2019.

  • (xxvi) Jewish Chronicle press report 15 December 2017 - "Liberal gains in York as young congregation starts to develop"; and congregation's website accessed 30 July 2019.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with York include:

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

    • Individuals in the "1851" database who were living in York during the 1800s (1 record), 1820s (1 record), 1830s (1 record), 1840s (7 records), 1850s (11 records) and 1860s (2 records)

York Jewish Cemetery plaque  
Courtesy Steven Jaffe, 2024

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


on Third Party websites

York Jewish Heritage Sites

  • Clifford's Tower, Tower Street, York, YO1 9SA is a Grade I Listed Building, listed on 14 June 1954 (latest amendment 14 March 1997) (number 1259325). See Historic England listing and description.


Community Records

Registration District (BMD):


York Jewish Cemetery Information

There was no modern Jewish cemetery in York until December 2017, when a Liberal Jewish section of the municipal cemetery was consecrated, see above.

There was a medieval Jewish cemetery in York, in the vicinity of Baile Hill, close to Clifford Tower, which is now a car park.

For further information on York's Jewish cemeteries, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - York


York Jewish Population



(The Jewish Year Book 1896/97)



(The Jewish Year Book 1904/05)



(The Jewish Year Book 1906/06)



(The Jewish Year Book 1907/08)



(The Jewish Year Book 1909)



(The Jewish Year Book 1910)



(The Jewish Year Book 1912)



(The Jewish Year Book 1919)



(The Jewish Year Book 1945/6)



(The Jewish Year Book 1952)



(The Jewish Year Book 1955)



(The Jewish Year Book 1959)



(The Jewish Year Book 1962)



(The Jewish Year Book 1981)



(The Jewish Year Book 1986)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2004)


List of Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in North Yorkshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 18 April 2003
Data significantly expanded: 30 August 2018
Page most recently amended: 15 May 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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