Greenock’s Jewish community

The first services were held in Greenock in 1894, with Rev. I Tiemanka being appointed minister shortly afterwards.

In 1907, Chief Rabbi Adler visited Greenock, and a service was held in the Shephard’s Hall, attended by members of the Town Council. The Chief Rabbi also examined the children of the Cheder and distributed prizes.  In 1909, Rev I Cohen was minister of a community of twenty members, with a synagogue at 6 Trafalgar Street.

In 1911, there were around 110 Jews in Greenock.

By 1920 there was a synagogue at 27 Cathcart Street.

“My mother…remembered a time when Jewish life was abuzz in Greenock, when Jewish homes sat 20 people around their seder tables, when Jews ran the tobacconist, the newsagent, the corner shop and the draper’s, when meticulously combed Jewish children played in the street, and when letters came from family in Russia, who didn’t get out.”

[Smith, Mark: The Last Jew in Greenock, Jewish Chronicle, 26 August 1994]

Jews began to leave the town in the 1930s, and the community was dissolved by 1936.

There is a small Jewish section in Greenock Cemetery, with 16 burials, 1908-1945.