Bill H. Jenkins

Dec 182017
 

North Meadow Walk, The Meadown, Edinburgh EH3 9GEThe Meadows

Prior to the opening of the Salisbury Road Synagogue in 1932, which brought together the Russisher/Griner and Englisher Shuls on the Southside, all who had moved south were required to re-track their route across the Meadows to reach the synagogues in the St Leonard’s area and in Graham Street. After Salisbury Road Synagogue was opened, the Meadows still had its uses as a place for the young to meet on a shabbat afternoon, and for the elders of the community to sit and kibitz. Indeed, the bench you are sitting on was the seat of the ‘Yiddish Parliament’, where immigrant gentlemen discussed religion, community politics, and generally gossiped on Saturday afternoons.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

4 Salisbury Road, Edinburgh EH16 5ABSalisbury Road Synagogue

Here we are in Salisbury Road synagogue, a building designed to reflect the significance of the Scottish capital’s Jewish community. In 1932 the synagogue building was complemented by a community centre on the opposite side of the road. This was sold off in the 1980s and the proceeds invested in dividing the synagogue building to create a community centre underneath the sanctuary. What you see today upstairs is used from 1 July until the end of the High Holidays, for Shabbat mornings and festivals. The smaller sanctuary at the back of the shul is used in the winter months and for Shabbat evening services, the community now struggling to gather a regular minyan and to maintain the large building.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 
 5 Roxburgh Street, Edinburgh EH8 9TARoxburgh Street

Sam and Julius Lipetz’s GP practice was here at 5 Roxburgh Street, next to the office of their patient, Nobel Laureate Peter Higgs at no.3. Their father, Lazarus Lipetz, had come to Edinburgh from Lithuania in 1888 aged 16. The area surrounding the practice included insanitary and overcrowded housing, poverty and unemployment in the streets to the south and east. Sam and Julius were deeply moved by the inhuman living conditions suffered by many of their patients, and were early advocates of the NHS. The brother’s partnership continued until Julie’s sudden death in 1972 aged 69. Neither was ‘religious’ and they attended synagogue occasionally. However, being ‘Jewish’ was very much part of their identities; there was hardly a communal activity, charitable or social, they didn’t participate in.

Find out more

 

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

North Richmond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9STNorth Richmond Place

The first synagogue in Scotland was established in a rented room in Richmond Court in 1817. The community numbered around 20 Jewish families, most of whom had come to Edinburgh from Amsterdam. In 1868, it moved to larger premises near today’s Edinburgh Students’ Union in Teviot Place. In 1898 Edinburgh’s Jews were divided between two outlooks: Graham Street (The Englisher Shul) for the established Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation (EHC), and Richmont Court (the Russisher / Griner Shul) frequented by recent immigrants. Under Rabbi Dr Salis Daiches, who came to Edinburgh in 1919, the communities united and built a synagogue in Salisbury Road. Today, there are three Jewish religious communities in Edinburgh: the orthodox EHC, the Edinburgh Liberal Jewish Congregation, and the Chasidic Lubavitch Community. However, most of the 900 Jews recorded in the most recent Census are unaffiliated.

Entrance to North Richmond Place

Entrance to North Richmond Place.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

Sciennes House Place , Edinburgh EH9 1NWBraid Place Cemetery

Braid Place cemetery was the first communal Jewish cemetery in Edinburgh. This cemetery was consecrated in 1820. Twenty-nine separate stones can be found in this cemetery. On the companion website you can find out more about one stone and the history it can reveal: Moses Ezekiel. Across the street is the house of the moral philosopher, Professor Adam Ferguson, one of that renowned group of literati of Edinburgh’s ‘Golden Age’, of the Scottish Enlightenment, where in 1786 the only meeting between Sir Walter Scott and Rabbie Burns took place. In that era, the house was so remote from the city centre that his house was called Kamchatka, the name of a village in north-eastern Siberia. Even 34 years later, when the Braid Place Jewish cemetery was consecrated, the area was considered remote.

Gravestone of Moses Ezekiel

Gravestone of Moses Ezekiel

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LW7-Buccleuch Place-33

Lurie’s Butcher Shop was established by Joe’s uncle Lewis Lurie, an immigrant. Under Joe’s stewardship, the shop flourished. After World War II Lurie’s was the kosher butcher in Edinburgh. Joe Lurie was the social glue of the community. He bought his meat at the meat market and poultry from local farmers. The animals were slaughtered by a shochet. Lurie’s also sold delicacies like pickled tongue, and, for Burns Night (in late January) made his own kosher haggis. But the shop closed when Joe retired in 1986, and today kosher meat is delivered from Glasgow and Manchester. Opposite is 33 Buccleuch Street. Apparently, no.33 (Dray un draysik) was an unofficial centre of Jewish life in the 1920s and 30s where a minyan could be assembled by knocking on the doors on the stair.

Luries, 7 Buccleuch Place

Luries, 7 Buccleuch Place

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

Livingstone Place, Edinburgh EH9 1PALivingstone Place

Before us is the edge of the Grange, which some Jews might have aspired to at the turn of the 20th century, but few would have reached until after World War II. For those of more modest means, Marchmont provided good solid housing – a great improvement over the old quarter. Even into the 1970s, Marchmont’s Arden Street – perhaps known to you as the home of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus – had the largest concentration of Jewish families in Edinburgh. Today, the community is dispersed. Gone is the desire of most of those attending synagogue to walk to it. Although there is still a perception amongst Edinburgh’s Jews as to what areas remain ‘Jewish’ (and what areas are distinctly non-Jewish) it is lodged more in nostalgia than in fact.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

East Crosscauseway, Edinburgh RH8 9HQKleinberg's bakery

We are now in the heart of the Jewish area of the early 20th century. This is where many Jews lived, and certainly where they shopped. By 1914 there were four kosher butchers; and there were bakers: Mrs Sager on Guthrie Street, Mr Crouse and Mr Planlizy on St Leonards Street, and Sam Bialik on the Pleasance where queues gathered on a Sunday morning for bagels. Kleinberg’s on East Crosscauseway was the last Jewish baker in Edinburgh. The bakery was opened by Arthur’s father before World War I. Since Arthur was 16 he ran the bakery until he retired, at the age of 89, in 2005. Arthur is remembered most of all, for his challah, the sweet bread eaten on shabbat, and he revealed the recipe to the community shortly before his death.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

Cranston Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BECranston Street

In 1794, one Hyman Lyon is among the 18 Jews in the register of aliens. He is famous for two reasons: 1. his book Important Discoveries in Chiropody. 2. his purchase from the City Council of a burial plot on Calton Hill for himself and his wife. This private mausoleum was rediscovered in 2013 under the slope behind the Observatory. Infamously, Lyon was a defendant in a libel action where, ‘all parties were Jews’. Rose Nathan accused others of ‘spreading rumours that she had been found naked in bed with other men’. She won her case, but it must have caused much disturbance in this tiny community. On St Mary’s Street observe a plaque commemorating Henry Littlejohn, Edinburgh’s first medical officer of health, whose sanitary improvements transformed this part of the city.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh:
Dec 182017
 

Drumond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9RWDrummond Street

The community expanded between 1880 and 1914, the years of the great westward migration of Jews from Eastern Europe. The Southside of the city became the place of residence for the recent immigrants who largely originated in the Lithuanian part of the Russian Empire. Bustling with people, the soundscape would have largely yielded Yiddish accents. In the 1891, 1901 and 1911 Censuses we find the Rudom Family at different addresses on the Pleasance. Jacob Rudom worked as a travelling salesman, or a ‘trebbler’ in Scots Yiddish. Polly Rudom gave birth to 9 children; the records reveal that only one of her children died in infancy, a better than average survival rate. After World War II, city planning changed this part of town such that both street layout and buildings today are different from those inhabited by Jewish immigrants.

Find out more

Share #curiousedinburgh: