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Sylvia Rothschild

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Began  1998
Nationality  British
Name  Sylvia Rothschild
Ended  2003
Denomination  Reform Judaism
Positions  Rabbi
Synagogue  Wimbledon and District Synagogue (2003-2014); Bromley Reform Synagogue (1987-2002)
Organisation  The Movement for Reform Judaism

Sylvia Rothschild is a British Reform rabbi. Together with Rabbi Sybil Sheridan, she was Rabbi of Wimbledon and District Synagogue in south west London, from 2003 to 2014, in the first ever rabbinic job share in England. She was Rabbi of Bromley Reform Synagogue from 1987 to 2002.


Early life

Her parents were Edgar and Esther Rothschild. Her father Edgar (1924-2012) had come from Hannover, Germany via Baden-Baden to England in 1938 as a teenager. Sylvia, her brother Walter, who is also a rabbi, and her sister Joyce grew up in Bradford where her family were actively involved in Bradford Reform Synagogue, the third oldest Reform synagogue in England.

Professional career

After completing a psychology degree at Manchester University she worked for a mental health charity in a therapeutic community, and for a London borough in adult psychiatric care. She was ordained as a rabbi in 1987 by the Leo Baeck College and has worked as a community rabbi ever since. She was Chair of the Assembly of Rabbis from 1998 to 2003.

Rothschild was a lay member of the Bromley Research Ethics Committee for many years, and is an Appointed Member of the Standards Committee for the London Borough of Bromley as well as an Appointed Member of the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care.

She is also a trained counsellor and has trained as an executive coach.

She has spoken out against the suppression of women's voices on religious matters in Israel and restrictions on the right of women to pray at the Western Wall.


Rothschild has written extensively on ethical issues, as well as on prayer and on new liturgies. She is known for her creation of a large number of new rituals and prayers for life events, mainly though not exclusively, to mark events in women's lives. She has also written liturgies to help with end of life experiences.

She answered questions on the website of for some years and has been one of the contributors to the Parashat haShavua column for The Jewish Chronicle.


  • Sylvia Rothschild and Sybil Sheridan (eds.): Taking Up the Timbrel: The Challenge of Creating Ritual for Jewish Women Today. London: SCM Press, 2000. Includes Sylvia Rothschild: "Terminating a Pregnancy", "After the Termination of a Pregnancy" and "Beginning a Religious Response to Mastectomy"
  • Articles

  • Sylvia Rothschild: "Why women should be able to pray in peace", The Jewish Chronicle, 22 April 2010
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "Why I held a funeral for a stillborn child", The Jewish Chronicle, 27 October 2011
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "The JNF must go back to its roots", The Jewish Chronicle, 24 May 2012
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "Sweet voices and sour fanatics", The Jewish Chronicle, 5 November 2012
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "Reform Judaism and organ donation", Movement for Reform Judaism, 18 July 2013
  • Book reviews

  • Sylvia Rothschild: ""A wise choice for Bible readers" book review of Robert Alter: The Wisdom Books: Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes: a translation with commentary, W.W. Norton, The Jewish Chronicle, 12 May 2011
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "What does the Bible say?" book review of Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky: The Bible Now, Oxford University Press, The Jewish Chronicle, 6 July 2012
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "Meeting points for Abraham's children" book review of Tony Bayfield, Alan Race and Ataullah Siddiqui (eds.): Beyond the Dysfunctional Family – Jews, Christians and Muslims in Dialogue with Muslims in Dialogue with Each Other and With Britain, The Manor House Abrahamic Dialogue Group, The Jewish Chronicle, 30 November 2012
  • Sylvia Rothschild: "Little room for Europe" book review of Judith R Baskin (ed.): The Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture, Cambridge University Press, The Jewish Chronicle, 27 December 2012
  • Personal life

    She is married and has three children.


    Sylvia Rothschild Wikipedia

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