Jewish Heritage in England: The Challenges of Historic Building Conservation in the Jewish Community
Dr Sharman Kadish
Bevis Marks Synagogue in the City of London is the oldest synagogue in Britain. It bears witness to the stability of Jewish life in England since the Cromwellian Resettlement of 1656, since when Jews have enjoyed uninterrupted residence and freedom of worship in this country, a track-record unrivalled anywhere else in Europe. Indeed, Anglo-Jewry occupies the status of England’s oldest non-Christian faith community. Today the importance of the Jewish Built Heritage is acknowledged and funded by the conservation world, in England and abroad. Yet the Anglo-Jewish “establishment” lags behind. Why, we have to ask, have historic synagogues been for so long undervalued by the Jewish community itself?
Dr Sharman Kadish is Director of Jewish Heritage UK and AHRC Research Fellow and Part-time Lecturer in the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester. She has written several books and numerous articles on Anglo-Jewish history and heritage. Jewish Heritage in England: An Architectural Guide was published by English Heritage in 2006 and a companion guidebook Jewish Heritage in Gibraltar was published by Spire Books in the spring of 2007. She is currently preparing a full-length architectural history of the synagogue in Britain to be published with the support of The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art with photography by English Heritage.
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