About Us

We are Shir Hayim – ‘Song of Life’. We adopted our new title in 1998 to better represent the spirit of our Community. Our services, while traditional, are a joyous affair. This is reflected in the entire community’s joining in the singing of prayer, as well as the way all participate in the various aspects of the service.

Services are always warm, and held in intimate surroundings. They are characterised by flexibility and respect for both traditional and modern Jewish forms. Families sit together, and we encourage all members to participate, without regard to gender. We warmly welcome all visitors. Since 2008, we have been using the Reform Movement’s egalitarian prayerbook.

We were founded in 1974 as the Hampstead Reform Jewish Community and are a small, friendly, caring community that meets every Friday evening and Saturday morning. We celebrate all the Jewish festivals and we also have regular communal meals (chavurah-style) and social events. We are a constituent of the Movement for Reform Judaism and the only Reform community in the Hampstead area.

Our adult education programme flourishes with a weekly group looking at Jewish texts and Bible study, and another that focuses on Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. Our Cheder, Religion School, is small but growing, and much enjoyed by our children. When there is sufficient demand, we provide a Jewish Preparation class for those wishing to convert to Judaism. We are members of two burial societies.

Shir Hayim has always been a small Community, so the normal synagogue hierarchy with a small number of Executive officers, a larger number of officers and a still larger Council is simply inappropriate.  Instead, all members are entitled to attend our Business Meetings.  We are a true participative democracy, particularly as we have always worked on a consensual basis.

We publish a weekly email, including readings from Jewish tradition, and monthly news sheet for those with no email access, both providing information about all our activities. You are very welcome to come to any of them. We hope to see you soon.