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Synagogue membership in the United Kingdom in 2010

Author(s): David Graham and Daniel Vulkan
Date: 13 May 2010

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A report published jointly by JPR and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and co-authored by Dr David Graham (Senior Research Fellow, JPR) and Daniel Vulkan (Research and Information Officer, Board of Deputies).  It reveals a dynamic picture of communal change in the UK Jewish community, and charts significant changes in its religious make-up.

Synagogue membership data are a vital source for understanding patterns of affiliation in the British Jewish community, which often serves as a proxy for levels of Jewish identification among the population. They have been gathered by the Jewish community over many decades, and when viewed over time, indicate that British Jews have weakening ties to communal structures.

While the decline in synagogue membership is clear, some maintain that Jews are simply changing the way they affiliate rather than losing their sense of Jewishness. The evidence for this hypothesis is still quite weak, but is an important consideration to bear in mind when debating the implications of the data.

demography identity community synagogue affiliation denomination synagoguemembership