Norwich was an important centre of Jewish life in Medieval times. There was an active community here in 11th and 12th century and the first recorded Hebrew poetry written in England was by Meir of Norwich. Jurnet’s house in Norwich is one of the earliest Jewish houses in England. It is also Norwich that was sadly the site of origin of the infamous Blood Libel in 1144, which is said by some to be the origin of antisemitism in the world.
Today there is a small but active Congregation with a resident Minister. We hold regular religious services, educational activities and cultural events. The Synagogue is located at 3a Earlham Rd, opposite the Catholic Cathedral. This lovely building was consecrated in 1969 following the destruction of our Victorian Synagogue in 1942 and 20 years of a temporary Synagogue. A fuller history of the community can be found on the website.
Services are held regularly each Shabbat morning at 10 am; we are traditional and use the previous Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, siddur. We have men’s seating, women’s seating and mixed seating areas. Following the service, a Kiddush is served in the communal hall. We have occasional Friday evening services and a Bring and Share supper. Visitors are very much welcomed at our services, although we do ask for notification of your visit, as, in common with other Synagogues, we run a security check.
All festivals are celebrated, sometimes with meals, and there is a communal Seder each year. A cheder for the children is also held at the weekends.
Fund raising has been in hand for a few years to improve the communal facilities and with the aim of creating a Jewish Community and Heritage Centre, read more here. It is hoped that this building will be starting very shortly now (Summer/Autumn 2020).