8: The Great and the Good: United Synagogue outreach
Address: Outside what was until June 2020, the Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School, in St. James’ Passage and Aldgate Square, London EC3A 5DE.
Directions from the previous stop: Cross Leadenhall Street and veer right, walking not more than 15 feet before turning left at Mitre Street. Head north another few feet only, before turning right into the landscaped area of Mitre Square. To the right of the tall black skyscraper is St. James’ Passage, which you should follow. Immediately after exiting St. James’ Passage, turn to your right and stop outside The Aldgate School (known until recently as ‘Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School’).
Three sifrei Torah left in the Great Synagogue, 1941, the rest sent to safety
© IWM D 2802 Creator: Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer; Catalogue number D 2802 Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION. Used under the IWM NON-COMMERCIAL LICENCE. Image link: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198131
Reverend Hermann Mayerowitsch in the ruins of the Great Synagogue, 1941
The second picture (and possibly the first) was taken by Cecil Beaton while in uniformed service at the Ministry of Information. This was a branch of government whose amateurish attempts to bolster the psychological well-being of the wartime British public rendered the ministry itself a casualty in 1946. That set the clock ticking on the expiry of Crown copyright on works taken under its auspices: Beaton himself did not own the images. Hence both pictures are used here under non-commercial licence, from the Imperial War Museum.
© IWM D 3421 Creator: Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer; Catalogue number D 3421 Part of MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SECOND WORLD WAR OFFICIAL COLLECTION. Used under the IWM NON-COMMERCIAL LICENCE. Image link: https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205198545
Great Synagogue, Jewish Chronicle, 23 December 1892
"On Sabbath last the usual sermon at the Afternoon Service at the Great Synagogue was delivered by the Rev[erend] B. Schewzik [sic], of Ramsgate. A remarkable testimony to the popularity of this preacher was afforded by the circumstance that some time before the commencement of the service the Synagogue was densely packed with foreigners and so great became the crowd, who desired to enter the building, that the police in attendance were compelled to shut the outer gate and an enormous number were prevented from entering the Synagogue. The burden of the sermon, which was delivered in Jüdisch was an appeal to those present to follow the guidance of the real leaders of the community and not to put their trust in false prophets who would lead them to their destruction. Owing to the large numbers who were unable to gain admission to the Great Synagogue on Sabbath, Mr. Schewzik, by special request delivered a discourse in English and Jüdisch, on Tuesday at the East London Synagogue.”
(Extract from The Jewish Chronicle, 23 September 1892)