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. What then is Lily’s legacy and the future of Liberal Judaism? Responses to this question are diverse, encompassing individual hopes and apprehensions. Some contributors are worried that Liberal Judaism remains a comparatively small movement. Others recall that Liberal Judaism has grown extensively since its beginnings.

Liberal Jews recall the words of Rabbi John Rayner z”l that it is better to be few and right than many and wrong. More important than membership figures are some of the ways in which Liberal Judaism has pioneered change, particularly in regards to social justice and inclusivity. Liberal Jews are also proud of the movement’s adaptability and outward looking approach, engaging with other faiths and none, and local and global concerns. Although many Liberal Jews today did not know Lily Montagu, they nonetheless share a sense of legacy and a vision of the years to come.

In this section, discover the thoughts and reflections of Liberal Jews answering the question, “What is Lily’s legacy?”


Without vision we must perish.

Lily Montagu

(In Memory of Lily H.Montagu, 1967, p.13)


This episode explores the theme of Lily’s legacy and the future of Liberal Judaism

During the oral history interviews for this project, all of the participants were asked about what they considered to be Lily’s legacy.

They were also asked about their hopes and dreams for the future of Liberal Judaism. Responses were diverse, with many confident about the future. Others expressed the need for ensuring survival of Liberal Judaism which remains a comparatively small movement. Connected to this concern is a discussion about whether Liberal Judaism should merge with the Reform movement and some of these views are reflected here. Whilst many participants discussed the legacy in broad terms, such as adaptability and inclusivity, others described specific aspects of Lily’s work.

Although the majority of participants did not know Lily Montagu, they nonetheless share a sense of legacy and a vision of the years to come.

You can read a transcript of the podcast HERE

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Rabbi Andrew Goldsten is confident that Liberal Judaism will continue to work towards social justice, but questions the future in terms of ritual and synagogue attendance.

Anna Wilson talks about how Liberal Judaism accepts differences of opinion and levels of observance.

Beverley Taylor attriubutes the involvement of women and inclusion of women rabbis as Lily’s legacy.

Howard Cohen thanks Liberal Judaism for its non-judgmental approach and warm welcome to all.


I have a great attachment to Judaism, I have a particular attachment to Liberal Judaism. The being that is generally referred to by Jews as God doesn’t have much place in my attachment to Judaism. But my attachment to Judaism comes from heritage, loyalty – when I say loyalty, loyalty in the sense that it would, in my view, it would be letting down – that’s quite a weak phrase, … those generations of Jews who have suffered to maintain their religion. Suffered unbelievably, not least in the 20th century, but also the sense of community as well.

David Lipman MBE