Capital of Scotland. When the Jews began to settle in Scotland early in the nineteenth century, they appear to have been attracted in the first instance to Edinburgh. The first regular synagogue was established in 1816 with twenty families. This synagogue was situated in a lane off Nicholson street. After a year the congregation moved to a small hall in Richmond Court; and here it remained until it acquired a synagogue in Park Place, the old Ross House having been adapted for the purpose (1868). The congregation worshiped here until quite recent years. The present synagogue in Graham street was erected in 1897. Until 1880 there was only one synagogue in Edinburgh. By that time a number of foreign families, principally engaged in the water-proof clothing industry, had settled in the Dalry quarter of the city, and they formed a congregation and erected a small place of worship in Caledonian Crescent.
The original cemetery of the Edinburgh Jews was situated near the Causeway side. This ceased to be used about a quarter of a century ago, when a portion of the Echo Bank Cemetery was acquired and railed off for Jewish purposes.
The first minister was the Rev. Moses Joel of London, who continued in office forty-six years, until his death in 1862. He was succeeded in the order named by Elkan, Rosebaum, Abraham Harfield (1864-66), B. Rittenberg (1867-73), Albu, and S. Davidson. J. Fürst, a native of Courland, educated at the rabbinical college of Wilna, has been the minister since 1879.
Edinburgh has three Jewish charities: a benevolent loan society, a board of guardians, and a lyingin society. A Hebrew school is attached to the Graham Street Synagogue; and there is a Jewish literary society as well as a Jewish amateur orchestral society. The Jews number (1903) about 2,000 in a total population of 317,000.
- Edinburgh Evening Express, March 29, 1883;
- Jewish Year Book 5663 (= 1902-3).