History of the synagogue

The synagogue was established in 1929 as one of the first Liberal congregations in the UK. Its first president was the Honourable Lily H Montagu, one of the founders of Liberal Judaism. 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.

A discussion group was formed so that members would understand the ideas and principles of Liberal Judaism. The congregation moved to its present home in Prentis Road (formerly a girls’ school) in 1938. It appointed its first full time minister, Rabbi John Rayner in 1953. Before then, services had been conducted by a number of capable lay leaders. SLLS has had nine ministers since then, perhaps most well known being Rabbi Julia Neuberger, minister from 1977-1989.