GOLDERS GREEN SYNAGOGUE: THE FIRST 100 YEARS
This book encapsulates the history of the first 100 years of the Golders Green Synagogue as it celebrated its centenary in 2015.
In 2015, the Golders Green Synagogue celebrated the centenary of its foundation.
Founded in 1915, during the First World War, services were first held in St Alban’s Hall in Golders Green, belonging to the local Anglican Church.
Until the turn of the twentieth century, Golders Green comprised mainly open fields with a total population of circa 300 people. A modest area then, its main industry was brick making.
The redevelopment of Golders Green really took off from 1905 with plans for a tram route from Finchley to Cricklewood and the widening of the Finchley Road. From the 1910s onwards, Golders Green Road became a smart shopping area, described as having ‘the finest shops outside the West End of London.’
In the immediate years since the Jewish community’s inception there, plans were undertaken to construct a purpose-built synagogue as the community expanded and looked to its own permanent place of worship. Due to wartime building constraints, it was a few years before permission was granted to start the build.
Amongst its founding fathers were Benjamin Drage and Rev. Isaac Livingstone.
By 1918 there were 116 households from an original membership of only twenty 1915.
The congregation acquired land in Dunstan Road.
The history of the first 100 years is being told in this book using oral testimonies, extensive community archives and local material. This book charts and celebrates that remarkable 100 year anniversary in extensive detail.
Presently, there is an extremely active congregation. The Golders Green community have always placed great emphasis on education and especially for its youth, as well as charitable work and Women’s Guild activities.
Counted amongst its rabbis who have served the community are Lord Jonathan Sacks, prior to his appointment as Chief Rabbi, and also Rev. Eugene Newman and Dayan Binstock.
From small beginnings of roughly 20 members, it soon became a thriving congregation with over 1,500 members at its peak. Its members made their own contribution to the Armed Forces in both world wars and their sacrifice is commemorated on the shul's War Memorial.
In recent times, the Grade II Listed synagogue underwent refurbishment and was transformed from a tired, dilapidated building to a modern, regenerated place of prayer.
Today, it enjoys religious revival with young families and a very successful Primary Free School.