This is an entry ticket to High Holy Day services at the Great Synagogue on Duke Street in London in 1934. This ticket, from the collections of the Jewish Museum of London, was required for High Holy Days services and states that the bearer was allowed to attend Rosh Hashanah services on 9–11 September and Yom Kippur services on 18–19 September. There is notification on the side that admission to the synagogue is conditional on showing the ticket. The assigned seat number appears at the bottom of the ticket. On the back of the ticket is the schedule of the services – when they start and when the Torah is read on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – as well as the time when the fast ends on Yom Kippur.
Would You Like to Know More?
The Great Synagogue, London – The Great Synagogue was founded in 1690 and was the first Ashkenazi synagogue in England after the reestablishment of the Jewish community in England in 1656. It was built at Duke’s Place, north of Aldgate in the East End, where many of the Jewish community lived. As the congregation grew, new additions were made to the grand building. The chief rabbi traditionally officiated at this synagogue, and it was the centre of Jewish worship in London. In May 1941, during World War II, the synagogue was destroyed by German bombing.
Shofar – The shofar is a ritual horn blown throughout the month of Elul, on Rosh Hashanah, and at the end of Yom Kippur. According to tradition, the shofar is blown in order to awaken the heart to repentance on the High Holidays. In biblical times, the shofar was blown at Mount Sinai when the Torah was given to Moses, at times of war, to announce holidays and the Jubilee year, and in ceremonies at the Temple. In modern times the shofar is blown on special occasions such as the inauguration of the president of the State of Israel and on Yom Ha’atzmaut. A shofar is made from a horn, typically a ram’s horn, but other animal horns may also be used. According to Jewish law, a shofar cannot be painted with colours but can be carved with artistic designs.
The Jewish Community of Britain – The first mention of Jews in Britain is from 1070. In the eleventh and twelfth century Jews were legally under the protection of the monarchs in return for heavy taxes and loans and lived mainly in the financial centres of London, Oxford, Lincoln, Bristol, and Norwich. In the late twelfth century, the Jews suffered from anti-Semitic restrictions, blood libels, riots, and massacres. One of the worst anti-Semitic massacres of the Middle Ages took place in York where the entire Jewish community was burnt to death at Clifford’s Tower. In 1290 King Edward I expelled all the Jews of Britain and their homes and properties were confiscated. For many centuries, Jews did not officially live in the country, but many lived secretly until the rule of Oliver Cromwell, when they were readmitted due to the intervention of the Dutch rabbi and leader, Menashe Ben Israel. Many of these new Jewish arrivals were of Spanish and Portuguese origins. An attempt to legalise Jewish presence in Britain was made in 1753 with the Jewish Naturalisation Act, and in the nineteenth century Jews received equal rights. The community prospered and comprised academics, bankers, scientists, and merchants. Among these distinguished British Jews of the eighteenth and nineteenth century were Sir Moses Montefiore, Nathan Mayer von Rothschild, and Benjamin Disraeli. Due to the good conditions, the lack of violence towards Jews, and religious tolerance, in the nineteenth century Britain became a target for Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe. The new Jewish immigrants lived mainly in the large industrial cities, especially London, Manchester, and Leeds. The East End of London became a Jewish neighbourhood where Yiddish was commonly spoken. In the twentieth century many more Jews fleeing the Nazis arrived in Britain, including the famous kindertransport, the British rescue effort of thousands of children from Nazi-occupied Europe. The Jewish community of Britain numbers over 300,000 today. This is the fifth largest Jewish community in the world and the second in Europe.
Rosh Hashanah – Rosh Hashanah is the celebration of the Jewish New Year which takes place on the first two days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei. It is celebrated by blowing the shofar, lighting candles, eating festive meals, and attending services at the synagogue. Rosh Hashanah is the first of the High Holy days which end 10 days later with Yom Kippur. The ten-day period is called the Ten Days of Repentance, because it is believed that during this period a person’s deeds are judged and the future year is decided. It is a both a festive holiday and a solemn time of introspection which includes prayer, asking forgiveness from others, and giving tzedakah (charity). The prayers on Rosh Hashanah include asking God for a peaceful, prosperous, and healthy year. Rosh Hashanah also celebrates the creation of the world. People greet each other on Rosh Hashanah by saying: “Shana Tova (Happy New Year).” Food customs for Rosh Hashanah vary among the different communities but often include round challahs (instead of the customary long loaf), apples and honey, and pomegranates. Many people send Shana Tova cards to their friends and family.