East Crosscauseway, Kleinberg’s Bakery

We are now in the heart of the Jewish area. While, at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, the more established families were moving southwards and south westwards, a high concentration of recently arrived Jews lived here. On Richmond Street, in the 1890s, there were temporary lodgings for poor Jews provided by the Jewish Board of Guardians and the (Christian) Medical Mission to the Jews set itself up in the heart of the Jewish area, on Nicolson Street, in very close proximity.

Although many families had already moved out, this remained the hub of the community in the early twentieth century. It was where many Jews lived, and certainly where they shopped. By 1914, for example, there were four kosher butchers in this small area: on South Richmond Street, St Leonards and Davie Street. And there were bakers: A. Adler was recorded in 1894 as a ‘select family baker’ but was he definitely not the first.

Moses Joel
B&W ink wash of Moses Joel. (Image courtesy of the Scottish Jewish Archives Centre.)

In 1832 an image of the Reverend Moses Joel, who was probably the second minister to the founding synagogue on North Richmond Street, was titled as ‘“High Priest of Jews” Preaching: also butcher and baker to the Jews of Edinburgh’. In later years, there were Mrs Sager on Guthrie Street, Mr Crouse and Mr Planlizy on St Leonards Street and Sam Bialik on the Pleasance; queues gathered on a Sunday morning for Bialik’s bagels.

And there was Kleinberg’s on East Crosscauseway, where you are standing now. This was the last Jewish baker in Edinburgh and one, who together with his wife Rose – and, on her death, his friend Betty – are remembered with great affection . The bakery was opened by Arthur’s father before World War I. When Arthur was 16, in 1932, his father brought him into the shop and trained him to be a Master Baker. Save for service in the War, he stayed there until he retired, at the age of 89, in 2005.

Rose and Arthur Kleinberg. (Image courtesy of the Edinburgh  Jewish Star.)

Arthur is remembered for his Paradise Cake, his cheese cake, and his kikhelekh but, most of all, for his challah, the sweet bread eaten on shabbat. When he retired, he handed the bakery over to a new non-Jewish owner, on the condition that it remained kosher and conformed to the halachah of making bread. But the new owner disappeared some years later and the community was left bereft. So, in stepped Arthur, now in his nineties and revealed his recipe to the Edinburgh Star, the journal of the Edinburgh Jewish community!

Arthur (of blessed memory) passed away in 2013 at the age of 96. But Arthur’s memory lives on, as does challah made to his recipe which is available at branches of Scotmid (the Co-op), baked by Breadwinner Bakery Edinburgh. Breadwinner Bakery asks its customers to ‘copy our Jewish brethren, ripping up this bread by hand and covering it in salt’. The story goes that Arthur Kleinberg’s successor at Kleinberg’s never did have a head for business, but the must have taken his recipe to his employment at Breadwinner! NOTE: Breadwinner has been making challah since shortly after Kleinberg’s shop closed and we are not at all sure about what happened to Mr Kleinberg’s successor, but we are happy to be corrected if anyone knows better!