Central Synagogue

Great Portland Street, London W1



JCR-UK is a genealogical and historical website covering all Jewish communities and
congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
NOTE: We are not the official website of this congregation, the address of which is given below.

Congregation Data


Central Synagogue (this name was not formally adopted until 1869)

Alternative Names:

Great Portland Street Synagogue

Also previously sometimes referred to as the Hallam Street Synagogue


133-141 Great Portland Street (also referred to as 38-40 Hallam Street), London WIW 6NW. 

The synagogue was designed by architect Nathan Solomon Joseph, FRIBA.(i) The foundation stone was laid by Baron Lionel de Rothschild M.P. on 18 March 1869, and the building was consecrated by Chief Rabbi Rev. Dr. N. M. Adler on 7 April 1870.

The synagogue building was destroyed in a German air raid on 10 May 1941, and services temporarily moved to the Adolph Tuck Hall in Woburn House. Once the bombed synagogue site was cleared, a temporary synagogue was built in the basement, which was consecrated in 1948 and remained in use until 1956, when the present building was constructed and formally opened in 1958.(ii)

Previous Addresses:

The previous location of the synagogue, from March 1855 to 1870, was at 120 Great Portland Street. This was a former warehouse, purchased on a 42 year lease in 1953 and consecrated in March 1855.(ii)

Prior to 1855, the congregation met in Wigmore Street, London W1.

Current Status:


Date Founded:

Congregation founded 1848.(iii) The synagogue was formed as a branch of the Great Synagogue, and remained such until the founding of the United Synagogue in 1870.(iv) Accordingly, until then, management and supervision of religious services were controlled by the Great Synagogue.


Ashkenazi Orthodox


One of the original five synagogues that formed the United Synagogue in 1870, of which it remains a constituent member.



Ministers & Officers:

See Lists below

Membership Data:

United Synagogue(vi)

Number of male seat-holders:























Also see below for seatholder records on All-UK Database.

Reports & Surveys(vii)

1977 - 595 male (or household) members and 177 female members

1983 - 500 male (or household) members and 225 female members

1990 - 670 members (comprising 635 households, 28 individual male and 8 individual female members)

1996 - 465 members (comprising 431 households, 14 individual male and 20 individual female members)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 400 to 499 members (by household).

Hebrew Classes:

The following are details of the number of registered pupils at the congregation's Hebrew classes  for the relevant years:(viii)























Charitable Status:

As a constituent of the United Synagogue, the congregation operates within that organisation's registered charity status (registered charity no. 242552).

Local Government District:

The Congregation is situated in the centre of London's West End.  All the above addresses for the Synagogue are now in the City of Westminster and were (from 1900 to 1965) in the former Metropolitan Borough of St Marylebone. Prior to 1900, St Marylebone was a civil parish in the former County of Middlesex.(ix)

Cemetery Information:

For United Synagogue cemeteries, see Cemeteries of the United Synagogue.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Carol Herselle Krinsky - Synagogues of Europe - Architecture, History, Meaning, 1996, Appendix I, p. 430. To view a description of the Jewish architectural works by N.S. Joseph, hold your cursor over his name.

  • (ii) The congregation's website and The Lost Synagogues of London by Peter Renton, pp.73/6.

  • (iii) The Synagogues of London by Paul Lindsay (1993), pp. 70/73.

  • (iv) Jewish Year Books of early the 1900s and The Synagogues of London by Paul Lindsay (1993), pp. 70/73.

  • (v) Reserved.

  • (vi) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pp. 216/7.

  • (vi) 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.

  • (viii) Extracted from Jewish Year Books 1900/01 through 1921.

  • (ix) The City of Westminster is an Inner London Borough within the Greater London administrative area and was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the former City of Westminster (a Metropolitan Borough) with the Metropolitan Boroughs of St Marylebone and Paddington.The metropolitan boroughs were created in 1900 and had been within the former County of London (established in 1899, abolished 1965). Until 1899, St Marylebone, a civil parish, had been part of the former county of Middlesex.

  • (x) Reserved.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database specifically associated with the Central Synagogue include:

Seatholders Lists

1885 (399 records);
1899 (346 records);
1910 (431 records);
1933 (415 records).

UK Communal Leaders

Office Holders in 1874 (25 individuals)

For a list of other London records in the Database that may also include records associated with this congregation, click here.


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation


  • Press Report relating to the Congregation, 1873

  • Photographs

  • Selected Bibliography:

    • History of the Central Synagogue by Revd. Simeon Isaacs, 1948 (published by the congregation)

    • A History of the Central Synagogue by Rabbi C. I. Shine 1970 (published by the congregation)

    • The Synagogues of London by P. Lindsay, 1993 (Valentine Mitchell, London)  pp. 70-73

    • The Lost Synagogues of London by P. Renton, 2004 (Tymsder Publishing, London) pp. 73-78

    • other City of Westminster sources.

on the Congregation's website


 Congregational Records

Registration District (BMD):

  • Westminster (since 1 January 1978)- Register Office website

  • Previous Registration Districts:
    St Marylebone - until 1 January 1978;
    Marylebone - from founding of the congregation until 1 January 1902.
    (All records would now be held by the current office.)

Marriage Registers:

Marriage Registers (first entry 22 March 1871), other than register currently in use, deposited with Westminster Register Office.

 (Note: It was not until 1870, when the congregation ceased to be a branch of the Great Synagogue, that marriages could be performed in the Synagogue.)


Ministers and Officers

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

Rev. Aaron Levy Green - from 1854 until 1883(xi)

Rev. David Fay - from July 1884 until November 1902(xii)

Rev. Michael Adler, DSO - from 1903 until 1934, and thereafter emeritus(xiii)

Rev. Philip Cohen, BA - from 1934 until about 1939(xiv)

Rev. Emil Nemeth (temporary) - during World War II until about 1946(xv)

Rev. Simeon Isaacs - from about 1946 to 1954(xvii)

Rabbi Cyril I. Shine - from 1955 to 1988(xviii)

Rabbi Vivian C. Silverman - from 1989 to about 1995(xix)

Rabbi Barry Marcus - from 1995 to October 2018(xx)

Rabbi Barry Lerer (& Rebbetzen Naomi Lerer) - from February 2019 to present (June 2021)(xxi)

Readers/Chazanim (Cantors):

Rev. Aaron Levy Green - from 1854 until at least 1874(xxiii)

Rev. Emanuel  Spero - from February 1884 until 1924(xxiv)

Rev. Aron Stoutzker - from about 1925 until about 1950(xxv)

Rev. Simon Hass - from 1950 until 1993(xxvi)

Rev. M.J. Dubiner - about 1993(xxvii)

Y. Reichman - about 1994 until about 1995(xxviii)

Rev. Jonathan Murgraff - from about 1997 until about 2003(xxix)

Rev. Steven Leas - from about 2003 until present (June 2021)(xxx)

Principal Office Holders (1874):(xxxv)

First Reader & Lecturer - Rev. Aaron Levy Green

Second Reader & Secretary - Rev. Samuel Lyons

Wardens - Louis Charles Lumley & Barnett Mayers

Lay Officers from 1896:(xxxvi)


1896-1901 - Samuel E. Moss & Joseph Pyke

1901-1903 - Samuel E. Moss & Joseph Trenner

1903-1904 - Samuel E. Moss & Edward Pinder Davis, LLB

1904-1906 - Edward Pinder Davis, LLB & Morris L. Jonas

1906-1907 - Robert Waley-Cohen & Morris L. Jonas

1907-1910 - Robert Waley-Cohen & Edward Pinder Davis, JP

1910-1920 - Edward Pinder Davis, JP & Sir Adolph Tuck, Bart

1920-1928 - Joseph H. Jacobs & Sir Adolph Tuck, Bart

1928-1938 - Joseph H. Jacobs & D. A. Tuck

1938-1947 - D. A. Tuck & Gaskell Jacobs(xxxvii)

1947-1948 - D. A. Tuck & Isaac Wolfson

1948-1956 - Isaac Wolfson & Philip H. Taylor

from 1956 - no data

Financial Representatives

1896-1913 - Asher Isaacs

1913-1921 - E. A. Phillips

1921-1922 - data currently unavailable

1922-1929 - A. Alvarez

1929-1933 - A. Alvarez, JP

1933-1938 - Gaskell Jacobs

1938-1940 - R. M. Norton

1940-1945 - War Years - no data

1945-1947 - Hyman Lewis & Josey Freedman

1947-1948 - Philip H. Taylor

1948-1956 - Jack Harris

from 1956 - no data


1896-1902 - Rev. David Fay

1902-1913 - L. J. Solomon(xxxviii)

1913-1918 - J. H. Schneiderman, BA
(known as J. H. Taylor from c.1914)

1918-1919 - H. Kintzler

1920-1921 - H. Weinstein(xxxix)

1921-1922 - data currently unavailable

1922-1926 - H. Winston(xxxix)

1926-1936 - S. Cohen, BSc, ACA

1936-uncertain date - Rev. Philip Cohen(xl)

1956-1968 - M. Stoller

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (xi) In The Lost Synagogues of London by Peter Renton, pp.73/6 (including article entitled "Revd. Aaron Levy Green" on pp. 75/6). Rev. Green is listed as reader and lecturer of the congregation in the Jewish Directory of 1874. It is unclear whether, and at what stage, he formally adopted the term "minister".

  • (xii) Rev. Fay obituary in The Jewish Chronicle of 15 March 1907. He was listed as minister and secretary from the first Jewish Year Book (1896/97) until the 1901/02 edition but is stated as having retired in the 1902/03 edition.

  • (xiii) Rev. Adler is listed in Jewish Year Books 1903/04 through 1934 as minister and from 1935 through 1940 as emeritus minister of the congregation. As he served as Chaplain to the British Armed Forces during World War I, Rev. B.N. Michelson and Mr. M. Zeffert carried out Rev. Adler's synagogue duties during his leave of absence. The year of retirement (1934) of Rev. Adler, DSO, SCF, BA is mentioned in The Lost Synagogues of London by Peter Renton, p.75.

  • (xiv) Rev. Cohen is first listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Book 1936. He became a chaplain in World War II, and was granted leave of absence to take up his chaplan duties. Although he may have retained the title of minister of the congregation during his absence, as he is listed as minister in the Jewish Year Book 1945/46, it would appear that he did not return to the congregation after the war.

  • (xv) The 2008 commemorative brochure, on the congregation's website refers to Rev Nemeth's appointment as temporary during WWII, while Rev. Cohen was on leave of absence . He was still listed as temporary minister in the Jewish Year Books 1945/6 and 1947.

  • (xvi) Reserved.

  • (xvii) Based upon the listings of Rev. Isaacs in Jewish Year Books from 1948 through 1954. There was no minister listed for the congregation in the 1955 edition.

  • (xviii) Congregation's website, accessed 27 March 2018 (although "Who's Who" entries in Jewish Year Books, latest 2005, gives his year of departure as 1990).

  • (xix) Jewish Chronicle profile and congregation's website, accessed 27 March 2018. The actual date of departure of Rabbi Silverman is unclear. There was no minister listed for the congregation in the 1995 edition.

  • (xx) Congregation's website, accessed 2 April 2018. Jewish News of 22 October 2018 reported on the retirement of Rabbi Marcus.

  • (xxi) Rabbi Lerer's profile on the congregation's website, last accessed 22 June 2021 and information provided personally by Rabbi Lerer in January 2019.

  • (xxii) Reserved.

  • (xxiii) See Note (xi) above.

  • (xxiv) Jewish Chronicle reports. Rev. Spero is listed as reader in the first Jewish Year Book (of 1896) and continued to be listed until the Jewish Year Book of 1925.

  • (xxv) Based upon Rev. Stoutzker's listing in Jewish Year Books from 1926 through 1951. 

  • (xxvi) Congregation's website, accessed 27 March 2018. Rev. Hass (b. 1927, Poland) is listed as reader (cantor) of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1952 through 1993.

  • (xxvii) Based upon Rev. Dubiner's listing in the Jewish Year Book 1994.

  • (xxviii) Based upon Y. Reichman's listing in Jewish Year Books 1995 and 1996.

  • (xxix) Based upon J. Murgraff's listing in Jewish Year Books 1998 through 2003.

  • (xxx) "Who's Who" entry in Jewish Year Book 2014. Rev. Leas was still chazan (cantor) of the congregation according to the congregation's website (which includes a profile), last accessed 22 June 2021. ,

  • (xxxi) to (xxxiv) Reserved.

  • (xxxv) Jewish Directory for 1874, edited by Asher I. Myers. The Directory actually lists 25 different office holders for the congregation, all of whom are included in the Communal Leaders dataset within the All-UK Database. To search see Database above.

  • (xxxvi) 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, his actual years of office may differ slightly from those shown here. 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.

  • (xxxvii) D.A. Tuck and G. Jacobs were listed as wardens of the congregation in Jewish Year Books both prior to World War II (Year Books 1939 and 1940) and following the war (year books 1945/6 and 1947) and, although no data is available for the war years, it is assumed that they also served in such capacity throughout the war.

  • (xxxviii) L.J. Solomons was listed as assistant secretary in the Jewish Year Books 1900/01 and 1901/02 and as acting secretary in the 1902/03 edition.

  • (xxxix) H. Weinstein and H. Winston may well be the same person, the name having been anglicised.

  • (xl) Rev. Cohen was listed as secretary in Jewish Year Books from 1937 through 1940 and 1945/6 and 1947 (no data for years 1940-1945). However, he was on leave of absence during World War II to take up chaplaincy duties, it is uncertain as to the extent he was able to act as secretary and until when.

List of United Synagogue Congregations

Jewish Congregations in the London Borough of the City of Westminster

Jewish Congregations in Greater London (other than East End)

Greater London home page

Page created: 11 January 2004
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 15 April 2018
Page most recently amended: 5 May 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

Explanation of Terms   |   About JCR-UK  |   JCR-UK home page

Contact JCR-UK Webmaster:
(Note: This is to contact JCR-UK, not the above Congregation)

JGSGB  JewishGen

Terms and Conditions, Licenses and Restrictions for the use of this website:

This website is owned by JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. All material found herein is owned by or licensed to us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your own personal use. You may not post material from this site on another website without our consent. You may not transmit or distribute material from this website to others. You may not use this website or information found at this site for any commercial purpose.

Copyright © 2002 - 2024 JCR-UK. All Rights Reserved