ESNOGA GRANDE / GIBRALTAR
47/49 Engineer Lane
Tel: (350) 200 74030
Rabbi: R. Hassid
Hazzan: R. Bittan
Esnoga Grande and its sister synagogues in Gibraltar are all Orthodox and follow the Gibraltarian/Moroccan Sefardi nusah.
Weekday services almost invariably take place in one of two synagogues. During Autumn, Winter and early Spring, services are held in Nefutsot Yehuda. During late Spring & Summer, services take place at the Esnoga Grande. Please check with synagogue or website for service times.
When Gibraltar was captured in 1704, one of the main problems facing Prince George of Hesse was the difficulty in obtaining fresh food for his forces. So he encouraged a number of Jewish merchants from the Spanish speaking community of Tetuan (in Morocco) to come to Gibraltar with supplies. This also brought to Gibraltar their correspondents from European centres like London, Amsterdam, Leghorn (Livorno) and even Lisbon. The latter were particularly interesting as in their own country they had to live as Roman Catholics for fear of the Inquisition. But once abroad they did not hesitate to profess the Jewish religion in public.
During the first few years, the Jews in Gibraltar had a synagogue in a private house or warehouse in La Calle que va a la Plazuela de Juan Serrano; (now Bomb House Lane) until they were expelled in 1717 in accordance with the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht. However, Britain and Spain were soon at war again and as supplies from Morocco once again became necessary they were re-admitted in 1719.
During the first few years they held their services in private accommodation, but in 1723 Colonel Hargrave, who was in command, granted a piece of waste ground at the back of Engineer Lane for the building of a synagogue.
The fgrant was made to Isaac Netto, who was a merchant in Gibraltar for many years and also acted as secretary to Hargrave. Netto was born in Leghorn in 1687. He was taken to London at a young age by his father, Rabbi David Nieto, when the latter became Haham (Rabbi) of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation in Bevis Marks, London. Isaac had been trained as a rabbi by his father. The London Congregation was an offshoot of the Sephardi synagogue in Amsterdam which was formed by refugees from the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition in the 16th and 17th centuries and had a very similar order of service.
In time, Moroccan influence prevailed in the Esnoga Grande and a number of its members decided to build a new synagogue which would revert to the old Dutch customs and order of service. (Read more here.)
Source: Gibraltar Jewish community website