Jewish Oxford with Victoria Bentata - Context Travel

Jewish Oxford with Victoria Bentata


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The Jews were in Oxford, England, from the time of William the Conqueror until their Expulsion by King Edward I in 1290 and Oxford has one of the best-documented medieval Jewish quarters in the world. Following Oliver Cromwell’s Readmission of the Jews in 1650, they were slow to return, but the 1930s saw visits by Einstein and an influx of Refugee Scholars, who made huge contributions to Oxford University in particular and the UK in general.

This event starts by tracing the history of the Jews in Oxford from the time of William the Conqueror until their expulsion in 1290. It examines where and how they lived and tells the stories of some colorful characters from the medieval Jewish community. Next, we consider the teaching of Hebrew at Oxford University from its earliest days. We also briefly consider some of the collections of Hebrew books in college libraries and in Oxford University’s central library, The Bodleian Library, founded by a Christian Hebraist.

Following Oliver Cromwell’s ‘Readmission’ of 1650, we find out what happened next and trace the development of the modern Jewish community. In particular, we look in some detail at Einstein and the Refugee Scholars who contributed so much to the University and the UK and at those whose efforts helped to save their lives. Finally, we look at recent Jewish contributions to the University of Oxford, both academic and philanthropic.

Led by an expert on Oxford, Victoria Bentata, this interactive seminar will consider the story of Oxford’s Jews from earliest times until today. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased knowledge of the history of the Jews of medieval England as well as an insight into the contributions of the Jewish refugees who were taken in by Oxford University.

Victoria Bentata is an Oxford University graduate, published author and highly experienced Oxford tour guide with a particular interest Oxford’s Literature.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.