News stories – Synagogue’s Centenary book: New release features images and interviews from the past 100 years

This article was published in print in Ham & High on December 31st 2015. The online version can be viewed here.

An author has spoken of her delight at chronicling 100 years since Golders Green Synagogue was founded.

Golders Green Synagogue will continue its centenary celebrations with the release of a book on January 4 looking back at its history.

Second World War historian Helen Fry, who has written various books on Anglo-Jewish communities, authored the book and Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks contributed a foreword.

The coffee style book features over two hundred photos – including never seen before images – from private individuals and the United Synagogue archives.

It also includes excerpts of minute books from 1915 to the present day, letters and correspondence.

Ms Fry also interviewed members, some of which are in their 90s and have been attending the synagogue for over 70 years.

The idea for the book came from the centenary’s committee chair member Julia Chain.

“We originally wanted to do an exhibition of the material, but we decided to do a book instead,” she said.

The launch is the tail end of a trio of major events the synagogue has held to celebrate its milestone.

In June a special Shabbat service was held and attended by the Mayor and Lady Mayoress and Golders Green MP Mike Freer.

Earlier this month a sold-out conversation event was conducted between Lord Sacks and Professor Simon Schama followed by a champagne reception.

During its inception the synagogue had a unique relationship with the community extending outside of the Jewish community.

In 1915 the St Albans Church Hall lent a room for the Sabbath services on Friday and Saturday then transformed for the Sunday church services.

The bond is still going strong today with visitors from the church and the synagogue attending events together at the local schools.

Ms Chain sees this bond as a highlight of the ethnic and diverse community surrounding the synagogues history.

“The church is still standing and the vicar of the church will hopefully be attending the book launch.” She said.

The synagogue has over five hundred members some of which are 6th generation members from the same family.


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