Momentous Years: The Rise and Fall of the Derby Hebrew Congregation, 1899-1986
Author: Dr David Beeston
The Derby Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1899, primarily by Jewish immigrants fleeing from discrimination and persecution in Imperial Russia. As an Orthodox and Ashkenazi community, which acknowledged the authority of the Chief Rabbi, it flourished for the next three decades, acquiring its own synagogue in 1921 and establishing most of the institutions required by its members. After surviving, with great difficulty, the economic depression of the 1930s and an attendant upsurge of fascism and anti-Semitism, the congregation recovered dramatically during the Second World war and the post-war era. Boosted by fugitives from the continent, evacuees from London and other cities, and short-stay American Jewish servicemen, the Derby Hebrew Congregation reached new heights in terms of membership (which peaked at 204 in 1955) and organisation. Respected at regional, national, and even international level, its survival seemed assured. Sadly, after 1959 a series of interrelated problems reversed these favourable trends. Membership loss (caused by internal migration and overseas emigration), a substantially reduced income, and the inability to attract a Minister, all combined to precipitate a long-term decline, which culminated in final dissolution in 1986. This book represents a unique attempt to record and analyse the formation, sublimation, and eventual demise of one of Britain’s less-known Jewish communities.
Publisher: Birchwood Publications-UK