Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter No 15 October 2002 page 2
Press Release 22 July 2002
Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation
Under the guidance of its final President, Mr John Bloom, the Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation has completed the distribution of its remaining assets. There has been delay as closing accounts had to be prepared and then approved by the Charity Commissioners.
Various artefacts have been returned to the original donors or their families. Some of historic interest have been passed to the Middlesbrough Dorman Museum, including the banner of the local branch of the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women. The first Jews arrived in Middlesbrough in 1862 or thereabouts and the first Synagogue proper was opened in Brentnall Street in 1874. From time to time, stained glass memorial windows were installed and when the New Synagogue was opened in 1938 in Park Road South these windows were transferred there. Following the closure of the New Synagogue, two of the windows installed in memory of a former member of the Congregation who came to Middlesbrough over 130 years ago, were presented by his grandson (still living in the area ) to Middlesbrough schools -one to Macmillan College and one to Hall Garth School. One window has gone to the Western Front Association via its Stockton branch, being a window in memory of Lt H Bloom who was killed in the Great War and was an ancestor of the Congregation's final President .Three windows have gone to a London Synagogue where the great grandson of a former member now worships.
Certain funds remained to the credit of the Congregation and it was felt appropriate to aid local charities in view of the kindness, support and friendship shown to the Jewish community by the citizens of Teesside over the years. Accordingly, substantial donations were made to the Teessside Hospice Care Foundation and the Cleveland Community Foundation. The latter gift is by way of an endowment fund to serve as a permanent reminder of the good relationship which the Congregation enjoyed with the non-Jewish community. Donations were, made to various Jewish organisations namely :-The Representative Council of North East Jewry in Newcastle (who will have some responsibility for Teesside Jewish cemeteries) , The Centre for Advanced Rabbinics in Sunderland (where a Middlesbrough Room is to be created with some of the Middlesbrough Synagogue artefacts, some stained glass windows and the Ten Commandments windows from the 1874 Synagogue, later moved to the New Synagogue), Philip Cussins House Newcastle, Leeds Jewish Welfare Board, Delamere Forest School, Youth Aliyah-Child Rescue, Jewish Childrens Holidays Fund, Gateshead Jewish Boarding School, Ajex Charitable Trust, Anne Frank Educational Trust, North East Jewish Community Services, Norwood Ravenswood and Friends of Mogen Adom in Great Britain.
Other synagogues and communities have benefited and in particular Shofars and Sefer Torahs have gone to Israel where many former members have settled and are in touch with each other.
And the Congregation survives in Israel as www.kehilat-middlesbrough.org
Enquiries to David Simon at 01642 710799
The following appeared in the Jewish Chronicle August 2, 2002:
Middlesbrough windows for London
Synagogue’s last act of generosity
by Gaby Wine
Middlesbrough Hebrew Congregation, which closed in 1999, has given three stained-glass windows to London’s North-western Reform Synagogue.
They form part of a collection of nine memorial windows installed over time after the synagogue opened in Brentnall Street in 1874. When it moved to Park Road South in 1938, the windows went, too.
They were given to the London synagogue because they were installed by North-Western congregant Roger Selby in memory of his great-grandfather, who worshipped in Middlesbrough. Two schools in the town have also received windows.
The donations represent the final distribution of the now-defunct synagogue’s assets. David Simon, one of Middlesbrough’s last remaining Jews, who arranged the donations, told the JC: “They are very ornate windows, with designs of Jewish symbols.”
They are among a number of artefacts which he has endeavoured to return to original donors or their families. Sifrei Torah have been sent to the Wiseman family in Israel, whose ancestors originally gave them.
There are also plans for a Middlesbrough room at Sunderland’s Centre for Advanced Rabbinics.
Donations have been made to a number of organisations and charities, including the Representative Council of North-East Jewry in Newcastle, which will have some responsibility for Teeside Jewish cemeteries.
“In the community’s heyday, we had about 140 families,” noted Mr Simon. “I try to keep the flag flying, going to schools and talking about Judaism.”