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December 05, 1980 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-12-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, December 5, 1980 13

British Jewry Has a Long and Proud History

LONDON (ZINS) —
There are few Jewish com-
munities in the Diaspora
whose record is as ancient
and as proud as that of
Great Britain's. Historical
records of organized Jewish
life date from the Norman
Conquest of 1066, though it
is believed that individual
Jews lived in England in
Roman and Anglo-Saxon
times.
In more recent times,
British Jewry played a
major part in the struggle
for a sovereign Jewish state.
The medieval settlement
of Jews was not always a
happy period and in 1190
massacres occurred in many
cities, including York. In
1290, Edward I expelled the
Jews and it was not until
the 17th Century, thanks to
the efforts of Menasseh ben
Israel, that they were
allowed to return under
Oliver Cromwell. In 1656,
the Spanish and Portuguese
Congregation was formed
and towards the end of that
century, the Ashkenazi
community was estab-
lished.
It was not until the 19th
Century, however, that
the Jews were able to
play their full part in the
civic life of the country.
Though Jewish MP's
were repeatedly elected
from 1847 onward, they
were not allowed to take
their seats in Parliament
until 11 years later.
The first professing Jew
to be admitted to the House
of Commons was Lionel
Nathan Rothschild whose
son, Nathaniel Meyer, be-
came in 1885 the first pro-
fessing Jew to be raised to
the peerage and took this
seat in the House of Lords.
The first Jew to become
Sheriff (and later Lord
Mayor) of London was Sir
David Salomons, in 1835.
Two years later, Salo-
mons was followed as sheriff
by Sir Moses Montefiore,
one of the outstanding fig-
ures in the Jewish commu-
nity, who lived to the age of
101 and paid seven visits to
Palestine, where his name
still lives on.
The first Jew to become a
member of the government
- was Sir George Jessel, who
was appointed Solicitor-
General in 1871.
Towards the end of the
19th Century, the Jewish
community of Great Brit-
ain began to grow, with

fb

Students
i e n
M rk
r _
A nt i- Fa sc i t
VIENNA (JTA) — Sev-
eral thousand students re-
cently marked Anti-Fascist
Day at Austrian univer-
sities.
They organized dis-
cussions and cultural pro-
grams, screened films and
demanded a ban on neo-
Nazi organizations and an
amendment of the election
law to prohibit fascist
groups from participation in
student government. The
Supreme Court has ruled
that all groups must take
part in student government
election.

Ma a
s ay

the outbreak of pogroms
in Russia and the con-
sequent waves of immi-
gration to a country
whose liberal attitudes
were widely known and
admired.
Many immigrants settled
in the East End of London,
where they struggled hard
to make a living — often in
the tailoring trade — but at
the same time adhered
strongly to their Jewish
traditions, establishing
synagogues, Talmud To-
rahs and other institutions
which helped to create a
vibrant Jewish atmosphere.
Today, however, the old
Jewish East End has virtu-
ally disappeared. The few
who still live there are el-
derly, many of the
synagogues have closed
down and even the shops
and market stalls have
fewer Jewish owners than
before.
But if Jews are no longer
to be found in abundance in
the East End, they are well
represented in several other
parts of the capital. Of the
estimated 400,000 who
make up the British Jewish
community today, three-
quarters live in Greater
London.
Outside the metropolis,
the largest Jewish com-
munity is to be found in
Manchester, with an es-
timated 35,000 people.
This community was for

many years the home of
Dr. Chaim Weizmann, -
who played so prominent
a part of the establish-
ment of the state of Israel
and later became its first
president. Manchester
Jewry produced other
great names, including
the Marks, Sieff and Sac-
her families.
After Manchester come
Leeds (18,000), Glasgow
(13,400), Brighton (10,000),
Liverpool (6,500), Birming-
ham (6,000) and Southend
(5,000). Unfortunately,
many of the smaller provin-
cial Jewish communities
are struggling to stay alive
and the trend is for younger
people to move to the larger
cities. At the same time,
there is a movement out-
wards from the city centers
to the suburbs.
Much statistical data on
Anglo-Jewry is collected
and analyzed by the re-
search unit of the Board of
Deputies of British Jews.
The board, established in
1760, is the representative
body of British Jewry and is
recognized and respected as
such by the government.
There is frequent contact
between the board and the
various departments of the

Make your books be your
companions; let your cases
and shelves be your pleas-
ure grounds and orchards.
—Ibn Tibbon

government and all matters
of Jewish concern come
within its purview. Indeed,
only recently, board leaders
have had meetings with the

Prime Minister Mrs. Mar-
garet Thatcher and Foreign
Secretary Lord Carrington
to discuss a wide range of
domestic and foreign issues.

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