Westminster Synagogue was established over fifty years ago in 1957 by a small group of founding families. The first services were held in Caxton Hall, Westminster, from which it derives its name. The congregation moved to Kent House, Knightsbridge, its permanent home, in 1960.
Judaism is affirmed as a relevant and motivating power in members’ lives within a community that is characterised by its intimacy and warmth of welcome. Services give voice to authentic Jewish tradition whilst respecting the sensibility of a progressive, contemporary community. As a congregation we are committed to the well-being of our members, and endeavour always to engender a sense of our responsibility to the wider community.
The Synagogue’s Principles
The Rev. Dr. Harold Reinhart was Minister of Westminster Synagogue from its inception until his death in August, 1969. The ideals to which his life was dedicated and to which the Synagogue is deeply committed are expressed in the following statement of principles and policy, formally adopted by the congregation at its third Annual General Meeting on 19th January 1961.
"Our aim is to create a synagogue which will be an instrument for the pursuit of religious truth. We would seek for knowledge and charity and piety. We want a congregation that will be a source of encouragement to human progress and of comfort and inspiration to individual men and women. We would be a congregation of interested active members, personally committed to our Synagogue, accepting the responsibility of membership as a challenge to the best in each of us. We regard our membership as a high privilege, and we will not be content with a synagogue which is less than a vehicle of truth."
The founding families pledged “to create a synagogue which would be an instrument for the pursuit of religious truth, a source of encouragement to human progress and of comfort to individual men and women.” The Statement of Principles, adopted in 1961, continues to guide the community and its members.