Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Walking the Jewish East Side

Our walk ended with this memorial at Liverpool station where 10,000 unaccompanied children, mostly Jewish, fled from the Nazi's in 1938 to 1939.
Sunday morning I took a walking tour featuring Jews in London and particularly on the East Side. We started at the Tower Underground station. Harry, a crusty Jew from Essex, was our guide for the group of twenty of which about half were Jewish. I so enjoy these kinds of learning experiences.

We started by walking down Jewry Street and hearing about the Jews in medieval London. In 1290 the Jews were expelled - all of them - by King Edward I. In the late 17th century, Oliver Cromwell finally allowed Jews to live and be recognized in London again. Most of the Jews at that time were Sephardic from Spain and Portugal.
Jewry Street in London
We visted Bevis Marks Synagogue which opened for Rosh Hashanah services in 1701. Everything in the orthodox synagogue is original! There are seven large, brass chandeliers from Amsterdam that hold candles (not electric) which represent the seven days of creation and Cromwellian benches dating from 1656. We learned all about the Sephardic synagogue's history from a member, Morris. Morris talked in detail about Bevis Marks' most famous member: Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) who has a seat in front of the arc reserved (roped off) in memory of his great philanthropy.

Gate to Bevis Marks Synagogue purposely designed to not attract attention. 
Front of Bevis Marks Synagogue - notice how it resembles a London church except for the Hebrew - again on purpose to blend in ...
After our fascinating synagogue visit, we walked the streets of the East Side ...
First Ashenazi synagogue built by the Dutch in 1854.

Soup Kitchen (inscribed to left of date) for the Jewish Poor built in 5662/1902.

Children of the Kindertransport.
Harry (our guide) knows the boy with hat who is the violin player, Eric.
Harry finished our tour at the Kindertransport Memorial in Liverpool Station with these well said words:
"We are proud to be British and Jewish. Not allot of us but we punch way above our weight."

No comments:

Post a Comment