Stevenage Jewish Community

and Congregations

Stevenage, Hertfordshire




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Town of Stevenage

Stevenage, a town and borough in the county of Hertfordshire in southeast England with a population of about 85,000, is situated between Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City. It is part of the local government district of Welwyn Hatfield, formed in 1974 by the merger of the urban district of Welwyn Garden City with adjoining localities.

Jewish Community

There was an Orthodox Jewish community in Stevenage in the 1940s, comprised mainly of war-time evacuees from London, which was disbanded following the end of World War II. Recently a small Liberal Jewish congregation and community has developed in and around Stevenage.

Data on War-Time Congregation


Stevenage Hebrew Congregation(ii)


It was reported in November 1940 that the "Jewish evacuees from London in Stevenage have organised themselves into a group to promote religious and cultural activities. Services were conducted on the Holy-days and are held every Sabbath...Joint Emergency Committee's classes  conducted by the Rev L Rosenberg...which meet on Sundays at 11am and on Sabbaths at 10.30am for service at the Albert School Hall...the adults meet at the same hall on Sundays after the classes."(iii)


Albert Street school hall, Grove Road Stevenage was used for services and on Sundays for educational and social activities.(iv)

High Holiday services in 1941 were held in the Town Hall.(v)

In 1944 the community was holding services at the Parish Hall, Basils Road.(vi)


There are no reports of any communal activity following the end of World War II and in May 1947 "at the final meeting of members of Stevenage Jewish community" a decision was made to distribute remaining funds to various Jewish and Stevenage based charities.(ix)


Askenazi Orthodox


None known

(To view a short profile - hold the cursor over the minister's name.)

Rev. Lewis Rosenberg - from December 1939, pre-dating the formation of a congregation, he was appointed by the Joint Emergency Committee as resident teacher to evacuees in the Stevenage area. He initially held classes during the week at Stevenage, St Ippolyts, Kimpton, Breachwood Green and Wymondley.(x)

Lay Leadership:

S. Kluman - lay member conducting regular Sabbath services 1941.(xi)

David Goldblatt - president in and about 1941(xii)

Mrs David Goldblatt - treasurer from the community's formation until her death in 1942(xiii)

Louis Mindel - secretary in and about 1941(xiv)

W. Neuberger - contact in 1944(xv)

Communal activities:

Hebrew & Religious Classes
Classes under Rev. L. Rosenberg increased from eight pupils in November 1939 to nearly 50 in 1941. Classes were held twice weekly on Wednesdays at the Albert School Hall and on Sundays at the Parish Hall Basils Road. (xvi)

Social visits were arranged with the near by larger Letchworth community.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Reserved.

  • (ii) This is the presumed name of the congregation. There is currently no information as to the actual name used.

  • (iii) Jewish Chronicle report of 8 November 1940

  • (iv) Jewish Chronicle reports of 8 November 1940 and 24 January 1941.

  • (v) Jewish Chronicle report of 5 September 1941.

  • (vi) Jewish Chronicle report of 28 July 1944.

  • (vii) and (viii) Reserved.

  • (ix) Jewish Chronicle report of 9 May 1947. As this meeting was held at the home of David Goldblatt in northwest London, it indicates that few members remained in Stevenage by this time.

  • (x) Jewish Chronicle report of 8 December 1939.

  • (xi) Jewish Chronicle report of 30 May 1941.

  • (xii) Jewish Chronicle report of 3 January 1941.

  • (xiii) Jewish Chronicle obituary of 6 March 1942.

  • (xiv) Jewish Chronicle report of 24 January 1941. Louis Mindel was a member of the United Synagogue council for over 60 years. Born in Vilna in 1893 he was long associated with the lay administration of Shacklewell Lane Synagogue in Stoke Newington and later Finchley Synagogue, north west London (Jewish Chronicle 30 June 1989).

  • (xv) Jewish Chronicle of 28 July 1944.

  • (xvi) Jewish Chronicle of 7 November 1941.

  • (xvii) to (xx) Reserved.


Data on Current Congregation


Stevenage Liberal Synagogue(xxi)

Former Name:

North Herts Liberal Jewish Community(xxii)


No permanent address

Current Status:


Date Founded:

June 2010(xxiii)


Liberal / Progressive


A constituent community of Liberal Judaism since 9 December 2012, having previously been a developing community from 2010.(xxiv)



(To view a short profile of a minister - hold the cursor over his or her name.)

Rabbi Lisa Barrett (part time) - about 2012(xxv)

Rabbi Danny Rich (part time) - from 2020 until present (September 2022)(xxix)

Membership Data:

National Reports and Surveys:(xxx)

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

Charitable Status:

No information found of current registered charity status (as of 4 August 2019).

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (xxi) This name had been adopted by the congregation by at least 9 October 2015, based upon a Jewish Chronicle report of that date.

  • (xxii) Congregation's website, accessed 12 July 2017 and Jewish Chronicle report "Stevenage to get Liberal Synagogue" dated 8 July 2010.

  • (xxiii) Congregation's website, accessed 12 July 2017.

  • (xxiv) Congregation's website, accessed 4 August 2019.

  • (xxv) Although no ministers are listed for this congregation in any Jewish Year Book, the profile of Rabbi Barrett on South West Essex & Settlement Reform Synagogue's website, accessed 3 July 2019, relates that she served as part-time rabbi for this congregation.

  • (xxvi) to (xxviii) Reserved.

  • (xxix) Rabbi Rich's profile on the website of the Three Counties Liberal Jewish Community, last accessed September 2022.

  • (xxx) 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.


Notable Jewish Connections with Stevenage

  • Victor Green (b.1938) was chair of Stevenage Borough FC (now Stevenage FC), which at that time (late 1990s) was ouside the Football League.

  • Paul Hakim, footballer, played full time for Stevenage Borough FC (2007/8).

  • Derren Nesbitt (born Derren Horwitz in 1935), film and TV actor, lived in a large 15th century house in old Stevenage in the 1960s.

  • Lewis Silkin MP (from 1950 Lord Silkin of Dulwich) (1889-1972), who was from 1945 until 1950 Minister of Town and Country Planning in the then Labour Government, established the Stevenage Development Corporation in 1946. Objectors named the proposed New Town of Stevenage "Silkingrad" after him. In the 1970s a bronze relief sculpture of Lord Silkin by Jewish sculptor Franta Belsky (1921-2000) was added to Stevenage Clock Tower in the Town Square. Another statue by Belsky in Stevenage Town Square of a mother and child is called Joy Ride (1958) and has been described as the symbol for Stevenage and for the new towns generally.

  • Naum Slutzky (1894-1965), born in Kiev, goldsmith, designer and craftsman of the Bauhaus school in Weimar, Germany, who came to Britain as a refugee in 1933, died in Stevenage.


Community Records

Registration District (BMD):

  • Hertfordshire (since 1 April 2008)

    • The former Registration Districts were:
      Hitchin - from 1 July 1837 until 1 April 1975;
      Stevenage - from 1 April 1975 until 1 March 1996; and
      Hitchin & Stevenage - from 1 March 1996 until 1 April 2008.

    • Any registers would now be held by current register office, which is situated in Hatfield.

    • Link to register office website


Stevenage Jewish Cemetery Information

There is no Jewish cemetery in Stevenage.

World War II Evacuee Communities

List of Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in Hertfordshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created (for current congregation): 4 June 2017
Page expanded to include war-time congregation: 1 May 2023
Page most recently amended: 10 September 2023

Research by David Shulman and Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

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