It is widely known that the Jewish community in London had a number of significant institutions during the Middle Ages, such as synagogues, a slaughterhouse and two mikvehs (ritual baths). The only visible sign of this community today is the name of the street: Old Jewry. The Charedi Orthodox community in Hackney is a highly observant religious group, with limited access to television, radio, mainstream media and digital technology. This posed a challenge for the local council when it came to getting public health messages to this community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charedi communities in New York and Israel had already experienced higher rates of infection and mortality from the virus, so it was essential to take steps to prevent a similar outcome in Hackney. To this end, communities across the UK have come together quickly to find solutions, such as distributing brochures at home, creating WhatsApp groups and launching crowdfunding campaigns. The Jewish community in London is also supported by both state and community funding for its institutions, such as Jewish day schools. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is home to around 292,000 Jews, making it the fifth-largest Jewish population in the world and the second-largest in Europe after France.
In addition, the British Library and British Museum contain important collections of Jewish artifacts and manuscripts. The largest strictly Orthodox Jewish community in Europe is located in Hackney and represents 7% of the district's population. The vibrancy and diversity of this community are also reflected in other ways. For example, the Limmud conference is an annual event held in the UK that brings together Jewish thinkers, speakers, musicians, artists and theologians from around the world.
Fried fish was first introduced to Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain in the 16th century. There are also several publications that provide cultural content, such as Jewish Renaissance and Jewish Quarterly. In addition, there are several local radio stations that broadcast weekly programs of Jewish interest. Many Jewish artists fleeing Nazism arrived from Central Europe with modernist ideas when they arrived in London in the 1930s.
Between 1938 and 1939, until World War II broke out on September 1, 1939, the United Kingdom Government allowed nearly 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria and Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to arrive in the United Kingdom as part of a rescue operation known as Kindertransport. One of the focal points of any Jewish community is Shabbat - the Jewish Saturday - which is celebrated weekly from sunset on Friday night until nightfall on Saturday night. This weekend marks “UK Shabbat” - an opportunity for Jews across the country to come together and make it a special weekend for themselves and their communities. The Jewish community in London has many opportunities for growth and development. With state and community funding for its institutions such as day schools, access to important collections of artifacts and manuscripts at the British Library and British Museum, vibrant cultural events like Limmud Conference, radio programs dedicated to Jewish interests, as well as UK Shabbat - there are plenty of ways for this community to thrive.
Furthermore, with initiatives like Kindertransport that allowed thousands of children fleeing Nazism to find refuge in Britain during World War II - this community has a long history of resilience. The Charedi Orthodox community in Hackney has faced unique challenges due to its limited access to technology during COVID-19 pandemic. However, with quick action from local councils across UK - such as posting brochures at home, creating WhatsApp groups and launching crowdfunding campaigns - this community has been able to stay informed about public health messages. In conclusion, there are many opportunities for growth within the Jewish community in London. With state funding for its institutions, access to important collections of artifacts and manuscripts at British Library and British Museum, vibrant cultural events like Limmud Conference as well as UK Shabbat - this community has plenty of ways to thrive.