Lauderdale Road Synagogue
When was it founded?
The Spanish & Portuguese Jews’ Congregation was founded in 1657. Lauderdale Road Synagogue was opened in 1896 to accommodate the drift of Spanish and Portuguese members from Bevis Marks to West London. The Congregation’s senior rabbi today is Rabbi Joseph Dweck who also usually attends Lauderdale Road Synagogue.
How big is the congregation?
There are approximately 600 families.
What does the synagogue offer young families?
There are regular Shabbat services for children, and a combined Bnei Akiva for Lauderdale Road and St John’s Wood meets on Shabbat afternoons. Our toddler group “Little Lauderdales” meets on Thursday mornings and is always on the lookout for new parents in the area. There are regular parties and activities for children and their parents based around the festivals. Young parents are also catered for with an informal group that meets monthly with Rabbi Dweck on a social basis. The synagogue particularly welcomes newly married couples.
Is there a cheder?
The Shaare Tikvah cheder runs at Lauderdale Road on Sunday mornings. Each week starts with a topical discussion for the older classes and an educational game for the younger children. Along with the traditional focus on the Torah portion and Hebrew reading, there are sessions promoting a love of and interest in Israel. There are also post bar/bat mitzvah classes attended by many of our community.
Tell us an interesting fact about the synagogue that we may not know?
We are one of very few synagogues left in the UK where its parnassim (wardens) and rabbis wear top hats. But this doesn’t make us unapproachable – we meld a bit of tradition with a lot of warmth, openness and a friendly welcome for all visitors.