Spanish and Portuguese? Just call us S&P Sephardi


Britain's oldest Jewish community, the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, is to change its name to reflect a broader constituency.

It will henceforth be known as the S and P Sephardi Community - "the first major change in image in 350 years", said its executive director Alison Rosen.

The new name, she explained, "reflects the entirety of the S and P community which includes not only the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who established the community, but also the many Oriental Jews who are now part of the S and P".

Its rebranding was in line with the mission of senior rabbi Joseph Dweck, who arrived a year ago.

"The new brand is modern and contemporary," Mrs Rosen said, "and has been enthusiastically embraced by existing and new members alike, as demonstrated by the new growth in membership that Rabbi Dweck has inspired. The concept behind it is to demonstrate the rich tradition and philosophy of Sephardi Judaism and how it is relevant for the modern world."

The new name reflects the many Oriental Jews who have joined

A historic community, it was established by descendants of refugees from Spain and Portugal during the Inquisition after Oliver Cromwell allowed Jews to resettle here in 1656.

In the years since the Second World War, it has been swelled by immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East who escaped turmoil in the Arab world after the creation of the state of Israel.

Rabbi Dweck, who grew up in America, hails from a family originally from Syria.

While the S and P community consists of three member synagogues - Bevis Marks, Lauderdale Road in Maida Vale and Wembley - it has broader links with other independent congregations.

Including the word "Sephardi" in its title also brings it into line with the names of other bodies under its umbrella such as the Sephardi Kashrut Authority and Sephardi Beth Din.

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