Bournemouth Reform Synagogue

Bournemouth, Dorset




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Congregation Data


Bournemouth Reform Synagogue

Former Name

Bournemouth New Synagogue until about 1971(ii)

Hebrew Name

Sha'arei Tzedek(iii) ("Gates of Rightousness")


53 Christchurch Road, BH1 3PW (POB 8), Bournemouth(iv)

(until about 1962, the address was Trinity Hall, Old Christchurch Road, Bournemouth(v))

Current Status:


Date Formed:





A constituent synagogue of the the Movement for Reform Judaism (formerly known as the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (RSGB) and its predecessor, Association of Synagogues of Great Britain)(vii)



Assisted Congregations:

The South Hampshire Reform Jewish Community was initially affiliated to the congregation in the 1980s.(viii)

The congregation also acts as a "mother congregation" to the Isle of Wight Jewish Society.(ix)

Breakaway Congregation:

In 2009, a group broke away from this congregation. Initially known as the Southern Reform (later Jewish) Community, it subsequently became the Wessex Liberal Jewish Community. (See Press Reports relating to the breakaway.)


(To view a short profile of a minister - hold the cursor over his name.)

Rev. Charles Berg - from 1948 until 1953(xi)

Rev. Samuel Isaac Solomons - - 1953 to 1969(xii)

Rabbi Harold Vallins - 1970 to 1972(xiii)

Rabbi David Soetendorp - 1972 to 2005(xiv)

Rabbi Neil Amswych - August 2005 to June 2014(xv)

Rabbi Maurice Arnold Michaels (part-time) - October 2014 to present (2019) (xvi)

Associate Rabbi:

Rabbi Jenny Goldfried Amswych - July 2007 to June 2014(xvii)

Membership Data


1999 - 646(xx)

National Reports and Surveys(xxi)

1977 - 220 male (or household) members and 73 female members

1983 - 246 male (or household) members and 62 female members

1990 - 726 members (comprising 490 households, 71 individual male and 165 individual female members)

1996 - 505 members (comprising 246 households, 88 individual male and 171 individual female members)

2010 - listed as having 400 to 499 members (by household)

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

Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered charity (no. 1040356), registered on 25 August 1993. The governing document is the congregation's constitution dated 18 April 1993, as subsequently amended.(xxii)

Registration District (BMD):

Bournemouth (since 1 October 1932)(xxiii)  - Link to Register Office website.

Group for Marriage Certification: West London Synagogue.


The congregation is a member synagogue of the Jewish Joint Burial Society (JJBS), through which the congregation's members participate in a burial scheme, and generally uses the the Reform plots at Kinson Cemetery.

For details see Bournemouth Jewish Cemetery Information on Bournemouth home page.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved

  • (ii) Based upon this being the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books through 1971.

  • (iii) Congregation'a website, last accessed 15 August 2019.

  • (iv) This was the address given in Jewish Year Books from 1963 and is the current address given on the congregation'a website, last accessed 15 August 2019.

  • (v) This was the address given in Jewish Year Books from 1948 through 1962.

  • (vi) Congregation'a website, last accessed 15 August 2019.

  • (vii) The congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books as a constituent of ULPS until 1960 and as a constituent of RSGB from 1963.

  • (viii) The South Hampshire community was listed in Jewish Year Books 1987 (its first appearance) and 1988 as affiliated to the congregation.

  • (ix) In a Jewish News article "The Wight stuff" of 11 November 2016, it states that the "Reform Jewish community on the [Isle of Wight]......is looked after by the Bournemouth Reform Congregation"

  • (x) Reserved.

  • (xi) Based upon Rabbi Berg's entry in the Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History and Jewish Year Book listing.

  • (xii) Based upon Rev. Solomons' listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1954 through 1969. There was no minister listed for 1970.

  • (xiii) Based upon Rabbi Vallin's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1971 and 1972. 

  • (xiv) Based upon Rabbi Soetendorp's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1973 through 2006 and Jewish Chronicle report of 15 June 1997. There was no minister listed for 2007.

  • (xv) Based upon Rev. Amswych's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 2008 and 2014. There was no minister listed for 2015 Year Book (the last year of publication).

  • (xvi) Congregation's website and various press reports.

  • (xvii) Based upon biography of Rabbi Jenny Amswych on website of Temple Beth El, Sante Fe.

  • (xviii) and (xix) Reserved.

  • (xx) Board of Deputies Report.

  • (xxi) 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.

  • (xxii) Charities Commission's website (in beta trial stage) and open charities website, both accessed 15 August 2019.

  • (xxiii) For previous registration districts, see on Bournemouth Home Page. Any registers would now be held by current register office.


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation

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

  • Bibliography:

    • "EMET": A collection of Member's true life stories, edited by E. Cowan, published 1999 by the Congregation.

    • other Bournemouth bibliography.

Bournemouth Jewish Community home page

List of Reform Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in Dorset

List of Member Synagogues of the Jewish Joint Burial Society

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 24 February 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 15 August 2019
Latest revision or update: 15 October 2020

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