The Wimbledon Synagogue
|The Wimbledon Synagogue|
|Leadership||Tony Hammond (interim rabbi);|
Patrick Bower and Stella Mason (co-chairs)
|Year consecrated||1951 (original building in Worple Road); 1997 (current building)|
|Location||1 Queensmere Road, Wimbledon, London Borough of Wandsworth, London SW19 5QD, England|
|Administration||Movement for Reform Judaism|
The Wimbledon Synagogue (formally, Wimbledon and District Synagogue) is a synagogue in the London Borough of Wandsworth at Queensmere Road, Wimbledon Park, on the boundary with the London Borough of Merton. It is a member of the Movement for Reform Judaism.
The community was established in 1949 and was based at Worple Road, Wimbledon from 1952 to 1997. In 1997 it moved to its present premises, adapting a 1953 building which previously belonged to Southlands College, now part of the University of Roehampton. The building also houses a Jewish nursery school, Apples and Honey.
The synagogue came into being at a meeting of the local Jewish community at the Wimbledon Hill Hotel in February 1949. In its first year the membership, of 60 families, was little more than one-tenth of what it is now. Services were held in temporary accommodation. The community decided to build a new synagogue on a site at 44 Worple Road in Wimbledon. The foundation stone was laid on 8 April 1951 by Ernest Abelson and Leonard Montefiore (of the West London Synagogue) and the synagogue was formally opened and dedicated on 25 May 1952 by Rabbi Dr Leo Baeck. In September 1997 the synagogue moved to its present site, adapting the former Athlone Hall (dating from 1953).
In 1953 the synagogue appointed its first minister, Rabbi Charles Berg. When he retired in 1974, the community had grown to 750 members. He was succeeded by Rabbi Hillel Avidan (1974–1980), Rabbi Daniel Smith (1982–1993), Rabbi Robert Shafritz (1993–1996) who died suddenly in office, Rabbi William Woolf (1997–2002), and Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild and Rabbi Sybil Sheridan who job shared from 2003 until 2014. Rabbi Jason Rosner was the synagogue's rabbi from November 2015 to September 2016. Rabbi Tony Hammond, who as of 2019 is the current interim rabbi, was appointed in 2015, and again in 2016.
Facilities and activities
The synagogue now has more than 900 members. Services are held every Shabbat on Friday evening and Saturday morning as well as for all Jewish festivals. Services are egalitarian; men and women sit together and take an equal role in the religious life of the community. As well as a cheder and an educational programme for children for young people, the synagogue runs a programme of adult education courses, workshops and lectures.
The synagogue houses three book collections. The David Nathan Library has nearly 2000 books covering Judaism, Israel, history, biography, fiction etc. The Harry Urban Holocaust Library concentrates on the personal stories of survivors of the Shoah. There is also a children’s book collection. The collections are catalogued using the Classification System for Libraries of Judaica employed by Leo Baeck College.
The community has a monthly membership newsletter, Kehillah.
Wimbledon Synagogue is a Fairtrade synagogue and has been involved for many years with the Faith in Action Merton Homeless Project, a charity which works with a range of agencies to support homeless, precariously housed and other marginalised people within the London Borough of Merton. It has also accommodated local homeless people overnight as part of the Merton Night Shelter initiative.
- "Wimbledon and District Synagogue". JCR-UK. 17 February 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- "60 years of memories of Wimbledon & District Synagogue". www.jtrails.org.uk. 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- Firsht, Naomi (16 April 2015). "Why the view's so good from south London". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Nursery". Families. The Wimbledon Synagogue. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "The Secret Shul-Goer No.5 – Wimbledon Reform". The Jewish Chronicle. 9 August 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- Singer, David (ed.) (1998). "American Jewish Yearbook 1998" (PDF). American Jewish Committee. p. 247. ISBN 0-87495-113-5. Retrieved 30 July 2015.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Sheridan, Sybil (10 June 2009). "What future for the Jews left in Ethiopia?". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- Firsht, Naomi (18 June 2015). "American is gearing up for Wimbledon". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Firsht, Naomi (29 January 2016). "Synagogue solar panels will take some beating". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
- "Wimbledon welcomes Rabbi Jason Rosner" (Press release). Movement for Reform Judaism. 6 November 2015. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015.
- Welch, Ben (4 October 2017). "Wimbledon plays the long game in search for rabbi". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Welch, Ben (19 May 2017). "Muslim builds bridges by teaching at London cheder". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
- "Religion School". The Wimbledon Synagogue. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
- "Adult Education". The Wimbledon Synagogue. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Our Library". The Wimbledon Synagogue. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- "News & Events". The Wimbledon Synagogue. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
- "Wimbledon Synagogue support". Faith in Action Merton Homelessness Project. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2019.