• on June 8, 2017

DHC Ministers through 130 years, part 2.

(Once again many thanks to Harold Pollins for his research and allowing DHC to post the fruits of his hard work)

We left the story of DHC ministers in 1915 when the Rev B Hyams was appointed. He served the community as shochet, chazan and cheder teacher for 18 years until his retirement in 1932.

Before moving on in time though, mention should be made of the Rev Barnet Moss, born in Russia, who took up the post of shochet, Reader and Teacher in 1907, moving here from Manchester. (You may recall that when I related the story of kosher meat complaints from DHC minutes, Mr Moss featured as the butcher. At that stage I had not realised that he also read the services and taught the children!)

After Rev Hyams retired, most of the Jewish Chronicle articles for the 1930s and 1940s, relate to DHC ministers getting jobs elsewhere including moves to Massachusetts, Bristol, Cardiff, Portsmouth and Southsea and Blackpool. These ministers seem also in the main to have come from smallish communities too, thus Norwich, Sunderland, Dublin are amongst those mentioned.

So back again to the JC ministers wanted section! This time 1935; “Wanted Chazan, Shochet,Teacher and Bal Korah (Torah reader), £3 10s perweek and “perquisites”.” (If anybody has suggestions as to what these perquisites entailed, I would be most interested, note that a new part of the job description has been added, does this mean that there is no longer a member of DHC able to fulfil this role perhaps? Is it significant that shochet now comes 2nd in the list of tasks?)

The Rev D Garb, born in Warsaw and formerly of Lennox St Shul in Dublin, was appointed and is worthy of mention. He studied music in Brussels and then at the London College of Music. He became treasurer of an Association of Chazanim from North-Eastern towns. The object of the association was to promote the study of Hebrew Liturgy and Chazanut. Rev Garb seems to have been the first DHC minister to have fixed premises as a shul, namely Victoria Rd. However, by 1939 he was off to Blackpool United Hebrew Congregation and the Rev Shalom Barron took his place in Darlington. He seems to have been the first UK born minister, hailing from London and coming to Darlington via Liverpool Russel St. (Where he may have encountered some of my family!). Rev Barron stayed until 1944 and was given permission by DHC to help out the Bishop Auckland Community by teaching in their cheder too.

JC ad time again, 1946, still wanting Chazan, Shochet and Teacher, salary now £5 10s per week and a house.

We then see 2 longer-serving ministers. Rev Fabritz, born in Latvia and formerly of Norwich and South Shields, served 7 and a half years and then Rev Freedman about 10 years.

JC ads again; 1969, “Reader and Shochet, recently built synagogue (this was number 13 Bloomfield Rd), 35 families.”

There was no minister appointed however until 1973 with the arrival of Rev Wilfred Wolfson. He stayed a shortish while before moving to Cardiff in 1975.

JC ads in 1975; ” Seeking a leader, small active community, compact synagogue (no 13, really?!), spacious bungalow (that is number 15, our current building!)”

This resulted in the arrival of the very first actual rabbi in Darlington, Rev Alby Copeland who came from Glasgow and in 1979 returned there. I know some current DHC members will have known these post-war ministers.

This brings us to about 1987/1988 when DHC under the guidance of Rabbi William Wolf joined the Reform Movement. (Scroll down for article below, “More Recent history of DHC: How DHC became Reform”.)

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