Lily’s Legacy Project

Welcome to the Lily’s Legacy Exhibition




About The Exhibition


An exhibition inspired by its prime founder, Lily Montagu


I just enjoy being a Liberal Jew. I don’t like labels. But if anybody asked me, are you Jewish? I will say with pride, I’m a Liberal Jew. And I think for me it has enhanced my life enormously

Vanda Renton

What is Liberal Judaism? Who are the Liberal Jews? Who were the founders and pioneers? What was their vision? And how is this vision embodied today? This groundbreaking multi-media exhibition “Voices and Visions of Liberal Judaism” features the voices, visions, memories and mementos of Liberal Judaism through the 20th and 21st century, and their thoughts for the future.

The exhibition was created from stories and materials collected as part of the Lily’s Legacy Project, which showcases The Radical History and Heritage of Liberal Judaism in Britain. The project examines how Liberal Judaism embodies the vision of its founder – Lily Montagu, Claude Montefiore and Rabbi Dr Israel Mattuck – both today and throughout its history.

The project has collected over 100 audio and audio – visual oral histories and memorabilia from Liberal Jews across communities and from all walks of life – from those involved in setting up communities many decades ago to those who have only recently found a home for their Jewish story within Liberal Judaism.

In this exhibition we invite you to discover extracts from the materials collected, in the form of podcasts, video testimonials, blogs and photographic records. These showcase personal journeys and historical milestones of a faith movement that has always been at the cutting edge of modernity, inclusivity and equality. The original materials will be deposited in the London Metropolitan Archives as a historical resource documenting Liberal Judaism for future generations.

The project is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Lily’s Legacy Project

Enter the exhibition by selecting a theme below

Rituals & Worship

Early Liberal Jewish services made significant departures from Orthodox worship. Men and women sat together, the majority of the service was in English and men were not required to cover their heads in synagogue.


Liberal Judaism began in the 19th Century in Britain and was formed by Claude Montefiore, Lily Montagu and Israel Mattuck. Liberal Judaism continues to be dynamic and questioning, and offers an authentic and modern approach to Judaism.


Liberal Judaism has always been at the vanguard of equality, and has offered equity to those traditionally excluded such as LGBTQI+ people, ‘Jews by choice’ or ‘patrilineal Jews’.

Mixed Faith & Conversion

Liberal Judaism welcomes those who grew up Jewish and those who have become accepted into Judaism. The Liberal Jewish movement is inclusive and egalitarian and gives equal status to those traditionally excluded.

Through The Generations

Lily Montagu was dedicated to the needs of young people, especially young girls who lived in poverty in the East End of London. She founded The West Central Jewish Girls’ Club in 1893, together with her sister, Marian (1868 – 1965), and their cousin, Beatrice Franklin (1871 – 1959).

Gender Equality

Lily Montagu (1873 – 1963) was a founder and President of Liberal Judaism and a tireless campaigner for the rights of women.

Social Justice

Liberal Judaism champions social justice. In recent years, Liberal Jews have been involved in lobbying Parliament about a number of campaigns, including the living wage, child refugees and LGBTQI+ rights.

Founders & Pioneers

The Hon. Lily Montagu founded the Liberal Jewish Movement in Britain with Claude Montefiore and Israel Mattuck in 1902 – together they were known as the three M’s.

Memories of Lily Montagu

Lilian Helen Montagu was born in 1873. She was a British social worker, magistrate, writer, and religious organizer. In the early 1890s Lily Montagu met Claude Montefiore (1858 –1938), Jewish scholar and proponent of Liberal Judaism. Along with Claude Montefiore and Israel Mattuck she formed the Liberal Jewish movement in England.

Legacy & Future

Liberal Judaism has a history of continuity and change. Whilst Liberal Judaism has stayed true to the aims of its founders, it continues to evolve in the 21st century.