The Congregation of Jacob Synagogue is one of east London’s few remaining synagogues. Founded in 1903 by Morris Koenigsberg and Abraham Schwalbe, the synagogue is situated in an area with a considerable immigration history. In the early twentieth century, first-generation Jews from Poland, Lithuania, and Russia began settling in the area. The synagogue is the first Mizrahi Synagogue in Britain, and was built in its current iteration in 1921 by Lewis Solomon & Son. Originally part of the Federation of Synagogues, the Congregation of Jacob Synagogue now operates as an independent entity.
How We Helped
The synagogue’s ladies’ gallery was in a state of disrepair, and until 2004, female members of the congregation were relegated to sitting behind a mechitzah, or screen, on the synagogue’s main floor. WMF facilitated work to update the fire doors, replace dilapidated recesses and handrails, and paint the gallery. The site’s electrical systems were also brought up to current standards.
Why It Matters
The building is a significant part of Anglo-Jewish cultural history, built in a time and place that now symbolizes modern-day, diverse Britain. As one of only four active synagogues remaining in east London, the synagogue also serves the local Orthodox community. By restoring the ladies’ gallery, the congregation hopes to catalyze further investment in the building’s preservation.