The South London Liberal Synagogue is a constituent of Liberal Judaism and the oldest Progressive synagogue south of the River Thames. We welcome Jewish people, non-Jewish partners and friends, and those wishing to convert. Enquiries are directed to the office, in the first instance.
History of the Synagogue
The synagogue is the third-oldest in the Liberal movement, having been established in 1929. The Hon. Lily Montagu was our president for over thirty years. Back in 1926, Samuel Morris Rich and several friends began gathering people together to form a congregation, setting up a group to discuss the ideas and principles of the nascent Liberal Jewish movement.
A permanent home was found in 1938, in a building designed as a school hall by Sidney Smith, the architect of Tate Britain on Millbank. Samuel Morris Rich led services for the first twenty years of the congregation’s life. Rabbi John Rayner (then Reverend Rayner) was appointed in 1953. The period 1977 to 1989 saw Julia Neuberger (now Baroness Neuberger) in post - the first female rabbi to lead a synagogue in the United Kingdom. Rabbi Godleman is in his sixth year at SLLS.
Rabbi Nathan Godleman
Nathan grew up in Willesden in North West London, the son of working-class parents and the youngest of six children. He studied History with German at Thames Valley University and later embarked upon a career in teaching, before entering the Leo Baeck College to train for the rabbinate. Having served a number of Liberal and Reform communities, he spent his final two years at the college as our student minister, and was asked to continue upon ordination. He was previously a member of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, where he sang in the members’ choir, and then Harrow and Wembley Progressive Synagogue. His MA dissertation was on ceremony in Liberal Judaism.
The synagogue has step-free access through a side entrance. If possible, please let us know if you require such access in advance. The sanctuary can be reached via a lift. Wheelchair-accessible WC facilities are available (currently being upgraded). We have large-print prayer books at hand, and there is a hearing loop in the sanctuary.