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Special Collections

MS 302 Archives of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain

Reform Synagogues of Great Britain

The Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (RSGB) was the main organisational body of the Jewish Reform community in Great Britain. The first Reform Congregations in Great Britain appeared in West London and Manchester in the mid-nineteenth century. By 1942, when the first organisational body was formed, the number of Reform Jewish communities had increased to six. This body, the Associated British Synagogues, evolved into the Association Synagogues of Great Britain and, in 1958, the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain. Since 2005 this organisation has been called The Movement for Reform Judaism. Among the Movement's stated aims is revitalising Jewish community involvements among British Jews, with particular focus on children, teenagers and families where one member of the couple is not halachically Jewish.

About the collection 

The collection includes minutes, papers, reports and correspondence for committees and relating to the management of the organisation, 1942-97, together with files on a range of subjects, in particular education and youth, relationship guidance and social care, and with other organisations.

Minute books for the executive, 1942-94 (MBK/1-14) and minutes of the executive, 1983-90 (A1053/38); minute books for the council, 1960-93 (MBK/15-23) and council minutes, 1983-90 (A1053/26); minute books of the annual conference and annual general meeting minutes, 1966-91 (MBK/24-27); minute books of the board, 1994-5 (MBK/28); the jubilee committee, 1989-93 (A1053/102); the community relations committee, 1974-83 (A1053/19); the congregational development committee, 1959-93 (A1053/22); special resolutions of RSGB annual conferences, 1978-90 (A1053/85); and conference papers, 1947-95 (A1053/21).

Papers relate to the RSGB executive residential weekends, 1983-90 (A1053/39); the Six Year Plan, 1984-90 (A1053/81) and correspondence of Sir Sigmund Sternberg as President, 1985-92 (A1053/87). 

Material on education: the Advancement of Jewish Educational Trust and the Centre for Jewish Education, 1984-93 (A1053/1-2); central education committee minutes, 1959-91 (A1053/15); Joint Chaplaincy Commission to the Universities, 1962-76 (A1053/16); Centre for Jewish Education, 1987-93 (A1053/17); grant applications and the grants and sponsorship review committee, 1983-92 (A1053/45-7); and papers regarding students and Leo Baeck College, 1982-9 (A1053/55 and A1053/89) Jewish youth: Skeet Hill House, Orpington (residential youth centre), 1956-82 (A1053/82); the Youth Association of Synagogues in Great Britain, the Youth Division and the Youth Committee, 1954-91 (A1053/95); and Shaliach/Shlichut (Israelis employed by RSGB to work in Youth Department, teaching about Israel, 1976-91 (A1053/78).

Relationship guidance and social care: the standing committee on relationships, 1968-74 (A1053/3); marriage, 1952-72 (A1053/58) and singles, 1984-5 (A1053/80); the Jewish Joint Burial Society, 1967-86 (A1053/53) and the Social Issues Group (previously Social Action Group), 1983-93 (A1053/83).

Material for related bodies and organisations: the Assembly of Ministers, 1958-74 (A1053/5); the Assembly of Rabbis, 1964-97 (A1053/6-11); the Beth Din, 1966-89 (A1053/12); the Board of Deputies, 1986-94 (A1053/13); the Council of Reform and Liberal Rabbis, 1968-90 (A1053/27); the Association of North-Eastern Reform Synagogues, 1968-72 (A1053/62); the Rabbinic Salaries Working Party, the Rabbinic Manpower Working Party and the Rabbinic Career Structure Group, 1973-93 (A1053/70) and the Leadership training group, 1989-92 (A1053/56); Reform Foundation Board of Management, 1977-93 (A1053/71); Strategy for the Reform Movement, 1986-92 (A1053/88); Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, 1968-89 (A1053/91); and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, 1980-94 (A1053/94).

Papers on work to improve relations with other religious groups: Consultative committee on Jewish/Christian relations, 1978-94 (A1053/24); merger talks between RSGB and Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, 1962-85 (A1053/59); the Unterman/Bayfield Liaison Group (to improve Orthodox/Progressive relations), 1988-94 (A1053/25); correspondence and annual returns, 1973-95 (A1053/90); the Reform Synagogue Guilds, 1961-89 (A1053/72); Exodus (RSGB Soviet Jewry campaign) and regarding Soviet Jewry, 1975-92 (A1053/40-3).

Material about Israel includes the Israel Commission, 1968-70 (A1053/49); the Israel committee, 1969-75 (A1053/50); the Israel Action Group, 1975-96 (A1053/51); Rabbi Richard Hirsch and Progressive Jews for Israel, 1978-97 (A1053/51) and the Israel Desk and the North Western Reform Synagogue Israel tour, 1989-95 (A1053/52).

Religious devotions and observances: the music committee, 1974-83 (A1053/60); New Siddur (prayer book), 1968-85 (A1053/61); and shechita, 1981-92 (A1053/79) and a private Members bill opposing shechita, 1968 (A1053/20).

General administrative and committee papers, 1961-2000 (A3069/1), including caring community committee, 1992-9 (A3069/1/4); Metropolitan burial ground committee, 1966-7 (A3069/1/5); Northern provincial committee, 1964-70 (A3069/1/6); annual returns of synagogues, 1990-4 (A3069/1/8-10); annual conferences, 1994-2000 (A3069/1/14-18); congregational development, 1979-91 (A3069/1/19-23); golden jubilee, 1989-93 (A3069/1/24); Manor House, Finchley, 1974-94 (A3069/1/25-9); new prayer book 1971-81 (A3069/1/31); and youth activities (A3069/1/35).

An alphabetical sequence of files relating to synagogues and communities, 1955-96 (A3069/2) includes: Blackpool Reform Synagogue, 1965-89; Bournemouth Reform Synagogue, 1961-88; Bradford, 1960-86; Brighton and Hove New Synagogue, 1960-76; Bromley and District Reform Synagogue, 1965-89; Buckhurst Hill Reform Synagogue, 1982-9; Beth Shalom Reform Synagogue, Cambridge, 1982-9; Cardiff New Synagogue, 1961-85; Cheshire, 1963-89; Edgware and District Reform Synagogue, 1961-89; Finchley Reform Synagogue, 1960-91; Glasgow, 1959-88; Hampstead, 1973-89; Harlow, 1960-87; Hatch End, 1986-9; Hendon, 1953-89; Hull Reform Synagogue, 1969-89; Maidenhead Synagogue, 1989-90; Manchester, 1955, 1965-88; Middlesex New Synagogue, 1964-89, 1996; Milton Keynes, 1977-89; Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1965-89; North West Surrey Synagogue, 1966-79; North Western Reform Synagogue, 1959, 1964-88; Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue, Hertfordshire, 1986-9; St George’s Settlement Synagogue (later The Settlement Synagogue), London, 1959, 1966-96; Sha’are Shalom Synagogue (North Manchester Reform Congregation), 1976-89; Sheffield and District Reform Synagogue, 1976, 1988-91; Sinai Synagogue, Leeds, 1965-89; South Hampshire Reform Synagogue, 1983-93; Southend, 1971-87; Southport, 1965-90; South West Essex Reform Synagogue, Ilford, 1965-89; Swindon, 1985-9; Thanet and District Reform Synagogue, 1984-95; North West London Synagogue project, 1979-80, 1991-2; Wembley and Mill Hill, 1972-94; West London Synagogue, 1959-91; and Wimbledon, 1961-89.

Administrative papers, 1975-2003 (A4019/1), including music committee papers, 1975-83 (A4019/1/2); reports and projects papers, 1998-2005 (A4019/1/5); papers relating to restructuring (A4019/1/6); correspondence with synagogues, 1990-2002 (A4019/1/7-9).

Alphabetical sequence of files, 1944-2003 (A4019/2): Association of Synagogues of Great Britain cash book, 1944-54 (A4019/2/1); material relating to Israel, 1989-2002 (A4019/2/2-22); Jewish Joint Burial Society, 1968, 1975-88 (A4019/2/23); Leo Baeck College, London, 1984-2005 (A4019/2/24); Mill Hill Synagogue, London, 1977, 1985-91 (A4019/2/25); Reform Synagogue Guilds, 1968-2005 (A4019/2/27).

Reform Synagogues of Great Britain Association of Women’s Guilds newsletter Guildcall, volume 1, numbers 2-3, 5-6, 1971, 1973 (A4212).

Association of Synagogues of Great Britain expansion committee minutes, 1954-66 and training board papers, 1952-7 (A4219).

Report on the working party on the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain and the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, May 1983 (A4234).

Papers of Rabbi Harold Reinhart, 1940-57 (A4240).

Date range:


Former references:

A1053, A3069, A4019, A4212, A4219, A4234, A4240


200 boxes


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