Finding Jewish England
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College adjunct professor of history Gary Schiff will explore the thousand-year old history of the Jews of England in a slide/lecture on Thursday, November 15, at 4:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Casey Academic Center, on the Washington College campus, 300 Washington Avenue. Titled “In Search of Jewish England,” the talk is free and open to the public. Geographically, Schiff’s talk will explore London, where the majority of England’s Jews have always lived, medieval cathedral cities such as Norwich and York, the ancient university town of Oxford, and modern industrial centers such as Birmingham and Liverpool. He will illustrate the great diversity of English Jewry, visiting both the urban mansions, country estates and grand synagogues of its upper class and the gritty sections where the working-class lived.
The slide/tour will explore familiar tourist sites through the eyes of English Jewish history, and share lesser-known locations such as Bevis Mark, the nation’s oldest synagogue, and the stone house of Aaron of Lincoln, the Jewish banker believed to have been the richest man in England in 1200. Schiff also will introduce and illustrate the lives of some of the most prominent Englishmen of Jewish origins, including politicians, prime ministers, financiers, and philanthropists. “Part of what I cover is how English Jews throughout the centuries rose from humble origins to attain middle class status and above, and how they managed to obtain equal rights over time,” he says.
The November 15 event is sponsored by Hillel and the Office of the Provost and Dean.