Watford Synagogue Celebrates Centenary
Date Uploaded: 
Thursday 25th May 2017

Watford Synagogue is marking the 100th anniversary of a known Jewish presence in Watford with a series of social events, including a barn dance on 18 June this year. Watford & District Synagogue (to use its full name) is part of the United Synagogue and serves the Jewish community of Watford, Croxley Green and Rickmansworth.  It was consecrated by the former Chief Rabbi, Dr Jonathan Sacks, on 20 June 1993.

The first recorded mention of Jews being resident in Watford was an advert in the Jewish Chronicle of 31 August 1917 which stated, “Gentlemen residing at Watford and Bushey who are desirous to attend services on the Jewish High Festivals are requested to communicate with Mr FJ Moss, 8 Ye Corner, Aldenham Road, Bushey.” Initially, the Watford Jewish community was so small that in 1932 the six or seven resident Jewish families were able to meet for services on High Holy Days at the home of a dental surgeon who lived at 26 St Albans Road (today the site of The Quarters Hotel).

However, the number of members grew steadily with an influx of around 200 families on the outbreak of the Second World War, primarily moving from North West London to avoid the anticipated air raids. From 1939 to late 1949 the growing Jewish community met in various small halls and, for three years from 1946, in a Spiritualist Church in Queens Road.

Watford’s Jewish community eventually moved into its present home on Nascot Road in 1993, building work having been interrupted by a major fire in 1992.  Today, the community of 200 plus families is thriving under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Ephraim Levine and the lay leadership of the synagogue’s Executive and Board.

The synagogue claims, with good reason, to be “one of the friendliest synagogues in Hertfordshire” and the community prides itself on its relaxed, unpretentious approach and the warm welcome it extends to visitors. As well as weekly services, the Synagogue hosts its own Cubs, Scouts and Brownie packs, a flourishing over-60s club and popular Cheder (religion classes). Joint co-chairs Sara Garnelas and Brian Levy urge Jewish visitors to Come and join us one Shabbat or at one of our social events - you’ll be assured of a warm welcome!”

If you’d like more information on any aspect of Watford Synagogue please email secretary@watfordsynagogue.org.uk or call 01923 222 755