Our History and Merger
The merger of Hendon Reform Synagogue and Edgware and District Reform Synagogue
During 2016 after several meetings, the two communities of Hendon Reform Synagogue and Edgware & District Reform Synagogue overwhelmingly voted to merge and to create a new Reform Jewish Community.
This new community is known as Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue and located on the current site of Edgware & District Reform Synagogue.
The inaugural service of “EHRS” took place on Shabbat (Saturday) 15 July 2017. This was a Civic Service, with local dignitaries,civic leaders and other faith leaders attending.
History of Edgware & District Reform Synagogue
The opening of the Northern Line to Edgware in 1924, and subsequently the extension of the Bakerloo Line to Stanmore in 1932 set the seal on the future of Edgware as an area of population growth. In the 1920s and early ‘30s there was a steady increase in both the general population and the Jewish inhabitants of Edgware and Stanmore, and by 1930 several hundred Jewish families were living in the area. On November 1st 1934 thirteen dissatisfied members of the recently established Edgware United Synagogue decided to form a club which would in itself be a stepping stone to a new congregation.
A temporary committee was formed and the next three months saw a furious rate of activity. Committee meetings were held every few days, a variety of problems being addressed. At an early stage it was agreed that the new body would be called “Edgware and District Progressive Jewish Fellowship”. At that time the only Reform congregations in London were the West London Synagogue in Upper Berkeley Street and the North Western Reform Synagogue in Golders Green. The West London Synagogue and its minister, Rabbi Reinhart, had been very helpful in advising the Edgware committee about setting up an independent synagogue, and in December 1934 Rabbi Reinhart had addressed. a public meeting in Edgware on “The Problems of Judaism Today”. In January 1935 the West London Synagogue offered practical help by way of taking the Edgware children into its religion classes, without charge, provided that the children could be delivered and collected. Matters approached a climax during the first week of February 1935. Discussions had been held with officials at West London Synagogue on the practices of Reform, and the new body in Edgware decided to become a part of the Reform movement.
On February 12th 1935 it was formally decided to form a synagogue to be called “Edgware and District Reform Synagogue”
History of Hendon Reform Synagogue
HRS was founded in 1949 by a group of hardworking and dedicated families wishing to create a Reform Community in Hendon.
In the beginning, meetings were held in the homes of the founder members until the first synagogue, the Kingsley Fisher Hall [named after founders Sidney Kingsley and Ben Fisher] was built several years later. Services were held in the Methodist Meeting Hall in the Burroughs and as the congregation grew, in other local halls whilst they dreamt of having their own building. In 1950 a disused tennis club became available and was purchased for the sum of £2,600 with funds raised from donations and social events, and at last this small congregation had a plot on which to place a building. Work was completed in 1955 and a consecration service for the new synagogue building was held on 6 March by the late Rabbi Dr Arthur Katz who had been Minister from the “dream’s” beginning.
The congregation soon outgrew the original building and so after a further programme for fundraising, construction of the annexe which became the synagogue [as known today] began in 1965. Two inspiring walls of stained glass windows were commissioned and then offered to congregants to donate in memory of their late loved ones. These magnificent windows depicting both Judaica and biblical scenes together with the marble walls surrounding the hand made Ark provides the warm and serene backdrop of the synagogue.
A consecration service took place on 14 January 1968 attended by 500 people.HRS Windows