Memories of Lily Montagu

This episode explores the theme of memories of the Honourable Lily Montagu.
Lilian Helen Montagu was born in 1873. She was a British social worker, magistrate, writer, and religious organizer. Along with Claude Montefiore and Israel Mattuck she formed the Liberal Jewish movement in England. In this episode, Liberal Jews remember Lily and the legacy she has created. For some this is deeply personal; Lily was instrumental in bringing Jews from Germany to safety in England to flee Nazi persecution in the late 1930s. Some of the voices here speak of owing their very lives to her. Others remember Lily, along with her sister Marion, as the leader of the West Central Club. ‘Lily’s girls’ as they were called, were working class Jewish girls. They received lessons at the club and the opportunity to worship and socialise.  Others remember Lily attending or leading religious services. Participants pay tribute to Lily’s deep spirituality and her innovative decision to move Sabbath services to the afternoon. Lily died in 1963, so many project participants did not meet her. And yet as these stories show, liberal Jews feel indebted to her and are inspired by her pioneering work as a social reformer- even if they never met her in person.

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