Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis delivered an admiring history lesson to Sunday’s celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Northampton Jewish community, held at the synagogue in Overstone Road.
Rabbi Mirvis reminded congregants that “during the First World War, quite a number of the men of the Northampton Hebrew Congregation gave up their lives in battle in the name of King and country.
“And during the Second World War, there were many refugees who came to Northampton from Europe, fleeing for their lives.
“This community opened it doors to one and all, giving them a safe haven and a new home. The ladies in this community over many years selflessly provided meals and other facilities for people. This is a community which rightfully has prided itself upon the warmth and generosity it has given to others.”
In addition to local MP Michael Ellis, the congregation included Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger, the granddaughter of a Northampton member.
The community numbered 2,000 in its post-war heyday but is today around 350.
To mark the anniversary, a commemorative book, A Taste of Jewish Northampton, has been published, featuring local history and biographies and celebrity recipes.