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The United Synagogue, London

Although the United Synagogue only came into existence in 1870, the roots of the movement toward unification can be traced back to 1835.  This year saw the signing of the treaty between the Hambro', Great and New synagogues which centralised the distribution of aid to the poor affiliated to all three synagogues.  The proposer of the treaty was Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). Nathan served as warden of the Great Synagogue in 1818 along with his brother-in-law Solomon Cohen. He first proposed the idea in 1823 and hosted negotiations at New Court in 1824. 

On 14 July 1870, the 'Act for confirming a Scheme of the Charity Commissioners for the Jewish United Synagogues' received the royal assent and became law. At that date the union consisted of five constituent synagogues, - The Great Synagogue (founded 1692), The Hambro' (founded 1736), The New (founded 1760), The Central (founded 1855) and The Bayswater (founded 1863). The first President of the United Synagogue on its establishment in 1870 was Anthony de Rothschild (1810-1876), Nathan's son. He remained President until his death in 1876. The presidency was then held by successive generations of the family: Nathaniel Mayer, 'Natty', 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915), Anthony's nephew, President 1876-1915; Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917), Natty's brother, President 1915-1917 and Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942) (son of Leopold), President 1917-1942.

A copy of The History of the Great Synagogue 1690-1940 by Cecil Roth (Edward Goldston & Son Ltd, 1950) will be found in the Reading Room.

The United Synagogue, sundry papers, 1897

000/291, 1 item

Invitation from Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild as president of United Synagogue to the Stewards of that body to attend a dinner at Bonn’s Hotel, 21 October 1897.

The United Synagogue, Centenary Celebrations, [1870]; 1970

000/2403, 2 items

The United Synagogue: Centenary celebrations publications, 1970:  

  • Order of Service for Centenary Service, 1970; 
  • Facsimilie copy (in typescript) of the Recorded Minutes of the first meeting of the Elected Members of the Vestry of the United Synagogue (Council of the United Synagogue), held 14 December 1870.