Watford and District Synagogue

& Watford Jewish Community

Watford, Hertfordshire




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congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
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Borough of Watford

Watford, in the the county of Hertfordshire, is a local government district (with borough status). Until 1974, it was a municipal borough. It has a population of about 80,000 and is situated a few miles to the northeast of the administrative boundary of Greater London.

Watford Synagogue
Watford & District Synagogue, Nascot Road, June 2018
© David Shulman 2018

Watford Jewish Community

Although there are records of Jews living in Watford from the early nineteenth century, there were no formal congregations established until well into the twentieth century. A congregation was formed in 1918, which lasted until the mid 1920's, and several congregations were established during WWII. The present congregation was established in 1946

Congregation Data


Watford and District Synagogue

Former or Alternative Names:

Watford Synagogue

Watford Affiliated Synagogue(i)

Watford & Bushey Affiliated Synagogue(ii)

Watford & District Hebrew Congregation

Watford Hebrew Congregation

See also Earlier Congregations below.


16 Nascot Road, Watford, Herts WD17 3RE (from about 1957(iii), present building dates from 1992(iv))

Previously at 38 Clarendon Road, Watford (from at least 1949(v))

Current Status:


Date Founded:

The present congregation dates from December 1946.(vii) There were, however, a number of predecessor congregations (see below) and it is possible that the congregation was formed to replace and unite two rival congregations that had emerged, namely the congregation meeting in the Methodist Hall and the Garston & North Watford Hebrew Congregation (as discussed below).


Orthodox - Ashkenazi


The congregation joined the United Synagogue as an affiliated synagogue in 1948(viii), becoming a constituent (full mmber) synagogue in about 1994.(ix)

The Congregation is part of the 5+1 group, consisting of six small United Synagogue communities, five in Hertfordshire and one in Bedfordshire.(x) The 5+1 has a intercommunal social programme intended to match those provided by large synagogues, whilst retaining the closeness of smaller communities.



Ministers & Rabbinical Team(xi):

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

Rev. Mordechai Miloslawer - 1947 until about 1950(xii)

Rabbi Dr. Arnost Zvi Ehrman - 1976(xiii)

Dr. Lewis H. Glinert - about 1980 until about 1985(xiv)

Geoffrey Turetsky - about 1988 unti about 1990(xv)

Rabbi Mark L. Solomon - 1990 until 1992(xvii)

Rabbi Aaron Blackman - 1993 until about 1996(xviii)

Rabbi Daniel Roselaar (& Rebbetzen Na'amah Roselaar)- about 1996/97(xix)

Rabbi Jeremy Rosten - about 1999 until about 2001(xx)

Rabbi Barry Lerer (& Rebbetzen Naomi Lerer) - January 2002 until June 2006(xxi)

Rabbi Ephraim Levine - 2006 until about 2019(xxii)

Rabbi Mordechai Chalk (& Rebbetzen Shira Chalk) - May 2020 to present (December 2022)(xxiii)

Officers (to 1950)(xxiv):

President or Chairman

1946-47 - S. Gordon (Pres.)

1946-47 - W. Gasson (Ch.)

c.1947-48 - S. Hudes (Ch.)

c.1948-50 - Jack Goldbart (Pres.)


1946-50 - D. Aaronson

Vice Chairman

1946-47 - S.Hudes

c.1947-48 - W. Gasson

c.1948-50 - S. Cossock


Hon. Secretary

1946-50 - M. Garelick(xxv)

Officers (early 1950s)(xxiv):


c. 1950-51 - Jack Goldbart & S. Cossack

c. 1950-51 - Jack Goldbart & H. Aaronson

c. 1953-55 - Jack Goldbart & S. Cossock

c. 1955-56 - Jack Goldbart & S. M. Hudes

Financial Representative(xxvi)

c.1950-52 - L. Cohen

c.1952-53 - G. Romain

c.1953-56 - L. Cohen

Hon. Secretary

c. 1950-1960 - Mrs. S. Goldbart

Membership Data:

United Synagogue(xxvii) - Number of male seat-holders:









Reports & Surveys(xxviii)

1977 - 190 male (or household) members and 32 female members

1983 - 99 male (or household) members and 24 female members

1990 - 107 members (comprising 77 households, 1 individual male and 29 female members)

1996 - 139 members (comprising 132 households, 2 individual male and 5 female members)

2010 - listed as having 100 to 199 members (by household)

2016 - listed as having 50 to 99 members (by household)



The Watford & Bushey Hebrew Congregation (see separate page) was active from 1918 until no later than 1927.

WWII Congregations:

During World War II, a number of congregation were organised in Watford and surrounding areas, presumably in part due to the influx of evacuees from central London. It is by no means certain of the exact relationship of one with the other or with Watford & District congregation ultimately established in 1946.

Congregation organised by Rev. Freeman

Rev. E. Freedman of Abbots Langley in January 1941 appears to have organised Sabbath morning services in the Watford area(xxix) although it is uncertain which, if any, or the congregations listed below developed from Rev. Freedman's efforts.

Congregation at The Gables, Heathfield Road, Bushey

In May 1941, services were first held by the recently-inaugurated Watford & Bushey Hebrew Congregation (no apparent relationship with previous congregation of same name) at The Gables, Heathfield Road, Bushey, the home of a Mr. Bard.(xxx) After 1942, there is no further mention of this congregation.

Congregation at Methodist Hall (later Spiritualist Hall), Queen's Road

In June 1941, sevices were first held at the Methodist Hall 91 Queen's Street, Watford by the (subsequently named) Watford & District Hebrew Congregation (Hon. Secretary L. Dunitz).(xxxi) Based upon press reports this congregation continued to hold weekly services until at least 1945.

Garston and North Watford Hebrew Congregation

It would appear that in 1942, High Holy Day services were held both in North Watford (St Peterís Hall, 58 Tudor Drive) and Garston (The Hall, 3 Horseshoe Lane)(xxxii)  as well as at the Methodist Hall. In June 1944, there is the first reference to the Garston & North Watford Hebrew Congregation, with services taking place in Parkgate School, Parkgate Road, Watford.(xxxiii) Thereafter, there are frequent references to the congregation in press report, holding weekly services until late 1946. This congregation is also listed for the first and only time in the Jewish Year Book 1947 (the only Watford congregation listed that year), with Mr. Garelick as secretary. In December 1946, Mr.Garelick is the person who convenes the meeting for formation of the Watford & District Synagogue and is elected the newly formed congregation's first hon. secretary.

Charitable Status:

As a constituent of the United Synagogue, the congregation operates within that organisation's registered charity status (registered charity no. 242552). 

Registration District:

Hertfordshire(xxxiv) - Link to Register Office website.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) This was the name which appeared in Jewish Year Books 1962, 1963 and 1973 to 1994. From the 1995 edition until the Jewish Year Book ceased publication in 2015, the congregation was listed simply as "Watford Synagogue". However, the name used on the congregation's website (as last accessed July 2020) is Watford & District Synagogue. 

  • (ii) Generally Jewish Year Books 1964 to 1969, although the edition 1965 to 1967 refer to Watford & Bushey Associated Synagogue, although this may have been an error.

  • (iii) Based upon first mention of this address in Jewish Year Book 1958.

  • (iv) Report dated 25 May 2017 entitled "Watford Synagogue Celebrates Centenary" formerly on the United Synagogue's website.

  • (v) This address appears in a Jewish Chronicle press report of 9 September 1949 and is listed as the address of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1950 to 1957.

  • (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) Jewish Chronicle press reports 6 December 1946 and 7 January 1947. 1946 is also the year given in Jewish Year Books as the founding of the congregation.   

  • (viii) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), page 222.

  • (ix) This status is first given in the Jewish Year Book 1995.

  • (x) The other five congregations are Potters Bar & Brookmans Park United Synagogue, St Albans United Synagaogue, Shenley United Jewish Community and Welwyn Garden City Synagogue in Hertfordshire and Luton United Synagogue in Bedfordshire.

  • (xi) No other ministers were listed in Jewish Year Books for this congregation apart from those shown.

  • (xii) Based upon Jewish Chronicle press report of 5 September 1947 of Rev. D. Miloslawer's appointment and his listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1948 through 1950. By 1948, the congregation was advertising for a new minister. Rev. M. Miloslawer was, however, already resident in Watford by September 1945 - Jewish Chronicle press report of 28 September 1945.

  • (xiii) Based Rabbi Ehrman's listing as minister of the congregation in in the Jewish Year Book 1977. He died in office.

  • (xiv) Based upon Dr. Glinert's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1981 through 1984.

  • (xv) Based upon G. Turetsky's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1989 and 1990. His father was Rabbi Dr. Moshe Turetsky.

  • (xvi) Reserved.

  • (xvii) Based upon Rabbi Solomon's on-line profile, although he is listed as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1991 through 1994. Subsequent to leaving Watford, he left orthodox judaism and joined Liberal Judaism.

  • (xviii) Based upon Rabbi Blackman's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1995 and 1996.

  • (xix) Based upon Rabbi Roselaar's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Book 1997.  

  • (xx) Based upon Rabbi Rosten's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 2000 and 2001. He subsequently left the life of the pulpit and joined the business world (Jewish Chronicle pressreader report 21 December 2007).

  • (xxi) Based upon information provided personally by Rabbi Lerer in January 2019.

  • (xxii) Rabbi Levine's profile formerly on congregation's website, accessed 2019. He ceased being minister of the congregation towards the end of 2019 or early 2020.

  • (xxiii) Congregation's website, last accessed December 2022.

  • (xxiv) Officers serving from 1946 to 1947 are based upon a Jewish Chronicle press report of 7 January 1947 listed the officers elected at the initial meeting of the congregation in December 1946. Thereafter, the years of service of the officers are extracted from Jewish Year Books.  It is assumed that when an officer is listed in a particular book, he had assumed office by the year prior to the year of the book and continued until at least until the next year.

  • (xxv) M. Garelick had also acted as secretary of the Gaston & North Watford Hebrew Congregation (Jewish Year Book 1947) - see WWII Congregations below.

  • (xxvi) Generally, after 1956, the Jewish Year Books ceased listing Wardens or Finacial Representativesfor this congregation.

  • (xxvii) The United Synagogue 1870-1970 by Aubrey Newman (1977), pages 218/19.

  • (xxviii) 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.

  • (xxix) Jewish Chronicle press report 24 January 1941. Subsequent Rev.Freedman was appointed Liaison Officer for Watford and distric by the Board of Deputies. Jewish Chronicle press report 15 August 1841.

  • (xxx) Jewish Chronicle press reports of 30 May 1941. and 27 June 1941.

  • (xxxi) Jewish Chronicle press reports of 27 June 1941 and 8 August 1941.

  • (xxxii) Jewish Chronicle press reports of 28 May 1942 and 4 September 1942.

  • (xxxiii) Jewish Chronicle press report of 16 June 1944.

  • (xxxiv) The former Registration District was Watford, from the formation of Congregation until†1†April 2008. All registers would now be held by current register office.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the database associated with Watford include:

1851 Anglo Jewry Database (updated 2016)

Individuals in the 1851 Anglo Jewry Database who were living in Watford during the 1790s (1 record), 1810s (1 record), 1820s (5 records), 1830s (8 records), 1850s (4 records), 1860s (1 record), 1880s (3 records), 1900s (1 record) and 1910s (1 record).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Watford Jewish Community



Watford Jewish Cemetery Information

Although there is no Jewish cemetery in Watford, the United Syngogue cemetery in Bushey is situated just a short distance from the boundary with Watford.

(see Cemeteries of the United Synagogue)


Watford Jewish Population Data



(2001 Census results)



(2011 Census results)



(2021 Census results)

The above census result figures represent those who answered the voluntary question 'What is your religion?' by clicking the category 'Jewish' among the eight check-box options (another of which was 'No religion'). However, between 6.0% to 7.7% of the population nationally did not answer the question and the figure would not have included those who considered themselves Jews by ethnicity but not by religion, and accordingly the actual number of Jews would be higher than the figures shown.

List of United Synagogue Congregations

Jewish Congregations in Hertfordshire

Jewish Congregations in Greater London and its Outskirts

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 21 May 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 15 July 2018
Latest revision or update: 25 December 2022

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