Oaks Lane Reform Synagogue

(South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue)

Newbury Park, Ilford, Essex



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Congregation Data

Working Name:

Oaks Lane Reform Synagogue from September 2023(i)

Legal Name of the Congregation and Previous Logo:


South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue
(often referred to as SWESRS)

Foundation, Previous Names and Merger:

In 1956 the congregation was founded, as S.W. Essex Synagogue.(ii)
In about 1966, it changed its name to South-West Essex Reform Synagogue (known as SWERS), later spelled South West Essex Reform Synagogue.(iii)

In 1997 the congregation merged with the Settlement Synagogue and the name South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue was adopted.(iv)


Oaks Lane, Newbury Park, Ilford, Essex IG2 7PL (from about 1966)(vi)

Previous Address:

112 Balfour Road, Ilford, Essex (from about 1958 until about 1966)(vii)

Initially the congregation met in members' homes and then in the Labour Hall in Ilford, Essex.(viii)

Branch Synagogue:

For some year following the 1997 merger, until at least 2008, Sabbath services were also held (as the Stepney Branch of the merged congregation) at the premises previously used by the Settlement Synagogue, 2 Beaumont Grove (now Raine House), Stepney Green, London E1 4NQ.(ix)

Current Status:





A constituent synagogue of the Movement for Reform Judaism (formerly the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain).



Senior Ministers:
To view a short profile of a minister hold the cursor over his or her name.

Rabbi Alan W. Miller - From about 1958 until about 1961(xi)

Rabbi Dow Marmur - from about 1963 until about 1969(xii)

Rabbi Nicholas Ginsbury - from about 1970 until about 1973(xiii)

Rabbi Henry Goldstein - from 1973 until 2001, and thereafter emeritus(xiv)

Rabbi Lawrence Rigál - from 1997 until about 2006, and thereafter emeritus(xv)

Rabbi Maurice Arnold Michaels - from about 2000 until about 2011, and thereafter emeritus(xvi)

Rabbi Stephen Howard (part-time temporary) - from November 2011 until September 2012(xviii)

Rabbi Nancy Morris - from September 2012 until December 2014(xix)

Rabbi Dr. Jacqueline (Jackie) Tabick (part time temporary) - January 2015 until April 2016(xx)

Rabbi Lisa Barrett - from April 2016 until 2021(xxi)

Rabbi Jordan Helfman - from January 2022 until present (September 2023)(xxii)

Associate or Junior Rabbis:

Rabbi G.C. Goldberg - from about 1978 until about 1980(xxiii)

Rabbi Howard Cooper - from about 1980 until about 1982(xxiv)

Rabbi Michael Pertz - from about 2004 until about 2011(xxv)

Rabbi Lev Taylor - from July 2022 until present (September 2023)(xxvi)

Membership Data:

National Reports & Surveys(xxxi)

1977 - 675 male (or household) members and 73 female members

1983 - 779 male (or household) members and 61 female members

1990 - 1,035 members (comprising 674 households, 125 individual male and 236 individual female members)

1996 - 971 members (households)

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

Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered unincorporated charity (no. 236663), registered on 10 May 1965, the governing document being the congregation's Constitution, as amended 30 Setember 1999.(xxxii) It appears that prior to the 1997 merger, The Settlement Synagogue was the registered charity under this number.

Local Government District:

Ilford, a suburb in northeast London, is in the London Borough of Redbridge and was previously (until 1 April 1965) in the former Municipal Borough of Ilford within the County of Essex.(xxxiii)

Bibliography - Redbridge

Registration District (BMD):

Redbridge(xxxiv) - Link to Register Office website

Cemetery Information:

Membership of the synagogue includes burial rights through the Jewish Joint Burial Society (JJBS) at one of its cemeteries, principally the Western Cemetery in Cheshunt. There is also the option (through the JJBS) of a Woodland Burial in Cheshunt or cremation at Golders Green Crematorium. Special arrangements may, however, exist for ceartain members who had previously been members of the Settlement Synagogue.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) This is the congregation's working name adopted from Rosh Hashana 2023, following approval at an annual general meeting held on 16 July 2023. The legal name of the congregation (South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue), used for bank accounts, legal documents, etc., remains unaltered (press report 18 July 2023).

  • (ii) 1956 is the year given for the establishment of the congregation on the congregation's website and in every listing of the congregation in Jewish Year Books, and this name was the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books from 1957 through 1966.

  • (iii) In the listing of the congregation under this name in Jewish Year Books from 1967 through 1997, it was written with a hyphen from 1967 through 1994 and without a hyphen from 1995.

  • (iv) The History of The Settlement Synagogue by Rabbi L. Rigál.

  • (v) Reserved.

  • (vi) Based upon the first listing of this address in the Jewish Year Book 1967. Oaks Lane runs north and then east from Eastern Avenue (part of the A12) for about three-quarters of a mile, starting approximately one-fifth of a mile east of Newbury Park underground station.

  • (vii) Based upon the listing of this address for the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1959 through 1966. Balfour Road is approximately three quarters of a mile south of Oaks Lane, and runs north for about three-quarters of a mile from Cranbrook Road (the A123), opposite Ilford Railway Station.

  • (viii) History of the congregation on its website, accessed 7 December 2018.

  • (ix) The History of The Settlement Synagogue by Rabbi L. Rigál.

  • (x) Reserved.

  • (xi) Based upon Rabbi Miller's listing as minister (initially with the title Rev.) of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1959 through 1961.

  • (xii) Based upon Rabbi Marmur's listing as minister of this congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1964 through 1969.

  • (xiii) Based upon Rabbi Ginsbury's listing as minister of this congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1971 through 1973.

  • (xiv) Rabbi Goldstein's "Who's Who" entries in Jewish Year Books, latest 2008.

  • (xv) Based upon Rabbi Rigál's listing as minister or emeritus minister of the congregation in the Jewish Year Books 1998 through 2011 and the website of the late Rabbi Regal. Rabbi Rigál had served as the minister of the Settlement Synagogue from 1985 until its merger with the congregation in 1997.

  • (xvi) Based upon Rabbi Michael's listings in Jewish Year Books 2001 through 2011.

  • (xvii) Reserved.

  • (xviii) Reference to Rabbi Howard in Jewish Chronicle report of 3 August 2018. 

  • (xix) Report of Rabbi Morris's respective appointment and departure in Ilford Recorder report of 23 September 2012 and statement issued by congregation on 23 June 2014.

  • (xx) Reference to Rabbi Tabick in Jewish Chronicle report of 3 August 2018.

  • (xxi) Report on Rabbi Barrett in Jewish Chronicle of 3 August 2018 and congregation's website, accessed on January 2020 and June 2023.

  • (xxii) Reform Synagogue release of Rabbi Helfman upcoming appointment of 24 June 2021 and congregation's website, last accessed September 2023.

  • (xxiii) Based upon Rabbi Goldberg's listing as second-named minister of this congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1979 and 1980.

  • (xxiii) Based upon Rabbi Cooper's listing as second-named minister of this congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1981 and 1982. 

  • (xxv) Based upon Rabbi Pertz's listing as a rabbi for this congregation in Jewish Year Books from 2005 through 2012 and Rabbi Pertz's LinkedIn account, accessed 10 December 2018.

  • (xxv) Rabbi Taylor's profile on the congregation's website, accessed June 2023 and September 2023.

  • (xxvii) to (xxx) Reserved.

  • (xxxi) 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.

  • (xxxii) Charities Commission website accessed 14 September 2023.

  • (xxxiii) The London Borough of Redbridge, an Outer London Borough within the Greater London administrative area, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the Municipal Borough of Ilford (incorporated as a borough in 1926) with the Municipal Borough of Wanstead and Woodford and parts of both the Municipal Borough of Dagenham and the Unban District of Chigwell. All these areas had then been part of the County of Essex.

  • (xxxi) The former Registration District was Ilford, from 1 July 1939 until 1 April 1965. All registers would now be held by current register office.


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to this Congregation


on Third Party websites

List of Reform Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in the London Borough of Redbridge

List of Member Synagogues of the Jewish Joint Burial Society

Jewish Congregations in Greater London (other than East End)

Greater London home page

Page created: 16 November 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 10 December 2018
Latest revision or update: 14 September 2023

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