© Marcus Roberts


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Two conversions took place in 1834, of two Austrian-Polish Jews, the sons of Jewish dealers. This was through the efforts of the London Society and a further three conversions occurred in 1843. It is also interesting to note that there was a succession of members from the synagogue in 1843, led by Lewis Dight. The dispute had been with the warden over some matter which is not clear but it lead to a number of the community withdrawing from communal life.

A purpose built synagogue was finally established in 1839, in St James Square with furnishings taken from the New Synagogue, London, in 1838. The community were progressive in that they only wanted to be led by educated and Anglicized Anglo-Jews - hence the requirement that they have a rabbi with no beard.

Their rabbi was also called on to perform a very wide range of duties - to be reader, to deliver sermons, arrange a weekly reading of the Law, keep the synagogue in proper order for services, conduct marriages, funerals and attend mourners, supervise the burial ground, to act as schochet, mohel, attend sick members and the poor. Such a wide range of duties was by no means unusual in a provincial community, neither indeed was the modest even meager salary which the community was able to pay their rabbi.

The deeds of the synagogue reveal the occupations and status of the community leaders at the time. Isaiah Alex was a Surgeon Dentist, Andrew Isaacs, a pawnbroker, Lewis Isaacs, described as a gentlemen, though he did work as a jeweller and pawnbroker, Abraham Levy, watchmaker, Ephraim Moseley, boot and shoe maker, Israel Moses, pawn broker. The list consists entirely of tradesmen, if Lewis Isaacs actual occupation is taken into account. This was to prove one of the factors in the decline of the congregation as it lacked the income and donations that professionals and upper class members would have supplied.

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