Hackney & East London Synagogue

Hackney, London E9





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Hackney Synagogue
View of South Hackney Synagogue, 1897

Congregation Data


Hackney & East London Synagogue

Former Names:

East London & Hackney Synagogue (in about 1993/4)(ii)

Hackney Synagogue (1935 until 1993)(iii)

South Hackney Synagogue (until 1935)(iv)


2a Triangle Road, Hackney, London E8 3RP (from 2010, consecrated 16 December 2012)(v)

Previous Addresses:

The synagogue was previously at 20 Brenthouse Road (formerly known as Devonshire Road), Mare Street, Hackney, London E9 6QG from 1885.(viii) The building still retains its external structure and was purchased in 2009 by a Brazilian Pentecostalist Church for £2 million .(ix)

The synagogue, designed by by Delissa Joseph, was built in 1896 and opened by Hon Walter Rothschild, with a gold key. It was consecrated in 1897 in a ceremony led by Rev Dr. Hermann Adler, the then Chief Rabbi. In 1910, the synagogue was renovated and rededicated and, in 1936, it was enlarged and reconstructed.

The building included a large hall on the lower ground floor, which could be converted into nine classrooms, a main shul on the ground floor and a ladies gallery on the first floor. The synagogue could accommodate a congregation of 500 along with 300 children.

The synagogue is a Grade II Listed Building (number 1393120), designated in 5 February 2009. View description on Historic England website.

From 1885 to 1896, the Congregation used an iron building on the site (which structure had been purchased from from Dalston Synagogue for £80). The 1885 opening ceremony was carried out by Samuel Montagu MP and the building consecrated by Rev D. Wasserzbug.

The Devonshire Road (Brenthouse Road) site, which had initially been leased by the Congregation at a rental of £22 per annum, was purchased in June 1892 for £500.

From 1881 to 1885, the Congregation worshipped in a private house in 43 Darnley Street, Hackney, London E9.(x)

Current Status:


Date Formed:

Various dates are given for the formation of the congregation, including 1875 (Jewish Year Book 1895/96), 1879 (Jewish Year Books from 1899/1900) and 1881 (when services were first held in Darnley Street).


Ashkenazi Orthodox


A constituent synagogue of the United Synagogue since 1897,(xi) the congregation's members having earlier been admitted into the organisation's burial society in 1886.(xii)

Incorporated and Merged Congregations:

In 1935, the Congregation (then known as the South Hackney Synagogue) amalgamated with the Central Hackney Synagogue, and was thereafter known as the Hackney Synagogue. This was the first amalgamation of synagogues in the history of the United Synagogue. As a result of the amalgamation, the Synagogue building was enlarged and reconstructed (which also entailed the purchased of the adjoining site at 22 Devonshire Road). For ten months from November 1935, services were held at the former Central Hackney Synagogue.

In 1976, Stoke Newington Synagogue was incorporated.

In 1993, East London Synagogue was incorporated, whereupon the Congregation (then known as the Hackney Synagogue)  changed its name to East London and Hackney Synagogue, shortly afterwoods adopting its present name.


Not currently active

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

Rev. Moses Hyamson - c.1883(xvi)

Rev. Gatchell Isaacs - 1890 to 1928(xvii)

Rabbi Louis Isaac Rabinowitz, MA - from 1928 to 1932(xviii)

Rev. Dr. Barnett Joseph, BA - 1934 to 1973(xix)

(Rabbi Dr. Alfred Melinek - acting minister from 1940 to 1945)(xx)

Rev. M. Browne - about 1994 to about 1995(xxii)

Rev. Daniel S. Kerbel - about 1995 to about 1997(xxiii)

Rev. Alan Greenbat - about 1997 to about 1998(xxiv)

Rev. Naftali Tiefenbrun - about 1998 to at least 2014(xxv)

Readers (Chazanim):

Rev. Francis Lyon Cohen - early 1880s(xxix)

Mr. E. de Winter - from 1881 to at least 1883(xxx)

Rev. Myer J. Heilbron - from about 1883 to February 1899(xxxi)

Rev. S. Blachman - from about 1898 to 1935(xxxii)

Rev. Chaim Kowalski - from about 1935 to 1953(xxxiii)

Rev. Meir Warth - from 1955 to about 1958(xxxiv)

Rev. Joel Klein - from 1958 to 1979(xxxvii)

Rev. Stephen Cotsen - from about 1980 to about 1982(xxxviii)

Rev. Daniel Rosenthal - from about 1984 to about 1987(xxxix)

Rev. Mark C. Goldman - from about 1987 to about 1990(xl)

Rev. Menachem Lester, MA, MCA - from about 1990 to about 1994(xli)

Lay Officers:(xlv)


1881 - Simon Lyons(xlvi)



1884-1906 - Albert Berl Salmen(xlvii)

1896-1899, 1904-1908 - Louis Zachariah (xlviii)

1899-1904, 1913-1917 - S. Lion(xlix)

1908-1911 - R. Adler

1908-1913 - D. Gould

1911-1917 - M.H. Marks

1917-1918 - D. Fedder

1917-1930 - S. Woolfstein

1918-1920, 1927-1929 - S. Mitchell

1920-1922 - J. Breslar

1922-1927 - Judah Lev

1929-1933 - J. Levy

1931-1937, 1939-1940 - I.M. Shocket

1933-1937, 1938-1940 - M. Galinsky

1937-1939 - A. Gavourin

1937-1938 - S. Oppenheimer

1940-1945 - War Years (no data)

1945-at least 1956 - L. Abrahams

1945-1948 - J. Schama

1948-1950, 1955-1956 - H.B. Roland

1950-1952 - M. King

1952-1955 - S.N. Rosen 

Treasurers / Financial Representatives(l)

1881 - Jacob Lyons(li)

1896 - J. Rosenberg(lii)

1897-1899 - M. Siedenberg(liii)

1899-1901 - Leonard B. Franklin

1901-1904 - J. Kempner

1904-1907 - D. Gould

1907-1915 - F.J. Shonman

1918-1931 - J. Altman

1934-1935 - Dr. S. Blackman

1935-1939 - Michael E. Waldman, JP(liv)

1939-1953 - M. Goldberg(lv)

1953-1955 - J.D.. Toperoff

1955-1956 - B. Marmotstein


Hon. Secretary

1897 - Silvain Lion(lvi)



1896-1899 - Rev. M.J. Heibron

1899-1928 - Rev. G. Isaacs

1928-1932 - Rabbi L.I. Rabinowitz

1933-1934 - M. Aizen (pro tem)

1934-1938 - Rev. B. Jackson

1938-1955 - M. Aizen(lvii)

1957-1959 - J. Birnbaum

1961-1980 - L. Harris

Membership Data:

United Synagogue (male seat-holders)(lxi)



















Reports & Surveys(lxii)

1977 - 538 male (or household) members and estiimated 434 female members

1983 - 425 male (or household) members and estimated 363 female members

1990 - 644 members (comprising 626 households, 3 individual male and 15 individual female members)

1996 - 825 members (comprising 773 households, 23 individual male and 29 individual female members)

2010 - listed as having 300 to 399 members (by household)

2016 - listed as having 200 to 299 members (by household)

Hebrew Classes:

In 1882, there were 35 children enrolled in the congregation's Hebrew classes and teachers included Rev A.L. Green and Rev A.M. Hyamson. The number of pupils increased considerably in following years and by 1900 the congregation's Hebrew classes was the largest attached to any synagogue in the United Kingdom.(lxiii) The following are details of the number of registered pupils for the relevant years:(lxiv)





























Headmasters (years are approximate):(lxv)

Rev. M.J. Heibron (at least 1896 to 1899); Rev. Gatchell  Isaacs (1900-1928); Mr. A.A. Taylor, LLB (1928-1939)

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 Districts:

Hackney is in the London Borough of Hackney, and was previously (until 1965) in the somewhat smaller former Metropolitan Borough of Hackney.(lxvi)

Registration District (BMD):

Hackney (since founding of congregation) - Link to Register Office website


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

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) This was the name under which the congregation was listed in the Jewish Year Book 1994, thereafter, it was listed under its current name..

  • (iii) This was the name of the congregation as listed in Jewish Year Books 1936 through 1993, reflecting the period between the congregation's two major amalgamations (see below).

  • (iv) The appeared under this name from its listing in the first Jewish Year Books (1896/97) .

  • (v) Although this address was not listed for the congregation until the Jewish Year Books 2015 (the last time the year book was published).

  • (vi) and (vii) Reserved.

  • (viii) This was the address listed in all Jewish Year Books until the listing of the current address, the change of name of the street (from Deveonshire Road to Brenthouse Road, first being noted in the 1939 edition.

  • (ix) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland (2015) by S. Kadish, p34.

  • (x) For additional information, see the two Histories of the congregation, in the Commemorative Booklet below.

  • (xi) Jewish Year Book (1897/97), p. 34.

  • (xii) The History of the congregation in the congregation's 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet 1897-1947, pp. 1/2.

  • (xiii) to (xv) Reserved.

  • (xvi) Rev. Hyamson appears to be the first person to act as the equivalent of minister of the congregation, when, according to the history of the congregation in the congregation's 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet 1897-1947, p.1, he was elected "preacher, secretary and teacher at the Sabbath schools" in March 1883 (or possibly 1882). Others had earlier been appointed reader of the congregation or to officiate at services on the high holydays. There was no indication as to when his term of office ended, but he had already taken up a postion of minister elsewhere by 1884.

  • (xvii) The History of the congregation in the congregation's 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet 1897-1947, p.2. Rev. Isaacs, who had for some years officiated at Westminster Free School, was initailly appointed temporarily for six months (possibly as reader and teacher). He is listed as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1896/7 (the first publication, in which he is listed jointly with Rev. M.J. Heilbron) through 1928, and thereafter as emeritus until 1933.

  • (xviii) Rabbi Rabinowitz is listed as "Rev." in Jewish Year Books 1929 and 1930 and as "Rabbi" in the 1931 and 1932 editions. There were no ministers listed in 1933 and 1934.

  • (xix) Rabbi Joseph, who died in office, was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1935 through 1940 and 1945/6 through 1973 (there being no publication during the intervening war years). During World War II, Rev. Jacobs took a temporary leave of absence to serve as a chaplain in H.M. Armed Forces. There were no ministers listed for the congregation from 1974 through 1994.

  • (xx) Rev. Melinek led the congregation while Rev. Joseph during the war years while Rev. Joseph was on chaplaincy duties - The History of the congregation in the congregation's 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet.

  • (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) Based upon Rev. Browne's listing as rev. of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1995.

  • (xxiii) Based upon Rev. (later Rabbi) Kerbel's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1996 and 1997.

  • (xxiv) Based upon Rev. Greenbat's listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Books 1998. However, according to the History of the congregation in the congregation's 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet, Rev. Greenblat's involvement with the congregation goes back somewhat earlier. He was Director of the Victoria Boys’ and Girls’ Club in Stamford Hill and, in 1975, was invited to address a barmitzvah boy in the synagogue. From that day onwards for some years he carried out ministerial duties for the congregation.

  • (xxv) Based upon Rev. Tiefenbrun's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1999 through 2015. The Jewish Year Book ceased publication after this date.

  • (xxvi) to (xxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxix) Jewish Chronicle orbituary Rev. (later Rabbi) Francis Cohen dated .

  • (xxx) The History of the congregation appearing in its 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet, p.1 refers to Mr. de Winter's appointment (with M. Sesenwine) as the initial readers of the congregation in 1881 and later refers to Mr. de Winter's appointement as "Chazan" in 1883.

  • (xxxi) Although the History of the congregation appearing in its 50th Jubilee Commemorative Booklet, refers (on p.1) to Rev. Heilbron's election in 1885 as reader, teacher and secretary of the congregation and (on p.2) to his election in 1890 as the congregation's first marriage secretary, it states (on p.3) that Mr. Heilbron resigned "in February 1899 after sixteen years faithful service", which would date his commencement of service to about 1883. At the time of his resignation , it adds that both Rev. Heibron and Rev. Isaacs were acting as joint second readers. The Jewish Year Books 1896/7 through 1898/99 actually list these two jointly as ministers. 

  • (xxxii) The History of the congregation appearing in its Centenary Commemorative Booklet 1897-1997. He is listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1900/01 through 1937, and thereafter as emeritus in the 1938 amd 1939 editions.

  • (xxxiii) The History of the congregation appearing in its Centenary Commemorative Booklet 1897-1997. Rev. Kowalski had been reader of Central Hackney Synagogue in 1935 at the time of its merger with the congregation. He is listed as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1938 through 1953 and died in office. There were no readers listed for the congregation in editions from 1954 through 1957.

  • (xxxiv) Based on Jewish Chronicle report of 21 October 1955 and Rev. Warth's listing as reader of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1958. There was no reader listed for the congregation in 1959 edition.

  • (xxxv) and (xxxvi) Reserved.

  • (xxxvii) Based upon Rev. Klein's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1960 through 1979, in which year he retired. Subsequently Rev. Klein (who was the congregation's last full-time chazan) and his wife, Malka, moved to Israel. There was no reader listed for the congregation in the 1980 edition.

  • (xxxviii) Based upon Rev. Cotsen's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1981 and 1982. There were no readers listed for the congregation in the 1983 and 1984 editions.

  • (xxxix) Based upon Rev. Rosenthal's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1985 through 1987.

  • (xl) Based upon Rev. Goldman's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1988 through 1990.

  • (xli) Based upon Rev. Lester's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1991 through 1994. There were no further listings of readers of the congregation in any subsequent editions.

  • (xlii) and (xliv) Reserved.

  • (xlv) Except where otherwise stated, 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 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 year appearing the 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.

  • (xlvi) Appointed at the first AGM, of 1881 (per 50th Jubilee commemorative booklet). This is the only reference found to the appointment of a president of the congregation and it is not known until when he held office.

  • (xlvii) The 50th Jubilee commemorative booklet stated that Mr Salmen was elected in 1884 as warden, "a position he occupied uninterruptedly for twenty-two years". Considered with L. Zachariah as the "Founders" of the congregation.

  • (xlvii) Considered with A.B. Salmen as the "Founders" of the congregation.

  • (xlix) Believed to be Silvain Lion (who had earlier served as hon. secretary).

  • (l) From 1899,  the office was generally known as Financial Representative.

  • (li) Mr. Lyons was appointed Treasurer at the first AGM, of 1881 (per 50th Jubilee commemorative booklet). It is not known until when he held office.

  • (lii) Mr. Rosenberg was listed as Treasurer in the first Jewish Year Book (1896/97) but not in any later edition. It is not known when he assumed office

  • (liii) Mr. Siegenberg was listed as Treasurer in Jewish Year Books 1897/98 and 1898/99 and was also listed a Financial Representative in the list of Officers for 1897 in both the 50th Jubilee and the centenary commemorative booklets.

  • (liv) Mr. Waldman later evacuated to Hemel Hempstead and became the principal lay leader of that war-time community. He was the father of Ronnie Waldman, actor and BBC radio presenter.

  • (lv) Mr. Goldberg was listed as Financial Representative of the congregation in Jewish Year Books both prior to and after World War II, and although no data is available for the war years it is assumed that he also served in such capacity throughout the war.

  • (lvi) Mr. Sevain Lion was listed as Hon Secretary on foundation stone for the new synagogue, laid on 14 February 1897. This is the only instance of the specific mention of an "honorary" secretary. It is not known from when, and until when, He held office. It is presumed that he was the same S. Lion, who subsequently served as warden.

  • (lvii) Mr. Aizen was appointed full-time secretary in March 1938, but appears to have served as assistant secretary since at least 1929 (50th Jubilee and the centenary commemorative booklets).

  • (lviii) to (lx) Reserved.

  • (lxi) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pages 216/9.

  • (lxii) 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.

  • (lxiii) The History of the congregation appearing in its Centenary Commemorative Booklet 1897-1997 and Jewish Year Book 1900/01.

  • (lxiv) Extracted from Jewish Year Books 1900/01 through 1924.

  • (lxv) Jewish Year Books 1996/97 through 1940.

  • (lxvi) The London Borough of Hackney, an Inner London Borough within the Greater London administrative area, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney with the much smaller Metropolitan Boroughs of Stoke Newington and Shoreditch, all previously within the area of the former London County Council.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database specifically associated with the Hackney & East London Synagogue include:

Seatholders Lists

1899 South Hackney Synagogue (199 records);
1910 South Hackney Synagogue (475 records)
1933 South Hackney Synagogue (423 records.

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


  • Material Kindly contributed by Mr. Lewis H Glinert, whose parents were members of the congregation:

  • Selected Bibliography:

    • The Synagogues of London by P. Lindsay, 1993 (Vallentine Mitchell, London)  p. 61.

    • Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland by Sharman Kadish, 2015 (Historic England, Swindon) p 34.

    • Other Hackney sources.


List of United Synagogue Congregations

Jewish Congregations in Hackney (London Borough of Hackney)

Jewish Congregations in Greater London

Greater London home page

Page created: 16 November 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 25 March 2018
Subsequent significantly expansion of data: 3 May 2020
Page most recently amended: 14 April 2023

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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