A History of the Jews in Britain since 1858

A History of the Jews in Britain since 1858

A History of the Jews in Britain since 1858

A History of the Jews in Britain since 1858

Excerpt

Cecil Roth History of the Jews in England remains a classic achievement in comprehensiveness and style, although there has been considerable research published since the last edition appeared in 1964. But the book, in effect, stops at 1858, with the granting to Jews of the right to sit in the House of Commons, which he regarded as the coping-stone of Jewish civic emancipation. There is no book which carries the story through into the twentieth century on the same scale as Roth's work. Yet such a book is urgently needed for at least three reasons. First, there is an increasing interest among non-Jews about the Jewish community in Britain and how it came to take the form it has today. Second, there have been numerous books, articles and conference papers on Anglo-Jewry since 1858, particularly on the period between 1881 and 1914 when the size of the community was quadrupled by immigration from Eastern Europe. The time has come when the results of these studies should be combined into a single work, covering the period from 1858 to at least the outbreak of war in 1939. This -- a development which would have greatly pleased Cecil Roth -- the history of the Jews in England has in recent years become a course of study undertaken by undergraduates, both as internal students and as part-time students working for the new degree in Jewish History of London University; and there is a growing interest among other adult students in Anglo-Jewish history as in other aspects of modern Jewish history. For all such students, Roth History, with updating in study and lectures, can still provide a basic textbook; but they need a readily accessible work to help them study the very important period after 1858.

This book is intended to meet these three needs. It is not a simple continuation of Roth's work, although it is a sequel to it. The scale of the community has become so much greater since 1858, and its character so much more complex, that it requires different treatment, at least in a book of moderate length. Nor is it possible, or perhaps necessary, to provide a catalogue of how British Jews have contributed to British life and society in its various aspects. This book is planned as a study of the development of the Jewish community and of groups within the community, rather than of the careers of individuals. There is therefore little biographical detail in the main text and individuals are mentioned only if they are of key significance . . .

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