Maidenhead Synagogue

& Jewish Community





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Town of Maidenhead

Maidenhead is situated on the river Thames in southeast England, some 25 miles west of London. It is within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, which was created in 1974, initially as a local government district of the county of Berkshire, formed on the merger of a number of local authorities including the municipal borough of Maidenhead and the Royal Borough of New Windsor as well as parts of the urban district of Eton (which had been in the county of Buckinghamshire). In 1998, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead became a unitary authority, when Berkshire lost its administrative status becoming purely a ceremonial county.

Maidenhead Jewish Community

The Maidenhead Jewish community was originally formed by evacuees from London during the Second World War. The congregation, initially traditional orthodox, later became affiliated to the Reform movement.

Congregation Data


Maidenhead Synagogue

Former Name:

Maidenhead Hebrew Congregation (also known as Maidenhead & District Hebrew Congregation), until about 1957.(i)


Grenfell Lodge, Ray Park Road, Maidenhead SL6 8QX

The building is a former hostel for disabled children that was converted to a synagogue in 2001.(ii)

A significant extension to the synagogue, including a new community centre, was opened in January 2017 by Prince Edward, Duke of Wessex (iii)

Previous Addresses:

"Studlands", 9 Boyn Hill Avenue, Maidenhead SL6 5ET, from 1953 until 2001.(iv)

Previously, the congregation met at various venues, such as members' homes and rented halls, Woodcarvers Hall, Marlow Road, Maidenhead,(v) Oddfellows Hall, Brock Street and 29, Laburnum Road, Maidenhead.(vi)

Current Status:


Formation, Affiliation and Ritual:

At the initiative of Rabbi J. Galas in July 1940, an unaffiliated traditional Orthodox congregation was formed in Maidenhead primarily by families evacuated to the town during World War II.(vii) Following the war, a number of the evacuees stayed in the area and established a more permanent Jewish community.

In 1953, a successful campaign led by a leading member, Mr. Sidney Rich, (following a visit he made to a Reform synagogue in the United States)(viii) resulted in the congregation being reconstituted, adopting the Reform ritual and applying for membership of the Reform movement.

In 1954, the congregation was accepted as a member of the Associated Synagogues of Great Britain (ASGB),(ix) which subsequently became the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain and is today the Movement for Reform Judaism, of which the congregation is a constituent synagogue.




Hadashot ("News")

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

Rabbi Yechiel Gallas - from July 1940 until at least 1941(xii)

Rev. H.V. Brazil - from at least 1945 until at least 1946(xiii)

Simon Joseph - Hon. Minister from about 1948 until about 1949(xiv)

Rabbi Erwin S. Rosenblum - from 1953 until 1956(xv)

Rabbi Henry Phillips Silverman - from 1965 until c.1968 (post retirement)(xvi)

Rabbi Dr. Jonathan A. Romain - from 1980 until present (September 2023)(xvii)

Lay Officers:
(to 1950s)(xx)

Presidents & Wardens

circa 1941 - H.A. Goodman, Warden(xxi)

at least 1945-c.1946 - L. Paisner, President(xxii)

c.1949-c.1950 - L. Paisner, Warden(xxii)

c.1953-c.1954 - Sidney Rich, President

c.1954-c.1955 - V. Afia, Hon. President

c.1955-c.1956 - W. Goldstein, Hon.President

Hon. Vice President

c.1954-c.1956 - I. Madenberg


at least 1945-c.1946 - Mr. Golkin(xxiii)

c.1954-c.1955 - A. Hanbury & I. Wiseman

c.1955-c.1956 - V. Afia & Sidney Rich

Hon. Secretaries

at least 1945-c.1950 - D.B. Silverman(xxiv)

c.1953-c.1954 - E. Levenson

c.1954-c.1955 - R. Bernie

c.1955-c.1960 - H. Madenberg

c.1960-c.1965 - R. Bernie

Membership Data:

National Reports and Surveys(xxvii)

1977 - 60 male (or household) members and 28 female members

1983 - 143 male (or household) members and 51 female members

1990 - 472 members (comprising 227 households, 100 individual male and 145 individual female members)

1996 - 540 members (households)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 750 to 999 members (by household)


1999 -  720(xxviii)

2019 - about 800 households(xxix)

Legal and Charitable Status:

On 19 July 2005, the congregation, under the name Maidenhead Synagogue Limited, was incorporated as a registered (non-profit) company (company no. 05512194), a private company limited by guarantee without a share capital.(xxx)

The congregation, under the same name, is also a registered charity (registered charity no. 1110795), registered on 9 August 2005.(xxxi)

(The congregation had a previous registration as a charity (prior to its incorporation as a company), as The Maidenhead Synagogue, from 19 January 1999 (registered charity no. 1073366) until it was removed from the register on 21 February 2007, as the non-incorporated entity had ceased to exist.)(xxxii)

Cemetery & Burial Information:

The congregation is a member synagogue of the Jewish Joint Burial Society (JJBS), through which the congregation's members participate in a burial scheme.

There is a Jewish cemetery in Maidenhead - a section reserved for Jewish burials at the Braywick Cemetery, Braywick Road, Maidenhead, SL6.

For additional information (if any), see also IAJGS Cemetery Project - Maidenhead.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Based upon this being the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 through 1957. The addition "& District" appears in Jewish Chronicle press reports for 1940.

  • (ii) Reform Judaism report of an article on the congregation in The Times newspaper of 5 August 2017. This was also the address under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books from 2002.

  • (iii) Report in Maidenhead Advertiser 17 January 2017..

  • (iv) This was also the address under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books from 1954 through 2001.

  • (v) This was the address given for the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1947 through 1953. However, for the years 1948 and 1950 through 1953, there was "no information furnished" by the congregation and accordingly the year book merely reprinted the previous year's data.

  • (vi) The first reference to the Oddfellows Hall address is the Jewish Chronicle report of 15 November 1940 and the congregation continued to meet there in at least 1941, 29 Laburnum Road was the address of the congregation's then minister, where services were initially held in 1940 (Jewish Chronicle report of 26 July 1940).

  • (vii) Jewish Chronicle report of 26 July 1940.

  • (viii) Tradition and Change - A History of the Reform Movement in Britain 1840-1995 (1995) by A.J. Kershen and Rabbi Jonathan A. Romain, p.184.

  • (ix) The congregation is first listed in the Jewish Year Book 1955 as a constituent of ASGB. Furthermore, in Tradition and Change (see previous note), p.358, 1954 is given as the year of the congregation's admission to the Movement.

  • (x) and (xi) Reserved.

  • (xii) According to various Jewish Chronicle press reports in 1940 and 1941, Rabbi Galla (there referred to as J. Galas), initiated the establishment of the congregation and served as its minister.

  • (xiii) Based upon Rev. Brazil's listing as minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Book 1945/6 (the first edition to be published after publication ceased in 1940). Although he is also listed for 1947, there was "no information furnished" by the congregation for that year, the year book merely reprinting the previous year's data. There was no minister listed for the congregation (or information furnished) in Jewish Year Book 1948.

  • (xiv) Based upon Simon Joseph's listing as hon. minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Book 1949.

  • (xv) Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History, p.815, although there were no ministers listed for the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1950 through 1965.

  • (xvi) Based upon Rabbi Silverman's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1966 through 1968. There were no ministers listed for the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1969 through 1982.

  • (xvii) Rabbi Dr. Romain was listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1981 until the final publication (2015) and continues to hold such office per the congregation's website, last accessed September 2023.

  • (xviii) and (xix) Reserved.

  • (xx) Unless otherwise stated, this data here has been extracted from Jewish Year Books and the period of service given here runs from the year prior to first listing of the officer and ends with the year in which the officer was last listed. The Jewish Year Book was not published during the war years 1941 to 1945. There were no listings of officers (other than hon. secretary) after 1956.

  • (xxi) Jewish Chronicle report of 10 January 1941.

  • (xxii) Based upon Mr. Paisner's listing as president and warden of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1945/6 and 1950, respectively. Although he is also listed as president in 1947 and as warden in 1951 through 1953, the year book merely repeated the previous year's data, as there was "no information furnished" by the congregation for those years.

  • (xxiii) Based upon Mr. Golkin's listing as treasurer of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1945/6. He is also listed as treasurer in 1947, but the year book had merely repeated the previous year's data, as there was "no information furnished" by the congregation for that year.

  • (xxiv) Mr. Silverman was listed as hon. secretary in Jewish Year Books 1945/46, 1947 and 1950 through 1953. However, there was "no information furnished" by the congregation for the years 1947, 1948 and 1951 through 1953.

  • (xxv) and (xxvi) Reserved.

  • (xxvii) 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.

  • (xxviii) Board of Deputies report.

  • (xxix) Congregation's website, accessed 13 September 2019.

  • (xxx) Companies House website, in beta development, accessed 15 September 2019.

  • (xxxi) Charity Commission website, in beta development, and Open Charities website, both accessed 15 September 2019.

  • (xxxii) Charity Commission website, in beta development, accessed 15 September 2019.


On-line Articles, Bibliography and Other Material
relating to the Maidenhead Jewish Community




Community Records

Registration District (BMD):

  • Windsor & Maidenhead (since 1 July 1974)

    •  Previous Registration Districts:
         Cookham - from 1 July 1937 to 1 April 1896;
         Maidenhead - 1 April 1896 to 1 July 1974.

    • Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

  • Link to Register Office website

  • Group for Marriage Certification of Maidenhead Synagogue: West London Synagogue


Maidenhead Jewish Population



(The Jewish Year Book 1984)



(The Jewish Year Book 1991)



(The Jewish Year Book 2000)



(The Jewish Year Book 2005)

World War II Evacuee Communities

List of Reform Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in Berkshire

Jewish Communities in Greater London and its Outskirts

List of Member Synagogues of the Jewish Joint Burial Society

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 2 March 2004
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 13 September 2019
Page most recently amended: 10 September 2023

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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