City in Lancashire, England, and one of the chief British manufacturing centers. It has a population of 543,969, of whom about 25,000 are Jews (the second largest Jewish community in the British empire). The history of the Manchester Jewish community dates from about 1780, when Jews commenced to settle near Shudehill and Long Millgate. The first synagogue was founded by two brothers, Lemon and Jacob Nathan, from Liverpool, where a congregation had recently been organized. The upper part of a house in Long Millgate served as the first place of worship of the new community. Lemon Nathan became its first president and Rabbi Ahron (Aaron Jacobs) its first minister. A son of Rabbi Ahron, Alexander Jacobs, became an early president of the Manchester Jews, and in 1804 established their first local charity. It was known as the Manchester Jewish Philanthropic Society, and its object was to grant relief during the winter months to poor resident Jews. The original cemetery was opened in 1794, in the neighborhood of St. Thomas' Church, Pendleton. The congregation next worshiped in Ainsworth Court, Long Millgate, removing, in 1824, to Halliwell street, where it erected a synagogue for itself. Sixteen years later a schism occurred, in consequence of which a separate congregation was formed which worshiped in Miller's lane, acquiring a cemetery of its own at Miles Platting; after a time, however, the two congregations were reunited. A third cemetery was acquired at Prestwich, in 1843.
The appointment of Dr. Schiller-Szinessy as rabbi of the Halliwell Street Synagogue was productive of another schism, which led to the establishment, in 1856, of a Reform synagogue, under the auspices of Professor Theodores, Horatio Micholls, Dr. Hesse, Sigismund Schloss, and others. On the retirement of Dr. Schiller-Szinessy, in 1861, he was succeeded by Dr. Gustav Gottheil, who ministered at Manchester for thirteen years, until called to America to fill the pulpit of Temple Emanu-El, New York. Dr. Gottheil's most prominent successor at Manchester was the Rev. L. M. Simmons (d. 1900).
The Halliwell Street Congregation continued to grow, and in 1858 it removed to Cheetham Hill, where a magnificent place of worship was built, which became known as the "Great Synagogue" and is now the principal synagogue in Manchester. Prof. S. M. Isaacs of Liverpool—the first regular English preacher in Great Britain—became preacher of the Great Synagogue in that year, dividing his ministrations between the two cities. In 1863 he left Liverpool and thenceforth devoted himself entirely to the Manchester synagogue; he died in 1878, and was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. B. Salomon. In 1871 two new synagogues were established, one in Oxford road, for the Jews living in South Manchester, and another in York street, for the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. The rapid growth of the community since 1890 has necessitated the foundation of several new congregations, and there are now nearly thirty synagogues.
In 1838 the Manchester Hebrew Association had founded religious classes, and in 1842, as an outcome of these classes, a Jewish school was established through the instrumentality of Abraham Franklin and his brother Jacob Franklin (subsequently editor of the "Voice of Jacob"), Philip Lucas (who became the first president), and Eleazar Moses. A couple of rooms were engaged, in the first instance, at the Salford Lyceum Institution, and an enlarged building in York street was acquired in 1851. In 1869 the present structure in Derby street was erected. The school now (1904) has 2,300 scholars (800 in the boys' and girls' classes respectively, and 700 infants). The head master, Ephraim Harris, M.A., has occupied that position since 1869. The Jewish Board of Guardians was founded in 1867.
Other important Jewish institutions in Manchester are: the Hebrew Philanthropic and Loan Society (established 1861); the Sustentation Fund (connected with the Manchester Congregation of British Jews); the Visiting Committee (founded in 1885, in conjunction with Liverpool, for hospital and prison visitation); the United Sisters' Maternity Society; the Jewish Ladies' Visiting Association; the Children's Holiday Home; the Jewish Home for Aged and Needy Jews; the Hebrew Bread, Meat, and Coal Society; the Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor; the Talmud Torah School; the Jewish Working Men's Club (founded 1887); the Manchester Board of Shechita; the Manchester Naturalisation Society; the Manchester branch of the Jewish Lads' Brigade: and the Manchester Jewish Hospital. Zionism is also strongly represented in Manchester.
- Jewish World, Sept.-Nov., 1877;
- Jew. Chron. Aug.-Oct., 1903;
- Jewish Year Book, 1904.