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Dayan Harris M Lazarus

10 Sivan 5638 (11 June 1878)
21 Adar I 5722 (25 February 1962)

Basic Information

Unique reference:


Date of birth:
10 Sivan 5638 (11 June 1878)
Place of birth:
Riga, Russia


Date of death:
21 Adar I 5722 (25 February 1962)
Died in combat?:
Burial place:
Willesden Jewish Cemetery, Section P, Row 2, Plot 30



Where he lived when he became naturalised:
14 Ship Alley (1904)
34 Kingswood Avenue Kilburn (1919)


Jews College, London

Other Organisations

Ritual butcher
Brondesbury Synagogue
London Beth Din
Assistant Dayan
London Beth Din
United Synagoguye
Deputy Chief Rabbi
Sabbath Observance Bureau


Brondesbury Synagogue
 < Close personal journey map
Personal Journey map
Dayan Harris M Lazarus

Brent Archives, 1914

On Thursday, 17th September, Cricklewood Congregational Church held a crowded meeting in the Aberdeen Hall “to welcome Belgian Refugees to Cricklewood”. It was chaired by the church‟s pastor, Cuthbert McEvoy. So many people came that the meeting had to be transferred to the church.

Among those on the platform were local religious leaders, as well as several refugees. The Reverend Noel Gill of St. Gabriel‟s proposed “That this meeting of the inhabitants of Cricklewood desires to place on record their gratitude and appreciation of the heroic resistance of the brave Belgians to their ruthless invaders”. The motion was seconded by Rabbi Lazarus of Brondesbury Synagogue.

The Congregational Church‟s Lown Hall was fitted out as a hostel for about 20 refugees, provided with beds lent by local people. Initially it held 16 Jews from Antwerp and, after Rabbi Lazarus had transferred them to a hostel in Kilburn, 21 mostly Catholic refugees. By 29th September 1914 158 Willesden Lane is mentioned in Willesden UDC minutes as having its rates remitted since the house is being used as a refugee hostel.

Obituary, Jewish Chronicle, 02 March 1962

After nearly sixty years of spiritual leadership Dayan Harris M. Lazarus died on Sunday in his 84th year.
Dayan Lazarus rendered services to the Anglo-Jewish community—as minister, Dayan, and, for two and a half years, as acting Chief Rabbi. The community was particularly indebted to him for coming out of retirement in 1946 to accept a call to be deputy for the Chief Rabbi. Again, in 1952, during Rabbi Brodie's absence in Australia, he agreed to the request of the Chief Rabbi and the United Synagogue Hon. Officers to resume his duties at the Beth Din.
The late Dayan was born in Riga and came to England when he was 19 years old. He was already a very good Hebrew scholar as well as a qualified shochet. He had, too, a pleasant singing voice, and he entered Jews' College to study chazanut, among other subjects. But soon he began to give special devotion to Talmudic and linguistic studies, and in 1904 gained the B.A degree at London University with first class honours in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac.
The following year saw his appointment as minister of the Brondesbury Synagogue. In 1910 he gained the Rabbinical Diploma and three years later the M.A. degree. He was appointed Assistant Dayan at the Beth Din in 1914 and combined that office with his duties at the Brondesbury Synagogue until he retired from the ministry there to become a whole time Dayan in 1938.
When he gave up the Brondesbury pulpit, two portraits of himself by Mr. David Hillman, one of which now hangs in the boardroom of the synagogue were presented to him, and many tributes were paid to his qualities as rabbi, teacher, and friend of every congregant. He was held in great reverence not only in his own synagogue but in the wider community for his sincerity and gentle character.
In 1945 he retired from the position of Senior Dayan at the Beth Din. but the following year, when the office of Chief Rabbi was left vacant by the death of Dr. J. H. Hertz, Dayan Lazarus was asked to serve as deputy for the Chief Rabbi; and be did so until the appointment of Rabbi Brodie in 1948.
The task completed, Dayan Lazarus still went on serving the community in a number of honorary offices. One of his favourite causes was the Sabbath Observance Bureau, of which he became President in 1939. Greatly interested in the welfare of the growing generation, he was President of the Union of Young Israel Societies and Hon. President of the Federation of Jewish Youth Societies, which, in 1956, presented him with his portrait in oils in appreciation of his services. In the sphere of charity he was Vice-President of the Federation of Jewish Relief Organisations and in Zionism Hon. Vice-President of the Mizrachi Federation.
On the attainment of his 80th birthday many communal organisations paid tributes to the Dayan. The Union of Jewish Preachers—of which he was a past President, held a reception in his honour, and the Federation of Jewish Relief Organisations endowed a £5,000 fund in his name towards maintaining kindergartens in Israel. Until recent years Dayan Lazarus acted as Baal Tekiah—he was regarded as a virtuoso on the shofar —at the Hampstead Synagogue, where he regularly worshipped. Dayan Lazarus’ wife—herself the daughter of a dayan, Rabbi Susman Cohen—died in 1950, after a career of zealous communal service. They are survived by a son and 2 daughters.

He had two daughters and a son, Henry born about 1902



Ada Cohen (female)
Other surname / Maiden name:


Mother: Esther Golda Gutmann (Goodman) (female)
Father: Julius "Judel" (male)


Dayan of the London Beth Din
What was the impact of this:
As a senior member of the London Beth Din Dayan Lazarus was heavily involved in assisting Belgian refugees. The Proceedings books of the London Beth Din show that in the first year of the War, the Beth Din was extremely active in ministering to the religious needs of Jewish refugees from Belgium and in assisting them in finding employment. On 2nd August 1914 the Germans demanded of the Belgian Government that its armies be given free passage through Belgium in order to enable them to outflank the French army which was concentrated in eastern France. When the neutral Belgians refused such passage, the Germans invaded on 4th August 1914 thereby bringing Britain (which had guaranteed Belgium neutrality by the Treaty of London in 1849) into the War. The German army committed a number of atrocities against Belgian civilians in August and September 1914 which precipitated a significant refugee 30 problem with an estimated 1 and a half million Belgians fleeing their homes. Many of these refugees fled to Britain (estimates range between 160,000 and 250,000) and the Home Front in Britain swung into action to assist these first civilian victims of the war. Among these refugees were between 6,000 and 8,000 Jews, most of whom were Orthodox and some of whom had migrated to Belgium from Poland and Russia. Although a national War Refugee Committee was set up to deal with the refugee problem, the Jewish Community took upon itself the task of housing and feeding this influx of Jews from the Continent and large numbers of East End residents replied to charitable appeals by opening up their homes to provide refugees with sleeping accommodation. The Jews Temporary Shelter in Leman St was used to house many refugees but it could not cope with the throngs arriving daily from Belgium. A large, disused Workhouse of the Westminster Union in Poland Street was made available by the Local Government Board in early Nov 1914 and the Manchester Hotel in Aldersgate Street which had been vacant for nearly a year was also designated by the Local Government Board for the housing of Jewish married couples and families.


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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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