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Federationon of Synagogues

The Federation of Synagogues

The Federation of Synagogues was the second major synagogal organisation to be established in Britain, being founded in 1887, some 17 years after the establishment of the United Synagogue. It was intended for cater for the many small, less anglosized, congregations, or chevrot(1), that had multiplied in London, particularly since the wave of officially inspired anti-Jewish attacks and pogroms that followed the assassination of Czar Alexander II in 1881.

The Federation of Synagogues falls into a category described by the Board of Deputies as Central Orthodox, which also includes the larger United Synagogue and many congregations of similar ilk throughout the United Kingdom. Membership of Central Orthodox congregations in 2016, constituted some 52.8% of synagogue membership in the United Kingdom in 2016, although the figures are declining.(2)

Basic Data


The Federation of Synagogues

(initially The Federation of Minor Synagogues)

Head Office:

65 Watford Way, Hendon, London NW4 3AQ

Date Formed:



Ashkanazi Orthodox



Burial Society:

Federation Burial Society

Kashrut Authority:

Kashrus Board of the Federation of Synagogues (KF)

Reg. Charity No:



On 16 October 1887, a meeting, presided over by Samuel Montagu, Liberal MP for Whitechapel (later Lord Montagu of Swaythling), was held in the Spital Square Synagogue, Spitalfields, in London's East End. Attending the meeting were members of so-called "minor" synagogues and "chevrot" from the East End. At the meeting the following resolution was passed without dissent:

"That it is desirable for the Chevras to become federated for certain clearly defined objects."
"That a representative of every Chevra or Minor Synagogue in East London be invited to attend a preliminary meetimg to be held at the Spital Square Synagogue on Sunday, November 6th, at three o'clock, to discuss plans for a Federation of the Chevras."

On 6 November 1887, representatives from 18 synagogues(3) met at the Spital Square Synagogue, again under Mr. Montagu's chairmanship, to to formally constitute themselves as the Federation of Minor Synagogues (the word "Minor" was soon droped from the formal title). It was determined that the Federation would be managed by a Board of Delegates, which met for the first time on 4 December 1887.


16 synagogues(4) were represented at the first meeting of the Board of Delegates in December 1887, whose total membership did not exceed about 1,300. By the time of the Federation formally came into existence there were 21 "original federating synagogues"(5) (of which only one, the New Daston Synagogue, was outside the London East End).

In 1903, the figure had grown to 39 synagogues, representing nearly 4,400 male seat-holders.(6) By 1937, there were 68 affiliated synagogues and some 13,000 members scattered across London, but still primarily in London's East End. Today, the Federation serves 18 constituent synagogues and 7 affiliated congregations in Greater London and Manchester.(7)

Active - Constituent (Greater London area):

Active - Constituent (Provincial):

Active - Affiliated:

Defunct - Post Early 1960s

Defunct - By early 1960s:

*  A congregation that is still active.  

Φ A congregation previously affiliated to the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC)

A congregation that left the Federation and became affiliated to another organisation (the United Synagogue or UOHC) and/or independent, or merged into a congregation affiliated to the United Synagogue.

Ω A congregation, though largely independent, affiliated to the Federation in certain limited respects.

(A) The 16 synagogues that were represented at the first meeting of the Board of the Federation of Synagogues on 4 December 1887.

(B) The 21 "original federating synagogues" as listed in V.D. Lipman's "Social History of the Jews 1850-1950", pp.120-121.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in the All-UK Database associated with Greater London include:


Princelet (Princes) Street Synagogue, 1897 - 1907 (81 records);
Sandy Row Synagogue, 1894-1930 (832 records);


Edmonton Cemetery (sections A-T), 1927 - 1955 (Federation of Synagogues), (21,334 records);
Rainham Cemetery
, 1930 - 1946 (Federation of Synagogues), (1,847 records).

Databases hosted by JCR-UK
relating the Federation of Synagogues

Edmonton Federation Cemetery Records

Rainham Federation Cemetery Records


Bibliography, On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Federation of Synagogues

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

  • Selected Bibliography

    • The Federation of Synagogues 1887-1987. Geoffrey Alderman, 1987 (Federation of Synagogues)

    • The Synagogues of London. Paul Lindsay, 1993 (Valentine Mitchell, London)

    • The Lost Synagogues of London. Peter Renton, 2000 (Tymsder Publishing)


Cemeteries of the Federation of Synagogue

  • Edmonton Jewish Cemetery (active), Montague Road, Angel Road, Lower Edmonton, London N18 2NF
    Cemetery opened in 1890. See Edmonton Federation Cemetery Records for burial records of this cemetery (over 36,800 records, from the opening of the cemetery until 2015), made available to the public by the Federation, through JGSGB and JCR-UK. (Also, for additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Edmonton.)

  • Rainham Jewish Cemetery (active), 416 Upminster Road North, Rainham Essex RM13 9SB
    Purchased by the Federation in 1936 and opened in 1938. It originally comprised 106 acres, but some 20 acres were sold off in 2016.(8) See Rainham Federation Cemetery Records for burial records of this cemetery (over 25,800 records, from the opening of the cemetery until 2015), made available to the public by the Federation, through JGSGB and JCR-UK. (Also, for additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Rainham.)

  • Edgwarebury (Federation) Cemetery (new), Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware, Middlesex
    This 11 acre site was purchased by the Federation of Synagogues in 2014(9) and the first burials were expected in late 2018. (Also, for additional information see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Edgwarebury Federation Cemetery.)

Synagogal Organisation in the United Kingdom

London Jewish Community home page


Notes & Sources

( returns to main text)
  1. A "chevra" (plural "chevrot" or incorectly "chevras"), which can mean a "society", is the name often given to a small, relatively informal, orthodox Jewish congregation, frequently where the congregants were relatively recent arrivals from East Europe.

  2. "Jewish News", Issue No. 1010, 6 July 2017, pp. 1 & 4, quoting report by Board of Deputies Policy Reseach, carried out between April and September 2016. For additional data from this report on Central Orthodox see under United Synagogue.

  3. G. Alderman's "The Federation of Synagogues, 1887-1987" p.1 gives the figure as 18 synagogues.

  4. The 16 synagogues are named in G. Alderman's "The Federation of Synagogues, 1887-1987" p.20 and are marked (A) in the list of congregations on this webpage.

  5. V.D. Lipman's "Social History of the Jews in England 1850-1950", pp.120-121, states that "[t]he original federated synagogues were 21" and lists them. These synagogues are marked (B) in the list of congregations on this webpage.

  6. In Samuel Montagu's address to the Royal Commission in 1903, he stated at "[a]t the present we have 39 synagogues in the Federation, and the number of male seatholders is 4,391 representing 24,000 souls." - V.D. Lipman's "Social History of the Jews in England 1850-1950", p.121.

  7. Federation of Synagogues website, accessed 21 June 2017.

  8. Jewish Chronicle, 22 January 2016, p.25 - "Federation sells spare cemetery land for 8.3m".

  9. Jewish Chronicle report , 6 November 2014 - "Federation to open cemetery in NW London".

Page created: 27 June 2017
Page most recently amended: 3 September 2023

Research and formatting by David Shulman



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