Our History



1939: The Leo Baeck School, the first Progressive Jewish institution in Israel (Palestine), was founded in Haifa.

1950s: Because of exchange control restrictions following the end of the second world war, visitors to Israel began taking gifts to the School, it not being feasible to give money. As a consequence, members of ULPS decided that the School would gain most benefit if the help being offered were channelled through a central organisation and thus the Friends of the Leo Baeck School came into existence.

1965: With the expansion of Progressive Jewish activity, the name was amended to the Friends of Progressive Judaism in Israel and by this time, members of RSGB were fully involved in the organisation.

In parallel, following the end of the war, the needs of Europe were being recognised and the Friends of Progressive Judaism in Europe was formed by the European Board of the World Union for Progressive Judaism to help the European communities - or what remained of them - re-establish themselves.

1978: The two organisations merged, becoming the Association of Friends.

1988: Again the name was amended, this time to a more meaningful title - The Friends of Progressive Judaism in Israel and Europe.

1991: With the need for increased resources, firstly in Israel as the movement expanded and secondly in continental Europe and the Former Soviet Union as new communities started springing up following the collapse of the communist regimes, fund raising became of prime importance. To meet this need, the Friends developed in 1991 from a fund collecting to a fund raising organisation and since 1994 has been conducting an appeal to members of RSGB and ULPS each year at Shabbat Shekalim.

2001: To reflect this main emphasis on fund raising, the Friends have adopted a new slogan - Funding for Progressive Judaism.

2002: We undertook to directly support a Rabbi to work with the congregations in Lower Saxony (Germany), following on from the European Region Conference in Barcelona.

2005: New logo for FPJ adopted and the British Friends of Leo Baeck Haifa launched.

2006: 40th Anniversary of FPJ.

2006/7 Co-ordinates MRJ and LJ Emergency Appeal for the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Budapest.

2008: Website is launched

2008: Leo Baeck-Haifa "Buy a chair campaign", Warsaw

2010: Establish Student Rabbi Bursary for year in Israel. Munich Synagogue Fire response. (EUPJ) Hameln new building.

2011: Emergency Appeal following Carmel Fire Disaster

2011: 45th Anniversary of FPJ.