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1970 - 1980s

The recorded local Jewish population peaks at nearly 6,000. The Borough expands with new estates in Eastwood and Shoebury and many Jewish families move outside of the immediate Westcliff area. Jewish Care opens Raymond House in Central Southend, a purpose built care home for 40 elderly residents. In 1978 it was reported that SWHC carried out more weddings than funerals, the only UK Jewish community to show this trend. As younger members head to Universities in other parts of the country the younger population begins to slowly decrease with a downturn in those attending the Youth Club. However, there is still a thriving family community with many educational, cultural and charitable Jewish organisations such as WIZO, JNF, Young Marrieds group.

1990s - 2000 and beyond

In June 1992 a special service was held to celebrate 80 years of Alexandra Road Synagogue. Basildon Synagogue closed in 1994 and the community fully merged with SWHC. Fewer members attended services at the Alexandra Road Synagogue so a decision was made to sell the building. The Ceylon Road Youth Centre closed in 2001 and the building sold, with all further Youth Club activities taking place in the Talmud Torah. In consultation with Southend Council it was agreed that a large Menorah could be sited outside of the Cliffs Pavilion to mark Chanukah, this lighting of which has become a popular annual community event. May 2006 saw the Chief Rabbi and other well-known dignitaries join in the Centenary celebrations to mark 100 years of SWHC. Whilst the number of young people seriously decreased Southend becomes a magnet for the newly retired, bringing new members to SWHC from London. In addition, and in a slightly surprising turn of events, a Charedi community identified both Canvey Island and Westcliff as suitable places to settle. Increasing numbers of families from London begin to purchase properties in the area, bringing some well needed colour back into the Jewish life of the town.


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