Wembley United Synagogue
Wembley Synagogue is a synagogue in Wembley, London in England. It is part of the United Synagogue family of synagogues and offers an extensive range of religious, spiritual and social activities.
Wembley United Synagogue is a member of the United Synagogue, an organisation of London Jews that was founded with the sanction of an act of parliament, in 1870 and which is the largest religious grouping within the British Jewish community, covering 62 Orthodox Jewish communities, and takes its religious authority from the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom (UK).
In addition to the synagogue, facilities include a Beth HaMidrash, communal hall, a kosher kitchen and a complex with facilities for all ages.<ref name="WS001">Template:Cite web</ref>
By 1928 there were already a few isolated Jewish families living in Wembley who felt they wanted to get together for the purpose of worship and in order to facilitate Hebrew and Religious Education. At that time the nearest organised communities were at Cricklewood, Harrow and Ealing. But the movement of Jewish populations from east, north and Central London had already begun and one of the directions it took was towards the Northwestern suburbs of London which had been made accessible by the rapid transport facilities afforded by the Metropolitan and other railways lines.<ref name="WSN001">Template:Cite journal</ref>
The first meeting at which it was decided to form the Wembley Hebrew Congregation took place on 5 September 1928. Mr H Hooberman was appointed Chairman of the Congregation. The first classes were held in January 1929. A Ladies' Guild was formed in February 1930 and the Congregation became affiliated to the United Synagogue in 1931.<ref name="WSN001"/>
At first the services were held only at Festival times and without any congregational premises various halls had to be used such as the Union Hall in Ealing Road, Mitchell's Restaurant in Wembley High Road and later the Capital Ballroom in Empire Way. At the end of 1931 membership had risen to 64 and already the feeling for finding a permanent home had prompted the Committee to purchase part of the site of the present synagogue buildings. 1934 saw the firm establishment of the Wembley Community. On 22 April, Sir Isidore Salmon laid the Foundation Stone of the first temporary synagogue. In June the decision was taken to appoint a Minister and a call was extended to the then Rev. Myer Berman. In the same year, the status of the synagogue was raised to that of a District Synagogue. On 2 September, the Induction of the Minister and the Consecration of the Synagogue was performed by the then Chief Rabbi of the UK, Joseph H. Hertz.<ref name="WSN001"/>
In August 1939 the Ladies Guild purchased the first Sefer Torah for the synagogue. In November of that year the house next door to the open site, 12 Forty Avenue, was purchased. A Building Fund had been formed with Sir Isidore Salmon, who was the Member of Parliament for the Harrow West constituency, which then included Wembley, as President. Membership rapidly increased between then and the outbreak of World War II and further building operations of a temporary character had to be undertaken.<ref name="WSN001"/>
Rev. Berman was commissioned in 1940 as a Chaplain in the Army until his return to Wembley on demobilisation in March 1946. The Rev. S. Venitt was appointed as temporary Minister during his absence. In 1949 it was realised that the site of the synagogue would be too small to accommodate the new synagogue whenever it was built. And when the opportunity arose, 10 Forty Avenue was purchased so that a total frontage of some 200 ft. was made available for future development. It was felt that one comprehensive scheme should be prepared and building operation commenced on that section which would house the Classes Wing. Accommodation for the children’s education was thought to be a priority.<ref name="WSN001"/>
On 23 March 1953 the foundation stone of the classroom wing was laid and on 25 October the classroom wing was consecrated by Chief Rabbi Israel Brodie. After numerous appeals and fund raising efforts, building operations on the new synagogue were commenced in 1956 and the foundation stone was laid on 17 November 1956.<ref name="WSN001"/>
Ministers / Rabbonim
Rabbi Myer Berman,Rabbi Ivor Abrams, Rabbi Yisroel Fine, Rabbi David Radomsky, Rabbi Martin van den Bergh and since 2007 Rabbi Simon Harris
Cantors / Chazzanim
Rev. L Klein from 1949 to 1956, Rev. Ahrn Meir Lev from 1958 to 1974, Rev. Stephen Robins from 1974 to 1986, Rev Alan Bright from 1987 to 1990, Rev Mark Goldman from 1990 to 1991 and Chazan Anthony Wolfson 1991–July 2011
Arnold Chazen, Stephen Glass, Lew Jackson, Lawrence Lederman, Harvey Pollins, Stephen Games and David Druce
In recent years due to the unparalleled acoustics in the synagogue building, Wembley Synagogue has proved a popular concert venue for Chazanut Concerts. On Sunday 7 December Stephen Glass from Montreal hosted a Voices in Harmony Concert featuring Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and a choir from North America. The London Cantorial Singers held their annual Selichot Services in September 2006 and again in September 2009 featuring international Cantor Dovid Weinbach. In February 2009 the London Jewish Male Choir and The London Cantorial Singers held the Peter Heimann Memorial Concert.
- Wembley Synagogue official website
- The United Synagogue
- Wembley Synagogue on Jewish Communities and Records - UK (hosted by jewishgen.org).