We are a progressive Jewish Congregation based in Luton and Bedford, serving members throughout Bedfordshire as well as Buckinghamshire and North Hertfordshire.
As a community within the Liberal Judaism movement we accept the basic and essential beliefs of the Jewish faith and its practices as revealed in the Bible and Talmud, whilst modifying those that seem purely the products of a past era and that have been re-evaluated in accordance with modern research and thought.
We also acknowledge the right of the individual to a certain freedom commensurate with his or her own conscience in today's world. We regard this as in the tradition of the original visionary inspiration of Judaism, and necessary for its present day vitality. Immediately noticeable is that men and women worship together, that women participate as equals, and that parts of the services are read in English.
BPS is a member of Liberal Judiasm, which affirms the dynamic, developing character of our Jewish religious tradition. We use the LJ prayer books and observe the Liberal Jewish festival calendar.
Story of the Bedfordshire Progressive/Rodef Shalom small Torah Scroll.
This story began in Czechoslovakia when the Nazis took over the country. They roared into smaller states like Moravia and Bohemia destroying synagogues, and carrying Torahs, Torah adornments, such as crowns and breastplates and mantles, back to Prague, the country’s capital.
By 1944, 1,564 Torahs and their silverware had been gathered. This particular scroll is approximately 300 years old, and belonged to a Czechoslovakian community from Brno, a town 116 miles south east of Prague. Brno dates from the first half of the 13th Century, where there was a large Jewish community up until 1454, until they were expelled and their synagogue and cemetery destroyed.
When Jews returned to the town in 1930, it's population stood at 10,202. The Nazis occupation devasted the community, and fewer than 2,000 survived. This Torah scroll was one of many stored by the Nazis during the second world war, intended for display in a museum of the ‘Vanished Race’. After the war this collection was brought to England under the auspices of Westminster Synagogue. Here the scrolls were logged, restored, and loaned to communities in need. Bedford received this scroll in the 1960s where it has remained ever since.