Yom Shabbat, 27 Av 5774
Saturday, 23 August 2014
The Liberal Synagogue Elstree PDF Print E-mail

The Liberal Synagogue Elstree serves a large catchment area around our centre in Elstree, Hertfordshire. Our members live in local areas including Radlett, Borehamwood, Shenley, Edgware, Stanmore, Bushey, St Albans and Watford.

Our congregation was founded in 1969 as the Stanmore Liberal Jewish Congregation. Meeting in local halls and homes, the original nucleus of 30 families grew rapidly. With the shift of the local Jewish population services became centred on the Elstree area and in 1977 the name was changed to Hertsmere to reflect this. The congregation then acquired the present Grade II listed building, a semi-derelict former village school, which was transformed by members working evenings and weekends to create the flexible synagogue, school and community centre we have today.
In 1993 we adopted a new Hebrew name - Ateret Tzvi, the Crown of Glory. The name captures our local connection, with Tzvi meaning hart or deer in Hebrew, which relates to the symbol of a deer used throughout Hertsmere. Our silverware, specially commissioned, bears the Hebrew name of the congregation.In 2004 we became The Liberal Synagogue Elstree - making it clear what we are, and where we are, and associating ourselves proudly with the Liberal Judaism movement.

Our regular services

Our Friday evening services are at 6:30 pm, other than the last Friday of each month when they are at 8:00 pm - details are in our monthly magazine Hakol. Our Shabbat Morning service is at 11.00am each Saturday. We have monthly Family Shabbat services which include a children’s service and crèche facilities, and services for all the major Festivals. Members are expected to participate in the security rota.
Men and women sit together and participate as equals in all aspects of the service. A part of all services is read in English, using our prayer book Siddur Lev Chadash. A mixed choir of members sings, often with organ accompaniment.

Our Rabbi

Rabbi Pete Tobias joined Hertsmere in September 2003. Pete graduated from the Leo Baeck College and subsequently served Birmingham Progressive and Glasgow New (Reform) Synagogues. He is a regular contributor to the national and Jewish press and to local and national radio. Rabbinical consultations can be arranged on request.

Education and Youth Activities

Our Religion School meets on Sunday mornings from 10.00am to 12.30pm for children between 6 and 13. The b'mitzvah class also meet separately twice a month. We celebrate both Bar- and Bat-Mitzvah at 13 and families are encouraged to support their children’s further study to Kabbalat Torah at 15. Parents share in the security rota and help support the school and raise funds for special activities. Rabbi Tobias is the principal of the religion school.

Our annual Summer Week for 5-14’s gives our children a unique opportunity to spend time in a fun, active and stimulating Jewish environment. Mixing arts and crafts, sport and drama, they learn more about their culture and history and have a great time!'Fusion' is our Youth Club for children of all ages; it meets regularly on Sunday or weekday evenings. We fully and actively support all LJY-Netzer activities for young people from the age of 8 upwards and regularly send representatives to all events, including weekends, leadership training, the Kadimah Summer Camp for 8 - 15's, and Israel Experiences for 16 - 19's.Our Adult Education Institute is The Learning Circle, which we run together with Radlett and Bushey Reform Synagogue. The main sessions are on Tuesday evenings. For details visit www.TheLearningCircle.org.uk.As Hertsmere Progressive Synagogue the congregation was instrumental in establishing the Clore Shalom School in Shenley, the first State Primary school to teach and respect all strands of Judaism. It opened in September 1999 and takes children aged three to eleven. Rabbi Tobias, as well as other members, serve on its board of governors.

Social and Cultural Events

The Synagogue holds a wide variety of events. These include social, fund-raising, cultural and sporting occasions, and meetings for all age-groups in the community. All the details can be found in our monthly magazine “Hakol”.
The Synagogue is run by a Council elected at the AGM in April, and a number of sub-committees. We are represented on the Board of Deputies and on the Liberal Judaism Council.


Membership of the Synagogue is open to all Jews who subscribe to the principles and objects of the Jewish faith. We regard as Jewish anyone who has a Jewish parent and who has been brought up in a Jewish environment. We encourage non-Jewish partners to become a Friend and to take an active part in the life of the community. A proselyte class is also available.
The standard membership subscription includes a burial and funeral scheme. We use the Liberal Judaism Cemeteries at Edgwarebury Lane and at Cheshunt.

To find out more

For more information about any of our activities please telephone the office, speak to any member of the Council or see our magazine Hakol. You can also visit TLSE on the web, at www.tlse.org.uk. If you would like an appointment to meet the Rabbi please contact the office.