Judith Lady Montefiore College () is a
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are members of an ethnoreligious group and a nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish ...
theological seminary founded in 1869 by Sir
Moses Montefiore Sir Moses Haim Montefiore, 1st Baronet, (24 October 1784 – 28 July 1885) was a British financier and banker, activist, philanthropist Philanthropy consists of "private initiatives, for the Public good (economics), public ...

Moses Montefiore
in memory of his late wife, Lady Judith Montefiore, at
Ramsgate Ramsgate is a seaside town in the district of Thanet in east Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to t ...
Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west. The county also shares borders with Essex along the estu ...

Early history

The College initially took the form of a '' beit midrash'' attended by elderly men of learning who studied the Talmud there, under the directorship Dr. Louis Löwe. The Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation in London assumed the administration of the College after Montefiore's death in 1885, and the College languished after the death of Löwe in 1888. After
Moses Gaster
Moses Gaster
was appointed principal in 1890, the College was re-organized into a modern rabbinical training college. The former members of the institution were dismissed, and students between the age of 16 and 21 with a B.A. or comparable university degree were invited to move into the College for a period of five years to become academically trained
rabbi A rabbi is a spiritual leader or religious teacher in Judaism. One becomes a rabbi by being ordained by another rabbi, following a course of study of Jewish texts such as the Talmud. The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisees, Phar ...
s. The College
ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denomination, denominational hie ...
its first two students, William Henry Greenburg and Henry Barnstein, on 4 November 1895, to much controversy. Judith Lady Montefiore College was moved to
London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the Nor ...
in 1961 (its building demolished in 1964), and closed in 1985. The site of the college is now owned by Ramsgate Town Council and maintained by volunteers as a dedicated woodland.


The College was re-opened in London in 2005 as a centre for higher Torah education. Its ''
semikhah ' (or or ; he, סמיכה) refers traditionally to the ordination within Judaism of a rabbi. In recent times, some institutions grant ordination for the role of ''hazzan'' (cantor), extending the “Investiture” granted there from the 1950s; ...
'' (ordination) programme was opened in January 2006 on the premises of and in co-operation with the Bevis Marks Synagogue. The programme is accepted by the
Rabbinical Council of AmericaThe Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) is one of the world's largest organizations of Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox rabbis; it is affiliated with The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, more commonly known as the Orthodox Union (OU). It ...
, and is now operated in collaboration with the Israel-based ''Kollel Eretz Hemda''. Since November 2016, Montefiore has offered a program for ''dayan (rabbinic judge), dayanim'' (rabbinic judges), also in collaboration with ''Eretz Hemda''.


1869 establishments in England Education in Kent Educational institutions established in 1869 Orthodox yeshivas in the United Kingdom Ramsgate Religion in Kent Jewish seminaries {{yeshiva-stub