Category Archives: Anglo-Jewish Life

Cable Street Mural

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Immigration and Emigration:The world in a city–East End Jews

Soup kitchen for the Jewish poorEast End Jews

In the late-19th Century, the church at the corner of Brick Lane became a synagogue, as thousands of Jews moved into Spitalfields in the Huguenots’s wake. More than 2 million Jews left Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914, prompted by economic hardship and increasingly ferocious persecution. Following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the persecution of Jews in Russia became even fiercer, and a wave of pogroms swept across Russia and neighbouring countries.

Many Jews landing in England actually intended to go to America, but about 120,000 stayed in this country. Again attracted by the area’s reputation as a place for cheap living, and by the fact that it had been home to a Jewish population in previous centuries, large numbers settled in Spitalfields, often finding work in the ‘rag trade’. By 1900 Jews formed around 95% of the population in the Wentworth Street district of Spitalfields.

Read more…

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CFP: The Interface Between British Contemporary Black and Jewish Cultures

CFP for a Symposium, co-sponsored by the AHRC BJ:CC Network (Bangor University and the University of Winchester) and ‘Identities’ at the University of Reading, to be held at the University of Reading on 4th November, 2016:

Deadline for submissions: Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Interface Between British Contemporary Black and Jewish Cultures

Over the past three decades, a considerable body of work has emerged on the interface between Black and Jewish cultures in the United States. In contrast, there has been very little scholarship on Black-Jewish cultural relations in the context of the United Kingdom. To a certain extent, this disparity can be explained by the very different histories of Jewish and Black populations on either side of the Atlantic. The history of slavery, reconstruction, segregation and civil rights in the US has no direct analogy in the UK and the post-war cultural confidence and prominence of Jews in America contrasts conspicuously with the relative ambivalence, historically, of British Jews towards both their Jewishness and Britishness. Whilst recognizing the importance of these differences, however, there is much, in terms of the discourse that has developed around what Lori Harrison-Kahan has called the ‘Black-Jewish imaginary’ that could be appropriated, refined and revised in the British context. We would welcome proposals of no more than 300 words for twenty-minute papers on any aspect of the interface between Black British and Jewish cultures widely defined, including but not restricted to, literature, film, television, art, digital media, photography, drama, dance and other forms of performance. Topics may include but need not be confined to the following:

  • the relationship between the ‘Black/Jewish imaginary’ in the US context and Black/Jewish cultural relations in the UK;
  • the influence of African American and Jewish American artists on their British counterparts;
  • the ways in which British Jewish culture has represented Black identities and vice versa;
  • issues of self-representation in Black British and British Jewish cultures;
  • the ways in which Black British and British Jewish cultures have interrogated questions of race, ethnicity and religion;
  • the ways in which Black British and British Jewish artists have been situated and positioned themselves in terms of discourses around ‘minorities’, ‘otherness’ and ‘whiteness’;
  • the ways in which Black British and British Jewish cultures have responded to the changing political, historical and economic contexts of the post-war period, particularly the activities of Far Right movements, debates over (im)migration, multiculturalism, identity politics, race relations, Apartheid-era South Africa and the Israel/Palestine conflict;
  • the similarities and differences between the ways in which contemporary Black British and Jewish cultures have represented the experience of the ‘Windrush’ generation of Black immigrants and that of post-war Jewish immigrants to the UK;
  • the ways in which twenty-first century Black and Jewish British cultures have responded to the presence of antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism and xenophobia in contemporary society and discourse.

Please send your proposals to Prof. David Brauner (d.brauner@reading.ac.uk>), Prof. Nathan Abrams (n.abrams@bangor.ac.uk) and Dr. Ruth Gilbert (Ruth.Gilbert@winchester.ac.uk) by 1st September 2016.

A buffet lunch will be provided.

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O Dreamland

A documentary film written and directed by Lindsay Anderson in 1953.  It looks at the Dreamland Fun Fair in Margate that relates to Bernard Kops’ play and novel On Margate Sands.   Click on the images below or here to view the whole film.

 

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Newsreel Footage of the Battle of Cable Street

I came across this as I was writing about Bernard Kops’ East End plays.

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Which is the Merchant Here?

Look out for Which is the Merchant Here? On the Myth of the Medieval Jewish Moneylender by Julie Mell.

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Had to Point this out!

Check out CB6khWXWgAAT0pO@Durf’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/Durf/status/602785858836566016?s=09

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In Praise of Whitechapel Library

Kops’ poem and stories of the university of the East End.

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Brian May Angers Jews

I can’t help thinking that this is an over-reaction to an innocent pro-badger statement.  May’s use of genocide is to show his concern for the badgers and must have been similarly used a million times in referring to animals.  I don’t think badger-cide, brock -o-cide or melescide, would really have got his point across.  Aren’t there bigger fights for modern day Jews?
Articles in many papers around September 11, 2013 The TImes being just one.

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Jewish Buddhist Quote.

Naomi Alderman quoting and reviewing Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander in The Guardian Weekly (27.04.12).

” ‘Adolf Hitler was the last century’s greatest what?…Optimist… That’s why he was the biggest monster…Full of hope, the Fuhrer was.  A dreamer! A romantic even, yes! If I just kill this one, gas that one, everything will be OK…Pessimists don’t build gas chambers.’

“This is of course a very Jewish way of phrasing a central insight of Buddhism.  Pain cannot be avoided, but suffering can, because suffering is what happens when we imagine we can avoid pain.”

One other quote from the article: “It constantly surprises my non-Jewish friends that I don’t feel, as they do that the [Holocaust]is in the past.   That I wonder if they’d hide me if the economy went really bad and people started voting for Nick Griffin.”

Shalom Auslander’s website

Naomi Alderman website

 

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