The Jewish community in Brighton and Hove is marking 250 years of living in Brighton and Hove and making a contribution to the area.
A programme of events is taking place throughout the year and will include the unveiling of a blue plaque in memory of Israel Samuel, the first recorded Jewish resident of Brighton.
Ivor Caplin, the former Labour MP for Hove, hosted a launch event at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer today (Tuesday 1 March).
He said: “I’m proud to be Jewish. I was ‘bar mitzvahed’ in Middle Street Synagogue some years ago. A friend said, presumably the photos are in black and white!
“It’s an honour to be involved with this. The Jewish community has been here for 250 years and we’re passionate not just about our religion but about our city.”
Mr Caplin thanked Beryl Sharpe, of the Sussex Jewish Representative Council, the Jewish Historical Society, including the Sussex branch, and Ronnie Bloom, father of Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom.
He also introduced Warren Morgan, the leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, who spoke about the impact of the Jewish community on the area.
Councillor Morgan said: “It’s a great privilege to welcome you all here today on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council to this launch of a series of events marking 250 years of the Jewish community in Brighton and Hove.
“Examples of the contribution the Jewish community have made to the city are quite literally all around us.
“One of our council wards is named after property developer Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, who founded the London to Brighton rail line.
“Every time I enter the Town Hall I pass the memorial to slain Chief Constable Henry Solomon.
“And of course without the Bloom family there would be no stadium in which we sit now, something for which thousands of Albion fans like Ivor and myself are truly grateful. We are all loving Tomer Hemed’s contribution too.
“For many years a portrait of Lord Cohen of Brighton looked down at me when I worked in the MP’s office in Preston Road. It is exactly 60 years since he was made Mayor of Brighton, and although he never led the council, his contribution to affordable housing is an example and an inspiration to me.
“I spoke recently at the launch of the 50th Brighton Festival, which he helped start, and he played a role in saving the Theatre Royal and in establishing the University of Sussex just over the road by acquiring the land.
“He earned his formal title of Lord Cohen of Brighton, and his informal title of Mr Brighton, many times over.
“Middle Street Synagogue is undoubtedly one of the finest interiors this city has and the new Progressive Synagogue in Lansdowne Road is surely one of the most warm and welcoming places of worship in the city, as I discovered when I attended their official opening a few weeks ago.
“From the old to the new, the contribution of the Jewish faith to the spiritual and physical health of the city is remarkable.
“Brighton and Hove is a city of diversity, a city of history and a city of innovation, a city of culture and of business, a city of sanctuary.
“As we welcome people of all faiths, all backgrounds from whatever part of the world they come, we can be proud of the enormous contribution the Jewish community has made to Brighton and Hove over the 250 years since Mr Israel Samuel made it his home.
“The Jewish community is part of who we are as a city, part of what has made us a rich and vibrant place to live, part of the identity that makes it our home.
“We are now as we have been for 250 years, truly blessed by those who have come here.”
It is hoped to unveil the blue plaque in memory of Israel Samuel at 22 East Street, Brighton, now home to the retailer Crabtree and Evelyn, in June.