Belsize Square Synagogue

London NW3



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Congregation Data


The Belsize Square Synagogue (from 1971)(i)

Former Names:

New Liberal Jewish Congregation (from about 1946 until 1971)

New Liberal Jewish Association (from formation until about 1946)(ii)


51 Belsize Square, Belsize Park, London NW3 4HX (from 1951)

The building, a former vicarage, was acquired by the congregation in 1951 and converted to accomadate a synagogue (architect Eric Lyons). It was later substantially refurbished.(iii)

Former Addresses:

For a short period (in about 1951), the address was 57 Eton Avenue, London NW3,(iv) possible as a temporary measure pending relocating to the Belsize Square premises.

Prior to then, the congregation met at 20 Buckhurst Terrance, London NW3.(v)

Current Status:


Date Formed:

The first services took place on 24 March 1939(vii)

Branch Congregation:

From about 1989 until about 2001, there was a branch congregation that held services once, and later twice, a month at Badgers Croft, Totteridge, London N20.(viii)


According to the congregation's website, the congregation "is an independent synagogue neither orthodox nor reform occupying its own place in British Jewry. Traditional yet modern..."

Although the congregation was founded with the active support of Miss Lily Montagu, a founder of the British Liberal movement, its membership was composed primarily of refugees from Germany, Austria and Czechoslokavia. Accordingly, it owes much of its ritual to nineteenth century German tradition with its emphasis on music and the rabbi leading the service entirely in Hebrew, English liberalsm being too radical for the congregation's members.(ix) The congregation "combines traditional forms of worship with progressive ideas".(x)


The congregation is unaffiliated. However, until 1989, it was a constituent of the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues (now Liberal Judaism).



(To view a short profile of a minister who also served other UK congregations - name in blue - hold the cursor over his name.)

Rabbi Dr. Georg Salzberger - from at least 1946 until about 1956(xii)

Rabbi Dr. Jakob J. Kokotek - from 1956 until September 1979(xiii)

Rabbi Rodney John Mariner - from March 1982 until May 2011 and therafter emeritus(xiv)

Rabbi Dr. Stuart Altshuler - from January 2011 until 2021(xv)

Rabbi Gabriel Botnick - from April 2021 to present (April 2024)(xvi)

Readers (Cantors):

Cantor Magnus Davidson - from at least 1946 until about 1956(xvii)

Cantor Joseph Dollinger - from about 1965 until about 1977(xviii)

Cantor Rev. Louis Berkman - from about 1977 until about 1982(xix)

Cantor Larry Fine - from about 1985 until about 2004(xx) 

Cantor Norman Cohen Falah - from about 2005 until about 2012(xxi)

Cantor Paul Heller - from June 2013 to present (August 2021)(xxii)

Past President:

The Hon. Lilian Helen (Lily) Montague, JP - from at least 1946 until 1956(xxv)

Membership Data:


1993 - approx. 1,200 people(xxvii)

National Reports & Surveys(xxviii)

1977 - 832 male members and an estimated 832 female members

1983 - 684 male members and an estimated 683 female members

1990 - 860 members (comprising 304 households, 300 individual male and 256 individual female members)

1996 - 860 members (comprising 318 households, 156 individual male and 386 individual female members)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 500 to 749 members (by household)

Legal & Charitable Status(xxix):

On 1 November 2011, the congregation was incorporated as a registered company, The Belsize Square Synagogue (company no. 07831243), a private company limited by guarantee without a share capital (and with an exemption from use of the word 'Limited' from 27 January 2012). It is also a registered charity (no. 1144866), the current registration dating from 1 December 2011, the governing documents being the company's Memorandum & Articles Association.

(There was an earlier charity registration (no. 233742), Belsize Square Synagogue (note: without "The"), registered on 7 June 1964 and which, on 1 January 2012, transferred all its assets to the new charity. The governing document was the congregation's Constitution adopted 18 January 1971, as subsequently amended.)

Local Government District:

Belsize Park, an area just to the northwest of central London is in the London Borough of Camden, and was (until 1965) in the former Metropolitan Borough of Hampstead.(xxx)


The Congregation has its own section at the Edgwarebury Cemetery, Edgwarebury Lane, Edgware HA8 8QP opened in about 2013. (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Edgwarebury)

Alternatively, contributors to the Congregation's burial scheme may opt for cremation at the Golders Green Crematorium, Hoop Lane (For additional information, see IAJGS Cemetery Project - Hoop Lane)

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) The name Belsize Square Synagogue was adopted in 1971 (as confirmed by the congregation's website, last accessed 28 October 2018). However, the word "The" was only formally added with effect from 1 January 2012 (the Congregation's annual report for the year ended 31 January 2013, as filed with the Charity Commissioners).

  • (ii) The change from "Association" to "Congregation" took place in about 1946, the congregation being listed under the latter name commencing with the Jewish Year Book 1947. The original name of the congregation (using "Association"), is confirmed by the congregation's website (accessed 28 October 2018) and it was also the name under which the congregation was listed in the Jewish Year Books 1945/6 (the first listing of the congregation) .

  • (iii) Congregation's website, accessed 28 October 2018. To view a description of the Jewish architectural works by Eric Lyons, hold your cursor over his name.

  • (iv) The address listed in the Jewish Year Book 1952.

  • (v) The address listed in Jewish Year Book from 1945/6 (the first appearance of the congregation) through 1951.

  • (vi) Reserved.

  • (vii) Congregation's website, accessed 28 October 2018.

  • (viii) Jewish Year Books 1990 through 2002.

  • (ix) The Synagogues of London by P. Lindsay (1993) p. 106 and the congregation's website, accessed 28 October 2018.

  • (x) A quote from Jewish Year Books from 1990.

  • (xi) Reserved.

  • (xii) Based upon Rabbi Saltzberger's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1947 through 1956. West Prussian born Rabbi Saltzberger (1882-1975) was a German military chaplain during World War I. and served as one of the liberal rabbis in Frankfurt (1910-1939).

  • (xiii) Based upon the Palgrave Dictionary of Anglo-Jewish History p. 530.

  • (xiv) Based upon Rabbi Mariner's profile on the congregation's website accessed December 2017 (and last accessed 1 August 2021) and "Who's Who" entries in Jewish Year Books (latest 2015).

  • (xv) Based upon Rabbi Altshuler's listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 2012 through 2015 (the book's last edition); his profile on congregation's website (when accessed January 2021, but which no longer appearing on 1 August 2021) and YourObserver.com press report of 13 July 2021 on his appointment to a Florida congregation.

  • (xvi) Based upon Rabbi Botnick's profile on the congregation's website (accessed 1 August 2021).

  • (xvii) Based upon Cantor Davidsohn's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1947 through 1956.

  • (xviii) Based upon Cantor Dollinger's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1966 through 1977.

  • (xix) Based upon Rev. Berkman's listing as reader of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1978 through 1982.

  • (xx) Based upon Cantor Fine's listing as cantor of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1986 through 2004.

  • (xxi) Based upon Cantor Falah's listing as cantor of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 2006 through 2012.

  • (xxii) Cantor Heller's profile on the congregation's website, accessed 10 February 2019 and last accessed 1 August 2021.

  • (xxiii) and (xxviv) Reserved.

  • (xxv) Based upon Lily Montagu's listing as president of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1947 through 1956.

  • (xxvi) Reserved.

  • (xxvii) The Synagogues of London by P. Lindsay (1993) p. 106.

  • (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) Companies House and Charities Commissioners websites (both during beta test stage), accessed 29 October 2018.

  • (xxx) The London Borough of Camden, an Inner London Borough within the Greater London administrative area, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the Metropolitan Boroughs of Hampstead, Holborn and St. Pancras, all of which had been within the (then abolished) County of London (established in 1899).


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


  • Selected Bibliography:

Third Party Websites

  • Annual Reports filed with the Companies House and/or Charities Commission (pdf):


Congregational Records

Registration District (BMD):

  • Camden (since 1 October 1977) - Link to Register Office website

  • Previous Registration Districts:

    • Edmonton - from 1 July 1837 until 19 May 1848; and

    • Hampstead - from 19 May 1848 until 1 October 1977.

  • (All records would now be held by the current office.)

Marriage Registers:

Marriage Registers (first entry 20 December 1959), other than the register currently in use, deposited with Camden Register Office.

List of Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in the London Borough of Camden

Jewish Congregations in Greater London (other than East End)

Greater London home page

Page created: 23 July 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 28 October 2018
Page most recently amended: 6 May 2024

Research and formatting by David Shulman

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