Bradford Reform Synagogue

Bradford Reform Synagogue
Basic information
Location Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Affiliation Reform Judaism
Status Active

Bradford Reform Synagogue is a synagogue in Bradford affiliated with the Movement for Reform Judaism. The synagogue is still used for Shabbat and major festivals although the community is small and has been in decline for some years. Friday night dinners are held as well as a communal seder for Passover.


Bradford Reform Synagogue is a Grade II* listed.[1][2] Architecturally, Bradford is a very rare and well-preserved, small-scale, provincial synagogue built in "Oriental" style. It is perhaps the most notable example in British synagogue architecture of the 19th-century fashion for "Orientalism" – both inside and out.


Bradford, the third Reform synagogue to be established in the United Kingdom,[3] is the second oldest surviving Reform synagogue in the UK and its establishment predated the building of an Orthodox synagogue in the town.[4] The foundation stone was laid in 1880 and the community was founded by one of the first Reform rabbis in Britain, Rabbi Dr. Joseph Strauss.[5]

Aged 28 and with a Rabbinic diploma, he was appointed as the first Rabbi in Bradford in 1873, being welcomed by the community at a general meeting on 31 October of that year. Rabbi Strauss led the community from 1873 to 1922.

The decline of the local Jewish community meant that the synagogue faced financial difficulties and a meeting was held in June 2009 where the community agreed to the sale of its building as “a very last resort”.[6] Subsequent to this meeting funding was secured enabling the community to continue using the current building.[7] This was supported by the local Muslim community.[8][9]

Notable people

German-born Jews played an important role in the development of the local woollen trade and Jewish merchants from central Europe took advantage of the climate of economic and political freedom in Bradford.

Jacob Moser (1839–1922), born in Denmark, was a founder of the Reform congregation and ardent early Zionist, and became mayor of Bradford. He was a member of the Zionist Central Council, the Anglo-Palestinian Corporation and supported the Jewish National Fund, giving 50,000 francs to help found the first Hebrew High School in Jaffa in 1907. He also supported the large and poor Jewish community in Leeds.[10] Moser was one of the founders of the Bradford Charity Organisation Society and the City Guild of Help. He served on the board of the British Royal Infirmary from 1883 and contributed £5,000 to the local fund for the building of a new institution. He provided £10,000 in 1898 as a benevolent fund for the aged and infirm of the city; he also supported the local children’s hospital, donated 12,000 books to Bradford Central Library and was involved in Bradford Technical College, the Workers Educational Association and the Bradford Scientific Association.

See also


  1. "Early Day Motion 1801 - Bradford Reform Synagogue". UK Parliament. 2 July 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  2. Historic England. "Bradford Synagogue (reform) (1227613)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  3. "Jewish Communities and Records: Bradford (Reform) Synagogue". JewishGen. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  4. "Annual Jewish Heritage Sites at Risk List Published". Jewish Heritage UK. February 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  5. "About the Synagogue". Bradford Reform Synagogue - about. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  6. "Bradford is forced to sell". The Jewish Chronicle Online. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  7. Baker, Hannah (28 June 2010). "Celebration held for 'little miracle'". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  8. "British Muslims Save Jewish Synagogue". Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  9. "Community groups rally together to save Bradford's historic synagogue". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  10. Binns, Katie (1 April 2008). "The Jewish connection!". BBC - Bradford and West Yorkshire. Retrieved 30 August 2013.

External links

Coordinates: 53°48′04″N 1°45′45″W / 53.8010611°N 1.7623776°W / 53.8010611; -1.7623776

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