the former

Woodford Liberal Synagogue

South Woodford, London E18



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Congregation Data


Woodford Liberal Synagogue

Former Name:

The congregation was previously known by a number of different names:(i)

Woodford Progressive Synagogue (about 1994-2009)

Woodford District Liberal Synagogue (about 1992-1994)

Woodford & District Liberal Synagogue (about 1989-1992)

Woodford Liberal Jewish Synagogue (about 1966-1989)

Woodford Liberal Jewish Group (until about 1966)


Marlborough Road, George Lane, South Woodford, London E18 1AR (built 1964/6, in use from 1966, extended 1992)(ii)

Current Status:

On 1 January 2017, the Congregation merged with Beit Tikvah Synagogue, Barkingside, to form East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Initially following the merger, the merged congregation continued to hold services at the synagogue buildings of both legacy congregations.(iii) However, in January 2018, Beit Tikvah's synagogue premises were sold and the congregation, and services were to continued solely at the Marlborough Road premises until a new building was found.(iv)

Date Formed:



Liberal Progressive


A former constituent synagogue of Liberal Judaism (formerly the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues), until its meger into the East London and Essex Liberal Synaagoge.


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

Rabbi Douglas Charing - from about 1970 to about 1972(v)

Rabbi Lawrence Rigal - from 1973 until about 1977(vi)

Cantor Marshall Stone - from about 1980 until about 1983(vii)

Rabbi Neil S. Kraft - from about 1985 until about 1989(viii)

Rabbi D. Mark Goldsmith - from 1996 until 1999(ix)

Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk - from 2001 until December 2005(x)

Rabbi Rachel Benjamin (joint) - from January 2004 until about 2005(xi)

Rabbi Richard Jacobi - from 2007 until merger, and then serving as a minister of the merged congregation.(xii)

Membership Data:

National Reports & Surveys(xiii)

1977 - 150 male (or household) members and 41 female members

1983 - 205 male (or household) members and 80 female members

1990 - 270 members (comprising 215 households, 42 individual male and 13 individual female members)

1996 - 233 members (comprising 152 households, 32 individual male and 49 individual female members)

2010 & 2016 - listed as having 300 to 399 members (by household)


2006 - about 250 household(xiv)

Congregation's Magazine:

The congregation's magazine was Bimah(xv)

Legal and Charitable Status:

Although the congregation was an unincorporated association, on 29 March 2016, shortly before the merger, the  company, Woodford Liberal Synagogue (Redbridge) (company no. 10089003), was incorporated as a private company limited by guarantee without a share capital (and with an exemption from use of the word 'Limited'). On 9 November 2016 the company changed its name to East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue,(xvi) but remained dormant until 1 January 2017.(xviii)

The congregation was also a registered charity (no. 232980), registered on 6 April 1966. The governing document was the Constitution dated 27 April 1960, as amended.(xix)

Local Government Districts:

South Woodford, a suburb of Woodford in northeast London, is in the London Borough of Redbridge and was previously (until 1 April 1965) in the former Municipal Borough of Wanstead and Woodford.(xx)

Registration District (BMD):

Redbridge(xxi) - Link to Register Office website


See London Cemeteries of Liberal Judaism.

Notes & Sources ( returns to text above)

  • (i) Changes of name are based upon name under which the congregation was listed in Jewish Year Books for the relevant periods.

  • (ii) Congregation's former website.

  • (iii) Website of East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue, accessed October 2017.

  • (iv) Jewish News 9 January 2018 "Iconic Liberal shul building holds its last service".

  • (v) Based upon Rabbi Charing's listing in Jewish Year Books 1971 and 1972.

  • (vi) Based upon Rev. Rigal's listing in Jewish Year Books 1975 through 1978.

  • (vii) Based upon Cantor Stone's listing in Jewish Year Books 1981 through 1983.

  • (viii) Based upon Rabbi Kraft's listing in Jewish Year Books 1986 through 1989 and website of Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue (last accessed 10 April 2018). 

  • (ix) "Who's Who" entries in Jewish Year Books (latest 2015).

  • (x) Profile formerly on Liberal Judaism old website (accessed 20 April 2018). In the Jewish Year Books 2005 and 2006, listed jointly with Rabbi Benjamin. 

  • (xi) Based upon profile formerly on LJS website (accessed 1 May 2018 and 24 December 2018) and upon listing in Jewish Year Books 2005 and 2006, in both instances jointly with Rabbi Birk. 

  • (xii) Website of East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue, accessed January 2018.

  • (xiii) 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.

  • (xiv) Congregation's former website.

  • (xv) Website of East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue (Blog section), accessed August 2018.

  • (xvi) Congregation's former website. 

  • (xvii) Charities Commissioners Reserved.

  • (xviii) The first financial statements of the company filed Companies House, for the period from incorporation until 31 December 2016, were "accounts of a dormant compant". 

  • (xix) Charities Commissioners website (during beta test stage) and Open Charities website, both accessed 23 March 2018.

  • (xx) The London Borough of Redbridge, an Outer London Borough within the Greater London administrative area, was created on 1 April 1965 upon the merger of the Municipal Borough of Wanstead and Woodford (incorporated as a borough in 1937) with the Municipal Borough of Ilford and parts of both the Municipal Borough of Dagenham and the Unban District of Chigwell. All these areas had then been part of the County of Essex.

  • (xxi) The former Registration District was Essex South Western, 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


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

  • Financial Statements filed with Companies House (pdf):

    • Accounts of dormant company for period to 31 December 2016

  • Bibliography - Greater London

List of Liberal Judaism Congregations

Jewish Congregations in the London Borough of Redbridge

Jewish Congregations in Greater London (other than East End)

Greater London home page

Page created: 9 November 2006
Data significantly expanded and notes first added: 10 April 2018
Latest revision or update: 7 August 2020

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