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1950 - 1960s

With the appointment of Rabbi Pinchos Shebson in 1951 the first major expansion project was the acquisition and building on a plot of land at the far end of Finchley Road Westcliff. The first building erected was classrooms which were consecrated by the Chief Rabbi Sir Israel Brodie in 1956. On 13th January 1959 the Herzlia Jewish Day School was opened as a full time Jewish primary school. On the first day forty pupils enrolled, although it soon gained in popularity and at its peak the attendance reached 350 pupils. After school hours a Cheder was held there several times during the week as well as on Sunday mornings. This building also housed the official offices of the SWHC. Following long and protracted negotiations with the Southend Borough Council the Jewish cemetery was opened and consecrated at Stock Road Southend in September 1962, and on 11th November that year the War Memorial was unveiled. A Jewish community was founded in neighbouring Basildon New Town and they became officially affiliated with SWHC. Youth activities were thriving as shown when twenty-two young members were presented with Duke of Edinburgh Awards by Sir Alec Rose, round the world yachtsman. In 1966 a group of Jewish commuters formed the '6.15 Group' to join the community fund raising effort for a new Synagogue Building. On Sunday 26 May 1968 was the opening and consecration of the new Synagogue in Finchley Road. As a consequence Ceylon Road Synagogue was no longer required and was subsequently transformed into a Youth Centre, consecrated by Chief Rabbi, Dr Jakobovitz on 12th October 1969.

In 1961 the Liberal Jewish Community moved to 851 London Road Westcliff on Sea where they are located today as the Southend and District Reform Synagogue. The building comprises a meeting hall/area of worship on the group floor and classrooms and offices upstairs. This building is also used as a community centre for social and family events. Whilst the community does not have a local resident Rabbi they do share the services of Rabbi Elf from Manchester, who commutes between Manchester and Southend on a regular basis to lead services.

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