South London Liberal Synagogue

Streatham, London SW16



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Congregation Data


South London Liberal Synagogue

Former Name:

South London Liberal Jewish Synagogue (until about 1978(i))


1 Prentis Road, Streatham, London SW16 1ZW

The congregation acquired and moved into this building in 1938, which was a former girls' school built in 1908. In February 2018, the congregation launched a project, the Abrahamís Tent Project, to convert part of the synagogue building back into use as a flat for a refugee family.(ii)

Previous Addresses:(iii)

About 1935 to 1938

Farnan Hall, Hopton Road, SW16

1929 to about 1935 (or possibly 1938)

Tudar Hall, Pinfold Street, Streatham, SW16 (adjoining Tate Streatham Library, 63 Streatham High Road, SW16 1PN)
The Library and the adjoining Hall are a Grade II Listed Building (number 1434186), designated on 12 May 2016. View description on Historic England website.

Current Status:


Date Formed:

1929. Two years earlier, Samuel Morris Rich and several of his friends discovered a potential nucleus for a congregation in South London and so set about gathering people together.(iv)


Liberal Progressive


A constituent synagogue of Liberal Judaism (formerly known as the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues (ULPS) and previously the Jewish Religious Union) from the congregation's founding.(v)



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

Samuel Morris Rich - until about 1948(vi)

Joseph Ascher, BA - from about 1948 until about 1953(vii)

Rev. John Desmond Rayner - from 1953 until 1957(viii)

Rev. David Goldstein - from about 1961 until about 1964(ix)

Rabbi Michael Elton, MA - from about 1964 until about 1966(x)

Rabbi Lawrence Rigál - from 1967 until 1973(xi)

Rabbi G.C. Goldberg - from about 1975 until about 1977(xii)

Rabbi Julia Neuberger - from 1977 until 1989(xiii)

Rabbi Neil S. Kraft - from about 1989 until about 2000(xiv)

Rabbi James Baaden - from October 2001 until June 2008(xv)

Rabbi Janet Darley - from 2008 (Student Rabbi until July 2009) until 2016(xvi)

Rabbi Nathan Godleman - from 2016 (Student Rabbi until July 2018) until present (May 2023)(xvii)

Past President:

The Hon. Lilian Helen (Lily) Montagu, JP President - from founding of the congregation until about 1956 (from about 1951, Hon. Life President)(xix)

Membership Data:

Jewish Year Books(xxii)













National Reports and Surveys(xxiii)

1977 - 267 male (or household) members and 108 female members

1983 - 250 male (or household) members and 125 female members

1990 - 390 members (comprising 203 households, 67 individual male and 120 individual female members)

1996 - 290 members (comprising 121 households, 61 individual male and 108 individual female members)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 100 to 199 members (by household)

Congregation's Annual Reports(xxiv)













Charitable Status:

The congregation is a registered charity (no. 236711), registered on 1 December 1969. The governing document are the congregation's Constitution and Rulest as amended 23 May 2004.(xxv)

Local Government District:

The South London suburb of Streatham is in the London Borough of Lambeth(xxvi) and was previously (until 1965) in the former Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth within the former County of London.

Registration District (BMD):

Lambeth(xxvii) - Link to Register Office website


See London Cemeteries of Liberal Judaism.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) This was the name under which the congregation was listing in Jewish Year Books from first entry until 1978.

  • (ii) Congregation's website, accessed 18 October 2018.

  • (iii) The Farnan Hall addresses were given as the address for services and the religious school in Jewish Year Books from 1936 through 1938, and Tudar Hall address in the editions from 1933 (the first listing of the congregation) through 1935. However, according to the Historic England listing of the building, Tudor Hall was the South London Liberal Synagogue "from 1926" (clearly an error) "to 1938". It is possible that the synagogue continued to use the Hall until 1938, although services and the school were elsewhere.

  • (iv) Congregation's website, accessed 18 October 2018.

  • (v) Although the congregation was not separately listed in Jewish Year Books until 1933, it was already named as a constituent of the Jewish Religios Union in the 1930 edition.

  • (vi) Based upon listing in Jewish Year Books from 1945/6 through 1948. There were no prior listing of a minister for the congregation. Mr. Rich was a founder of the congregation (see note (iv)) and its first hon. secretary.

  • (vii) Based upon Mr. Ascher's listing as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1949 through 1953. He was also listed as secretary in the additions from 1949 through 1951.

  • (viii) Based upon Rev. (later Rabbi) Rayner's listing as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1954 through 1957. The congregation's website, accessed 18 October 2018, described him as the congregation's first full time minister, appointed in 1953. 

  • (ix) Based upon Rev. (later Rabbi) Goldstein's biography formerly on the British Library website and his listing as minister of the congregation in Jewish Year Books from 1962 through 1964. There was no minister listed in the editions for 1958 through 1961.

  • (x) Based upon Rabbi Elton's listing as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1965 and 1966.

  • (xi) Based upon Rabbi Rigal's listing as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1969 through 1973 and the website of the late Rabbi Regal. There was no minister listed in the editions for 1967 and 1968.

  • (xii) Based upon Rabbi Goldberg's listing as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1976 and 1977. There was no minister listed in the editions for 1974 and 1975.

  • (xiii) Congregation's website, accessed 18 October 2018. 

  • (xiv) Based upon Rabbi Kraft's listing as minister in Jewish Year Books from 1990 to 2000. There was no minister listed in the 2001 editions.

  • (xv) Rabbi Baaden's LinkedIn page.

  • (xvi) Rabbi Darley's profile on Liberal Judaism, accessed 18 October 2018.

  • (xvii) Jewish Chronicle press report of 22 June 2018 on Rabbi Godleman ordination and congregation's website, last accessed 10 May 2023.

  • (xviii) Reserved.

  • (xix) Based upon Lily Montagu's listing as president of the congregation in Jewish Year Books 1933 through 1956.

  • (xx) and (xxi) Reserved.

  • (xxii) In each case, the date given here is the year prior to the year of the relevant Jewish Year Book.

  • (xxiii) 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.

  • (xxiv) The data was extracted from the congregation's annual reports as filed with the Charities Commission for the respective years.

  • (xxv) Charities Commissioners website (during beta test stage) and Open Charities website, both accessed 19 October 2018.

  • (xxvi) The London Borough of Lambeth, an Inner London Borough within the Greater London administrative area, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the Metropolitan Borough of Lambeth with the Streatham and Clapham parts of the former Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth (both metropolitan boroughs established in 1900). These areas had been within the (then abolished) County of London (established in 1899).

  • (xxvii) The former Registration District was Wandsworth, from the formation of Congregation 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 Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in the London Borough of Lambeth

Jewish Congregations in Greater London (other than East End)

Greater London home page

Page created: 23 July 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 18 October 2018
Latest revision or update: 10 May 2023

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