Chronology of the Hampstead Synagogue

Entering the 21st Century

2020 – present
  • Rabbi Jack Cohen joins Hampstead as Assistant Rabbi.
  • Hampstead takes part in the conference on the plight of Uyghurs in China.
  • Baroness Hale of Richmond delivers the Isaiah Berlin lecture.
  • The Synagogue goes into lockdown like the rest of the country and our events go on-line.
  • Rabbi Harris celebrated 25 years at Hampstead with a 25 for 25 International Day of Jewish Learning.
  • Hampstead leads the community on a virtual International Sukkah Hop.
  • Professor Phillipe Sands QC delivers the Isaiah Berlin lecture.
2015 – 2019
  • Right Hon Gordon Brown delivers the annual Isaiah Berlin lecture.
  • Chava Wulwick appointed Scholar in Residence
  • Candice Janet resigns as Community Manager.  She is replaced by Hayley Marks.
  • Professor Margaret Macmillan delivers the Isaiah Berlin lecture.
  • Raisel Freedman appointed as Scholar in Residence.
  • The “Spirit of Hampstead” learning event with twelve sessions throughout the day held in February as the climax to the 125th  anniversary celebrations.
  • Hampstead hosts sixteen former Israeli soldiers for a week as part of the Peace of Mind programme.
  • Hampstead Synagogue celebrates its 125th  anniversary.
  • Danielle Gedalla appointed as Scholar in Residence.
  • The Mount Zion window is renovated.
  • Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub delivers the Isaiah Berlin lecture.
  • First women’s reading of Megilat Esther.
  • Lyndsey Simmonds appointed as our second Scholar in Residence.
  • Synagogue Administrator Ivor Nadel and secretary Marie Moncur retire.
  • Candice Janet appointed the new Community Manager.
  • Michael Haringman steps down as chairman after eighteen years in the role.
  • Dina Brawer appointed as the first Scholar in Residence.
  • Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Brian Leveson delivers the Isaiah Berlin Lecture.
  • Pre-kiddush talks introduced.  Short talks by members of the community on a variety of topics.
  • The central bimah is used for the first time during the High Holydays in 2015.
  • Lord Woolf and Deborah Lipstadt deliver the Isaiah Berlin lectures in 2013 and 2014.
  • Rabbi Harris delivers a series of seminars on Jewish philosophers, including Maimonides and Rashi.
  • Rabbi Harris presents the Chief Rabbi Emeritus Lord Jonathan Sacks with “Radical Responsibility” a book celebrating the thoughts of Rabbi Sacks.
  • Hampstead host the final Selichot service for Rabbi Lord Sacks as Chief Rabbi.
  • Hampstead launches Cholentfest, celebrating all things cholent.
  • The Dennington Club is founded.
  • Website is relaunched, featuring film and social networking functions.
  • Journalist Toby Young is our guest at a communal lunch.
  • Josh Zaitschek is appointed Education and Programmes Director for 20s and 30s.
  • Rabbi Gerzi obtains semicha.
  • The ‘coffee and biscuit’ Kiddush at 10.15am ends to facilitate an earlier finish for the Shabbat Morning Service.
  • We host Lord Sacks’ final Selichot Service as Chief Rabbi.
  • The Hampstead Forum, an extensive adult education programme is launched in association with the London School of Jewish Studies and the London Jewish Cultural Centre.
  • The United Synagogue presents the President’s Award 2012 to Hampstead’s Chair Michael Haringman “for outstanding services to the United Synagogue”.
  • Prof. Vernon Bogdanor delivers the Isaiah Berlin Annual Lecture.
  • The Mayor of London Boris Johnson pays a visit to the synagogue with London Assembly member Brian Coleman and Cllr Chris Philp, prospective Parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, delivers the eighth Annual Isaiah Berlin Annual Lecture.
  •  A central bimah is used for the first time on Shabbat 26/27 November.
  • The community returns to the synagogue building.  The first service is the annual Selichot service with the Chief Rabbi in attendance.
  • The synagogue publishes Hampstead Review as an annual full colour glossy magazine.
  • Journalist Nick Cohen delivered the fifth Annual Sir Isaiah Berlin Lecture about the “Liberal Left”.
  • The community move out of the Synagogue building in November so that the refurbishment can commence.
  • Hampstead holds a regeneration consultation with its members.
  • The synagogue adopts the five person executive format.
  • Trevor Philips OBE, chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, delivered the fourth Annual Sir Isaiah Berlin Lecture on multi-culturalism in the 21st century.
  • Shlomo Gerzi appointed as Chazan.
  • The 1922 part of the property,  which included the Storch Hall and Junior Synagogue, is sold to finance the restoration of the Synagogue.
  • Historian Sir Martin Gilbert delivers the third Annual Sir Isaiah Berlin Lecture on the life of Sir Winston Churchill.
  • Rev. Stanley Brickman retires.
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Brittan of Spennithorne QC DL delivers the second Sir Isaiah Berlin Lecture entitled “Europe: Past, Present and Future”.
  • Synagogue website launched.
  • The Synagogue magazine is renamed from “The Hampstead Chronicle” to “The Review”, similar to its original name.
  • Due to the growing success of Jewish Day Schools, the Hebrew classes merge with St. Johns Wood cheder to form “The St. John’s Wood and Hampstead Regional Centre”.
  • The Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Dr. Jonathan Sacks, gives the inaugural Sir Isaiah Berlin lecture.
  • Friday Night Dinners for young people, aged in their 20s and 30s, are launched.
  • WHAM – West Hampstead Alternative Minyan closes.

The 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s

  • Rev. Dr. Norman Gale retires
  • Rabbi Dr. Michael Harris appointed as minister.
  • WHAM – West Hampstead Alternative Minyan formed in Junior Synagogue.
  • Rev. Dr. Norman Gale appointed as minister.
  • Rev. Charles Lowy retires.
  • Rev. Stanley Brickman appointed as Chazan.
  • Hampstead votes to disband its mixed choir.
  • Rabbi Saul Aronov appointed as minister, a post he held for only a few months.
  • Rabbi Dr. Norman Solomon leaves to assume office as Director of the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations in Birmingham.
  • Rabbi Dr. Norman Solomon appointed as minister.
  • Rabbi Raymond Apple resigns to return to Australia.
  • To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Synagogue, Rabbi Apple publishes a comprehensive history of the Synagogue illustrating the historical, religious, cultural and social significance of the influential Jewish community in Hampstead.
  • Rev. Dr. Isaac Levy retires.
  • Rev. Raymond Apple appointed as minister.
  • The new community centre is opened.  The Eli Chinn Hall and additional classrooms replace the Samuel Moses Hall.
  • Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew is re-introduced into the services.
  • Nathan Lionel Herman retires and Phineas L. May is appointed secretary.
  • The Hampstead Review changes its name to “Rivon”.

The 1930s, 40s and 50s

  • Rev. Gershon Boyars retires.
  • Rev.Charles Lowy appointed as Chazan.
  • Julius Bernstein retires as beadle.
  • Another attempt to allow Cohanim to Duchan is made and also rejected. However, following requests from Cohanim, the Chief Rabbi rules that any Cohan who wishes to recite the Priestly Blessing should be allowed to do so.  The first Duchaning in Hampstead takes place on Rosh Hashanah.
  • The United Synagogue Act is changed to allow women members the right to vote.  Mary Wollman is the first woman to vote at Hampstead.
  • Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew is dropped from the services.
  • Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew is adopted for the services.
  • Hampstead Synagogue member Leonard Gance is issued Israeli Passport No. 00001 in order to undertake a diplomatic mission in the USA on behalf of the Jewish State.
  • Representatives of the Ladies Guild invited to attend Board meetings.
  • Hebrew classes re-open.
  • Choir re-forms.
  • Literary society re-organises.
  • Council of Christians and Jews is set up in Hampstead, chaired for ten years by Robert Brodtman.
  • The Synagogue is damaged in an air raid, so services are held in the Samuel Moses Hall for a few months.
  • Hebrew classes close again as children are re-evacuated.
  • Dayan Mark Gollop retires due to ill health.
  • Having been closed when children were evacuated, the Hebrew classes are re-opened.
  • 50th anniversary service conducted by Dayan Mark Gollop, held in the presence of the Mayor and Mayoress of Hampstead.
  • Rev. Morris Nemeth appointed as temporary minister, a position he holds for five years.
  • At the outbreak of World War II, Dayan Mark Gollop, as Senior Jewish Chaplain to the forces, is called up.
  • Rev. S. Clayman appointed as temporary minister.
  • Most cultural, educational and social activities suspended during World War II.
  • Rev. Isaac Levy leaves to take up the position as minister of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue.
  • The Junior Synagogue opens.
  • The Samuel Moses Hall opens.
  • Rev. Isaac Levy appointed as student minister.
  • Rev. Wolf Stoloff retires.
  • Rev. Gershon Byers appointed as Chazan.
  • Rev. A.A. Green retires at the age of seventy, after thirty eight years as minister.
  • Charles Abrahams retires and Julius Bernstein is appointed beadle.


The Early 20th Century

  • The United Synagogue rejects giving women the vote, but Hampstead allows women to attend general meetings and participate.
  • The Hampstead AGM votes unanimously to give the vote to women members.
  • West Hampstead Jewish Day School founded by Emmanuel Snowman and Harry Samuels.
  • Youth Service starts. Young members have previously been encouraged to sit with their parents in the main service. However, due to the large membership this was not possible over the High Holy Days, and so alternative arrangements were made, leading to the commencement of the Youth Service throughout the year.
  • Rev. A.A. Green reaches the age of 65, but is persuaded to stay on as minister.
  • New Ark and bimah built using marble and marble. Original wooden Ark and Bimah donated to Ealing and Acton District Synagogue.
  • Foundation stone laid for the conversion of the stables in Kingdon Road (owned by Jacob Snowman) into classrooms.
  • After World War I, the membership of the community begins to decline as it becomes harder to maintain the large houses in the West Hampstead area. The building of the Hocroft Estate during the 1920s and 1930s, with its affordable family houses, helps to stem the tide.
  • Samuel Alman appointed as choirmaster.
  • Vote on giving women members the vote passed at the AGM.  However, the United Synagogue does not give permission for implementation.
  • First move made to give women members the vote. It is rejected by the chairman Emil Kahn, who rules that the motion was unconstitutional.
  • First attempt made to allow Cohanim to Duchan on festivals, but this is rejected.
  • B.M. Woolf appointed as secretary.
  • 200 children attend Hebrew classes.
  • The two Shabbat morning services are merged into one.
  • A two hour limit is set for Shabbat morning service. However, a trial run finds that this was not possible if the prayers were said with devotion.
  • Rev. Wolf Stoloff confirmed as permanent chazan.
  • Hampstead and St. Johns Wood Literary Society formed.
  • Synagogue extension completed providing additional seating, especially in the gallery.
  • The architect, Delissa Joseph, designs an extension to the Synagogue.

The Early Years

  • Rev. S. Manné resigns and takes up a position in Johannesburg.
  • Rev. Wolf Stoloff appointed as temporary chazan.
  • Extension of classrooms built to mark Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
  • Algernon Lindo resigns as choirmaster, taking up a position at Bayswater Synagogue.  Louis Freeman appointed as choirmaster.
  • Extra seating added to the centre of the Synagogue.Referendum votes to use an organ during the Shabbat services, but this is never implemented
  • Synagogue opened
  • Chairman: Frank I. Lyons. Vice Chairman: Herbert Bentwich.
  • Rev. A.A. Green appointed as minister.
  • Rev. S. Manné appointed as chazan.
  • Algernon Lindo appointed as choirmaster. Charles Abrahams appointed as beadle.
  • Rev. A.A. Green appointed as head teacher of hebrew classes.
  • 72 children attend Hebrew classes.
  • Children’s service started.
  • Ladies Guild founded.
  • Chief Rabbi Herman Adler agrees that the Priestly Bessing (Duchaning) can be omited from the service on festivals.
  • Hebrew classes founded in West Hampstead Town Hall.  Dr. Wolf Heinemann appointed as teacher.
  • Movement founded to build a Synagogue in West Hampstead


“The Hampstead Synagogue 1892-1967” by Rabbi Raymond Apple can be obtained through the synagogue office.

The primary source of information for the pages in the history section have come from the book “The Hampstead Synagogue 1892-1967” written by Rabbi Raymond Apple. The book was written to mark the 75th anniversary of the Synagogue.  We would like to thank Rabbi Apple for allowing us to use extracts from the book on this website.

Other information has been provided by various members of the community, and we thank them for their contribution.