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). Lily Montagu helped create a club that gave working class Jewish girls the opportunity to develop themselves socially, intellectually and spiritually, through classes, Sabbath services, concerts, and outings. Since that time Liberal Judaism has remained committed to the needs and future of its young people. As well as clubs run by the movement, a number of synagogues have established their own youth clubs. Since its foundations youth clubs and programmes have played a pivotal role in engaging young people and ensuring the future of Liberal Judaism. Today the youth movement, LJY Netzer, offers activities and events for young people aged between 8 and 23 years old. Activities include day events, residential camps, Israel tour and trips abroad. LJY Netzer also offer a gap year programme in Israel for 18 year olds.

In this section Liberal Jews of all ages recall their membership of a range of Liberal Jewish youth clubs.


I must explain that I had no recognized training for Club work. Such training was not considered important in my day. But in my amateurish way I rather stumbled on my methods and objects through realizing the needs of my girls by means of personal friendship with them I was allowed to share their moods with them. There was no wall between us. My approach to them was very simple, just the kind of friendliness given by one girl to others by herself, and they gave me affection in generous measure

Lily Montagu

(Faith of a Jewish Woman, 1943 p.19)


This episode explores the theme of youth and intergenerational Judaism

One of Lily Montagu’s major achievements was the foundation of the West Central Jewish Girls Club in 1893. Since that time Liberal Judaism has been committed to the needs and future of its young people. As well as clubs run by the movement, a number of synagogues founded their own youth clubs. In this episode Liberal Jews reminisce about the clubs they formed and attended.

Listen to memories that date back to Lily’s lifetime as well as perceptions from our current young members.

You can read a transcript of the podcast HERE

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Rabbi Jackie Tabick reflects on the significance of The West Central Girls Club set up by Lily Montagu along with her sister and cousin.

Karen Newman talks about her daughter’s involvement with LJY-Netzer.

Rabbi Margaret Jacobi recalls being one of the founder members of the Liberal Jewish youth group, then called the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues network of Jewish Youth (ULPSNYC).

Sharon Goldstein talks about programmes for young people and her hope that they will continue their Jewish lives, including religious aspects, into adulthood.

Kadimah stages a delayed Bar Mitzvah.


I can’t imagine having grown up in another movement. With a mixed family and living outside of the London Jewish bubble, Liberal Judaism made accessing my Judaism in a positive and non-exclusive way not just easy, but meaningful and deeply formative as well. Liberal Judaism offers young people a unique, values driven Judaism that enables them to express their Jewish identity in a myriad of ways. Through inspiring cheder lessons run by community volunteers. Through interactive youth services run by our inspiring Rabbis. Through formative experiences away from home in our youth movement of LJY-Netzer. My experiences showed me that there truly is something in Liberal Judaism for every young person out there who is interested in exploring what it means to be young, Jewish and British in an incredibly diverse and inclusive movement that I only grow prouder of every day.

Graham Carpenter