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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
28th May 1908 Born today: Ian Lancaster Fleming, London England, author (James Bond)
28th May 1897 Born today: Henry Kendall, London, actor (Amazing Quest, Shadow, Rich and Strange)
28th May 1858 Dion Boucicault's Foul Play, premieres in London
28th May 1742 1st indoor swimming pool opens (Goodman's Fields, London)
28th May 1728 Celebrated satirical painter William Hogarth successfully sues agent Joshua Morris.
The Congregation of Jacob
The UK's first Mizrachi Synagogue
Location: 351-353 Commercial Road, E1 2PS
Description: Founded by Morris Koenigsberg and Abraham Schwalbe in 1903, this was the UK's first Mizrachi Synagogue and remarkably 'The Congregation of Jacob' is one of three East End synagogues still attending its congregation.
Before occupying the present premises in 1921 the first generation of immigrant Polish, Lithuanian and Russian Orthodox Jews from small shtetls such as Stetziver, Kalisz and Vikaviskis, likely met in Mr Koenigsburg's family home near here on Commercial Road.
Previously the building was a cobblers, transformed in the 1920s by Lewis Solomon & Son, honorary architects to the Federation of Synagogues, to feature high sweeping balconies and side benches gathered around a central space for worship. The building features a striking black Star of David atop the apex of the roof.
While the synagogue is affiliated to three burial societies, Federation, Adath and Chesed Ve'emeth, it takes pride in its independence, being as it is owned and managed by members of the community.
A 2002 English Heritage Report stated that Kehillas Ya'akov is a remarkable survival... and is all the more exceptional for continuing in use as a synagogue.
The members are currently engaged in a regeneration project, which involves not only the restoration of their building to its original beauty, but also a welcoming spirit inviting all who come to take part in their community.