Annie Lindey, née Levinson (Russia 1886 – Edinburgh 1953) played a significant role in the life of Edinburgh’s Jewish community, being particularly concerned with the welfare of women and children. She was
described in the Edinburgh Star as “one of the most extraordinary women the community has known.” She was hard working, contributing to the family and their business, two dress shops in Leith.
In 1925 Mrs Lindey established the Ladies Benevolent Society to provide for women in extremis within Edinburgh’s Jewish community. She thereby responded to the case of a woman with a baby whose husband had deserted her and who, as a woman, was ineligible to apply to The Edinburgh Board of Guardians for assistance. The Society was later amalgamated with The Edinburgh Board of Guardians and still provides assistance for those in need today.
The Ladies Guild, established in the 1930s, was also due to Annie Lindey’s inspiration. She was elected their first chair. The Guild played both a social and charitable role in the Jewish community, such as organising the annual children’s picnics, visiting the sick and sewing shrouds for the dead.
Mrs Lindey’s third major contribution to the community was her vision for a community centre. Recognising the inadequacy of holding the childrens’ classes (where Judaism and Hebrew are taught) in a local school, she set up a committee to raise the funds for a “hall of our own.” This was duly achieved. The house on Salisbury Road opposite the shul was purchased, opening in 1953. The Centre was a focus for the community, housing the cheder (religion school) classes, as well as hosting numerous activities and fundraising events, such as Burns Suppers, concerts and dinners, and provided a meeting space for the Jewish Youth Group, the table tennis, cricket, and football teams. All activities were relocated to the shul in 1980.