Who are we?
We are a small Congregation based in Sheffield, in the North of England, UK. We formed in 1989 from a nucleus of members of Sinai Synagogue in Leeds living in the Sheffield area – assisted by Rabbi Walter Rothschild (then the Rabbi at Sinai Synagogue, Leeds). We are affiliated to MRJ (the Movement for Reform Judaism - previously RSGB - Reform Synagogues of Great Britain) - and generally follow their pattern of services.
Our Management Committee is elected annually at our AGM – which is normally held in June or July. There are currently 6 members on our Committee and our Chair is Howard Saffer.
We normally hold synagogue services two to three times a month - with some Friday night and some Shabbat morning services. For dates of future services check the ‘Service’ list in our ‘Diary’.
Rabbi? – what Rabbi?
As a small Congregation we don’t have a Rabbi. Services are lead by lay-leaders – although we do invite Rabbinic Students to run some services and to help us at High Holy Days. Most other facilities and ‘services’ are run and managed by our Management Committee.
We don’t have a synagogue building. However we meet regularly at a local community centre – and occasionally in member’s houses. Please make contact using our contact page or through a committee member for more information if you want to come along to a service or other activity.
2020 update - due to COVID 19 - for now, all our services and events will be on-line using Zoom
In recent years we have run various adult learning initiatives including - “Community of Learners”, “Textual Journey”, “Torah L’Am’, Limmud Chevrutah,‘L’Chaim’ and on-line learning programs. We are always interested in starting new programs.
We have been running a small Jewish Book Club for several years. Participants read a book and then discuss it together. We would welcome others joining this group - or maybe helping to form a second Book Club group? In any case, we would welcome other people reading the books – and commenting or reviewing them.
Open Book Club
A newer Jewish book club - which is also open to people who are not members of our Congregation
Cheder (Religious Education classes)
We don’t currently run a Cheder for children - but we do liaise with parents to help organise some Jewish education for the few children currently within our Community. However if numbers of children increase, a Cheder could be re-started if there is sufficient demand.
High Holy Days and Festivals
We normally run our HHD services ourselves – often with the assistance of Rabbinic Students studying at Leo Baeck College (in London). We also organise celebrations or parties at Sukkot, Chunukah, Purim and some other occasions. Our Communal Seder on the 2nd night of Pesach is normally very well supported - by members and non-members alike. The 2017 Communal Seder attracted more than 50 persons.
Omer – our Newsletter
We have a Newsletter that is called ‘Omer’. (this a Hebrew word with two meanings – Omer with an ayin – meaning ‘sheaf’ – as in corn – which is a symbol of Sheffield; Omer with an aleph means ‘ to say’ – which is what our newsletter is for of course). It now comes out approximately every quarter – and is well read by our members and across the Jewish Community in Sheffield. Non-members may subscribe for a small annual donation. Current and back copies (in pdf format – which can be read in Acrobat reader) are also available in a slightly revised format if you Contact Us directly.
Library without Shelves
As we don’t have a synagogue building, we also don’t have a physical library. However our members have many books and magazines of Jewish interest – and some are available for loan. More details will be available on this later.
Cemetery and Burial
Through an arrangement with Sheffield City Council we administer our own Jewish Cemetery – in a section of a City Council cemetery. We also participate in a Reform movement burial insurance scheme that is available to all our members. We have recently introduced a separate mixed-faith area in our cemetery (to allow members to be laid to rest with their non-Jewish partner - in some specific circumstances). Please go to the Contact Us page for any enquiries concerning this.
Constitution / Memorandum & Articles
We amended our Memorandum & Articles in July 2008. Please Contact Us if you would like to see a copy.
Although we don’t have our own conversion course, we can make arrangements with our nearest Reform Rabbis, at Sinai Synagogue in Leeds or one of the Manchester Reform synagogues. If you might be interested, please Contact Us for more details.
People, including non-members, often contact us about the Circumcision of their new (or soon to arrive) baby boy. We don’t have a ‘Mohel’ (someone who carries out circumcisions) in Sheffield - but we can put you in touch with a Mohel In Leeds or Manchester. Reform ‘Mohelim’ are generally Jewish doctors who have had special training to carry out this special ritual, rather than Rabbis. Please Contact Us if you require more details.
MRJ - (formerly RSGB)
The Congregation is affiliated to the Movement for Reform Judaism (MRJ) - formerly called RSGB (the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain). MRJ provide us with assistance and support in many areas of synagogue activity. For more information on MRJ - check out the Reform Judaism web site - which also includes an on-line forum where ‘visitors’ can ask questions - or ‘post’ information for other members to see.
This is the youth movement wing of MRJ. For more information about RSY-Netzer activities nationally - including their extremely popular Summer programmes (Shemesh) - which many of our children have attended over the years - please check out the RSY-Netzer web site.