Birmingham Progressive Synagogue

Birmingham, West Midlands





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Birmingham Progressive Synagogue, May 2013
© David Shulman 2013

 Congregation Data


Birmingham Progressive Synagogue

Former Name

Birmingham Liberal Jewish Synagogue, until about 1970(ii)


Bishopsgate Street, 1 Roseland Way, Birmingham B15 1HD, from September 2009(iii)

Former Address:

4 Sheepcote Street, Birmingham B16 8AA.(iv)
The synagogue, designed by architect Ernest M. Joseph in Art Deco style, was built in 1938. It closed and was demolished in 2006, as part of an urban regeneration plan. The site was initially used as a car park, until 2016 when construction commenced on "The Bank" which now occupies the spot.(v)

Current Status:


Date Formed:



Liberal (Progressive)


A constituent community of Liberal Judaism (formerly Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues) and its predecessor the Jewish Religious Union.


http://www.bpsjudaism.com/ (currently blocked to non-members)


The former Leamington & District Progressive Jewish Group was a branch of the synagogue.

Integrated Congregation:

In 1970, the Midland Reform Synagogue Movement merged with the congregation after about two years of existence.(vii)


(To view a short profile of a minister who also served other UK congregations - name in blue - hold the cursor over his or her name.)

Rev. D. J. Seligson(viii) - about 1938 until at least 1940

Rev. Vivian George Simmons - from 1943 until 1948(ix)

Rev. Bernard Hooker - from about 1948 until about 1961(x)

Rev. P. Rosenberg(xi) - from about 1961 until about 1964

Rabbi Lawrence Rigál - from 1964 until 1967(xii)

Rabbi David Freeman - from about 1968 until about 1971(xiv)

Rabbi David J. Zucker - from 1972 until 1979(xv)

Rabbi Dr. A. Friedmann(xvi) - from about 1980 until about 1986

Rabbi Pete Tobias - from about 1992 until about 1994(xvii)

Rabbi Dr. Margaret Jacobi(xviii) - 1994 to present (July 2019)

Membership Data


1938 - 160(xxi)

National Reports and Surveys(xxii)

1977 - 260 male (or household) members and 89 female members

1983 - 225 male (or household) members and an estimated 225 female members

1990 - 284 members (comprising 110 households, 49 individual male and 125 individual female members)

1996 - 279 members (households)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 200 to 299 members (by household)

Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered charity (no. 242057), registered on 4 October 1966. The governing document is the congregation's constitution of May 1963 as amended.(xxiii)

Registration District:

Birmingham - link to Register Office website

Places of Worship Registration:

The synagogue at Sheepcote Road is registered as a Place of Worship - Worship Register Number 58191 - under the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855.(xxiv)


The congregation has an arrangement with the orthodox Birmingham Hebrew Congregation under which has use of the Witton New Jewish Cemetery, Warren Road, Birmingham B44 8QH(xxv)

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) This was the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books until 1970.

  • (iii) Congregation's website, accessed July 2017.

  • (iv) This was the address given in Jewish Year Books from 1945/46 until 2006. No address was given in 2007, and in 2008 a temporary address of Jericho House, 186 Edward Road, B12 0LX was given.

  • (v) BirminghamWeAre website. To view a description of the Jewish architectural works by E.M. Joseph, hold your cursor over his name.

  • (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) Tradition and Change by A.J. Kershen and J.A. Romain (1995), p.243.

  • (viii) Based upon Rev. Seligman's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1939 and 1940. (It was not published 1940 through 1944).

  • (ix) Based upon Rev. Simmons's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 through 1948 and his entry in the Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History.

  • (x) Based upon Rev. Hooker's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1949 through 1961.

  • (xi) Based upon Rev. Rosenberg's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1962 through 1964.

  • (xii) Based upon Rev. (later Rabbi) Rigál's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1965 through 1968 and the website of the late Rabbi Regal.

  • (xiii) Reserved.

  • (xiv) Based upon Rabbi Freeman's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1969 through 1971. There was no minister listed for 1972.

  • (xv) Based upon Rabbi Zucker's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1973 through 1979 and Rabbi Zucker's website. There was no minister listed for 1980.

  • (xvi) Based upon Rabbi Friedmann's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1981 through 1986. There was no minister listed for 1987 through 1992.

  • (xvii) Based upon Rabbi Tobias's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1993 and 1994.

  • (xvii) Based upon Rabbi Jacobi's profile on Liberal Judaism's website and the congregation's Facebook account, last accessed 11 July 2019.

  • (xix) and (xx) Reserved.

  • (xxi) Jewish Year Book 1939.

  • (xxii) Reports on "Synagogue Membership in Reports on synagogue membership in the United Kingdom, published by or on behalf of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and which can be viewed on the website of the Institute of Jewish Policy Research. Click HERE for links to the various reports.

  • (xxiii) Charity Commission website, in beta development, and Open Charities website, both accessed 11 July 2019.

  • (xxiv) Page 58 of the 2010 List of Places of Worship.

  • (xxv) Jewish Heritage in Britain and Ireland by S. Kadish (2015), p.150.


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation

  • Trustees Annual Reports and Accounts filed with the Charities Commission (pdf):

  • Bibliography - Birmingham.

Birmingham & District Jewish Community home page

List of Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in West Midlands

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 7 November 2005
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 11 July 2019
Page most recently amended: 9 May 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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