© Marcus Roberts


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The community started to recognize there was a looming crisis by 1865 when they wrote to Sir Francis Goldsmidt for a donation on the grounds that he had a country house in the area. Goldsmidt did receive kosher meat supplies from the congregation and gave an annual donation of twelve guineas from 1865-78. Part of the issue revolved around the fact that they could not pay their rabbis sufficiently and it seems that some suffered genuine hardship.

They also tried the not unprecedented tactic of elevating ordinary seat-holders, without their permission, to the honour of full membership. The catch was that this tripled the amount they were to pay - not surprisingly R.J. Moses and his brother accepted the honour but declined to pay more for it when they were offered this in 1868.

The community were visited by the Chief Rabbi in 1871 on one of his tours of congregations. The community usually worked late on Fridays afternoons but specially closed early in honour of the Chief Rabbis'. A Jewish commentor reflected acidly that they showed greater respect to the Chief Rabbi that to the Almighty!

In the 1880s the congregation turned its attention to gaining more members rather than extra funds to off-set falling communal assets. They succeeded in persuading some eight of the local unaffiliated Jews to join, as well as a further six members from outside of the town. In 1892 a further five locals were recruited and it was decided to adopt a revised ritual formulated by Dr Adler but after that it was a rapid decline. A minyan remained only possible by the attendance of Jewish boys from Corinth House at Cheltenham College. The final decline of the community was from 1893 to the turn of the century.

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