in European Judaism
View More View Less
  • 1 Leo Baeck College european.judaism@lbc.ac.uk

Reform Judaism in the UK owes its origins to both Sephardi and Ashkenazi elements. When nineteen Sephardim and five Ashkenazim signed a declaration on 15 April 1840 that led to the creation of the West London Synagogue of British Jews it represented a coming together of the two traditions. The list of Sephardi names on the table of past presidents and chairmen of the congregation attests to the lingering presence of those early families till today over 150 years later. The prayerbooks that originated in the new congregation, up to the most recent ones that serve the British Reform movement as a whole, remain influenced by both traditions. However, because of the impact of refugees from Germany and the dominant East European Ashkenazi culture of British Jewry, the ethos of British Reform is today well within the Ashkenazi fold.