The Central Synagogue is situated right in the middle of London’s busy and vibrant West End district, and only a five-minute walk from Oxford Street, on all major London Tour bus routes.
2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the consecration of the new synagogue after the original synagogue built on the same site in 1870 was destroyed in May 1941.
The current Rabbi Barry Marcus is a descendant of a long line of distinguished rabbis. Born in South Africa he served as Rabbi of one of the largest communities in Johannesburg and also in Israel before coming to the Central Synagogue. His talks have focused on the importance of Israel and he has earned a reputation for his unflinching support of the Jewish state, especially during times of crisis. He is active in promoting Holocaust remembrance and education and in 1998, he introduced the idea of a one-day educational trip to Auschwitz in which over 8,000 people have participated to date.
Steven Leas, also from South Africa, has been serving as Chazan at the Central Synagogue, though in his prior life he worked as an accountant. He has become one of the leading Cantors in the country, and is the principle soloist of the London Jewish Male Choir.
The synagogue also caters to children. The toddler’s service is crafted to take the group through a song based interactive experience of Shabbat while the older children discuss one theme of the week or the weekly parasha with games and puzzles. The rooms are carefully designed for children including a children’s shul, complete with ark and bimah, two honorary officers’ boxes and a room for toddlers with soft furnishings for them to relax on.
Visit the synagogue to get a taste of what they have to offer. Tours last only 45 minutes, and include an introduction to Judaism, the main features of the synagogue and an explanation of many of the traditions. The duration of the tour is flexible and can be modified based on the content or focus according to the needs of the visiting party. Please note tours only run from Monday to Wednesday between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.