Journey To The Past – Siena Tracey, The Tiffin Girl’s School

It truly has a fascinating history, revealed to us by Tony, an elder at the synagogue, who was able to do not only that but tell us more about the modern Jewish community in the area, as well as a lot of useful information about Judaism as a religion. 

The history of this place, which starts back in 1766, comes from French Huguenots who originally built a church on this ground. The East End of London is well-known for being an immigrant community, especially because it is close to the London docks. Therefore, it is unsurprising that so many groups have used this building throughout the last few centuries. 

Tony informed us of the Jewish communities in Russia that were discriminated against, as well as telling us about his own grandfather who came to London. Large groups of Jewish people began arriving in this area at the beginning of the 19th century. 

The synagogue is not the only example of Jewish communities in the area, though, because there are soup kitchens, schools, and many shops that show the existence of Jewish people in this particular area in London all of those years ago. 

However, in the modern day, this community has for the most part left this area, with new migrant groups from places such as India, Bangladesh, and China. Tony also explained that this is common in this area, as a migrant group will arrive, become more successful, and then leave. 

“We used to have 90 synagogues in the East End of London, and now we’ve got one,” he told us, explaining how the Jewish community in this area is much smaller now than it was then. However, Sandy Row’s synagogue still functions, a testament to the Jewish community of the past and the present.

He also explained some Jewish traditions and festivals to us, such as Hanukkah and Passover. We learnt about all of the different denominations of Judaism, and how although we were focusing on a very specific Jewish community in a very specific area, there are (obviously) Jewish people living all over the planet. 

Specifically, Golders Green, in North London, which is also home to a large Jewish population. 

After seeing the synagogue, we got to go to an excellent beigel shop with traditional Jewish beigels that were absolutely amazing! 

The entire day, though, was excellent, and while the food was obviously delicious, the experience of being able to learn something new is always incredibly important, and learning about the synagogue and the Jewish community in East London was not something I would have thought about before this trip, but I am glad to know it now. 

This Is Local London | North-West