> The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom - A Short History of Nev'e Shalom
The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom



In the early 1960's, the congregation travelled to the Sinai Synagogue in Leeds every week to attend Shabbat Morning Services whilst the children attended Sinai's Religion School every Sunday. Les Rosenberg and Peter Barnett took it in turns to drive and at that time, Bar and Batmitzvahs were held at the Sinai Synagogue. Although Reform Judaism was alive in Hull, this situation proved difficult and in 1966, five Jewish families attended that historic meeting to create the Hull Reform Congregation - the Bermitzes, the Levys, the Rosenbergs, the Barnetts and the Gordons.

A committee was formed with Les Rosenberg as the Chairman, Aubrey Gordon as the Secretary and Geoff Levy and Peter Barnett as committee members. To start "the ball rolling", each member of the committee donated £100 into a kitty to pay for expenses. Many meetings took place with Sinai's Rabbi, Henry Brandt, and it was eventually decided to hold an open meeting at the Riley High School located in Parkfield Drive, just off Anlaby Road. About two hundred people from the Hull congregations - Reform and Orthodox - came to hear Rabbi Brandt and a member of the Executive of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (RSGB) speak and the meeting was considered to be a success.

Although the Reform congregation was small, with the support and guidance of Rabbi Brandt and the RSGB, they were able to start conducting their own Religion School and Friday night Services in 1968 at Anlaby House, which was hired from the East Riding County Council.

A Sefer Torah (Scroll) was obtained from the Westminster Synagogue Czech Memorial Trust and a reproduction wardrobe was obtained with a curtain and a fitted light in it to represent the Ark. A very suitable room in Anlaby House was hired and Rabbi Brandt came over to lead the first ever Service. After this Lay Readers from Leeds came to take services with Rabbi Brandt coming whenever he could. Rabbinic students from the Leo Baeck College also took Services from time to time.

The two mainstays, at this time, for the Religion School and lay-reading as well as for all spiritual and communal leadership were Geoff Levy and Aubrey Gordon. They were in every sense the Founding Fathers of Ne've Shalom and first ever Life-Presidents. How proud and happy they would have been to see the growth and development of the Synagogue, to which they contributed so much. Sadly they have both passed away without knowing their most cherished dream would be realised, but they live in the spirit of the Community.

Services continued to be held at Anlaby House and there was usually a good 'turnout' with many of the members attending. To add to the Service experience, it was decided to purchase a miniature organ which Gillian Barker agreed to play.

Every three months on a Sunday morning, the RSGB held a meeting at the Scotch Corner Hotel on the A1. This was attended by Geoff Levy and Les Rosenberg who provided a progress report on the congregation which was well-received by the RSGB representatives.

The Religion School continued to grow and Riley High School was hired for Sunday morning lessons, as well as for adult study evening lessons. At this time, the teachers were Aubrey Gordon, Elizabeth Hall and Geoff Annis.

The Hull Reform Congregation continued to use Anlaby House for its regular Services, but due to the numbers attending for the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Services, the Anlaby Methodist Church Hall was used for the High Holyday Services.

In 1971, it was decided that the Hull Reform Congregation become a constituted Synagogue and, based upon the Sinai Synagogue, Leeds constitution, the Hull Reform Synagogue was born. Families continued to join the Synagogue, but once all the children had taken their Bar and Batmitzvahs, the Religion School closed.

Other significant events include the consecration of the Tranby Lane Cemetery in 1975 and, of course, the long-awaited acceptance into full membership by the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain in 1981, when the Synagogue also broke the magic '40 member barrier'.

In the early 1980's, a influx of young children into the Synagogue led to the re-opening of the Religion School and Cecelia Levy, Geoff Levy's daughter, started the classes. In 1983, Cecelia married Ian Sugarman and, as the number of children grew, Ian was able to assist in teaching the older age group.

Over the 1980's, the number of Synagogue members slowly grew and eventually Anlaby House was unable to be hired and regular Services were switched to the Anlaby Methodist Church Hall and eventually the Cottingham Civic Hall. Shabbat Morning Services were held in members' homes and the wardrobe and scroll were forever on the move. The Hull Reform Synagogue became "wandering Jews" and Services were held wherever the wardrobe and scroll came to rest.

Suddenly in 1991, Henry Goldstone became instrumental in the purchase and construction of a Synagogue building (Shul). At last the "wanderers" had found their home and what a home! A new purpose-built, single-storey Shul which incorporated many facilities for the disabled, provided the Community with both a religious and communal base. Another Westminster Synagogue Czech Memorial Trust was obtained and the first formal Service in the new Shul was the Purim Service and Party, held on 18 February 1992 led by Ian Sugarman and there was a spectacular 'turnout'. Ne've Shalom - the Hull Reform Synagogue was finally a reality.

The actual consecration ceremony for the new Shul took place on Sunday 26 April 1992 and was led by Rabbi Rodney Mariner, Chairman of the RSGB Assembly of Rabbis, Rabbi Walter Rothschild and Rabbi Danny Rich (who is the current Chief Executive of Liberal Judaism UK). Over 180 people attended and the Shul was finally consecrated. A year later, the Shul purchased its own scroll from a French Synagogue, taking the number of Sifre Torah to three.

Over the ensuing years, Ne've Shalom has taken an increasing part in the affairs of Reform Judaism; attending National and Northern Reform Movement Council Meetings and conferences, hosting northern Synagogue Weekends, becoming involved in 'Exodus' - the Soviet Jewry Committee and 'Pro-Zion', and organising the Annual Northern Community Weekend at Raywell Camp, as well as providing the Chairman of the Northern RSGB Council from 1994 - 1997.

In 2022, the present membership currently stands at nearly 80 families.... and its growing!


Ne've Shalom
Great Gutter Lane
HU10 6DP



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