Westminster Synagogue

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Westminster Synagogue
Basic information
LocationKent House, Rutland Gardens, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1BX
 United Kingdom
AffiliationIndependent Progressive Judaism
StatusActive
LeadershipRabbi Thomas Salamon
Websitewww.westminstersynagogue.org
 
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Westminster Synagogue
Basic information
LocationKent House, Rutland Gardens, Knightsbridge, London SW7 1BX
 United Kingdom
AffiliationIndependent Progressive Judaism
StatusActive
LeadershipRabbi Thomas Salamon
Websitewww.westminstersynagogue.org

The Westminster Synagogue is a non-affiliated[1] Jewish Reform synagogue and congregation near Hyde Park, London. It is located in Kent House, a restored[2] Victorian town house in Knightsbridge. The building, which dates from the late 1800s, also houses the Czech Memorial Scrolls Centre.

History[edit]

The congregation was founded in 1957 by Rabbi Harold Reinhart, who resigned from his position as Senior Minister of the West London Synagogue and, accompanied by 80 former members of that synagogue, established the New London Synagogue.[3] Shortly afterwards it was renamed Westminster Synagogue.[3]

The congregation's earliest services were held at Caxton Hall,[1] Westminster, from whose location the Synagogue derives its name. In 1960 the congregation acquired Kent House opposite Hyde Park in Knightsbridge. The building provided room for a synagogue, accommodation for congregational activities and a flat for the rabbi.[3]

Westminster Synagogue has, in religious terms, remained largely in tune with the Reform movement in Britain. Although not affiliated to the Movement for Reform Judaism, Westminster Synagogue is served by the Movement's Bet Din and has links with the West London Synagogue's burial facilities. The congregation does not have a system of seat rentals and aims to give equality to all members. Women play a full part in congregational life.

Rabbi Reinhart died in 1969 and was succeeded by Rabbi Albert Friedlander in 1971.[3] Rabbi Friedlander, who retired in 1997, combined his ministry for some years with his post as Director of Rabbinical Studies at the Leo Baeck College.[3]

Czech Memorial Scrolls Centre[edit]

Westminster Synagogue has been closely involved in the Czech Memorial Scrolls Centre, located on the top floor of Kent House, which holds and cares for scrolls confiscated by the Nazis from Jewish communities in Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia during the Second World War. A small museum in Kent House displays the work of the Centre and tells the history of the scrolls.[3][4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Westminster Synagogue". JCR-UK. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  2. ^ "Kent House, Knightsbridge". Kent House, Knightsbridge. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Access to Archives: Westminster Synagogue". The National Archives (UK). Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Leo Barnard (2008). "The Czech Memorial Scrolls". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′05″N 0°10′00″W / 51.5013°N 0.1666°W / 51.5013; -0.1666