The Jewish Historical Society of England – Sussex Branch – had their final meeting of the 2015 -16 session which took place at Ralli Hall in the Harry Franks main hall on Tuesday 10 May was also one of our contributions to the celebrations of 250 years of Jewish settlement in Brighton and Hove.
A capacity audience of over 100 people came to hear Dr Sharman Kadish, Director of Jewish Heritage UK, speak on “Middle Street Synagogue and the Architectural Heritage of Brighton and Hove”. Sharman is the acknowledged authority in her field and this was evident in both the sweep and detail of her fascinating address. She explained the context in which our ‘cathedral’ synagogue came to be built with examples from the UK as well as from Venice, Rome and Berlin.
Apart from Middle Street she also spoke of the other synagogues in Brighton and Hove from Jew Street to the present day. And she covered such structures as Philip Salomans’ private synagogue, the Sassoon Mausoleum and the unique octagonal prayer hall at Florence Place cemetery. All this was beautifully illustrated with a wide selection of relevant images.
It was also a delight that the Jewish Arts Society chose to enhance this occasion with a special exhibition of some of the outstanding work of their members. This not only added to
the success of the evening but also demonstrated just one of the many activities in our community.
Especially notable was the original painting by Rochelle Oberman of the Rose Window at Middle Street synagogue, which also graces the front cover of the Society’s anthology of our history.
Our 2016 -17 programme is now complete and will be publicised shortly. The first meeting will be on Tuesday 1 November (note the date) when Dr Jennifer Craig-Norton of the University of Southampton will speak on “Jewish Domestic Nurses in the UK 1933 – 45”. Other speakers will include Vanessa Feldman and Joseph Citron, both from University College, London, Dr Rosa Vidal Doval of Queen Mary, London, and Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, Minister of Maidenhead Synagogue.
>> Reverting to the 250th anniversary, our Anthology “Brighton Jewry 250”, is now published and is currently available, price £10, from all synagogues or by post (£2 extra) from Michael Crook.
>> The unveiling of the blue plaque by the Lord Lieutenant of the County, commemorating Israel Samuel, will take place at 22 East Street on Thursday 14 July from 10.30 am. Everybody is invited to attend the undoubted highlight of this very special year in our community’s history.