The Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, London

sp-logoThe first re-settlement of a handful of Marrano Jews in England dates from about 1630; and their existence was openly acknowledged some twenty-six years later when Oliver Cromwell tacitly admitted the Jews to England.
The Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, London  (now the S&PHARDI community) of which Sir Moses was a member is the oldest synagogue in England and the one which he led for many years.

The Congregation’s first synagogue in Creechurch Lane in the City of London, was opened in 1657 and was succeeded by the present building in adjacent Bevis Marks. Opened in 1701, the Bevis Marks Synagogue can sadly boast of being the only one in Europe that has been open continuously for worship since that date.



The Congregation, now calling itself the S&PHARDI community, maintains three synagogues – the original in Bevis Marks, one close to Maida Vale (Lauderdale Road) in the West End of London and the other in Wembley. Other Sephardi synagogues in London and Manchester maintain close links with the ‘mother’ congregation and some accept its ecclesiastical authority.

Associated with the Congregation are its Beth Din, Sephardi Kashrut Authority, Home for Old People ), cemeteries and a host of charities of many different kinds – including some founded by Sir Moses Montefiore himself. The Congregation is also a partner in the London Board for Shechita.

Sir Moses would have been proud of the service hosted by his Congregation for the entire Anglo-Jewish Community at Bevis Marks in 2007 to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the tacit readmission of the Jews to England. Ever a keen loyalist, he might have been amused by the expression on the Prime Minister’s face when he realised that the assembled congregation was singing God Save the Queen to Hebrew words. The video clip attached contains some brief extracts from that service.

Sir Moses was devoted to his Congregation, Kahal Kadosh Sha’ar Hashamayim, and prayed regularly in its synagogue at Bevis Marks in the City of London.

He occupied most of the honorary positions in the Congregation and its associated charities at one time or another; and he served as President of its Board of Elders for very many years. The minhag and services of his own synagogue in Ramsgate were closely modelled on those of Bevis Marks; and Sir Moses left careful instructions that this was to continue without alteration in perpetuity.


The life and times of Sir Moses Montefiore, Bart., described at the peak of Britain’s imperial power as “the most famous Jew in the world”; the history and the current activities of the Montefiore Endowment, which has continued until now to administer Sir Moses’s bequest in accordance with British Charity Law and in a manner that its trustees are confident he would have approved

The Montefiore Synagogue and Mausoleum in Ramsgate. Information and how to book visits.


Sir Moses was devoted to his Congregation, Kahal Kadosh Sha’ar Hashamayim, and prayed regularly in its synagogue at Bevis Marks in the City of London.

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