- Religion »
The Congregation of Jacob
The UK's first Mizrachi Synagogue
Founded by Morris Koenigsberg and Abraham Schwalbe in 1903, this was the UK's first Mizrachi Synagogue and remarkably 'The Congregation of Jacob' is one of three East End synagogues still attending its congregation.
Before occupying the present premises in 1921 the first generation of immigrant Polish, Lithuanian and Russian Orthodox Jews from small shtetls such as Stetziver, Kalisz and Vikaviskis, likely met in Mr Koenigsburg's family home near here on Commercial Road.
Previously the building was a cobblers, transformed in the 1920s by Lewis Solomon & Son, honorary architects to the Federation of Synagogues, to feature high sweeping balconies and side benches gathered around a central space for worship. The building features a striking black Star of David atop the apex of the roof.
While the synagogue is affiliated to three burial societies, Federation, Adath and Chesed Ve'emeth, it takes pride in its independence, being as it is owned and managed by members of the community.
A 2002 English Heritage Report stated that Kehillas Ya'akov is a remarkable survival... and is all the more exceptional for continuing in use as a synagogue.
The members are currently engaged in a regeneration project, which involves not only the restoration of their building to its original beauty, but also a welcoming spirit inviting all who come to take part in their community.