Liberal Judaism

Liberal Judaism, a grouping of liberal and progressive congregations, is the most radical of the various synagogue movements in the United Kingdom. Membership of Liberal congregations in 2016 (including the unaffiliated Belsize Square Synagogue) constituted some 8.2% of synagogue membership in the United Kingdom.(1)

Basic Data


Liberal Judaism

Former Names:

Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues (1944 to 2002)

Jewish Religious Union for the Advancement of Liberal Judaism (1911 to 1944)

Jewish Religious Union (1902 to 1911)

Head Office:

The Montagu Centre, 21 Maple Street, London W1T 4BE

Date Formed:



Liberal and Progressive Judaism


Member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism



Burial Society:

Jewish Joint Burial Board of 1 Victory Road, Wanstead E11 1UL (serving Reform, Masorti, Liberal and Independent Communities in England), established 1968

Reg. Charity No:

1151090 (Company Registration No. 08281223)


The founding father of British Liberal Judaism was Claude Montifiore, who at a meeting held on 19 February 1902 was instrumental in founding the Jewish Religious Union (JRU), which held its first prayer meeting on 18 October 1902. This led in 1911 to the opening of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London. By 1928, two other Liberal congregations had been founded in London and one in Liverpool. In 1944, the JRU (which had added the words "for the Advancement of Liberal Judaism" to its name in 1911) was reorganised as the "Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues".


In 1949 there were 11 member congregation. Today, Liberal Judaism now has 39 communities, as well as two developing/affiliated congregations, throughout Britain and Ireland(2). Also affiliated is a community in Denmark and a developing/affiliated congregation the Netherlands. At one time, the organisation included  the Bene Israel Rodef Shalom congregation of Bombay (now Mumbai), India (which is now affiliated directly with the WUPJ).

Greater London and Vicinity:


Provincial and Outer London:

 * An active congregation or group currently affiliated to Liberal Judaism

 Φ congregation previously affiliated to Reform Judaism

  An active congregation or group, formerly affiliated to Liberal Judaism, now unaffiliated but following Liberal tradition.

 ◊ An active congregation, formerly affiliated to Liberal Judaism, but now affiliated to Reform Judaism.

 ◊ A congregation formerly affiliated to both Liberal Judaism and Reform Judaism, but that has now merged into an active congregation solely affiliated to Reform Judaism.


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Liberal Judaism Movement


  • Selected Bibliography

    • The Synagogues of London by Paul Lindsay, 1993 (Valentine Mitchell, London)

    • Israel Isidor Mattuck: Architect of Liberal Judaism by Pam Fox, 2016 (Vallentine Mitchell)


Cemeteries of Liberal Judaism in the Greater London Area

  • Willesden (Liberal) Cemetery, Pound Lane, Willesden, London NW10
    (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Willesden Liberal)

  • Edgwarebury Cemetery (active), Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware HA8 8QP
    This cemetery, opened in 1973, is also shared by various non-orthodox Jewish congregations as well as the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Edgwarebury)

  • Bulls Cross Ride Cemeteries (active), Cheshunt, Herts. EN7 5HT
    Bulls Cross Ride had originally been the cemetery of the Western (now Western Marble Arch) Synagogue as well as the independent West End Great Synagogue. It is also the principal cemetery of the Jewish Joint Burial Society (JJBS), which serves several Liberal synagogues as well as certain Reform, Masorti and Independent congregations, and whose section comprises part of the original Western Cemetery as well as the newer Woodland Cemetery. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Cheshunt)

In addition, many municipal cemeteries throughout Britain have sections
reserved for non-Orthdox Jewish burials.

Synagogal Organisation in the United Kingdom

London Jewish Community home page


Notes & Sources ( returns to main text)

  1. "Jewish News", Issue No. 1010, 6 July 2017, pp. 1, 4, quoting report by Board of Deputies Policy Reseach, carried out between April and September 2016.

  2. Liberal Judaism website, accessed 22 June 2017.

    Page created: 27 June 2017
    Latest revision or update:1 June 2018


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