Members’ Stories

What’s it like to be a KLS member?

Our members come from all parts of Surrey, SW London and beyond and are from a wide range of backgrounds including those with a Jewish upbringing and those accepted into Judaism later in life.  We embrace those traditionally excluded such as those from mixed-faith backgrounds or from the LGBT community. We also welcome those considering converting to Judaism and offer a programme of study for this purpose.  Below just a few of our members tell their stories:

I’ve been coming to KLS since I was a child

I have been coming to KLS since I was a child, learning about my religion and how to read Hebrew before having my Bat Mitzvah. I carried on attending Beiteinu and studied for my Jewish Studies GCSE and then completed my Kabbalat Torah a few years ago. This has helped me understand my Jewish identity and make loads of great friendships. I have also been involved with LJY-Netzer, going on summer camps, Israel tour, and a trip around Europe last year. I am now a teaching assistant at Beiteinu every week and enjoy being able to give something back to the community that has helped me grow so much.


I’m a Patrilineal Jew


I’m a ‘Patrilineal Jew’ which means my Father is Jewish but my Mother is not. Nevertheless I was welcomed into the community and fully accepted – and I have enjoyed taking classes to learn more about my heritage. It was so easy to become involved – right from the very first contact with Diane in the office, to the initial meeting with Rabbi Rene, and then meeting members of the community.  I’ve made some great friends here – and it’s the first time I’ve been a member of a Jewish community so I feel like I’m making up for lost time. My father has also now joined KLS and it's the first time he's been a member of a Jewish community since his childhood in North London in the fifties!

As soon I met the Rabbi and the community I knew I’d made the right decision

After making the decision to convert to Judaism in my 40s, I looked around for a local Synagogue. KLS seemed to be the best choice for my conversion and as soon as I met the Rabbi and the community I knew I’d made the right decision. I undertook a year-long conversion course which was fascinating, insightful and enjoyable and I finally converted to Judaism at the end of 2018. I’ve recently been elected to serve on the KLS council and am looking forward to the opportunity to give something back to the community that has welcomed me so well.


We fell in love with KLS on our first visit!

Carolynne Farrer

My name is Carolynne and I’m married to Steve, we have two children, Gideon 18 and Marcus nearly 15. We joined KLS when Gideon was about 8 years old, as I was very conscious that I didn’t want to suddenly introduce him to synagogue when he was nearing Bar Mitzvah age with no previous experience of going to Shul and no Jewish friends other than the children of our friends. We’d intended to visit KLS and Brighton synagogues as they’re equidistant from our home but we never made it to Brighton having fallen in love with KLS on first visit! Its warmth, inclusiveness and welcome to all members and visitors alike had us hooked. I’m happy to say that KLS achieved my hopes for our boys and that they both still happily attend synagogue regularly and have many friends at KLS as do we.

We joined KLS in 1970

We joined KLS in 1970 shortly after we were married as we had decided to live in Berrylands and were reasonably local to the Synagogue. When our two sons were born they had Baby Blessings and eventually attended the Religion School (as it was called in those days). They both
had their Bar Mitzvah’s and Kabbalat Torahs, and are current members of the Synagogue.
We have served on Council in various roles and Jill edited Kingston News for ten years.
We enjoy belonging to KLS as it has a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere and has enabled us to make many friends.

Norman and Jill