The Jewish Museum

Jewish Britain

A History in 50 Objects


Offertory Book from the Great Synagogue

This register, dating from the 18th century, records Sabbath donations made to the Great Synagogue in London. Members’ names are listed on the left and the thread indicates the amount of the gift.

The Great Synagogue was founded in 1692 at Duke’s Place in the City of London. It was the first Ashkenazi synagogue to be established in England following the readmission of the Jewish community in 1656, serving a growing community of Jews from central and eastern Europe.

The Ashkenazi community soon outnumbered the original Sephardi (Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin) community. Two further Ashkenazi synagogues, the New and the Hambro, were founded in the following decades. These three synagogues were the founding members of the United Synagogue, which is still the largest British Jewish religious movement.

The Great Synagogue was destroyed by German bombing during World War II.



colin howard

There is no "charge for being called up. Donations are voulantry. The decision is entirely a matter for the individual.


Steven Sands

The reason one does not write is that 'creating' is not permitted on the Sabbath. These are donations to commemorate happy occasions and memorials


Larry Ross

This does not explain why the book has a string and holes, instead of letting people simply write what they are donating.

I think it would be useful to explain that "orthodox" Jews are not supposed to write on Shabbat (for some reason) but in Progressive Synagogues this would not arise, although of course Reform and Liberal Synagogues do NOT charge for "Shabbat Honours".

Add a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear immediately.

Your e-mail address will not be revealed to the public.
HTML is forbidden, but line-breaks will be retained.
This is to prevent automatic submissions.