Jewish Heritage in England: The Challenges of Historic Building Conservation in the Jewish Community
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?
Sharman Kadish is founder and director of Jewish Heritage UK. Her books include the monograph Bolsheviks and British Jews and she has lectured at the universities of London and Manchester.