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Scouts, Cubs and Brownies

A Jewish Scout Group was formed in Brighton as early as 1925, when the Jewish Chroniclereported that members of the Jewish Scout Troop gave a musical display at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove Social and Literary Society. Later, in June 1926,the newspaper reported that the 20thBrighton (Jewish) Troop were the only scouts in… Read more »

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A Jewish Scout Group was formed in Brighton as early as 1925, when the Jewish Chroniclereported that members of the Jewish Scout Troop gave a musical display at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove Social and Literary Society.

Later, in June 1926,the newspaper reported that the 20thBrighton (Jewish) Troop were the only scouts in Great Britain allowed to wear the Magen David on their uniform. J L Fernback was the Scoutmaster, and the members of a winning relay team in the Sussex Scouts Sports day included the Goldstein brothers, H Crook, L Jacobs, W Wolowitz and J Assenheim.

The troop may have continued until the outbreak of war in 1939, but it is known that a number of the Jewish schools in the area, including Whittinghame College and Beaconsfield College (both originally in The Drive, Hove) offered scouting activities to their pupils.

In the summer of 1955, 20 or so youngsters gathered in the vestry room of Middle Street Synagogue at the invitation of Harry Smith, Leslie Arlen, Jack Gilles and Sam Gumbiner, four members of Brighton AJEX, with a view to starting a scout troop.

From this meeting the 52nd Brighton Scout Troop and Cub Pack were formed, with scarves having blue and white halves in honour of Israel. The first patrol leaders were David Schaverien, Roger Abrahams, Jack Berwitz and Andy Green.

The group continued to meet weekly in the vestry room for some time until the late 1950s, when the shul board requested a transfer to 29 New Church Road. This took place, and coming under a different scout jurisdiction the group became the 15th Hove (Jewish).

Annual camps were held at Hastings, Folkestone and near Swanage, and weekends at Park Wood and Hillside. Roger Abrahams achieved the top honour in scouting, becoming a Queen’s Scout in 1960.

Meetings continued at New Church Road, provided free by the shul, until the mid-1960s, when the group moved again to a church hall near the Seven Dials. By this time the troop was run by Ronnie Rutherford (‘Whitey’) and David Schaverien. Following their departure, the group struggled on, eventually relocating again to a portacabin at Ralli Hall in the early 1980s.

Here the group enjoyed a successful period, led initially by Steven Samuels and then Michael Crook, with Roy Davis, Tony Bourne and Derek Berman leading the scouts, and a cub pack led by Robert Blass.

The Group took part in Jewish Scout Jamborees at Gilwell, and summer camps were held at Deal and the New Forest, with weekend camps at Hillside near Henfield.  By the late 1980s, numbers were dwindling, and the revival of the 15th Hove (Jewish) Scouts came to an end.

A Brownie pack was established by Jeanette Goldberg in the 1960s, but closed after a few years.

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