Inter Faith Week - 8-15 November 2020
Medway Inter Faith Action has put together a programme of events for Inter Faith Week, which is taking place from 8-15 November. Because of the Corona Virus pandemic, all events will be on Zoom. The synagogue will be taking part, as we did last year, by way of an extended Friday evening service on 13 November.
Pleas click on the button for full details of all the events taking place during inter Faith Week
In line with other Jewish communities around the country, the synagogue closed in March and since then we have not held any services or communal events in the synagogue building.
Despite the government announcing that places of worship could open for services in a limited manner from 4 July, it didn’t happen at Chatham Memorial Synagogue, because the measures necessary to do so, would be too onerous for a small community with limited resources.
However, we have been holding services on Zoom, initially on Friday evenings, then monthly on Shabbat mornings. These were well attended by our regular congregants, as well as others connected with the synagogue from farther afield. We have also held very successful services for the High Holydays, Sukkot and Simchat Torah on Zoom. A former member has joined us regularly from Israel and even led parts of our services from there. Family members and friends have joined our services from France, Portugal and Canada. It has been encouraging to note that some people have joined our Zoom services, who would not be able to attend the synagogue itself. This includes elderly relatives of our members.
A decision was taken on 14 October, that the synagogue building will remain closed for the remainder of 2020. We will continue to hold weekly Friday evening services and monthly Shabbat morning services on Zoom. Our service on Friday 13 November will be expanded to include content for Inter Faith Week. We will be holding communal candle lighting on Zoom on the first and eighth evenings of Chanukah.
Our congregants will continue to receive updates about these events by email, together with Zoom links.
This terrible pandemic is something not seen in over 100 years and the most important thing is for everyone to keep safe. With the help of the Almighty, we will get through this.
You can keep in touch with what is happening via our Facebook page.
Foreigners, Aliens, Citizens
This book about the history of Medway and its Jewish community from 1066 - 1939, written by synagogue committee member and local historian Irina Fridman, is due to be released in the autumn.
Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 - Rochester Cathedral
The theme for 2020 is "Stand Together". The aftermath of the Holocaust, and of subsequent genocides, continues to raise challenging questions for individuals, communities and nations. HMD 2020 asks audiences to think about what happens after genocide and of our own responsibilities in the wake of such a crime.
The 2020 Medway Holocaust Memorial Day event took place in Rochester Cathedral on Monday 27 January, the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The Dean of Rochester lit a special commemorative candle, which was first lit in Chatham Memorial Synagogue on the 70th anniversary. The event included presentaions and prayers by local schools, Medway Youth Council., Medway Inter-Faith Action and Kent Police, together with representatives of the synagogue. The Bishop of Tonbridge and the Mayor of Medway both spoke at the event.
Damage to graves in the cemetery behind the synagogue
It has been widely reported in both the local and national press that several gravestones have been upended and smashed in the old cemetery behind Chatham Memorial Synagogue.
This was reported to Kent Police on 8 October and we are grateful to them for their swift response to this dreadful crime.
If you have any information that may help the police with their enquiries, you can call them on 01634 792209. The crime reference is 46/194406/19. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Photo Credit: Dalia Halpern-Matthews
National Hate Crime Week
At Chatham Memorial Synagogue, we are always grateful for the support of our Community Liaison Officer Bob Mahay and Kent Police and in turn we support the work they do to keep all our communities safe. Last Saturday evening, Bob Mahay organised an event at St Mark's Church in Gillingham, as part of National Hate Crime Week. From the synagogue, Jon Weiner and Dalia Halpern-Matthews took part in this important event. Jon Weiner read a prayer, written for the occasion, alongside representatives of other religions who also read prayers. We stand alongside our brothers and sisters of all faiths, in the face of intolerance and hatred.
Donations to the Synagogue
To make an online donation to Chatham Memorial Synagogue via Virgin Money Giving, please clink on this icon:
Also check out our new campaign page for the cemetery and security:
Medway Walk for Peace - Service for Peace
The 2019 Medway Walk for Peace joined the congregation in the synagogue at the end of our Shabbat morning service on Saturday 6 July, for a short Service for Peace. This is the fourth year that the Medway Walk for Peace has come into the synagogue, en route from Gillingham to Rochester. Members of the congregation joined the remainder of the walk to the War Memorial, after the service.
In these uncertain times, Chatham Memorial Synagogue is pleased and proud to be associated with the Medway Walk for Peace.
150th Anniversary 2015
2015 was the 150th anniversary of the laying of the Synagogue's foundation stone. Our celebrations included a Collection of Cultures and a Civic Service. Both anniversary events are featured in our blog - see below.
A booklet about the history of the synagogue and the community was issued to commemorate this important anniversary, as shown in the image opposite.
Click the button to order the commemorative booklet via this web site.
Kent Police - Run, Hide, Tell
Kent Police have asked us to circulate a poster, advising us what to do in the event of an attack on the synagogue
- click the button to display the poster.
Welcome to the web site of the Chatham Memorial Synagogue We hope that our website highlights the variety of our community events and services. Please feel free to read more about our synagogue on this site, or join us for one of our services or events. Visitors are always welcome, together with old and new members of the community.
Built in 1869 by Simon Magnus, in memory of his son Lazarus, on the site of an even older Synagogue, Chatham Memorial Synagogue is the home of the Jewish community in mid and north Kent.
Chatham Memorial Synagogue is actually located in historic Rochester on the River Medway in the county of Kent, about 35 miles south-east of London and only 35 minutes by high speed train from St Pancras (45 minutes from Victoria).
Although we are a small community we hold services for Shabbat every Friday evening and once a month (usually on the first Saturday morning of each calendar month, but it can vary (see our What’s On page). There is a Kiddush provided by the Guild after each of these services.
We also hold a range of services on the various Jewish festivals and a full set of services on the High Holydays.
Find out about our up and coming events and festivals. Everything relating to our varied programme of community events can be found on our What’s on page.
Our festival calendar is regularly updated and now includes dates for 2020 and 2021.
Check out what's happening in the synagogue over the next few weeks
Find out about our events calendar for the coming year. Everything from our religous services to our open community events.
Dates for your diary
Next weekly service
Friday 30 October on Zoom
Next monthly service
Saturday 7 November on Zoom
Service for Inter Faith Week
Friday 13 November on Zoom
Latest News | CMS Blog
See whats been happening recently in our community.
It is now possible to make online donations to Chatham Memorial Synagogue via Virgin Money Giving.
Please click on the logo to go to make your donation
At Chatham Memorial Synagogue, we fully support the principal of Inter-Faith dialogue. With all the problems and uncertainty in the world today, it is very important that the representatives of the major faiths stand together in support of the values which we share in common. Therefore we are pleased to have been elected a corporate member of the Medway Inter-Faith Action Forum (MIFA) with a seat on its executive committee.
See below for the 2020 programme
View images of our beautiful synagogue and our community activities.
Find out more about how to contact us and where to find our beautiful synagogue.