History of The Federation of Synagogues

The Federation of Synagogues was first established in 1887, primarily due to the vision and efforts of Samuel Montague MP (later to become the first Lord Swaythling). Montague, a prosperous banker who was pious and generous as well as practical, saw a need to unify the numerous small and mostly ill-housed congregations and chevras that had mushroomed in London's East End following the mass influx of refugees from anti-Semitic terror in Imperial Russia.
The relationship between the newcomers and the existing Anglicised community was an uncomfortable one, the immigrants suspected the orthodoxy of the English Jews, while the latter, who lived and worshipped in greater affluence, tended to look down on their less fortunate brethren - who were by now a majority, with no effective say in community affairs.

Within half a century the pre-eminent Anglo-Jewish Historian Cecil Roth was able to write: "..The Federation of Synagogues is...amongst the greatest and most generous Jewish religious organisations in the world. By its insistence on traditional values and by its deep sympathy with every Jewish cause, it has swung itself into the mainstream of Jewish history."

During the last few decades the Federation has become a fully independent Kehilla, involved in every facet of religious activity.

The present administration, under the presidency of Mr. Andrew Cohen, is pledged to promote the aims of the original founders by maintaining standards of undiluted Torah orthodoxy and encouraging the expansion of Torah learning and practice. The siting of our new and modern headquarters in Hendon, within easy reach of the main areas of London's Jewish population, is designed to help attain these goals.

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