First Woman of Reform Judaism

First Woman of Reform Judaism


Description: [JUDAICA] Lilian Helen "Lily" Montagu, CBE (1873-1963) was the first woman to play a major role in Progressive or Reform Judaism. Her father, founder of Samuel Montagu & Co., was a self-made millionaire by 1871. He was a Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1900 as the MP for Whitechapel, a poor district of the East End of London. In 1907, Montagu was raised to the peerage as Baron Swaythling. She grew up in a pious Orthodox Jewish home, in an ethos of privilege and philanthropy, devoted to helping the poor and advancing Jewish institutions. Her eldest brother, Louis, was also a financier and political activist, founding the League of British Jews to lobby against the creation of the state of Israel. In 1893 she founded the West Central Jewish Girls Club (which subsequently merged into the Jewish Girls' Brigade). She was active in social improvement, particularly in respect to unemployment, sweat shops and bad housing. In 1901 and 1902, Montagu was to lay the groundwork for the establishment of the Jewish Religious Union in London. The Union set up the first synagogue in Liberal Judaism in the UK and helped found the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Following the retirement of Leo Baeck, Montagu served for a brief stint (1955–1959) in her 80s as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, before handing the reins over to Solomon Freehof. TLS signed “Lily H. Montagu,” 1-page, 8 x 10, Feb. 8, 1939. A letter Dr. Frederick Solomonski, the noted Rabbi and German Expressionist artist. She is unable to help him for there are no openings there. Solomon was attempting to leave German during this period. VG. (Inventory 31)
Condition Report: VG
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East Coast Books

Ships from Wells, ME, US