Sylvia Rothschild

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Sylvia Rothschild
SpouseMartin Fischer[1]
DenominationReform Judaism
SynagogueLev Chadash (2016 – present);
Wimbledon and District Synagogue (2003–2014);
Bromley Reform Synagogue (1987–2002)

Sylvia Rothschild (born 21 November 1957) is a British Reform rabbi. Together with Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, she was Rabbi of Wimbledon and District Synagogue in south west London, from 2003 to 2014, in the first ever rabbinic job share in England. She was Rabbi of Bromley Reform Synagogue from 1987 to 2002, and is currently the Rabbi at Lev Chadash in Milan.

Early life[edit]

Sylvia was born in Bradford to Edgar (1924–2012)[2] and Esther Rothschild. Her father had come from Hannover, Germany via Baden-Baden to England in 1938 as a teenager.[3] Sylvia, her brother Walter (who is also a rabbi) and her sister Joyce[2] grew up as active members of Bradford Reform Synagogue, the third oldest Reform synagogue in England.

Professional career[edit]

After completing a psychology degree at Manchester University she worked for a mental health charity in a therapeutic community, and for a London borough in adult psychiatric care. She was ordained as a rabbi in 1987 by the Leo Baeck College and has worked as a community rabbi ever since. She was Chair of the Assembly of Rabbis at the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain (now the Movement for Reform Judaism) from 1998 to 2003.[4]

Rothschild was a lay member of the Bromley Research Ethics Committee for many years, and is an Appointed Member of the Standards Committee for the London Borough of Bromley as well as an Appointed Member of the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care.[5]

She is also a trained counsellor and has trained as an executive coach.

She has spoken out against the suppression of women's voices on religious matters in Israel and restrictions on the right of women to pray at the Western Wall.[6][7]

She is a member of the Steering Team of Tzelem,[8] a cross-communal clerical activist organisation campaigning on broad social issues such as the UK government's response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.


Rothschild has written extensively on ethical issues, as well as on prayer and on new liturgies. She is known for her creation of a large number of new rituals and prayers for life events, mainly though not exclusively to mark events in women's lives. She has also written liturgies to help with end of life experiences.

She answered questions on the website of for some years, has been one of the contributors to the Parashat haShavua column for The Jewish Chronicle and frequently contributes to Jewish News.[9]

Personal life[edit]

She is married and has three children.



  • Sylvia Rothschild and Sybil Sheridan (eds.): Taking Up the Timbrel: The Challenge of Creating Ritual for Jewish Women Today. London: SCM Press, 2000. Includes Sylvia Rothschild: "Terminating a Pregnancy", "After the Termination of a Pregnancy" and "Beginning a Religious Response to Mastectomy"


Book reviews[edit]


  1. ^ "Charlotte becomes London Citizens' first Jewish community worker" (PDF). Highlight: Bromley Reform Synagogue newsletter. March 2013. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 May 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Edgar Herman Julius Rothschild". Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  3. ^ Sylvia Rothschild (2010). "Shemot". Wimbledon and District Synagogue. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  4. ^ "RSGB Announces Rabbi Ian Morris as New Assembly of Rabbis Chair". Something Jewish. 2 April 2003. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Members". National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  6. ^ Sylvia Rothschild (2 November 2012). "Hear Our Voices". Sylvia Rothschild. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  7. ^ "Why women should be able to pray in peace". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  8. ^ "Meet the Steering Team". Tzelem. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  9. ^ "Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild". Jewish News. Retrieved 7 June 2022.

External links[edit]