History of Reform Judaism in Cardiff
There has been a Jewish Community in Cardiff since the early 20th Century, and after moving to Cardiff they tended to live and move to one area.
In the 1930s and 1940s there was a large influx of Jewish Refugees especially from Germany and Austria. These people generally had to leave their home countries very quickly as their lives were in peril, and few if any were able to bring with them proof that they were Jewish (normally a religious marriage certificate (Ketubah) or proof of membership of a synagogue.)
The one synagogue in the city was Orthodox and as their rules would not allow anyone without proof to join their synagogue, this caused them a serious problem. Even more so was that many came from the Liberal Movement in Europe so therefore they did not feel aligned to Orthodoxy. The Reform movement did not have such rules and these refugees were welcomed. Especially after the last war most of the Community tended to move to the same area and therefore it was no surprise that their children tended to go to the same school and it was through them the community spirit was carried on. Weddings ensued so it is not surprising that generations have followed generations.
Cardiff Reform Synagogue (originally called Cardiff New Synagogue) was born in 1948 formed some like-minded people. They were aware of the Reform Movement, which the fledgeling Synagogue joined.
From this small acorn the community had begun to grow and Services started to be held in the Temple of Peace, which is one of the buildings still to be found in Cardiff Civic Centre. It was not long before there was a desire for the Community to have its own Jewish “home.”
A site was found close to the City Centre which was the Mount Tabor Primitive Methodist Chapel in Moira Terrace. The Chapel had been severely damaged during the war and needed complete renovation.
The purchase was completed in 1952 at a cost of £3000 and restoration was completed in 1953 also at similar cost. (A lot of money in those days!) The budget was overspent by about £180!
Ever since, renovations and transformations have been carried out to make sure we meet the needs of our Community, but never surrendering the tenets of Reform Judaism.
We are a warm and welcoming, vibrant Community, holding services throughout the year, including Channukah celebrations which are celebrated in most major cities. On many occasions Civic dignitaries attend one of which when asked if available replied “I love coming to your beautiful Synagogue”
The members come from diverse Communities and visitors are welcomed. Full services and events are held throughout the year, as it is felt important to provide social events as well, which helps to bond our community together.