Montefiore Day Concert marks historic dedication of Ramsgate synagogue

Montefiore Day Concert takes place this month

A concert marking the day in 1833 when Sir Moses Montefiore hosted the dedication for his now Grade II listed synagogue in Ramsgate will be held at the site this month.

The seventh Montefiore Day Concert is a celebration of the event when Sir Moses invited members of both the Jewish and Ramsgate communities to a party celebrating the opening of the synagogue which he had commissioned his cousin, architect David Mocatta, student of Sir John Soane and the first Anglo-Jewish architect, to design.

The Synagogue services, which Sir Moses later specified were to be continued in the same manner, were based on those of Bevis Marks, with the exception that the mitzvot were announced in Hebrew not Portuguese.

The concert will reflect Spanish and Portuguese origins  and explore the music originating in the Old World and developed in the Americas.

Former theatre designer, artist and Ramsgate Montefiore Heritage member Mark Negin said: “For two days he had a big party with tents, bands and dancing for local gentiles, family and friends. We celebrate this ecumenical event by having a concert every year celebrating how he brought people together.

“We try every year to have music that Sir Moses Montefiore would have heard but  this year some of the music would have been very strange to him.”

Godfrey Fischer, also of historical society RMH, said: “This year the concert is less liturgical and more world music. The organisation behind it is Ramsgate Montefiore Heritage which is not a religious organisation by an historical one.”

In the concert choirmaster Eliot Alderman and composer Benjamin Wolf will explore the repertoire and development of Sephardic music from its origins and as it was heard here by Sir Moses and Lady Judith and how it developed across the Atlantic.

Eliot Alderman is choirmaster at Mill Hill, Hendon and Edgware synagogues, and director of the Rinah Ensemble.

Benjamin Wolf is an academic, composer and performing musician. He is musical director of the Zemel Choir, Belsize Square Synagogue, the Wallace Ensemble and the Royal Free Music Society, and founder of the bOYbershop quartet.

The Montefiore Day concert at the synagogue, just off of Honeysuckle Road, takes place on Sunday June 16 from 3pm.

Tickets costing £15 (RMH Members £10) can be bought from Nice Things at 19-21 Harbour Street;

The Vinyl Head Cafe & Record Shop, 3 The Broadway, Addington Street or will be issued in order of applications (with remittance) to Ramsgate Montefiore Heritage,  The Custom House, Harbour Parade Ramsgate CT11 8LP