London's East End Synagogues, cemeteries and more......

My personal journey through the Jewish East End of London

Redman's Rd Talmud Torah is circled in red - double click to enlarge this 1922 mapMemories of a Redman's Rd Talmud Torah 1938 Barmitzvah,  - by Jack White - the location of Redmans Rd Talmud Torah is circled in red on the 1923 map on the left.


Jack's Barmitzvah photoMy barmitzvah photo provokes many memories. The suit was made by my Jack's "rich"uncle's workshop in Bromehead Street where his Barmitzvah suit was made.His uncle is the guv'nor wearing the tie! The lady on the left is his mum making buttonholes[by hand] and the other lady is his aunt, the guv'nor's wife who was filling in for the absent felling hand."rich" uncle - whose workshop in Bromehead Street is pictured on the right.  He was a master tailor and had his own "set" which consisted of himself as cutter, a machiner, a tailor and a presser [men] and then a felling hand and a button-hole maker[ my Mum!] This was my first long trouser suit, as it was traditional then , that you didn't wear long trousers until barmitzvah. The winters were particularly painful as short trousers and cold winds inevitably caused chapped thighs which were partially relieved by applying an ointment called "Melrose". The situation was not helped by the apparent conspiracy between the makers of short trousers and the makers of "gutkas" or combinations. This conspiracy made sure that The "gutkas" always were at least one inch longer than the shorts, so that we were constantly tucking them up!!!

When I hear of the elaborate parties that go with the modern day barmitzvah, I think back to mine. I went with my family to Redman's Road shul, read Maftir and Haftorah, was showered with nuts and raisins [not wrapped sweets in those days] and then went to my "Zaida's" house, which was just down the street from our flat. There, my Zaida made kiddush and we had some wine and biscuits. My uncle gave me a signet ring, one aunt gave me an Ingersoll watch and my other aunt gave me a pair of gloves. And that was that!!! No computer, no Play Station, no cell phone, not even a fountain pen!!! How did we manage and how would the modern barmitzvah boy accept such a "celebration"? We then went home and had our "cholant" lunch. After lunch, I went to Jeromes in Whitechapel and had the photo taken. The cost, sixpence halfpenny for three!

Redman's Rd Talmud Torah Prize CertificateThe label on the left dated 1938 is from the last prize that I got from the Talmud Torah. It shows Class Eight, signed by Mr.Horovitz. The President of the Talmud Torah is shown to be Mr Phil Hyams of the Grodzinski's bakery family. He was the owner of the Troxy Cinema in Commercial Road, which when it was opened in 1933 with "King Kong" caused a sensation. It seated well over 3,000 people and had queuing facilities INSIDE! As the owner, Mr. Hyams was able to let the Talmud Torah have the use of the Troxy for our annual prize giving. Of course this took place on a Sunday, when cinemas did not open.


Troxy Cinema in Commercial RdShoreditch Town HallThe Troxy which used to show two films and a stage show eventually closed and is now a Bingo Hall [photo]. When Sunday opening for cinemas came in, prize giving for the Talmud Torah was shifted to the Shoreditch town Hall [photos on the right)]

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