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Chief Rabbi Visits Small Communities

Last updated: 2003-06-11

The Chief Rabbi together with Rev Malcolm Wiseman spent Sunday and Monday visiting the communities of Exeter, Plymouth and Cornwall.

On Sunday the Chief Rabbi visited the Exeter Hebrew Congregation and Plymouth Hebrew Congregation, the two oldest Ashkenazi synagogues in England. The Chief Rabbi addressed the communities followed by question and answer sessions. In Exeter representatives from Totnes and Torquay also attended. On Monday morning they travelled to Cornwall where the Chief Rabbi visited and spoke to the community. The Chief Rabbi had the opportunity to meet with members of local and surrounding communities.

The Chief Rabbi said:

“Rarely have I been so moved than by the discovery of the hidden treasures of Jewish life in the South-West. The Exeter and Plymouth synagogues are gems, both almost two and a half centuries old and preserving unique historical legacies. The Truro community is young and full of character. They are all well worth a visit, and are all to be commended for their loyalty and liveliness.”

Rev Malcolm Wiseman, who organised the visits, said:

“It has been a wonderful and inspiring visit. A valuable shot in the arm and very much appreciated by all the communities we visited. The Chief Rabbi’s visits were deeply appreciated.”

David Cohen, a committee member of the Exeter Hebrew Congregation said:

“This was the first visit for over 2 decades by a Chief Rabbi and it was truly a wonderful visit. It was extremely well attended and a charming day indeed.”

Thena Kendall, Co-ordinator for the Totnes Jewish Community said:

“The historic Exeter synagogue was full with people not only from the local congregation but from Jewish communities in Totnes and Torquay when Dr. Sacks became the first Chief Rabbi to visit the synagogue since it was established in 1763.”

For more information on the Chief Rabbi, visit