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Lloyd’s meets Rabbi Morris

Jessica Tamman

Jess is a proud member of the Jewish community and with Passover approaching from sundown on 5 April to sundown 13 April, she met with Rabbi Morris at the Bevis Marks Synagogue to have a chat about Passover and the historical significance of the Bevis Marks Synagogue for the Jewish community in the City of London.

Tell us a bit about what Passover means to you personally Jess?

Family! As we all live in different corners of the globe, it’s a key time in the year that we all come together around the dinner table to catch up and spend quality together. The Pesach story is particularly poignant for us as my Mum and her family had their own exodus from Egypt in 1956.

How can we support and celebrate Passover with our Jewish colleagues and community?

We spend eight days eating special kinds of foods to symbolise the story of Passover – you can ask questions or even try some Matzah yourself!

We'll be off work on the high holy days at the beginning and the end of the festival so colleagues can support us by keeping meetings and events to a minimum during the festival.


Why does the Bevis Marks Synagogue hold so much historical significance in the City of London?

This Grade I listed synagogue, built by a student of Christopher Wren, is probably the most significant for Jewish people in the UK as it’s the oldest in our country, dating back to 1701. It’s the only non-Christian house of worship in the City of London and really symbolises the diversity of the area.

The synagogue seats up to 450 people and its main source of natural light is from the many number of huge beautiful windows casting atmospheric shadows within the space, electricity is kept to an absolute minimum in the synagogue and it has no ceiling lights, instead it’s magnified with elaborate candle chandeliers and candle pillars.

The synagogue is undergoing a period of restoration thanks to generous contributions from the community, matched by the National Lottery fund and by the end of 2023 a new Visitor Centre will be open for all faiths to find out more about the rich history and beauty of the building and to further educate children who visit on school trips.

King Charles visited the synagogue in 2001 and had the esteemed honour of being seated in Sir Moses Montefiore’s seat, who was a ‘Subscriber’ of Lloyd’s and the most important Jewish philanthropist figure of the 19th century. This makes his links to Lloyd’s even more profound as we are committed in the Corporation to supporting the community. The synagogue will be hosting a celebration to mark King Charles’ coronation and the eternal lamp and candles will be lit for the occasion.

More about Montefiore

Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, (1784–1885), who became a financier, activist, philanthropist and Sheriff of London, was born in Livorno while his parents were in the town on business. Moses entered a counting house in the City of London, and ultimately became one of the twelve ‘Jew brokers’ licensed by the City. Moses' brother Abraham (1788-1824) joined him in the business, and their firm gained a high reputation. He donated large sums of money to promote industry, business, economic development, education and health among the Jewish community at home and abroad. Moses married his wife Judith Barent Cohen. Her sister was married to Reb Nathan Meyer Rothschild. The Montefiore firm acted as stockbrokers for Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). In 1824, Moses Montefiore and Nathan Mayer Rothschild established the Alliance Assurance Company in temporary offices in Moses Montefiore’s home in St Swithin’s Lane.  

After retiring from business, Sir Moses Montefiore devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy, particularly alleviating the distress of Jews abroad. He was president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews from 1835 to 1874, a period of 39 years, the longest tenure ever, and member of Bevis Marks Synagogue. He received a baronetcy (The Montefiore Baronetcy, of East Cliff Lodge in the Isle of Thanet and County of Kent) in 1846 in recognition of his services to humanitarian causes on behalf of the Jewish people; the title became extinct on his death in 1885.

“As Jews, we grow up learning that giving back to our community is a key pillar of our existence. We learn that ‘Tzedakah’ (philanthropy or charity) is a ‘mitzvah’ (good deed) and one of the most important.

This is something that's so important to me so it makes me particularly proud that Lloyd’s has such as strong link to Montefiore. Working in the Global Community Engagement team and managing Lloyd’s charitable giving activity is key to my own personal purpose, both at work and in my spare time.”

Find out more

Insurance has always had a clear social purpose, helping people bounce back from hard times and build confidence in everyday life. 

At Lloyd’s, we have a long history of working to support the communities around us.

Through the Lloyd’s charities and the support of our market, we helped people and communities become more resilient, more sustainable, and more inclusive for over 200 years.

Jessica Tamman - Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships (previously Global Community Engagement Manager)

05 Apr 2023