Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue

Bedford and Luton, Bedfordshire




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Congregation Data


Bedfordshire Progressive Synagogue(i)

Hebrew Name

Rodef Shalom (hence alternative name Rodef Shalom Progressive Synagogue)

Former Names

Chiltern Progressive Synagogue from about 1983 until about 1999(ii)

Beds-Herts Liberal Jewish Synagogue from formation to about 1983(iii)

(Luton Liberal Jewish Congregation, alternative name from about 1970 to about 1977(iv))


Services are now conducted mainly in Bedford.(v) Previously (subsequent to 1982), the congregation was based at Luton, where it held the majority of its services, but with regular monthly services in Bedford. Certain special events still take place in membersí homes.(vi)

Prior to 1982, meetings took place mainly in St. Albans and Bedford.(vi)

Current Status:


Date Formed:



Liberal / Progressive


A constituent community of Liberal Judaism, formerly the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues (ULPS)



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

Rabbi Lawrence Rigál - part time from about 1977 until about 1985(x)

David Young has served as lay minister and teacher from 1988 until present (March 2024)(xi)

Membership Data

National Reports and Surveys(xii)

1977 - 34 male (or household) members and 3 female members

1983 - 44 male (or household) members and 40 female members

1990 - 55 members (households)

1996 - 37 members (comprising 12 households, 16 individual male and 9 individual female members)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having under 50 members (by household)

Registration Districts (BMD):

for Bedford:

Bedford, since 1 April 2009(xiii) - Link to Register Office

for Luton:

Luton, since 1 July 1837 - Link to Register Office


Membership subscriptions includes fees to a burial fund, which entitles the member to be buried at the Liberal Jewish Section at Edgwarebury Cemetery, Edgware. Members also also have access to the Jewish section in the municipal cemetery at Norse Road, Bedford. See Cemeteries of Liberal Judaism.(xiv)

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) The current name, as per the congregation's website and the name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books from 2000.

  • (ii) The name under which the congregation was generally listed in Jewish Year Books from 1984 through 1999 (although the congregation does not appear to be listed in 1991 through 1994).

  • (iii) The name under which the congregation was generally listed in Jewish Year Books until 1983.

  • (iv) The congregation was dual listed in Jewish Year Books until 1981. It was listed under St Albans from 1970 (the first listing of the congregation) through 1981, and under Luton from 1971 through 1981 The listing under Luton until 1977 was under the name Luton Liberal Jewish Congregation, but referred to the same congregation. From 1982, the congregation was solely listed under Luton.

  • (v) Communication from a Congregation member March 2024.

  • (vi) Congregation's website, last accessed 22 July 2019.

  • (vii) Congregation's website, accessed 10 July 2017.

  • (viii) and (ix) Reserved.

  • (x) Although there were no ministers listed for this congregation in any Jewish Year Books, the Resume of the late Rabbi Regale on his website relates that during part of the period when he served as minister of South London Liberal Jewish Synagogue and West Central Liberal Jewish Synagogue, he also served this congregation (which would have been approximately from 1977 to 1985), which involved "driving to St Albans, Luton or Bedford twice each week  and once for the Friday night service".

  • (xi) Communication from a Congregation member March 2024.

  • (xii) 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.

  • (xiii) The former Registration Districts were Bedford from 1 July 1837 to 1†May 1999; and Bedfordshire from 1 May 1999 to 1†April 2009. Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

  • (xiv) Congregation's website, last accessed 22 July 2019.

Bedford Jewish Community home page

Luton Jewish Community home page

St Albans Jewish Community home page

List of Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Communities in Bedfordshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 2 March 2003
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 22 July 2019
Page most recently amended: 30 March 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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