Richmond Synagogue celebrate their centenary
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Thursday 7th July 2016

Last week Richmond US celebrated their centenary with a wonderful event and the induction of their Rabbi, Meir Shindler. Guests included Sir Ian and Lady Carmel Gainsford. Sir Ian was knighted for his services to Kings College London where he was Dean of Medicine and Dentistry and they now live in Jerusalem. 

On the day, the service was led by Chazan Robert Brody, the Chief Rabbi was our guest of honour and there was tea plus music by Steve Levi of Oi Va Voi and friends. Chief Rabbi Mirvis noted that the current Shul, purpose built with classrooms, communal hall and a Rabbi’s house was built on the site of an orchard; an orchard keeps giving every year and builds on itself as he hopes will be the case for Richmond Shul. He spoke highly of Rabbi and Rebbetzen Shindler and looked forward to their success and the growth of the community. Rabbi Shindler looked forward to serving the community and thanked all concerned for a very warm welcome.

More about Richmond US:
Richmond was the weekend and summer residence for a number of very successful Sephardi merchants and Government suppliers in the 18th century, most of whom were linked to Bevis Marks. At least two entertained the King to dinner at their grand houses/estates in Richmond. A few of the Ashkenazi elite similarly took up residence  - they were linked to Duke St Synagogue, the first Ashkenazi Shul in London - and all took part in the social life of the area, linked to the Spa facilities on Richmond Hill.  

The formation of a Jewish Arts & Lit society in 1912, reported by the JC, led by Arthur Howitt, who made available his Castle hotel for the meetings, led to the formation of the Synagogue, eventually supported by the US in 1916 and the purchase of the Central Hall in Parkshot as the site of the first Synagogue, for 130 men and 30 women. It was opened by Chief Rabbi Hertz and Leopold de Rothschild, President of the US. 

In 1922, Rabbi Dr Ginsberg was appointed as Rabbi. Unusually, he was both Yeshivah and University educated and a noted Talmud scholar. He was Rabbi for Richmond for 39 years 

1938 – the Shul moved to Sheen Rd 

1987 – the Shul site and adjoining businesses was purchased by Waitrose and in return, a modern, purpose built Shul and classrooms and hall were provided round the corner on a site previously part occupied by a Jewish family who held Shul events in their garden.