HOLLAND PARK / LONDON
An Orthodox Sephardi service. Services are conducted in the traditional Spanish & Portuguese Sephardi Liturgy, prayers are mainly recited in Hebrew with some still recited in Ladino. The customs of the community date back many hundreds of years and an enormous pride is taken by members of the Synagogue in ensuring they are perpetuated.
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With a background tapestry rich in history and tradition, Holland Park Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, which was opened in 1928, holds a special place in the hearts of members past and present.
The Community, founded in the early part of the 20th Century, traces its roots back to those Sephardic Jews of many lands, who for various reasons found themselves in London in the early 1900s.
With the mighty Turkish Empire in decline, they came in great numbers to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Settling in the Shepherds Bush area from around 1908 (due to the Anglo French Trade Exhibition held at White City in that year ), there were some eight hundred families by the early part of the first world war who shared a common minhag and began to hold religious services. Firstly above a tobacconists and in a scout hut. The first High Holyday services were held in Holborn Town Hall in 1914.
A nucleus of dedicated members began the search for their own premises and organised fund raising.
It wasn't until 1924 that enough money had been raised to purchase the plot of land at 8 St Jamess Gardens which was to become their spiritual home. The land was purchased and sold to Bevis Marks who leased it back on a 999 year lease. The Community were then, and still remain, under their religious auspices.
Shortly after this a bequest was received from the estate of the late Sir Sassoon David. This was for £5000, a huge sum in those days, and this together with a further bequest slightly later, enabled the Synagogue to be built free of debt. The Synagogue is named after him.