Sylvia Rothschild

Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
Position Rabbi
Synagogue Wimbledon and District Synagogue (2003–2014); Bromley Reform Synagogue (1987–2002)
Began 2003
Ended 2014
Predecessor Willie Woolf
Personal details
Born England
Nationality British
Denomination Reform Judaism
Spouse Martin Fischer[1]
Position Past Chair of the Rabbinic Assembly of Reform Judaism
Organisation The Movement for Reform Judaism
Began 1998
Ended 2003[2]

Sylvia Rothschild 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.

Early life

Her parents were Edgar and Esther Rothschild. Her father Edgar (1924–2012)[3] had come from Hannover, Germany via Baden-Baden to England in 1938 as a teenager.[4] Sylvia, her brother Walter, who is also a rabbi, and her sister Joyce[3] grew up in Bradford where her family were actively involved in Bradford Reform Synagogue, the third oldest Reform synagogue in England.

Professional career

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 from 1998 to 2003.[2]

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]


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 and has been one of the contributors to the Parashat haShavua column for The Jewish Chronicle.



Book reviews

Personal life

She is married and has three children.


  1. "Charlotte becomes London Citizens' first Jewish community worker" (PDF). Highlight: Bromley Reform Synagogue newsletter. March 2013. p. 7.
  2. 1 2 "RSGB Announces Rabbi Ian Morris as New Assembly of Rabbis Chair". Something Jewish. 2 April 2003.
  3. 1 2 "Edgar Herman Julius Rothschild". Geni. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  4. Sylvia Rothschild (2010). "Shemot". Wimbledon and District Synagogue. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  5. "Members". National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  6. "Hear Our Voices". Sylvia Rothschild. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  7. "Why women should be able to pray in peace". The Jewish Chronicle. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
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