Rabbi Joseph Strauss, founding Rabbi of Bradford Reform Synagogue and one of the first Reform Rabbis

About the Synagogue

Located on Bowland Street in Bradford, the Bradford Synagogue is a unique Grade II listed Moorish Victorian building - the oldest reform Synagogue outside of London.

With the foundation stone laid by grand old man Jacob Unna in 1880 and founded by one of the first Reform Rabbis in England, Dr Joseph Strauss (pictured above), the Synagogue became the home of the community and to this day is unchanged from its original design.

Bradford itself has a renowned background based around Judaism and has even had a Jewish Lord Mayor - with the last being Olivia Messer.

Dating back to the 1820s, Jewish settlers from Europe headed west and saw Bradford as a perfect location to grow in what was once the wool capital of the world.  But it was in 1873 with the arrival of Rabbi Dr Joseph Strauss, that the Bradford Jewish Community world started moving.  Rabbi Strauss led the community from 1873 to 1922, which included many remarkable congregants - among them Jacob Moser.

Jacob Moser became a good friend of Rabbi Struss' and involved himself in funding the Herzliya Gymnasia - the first Hebrew High School in the new Jewish City of Tel Aviv.  He also helped make donations to Bezalel School of Art in Jerusalem, who sent artwork to Bradford as a thankyou for their involvement.  The Bradford Reform Synagogue is a living memory of these amazing people along with other great events which contributed to Jewish life in West Yorkshire - which we are grateful to witness. Many books and articles have been written to document the significant Jewish History of Bradford - along with a running tour around the city sites known as the Jewish Heritage Trail. 

With this historical foundation in view, today the Synagogue is still used for shabbat, high festivals and dinner events - keeping the Bradford Jewish Community together and footprint of Jewish existence in a changing city.

Although the Jewish population has sadly declined since then, we are still active - without Bradford Synagogue, Bradford and its surrounding Jewish community would be missing an influential and inspiring asset.

Let's stop that from happening.

For further information see our Friends page or Contact Us

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