Cover image for The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000
The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000
Endelman, Todd M.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 347 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Reading Level:
1600 Lexile.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS135.E5 E485 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In Todd Endelman's spare and elegant narrative, the history of British Jewry in the modern period is characterized by a curious mixture of prominence and inconspicuousness. British Jews have been central to the unfolding of key political events of the modern period, especially the establishment of the State of Israel, but inconspicuous in shaping the character and outlook of modern Jewry. Their story, less dramatic perhaps than that of other Jewish communities, is no less deserving of this comprehensive and finely balanced analytical account.

Even though Jews were never completely absent from Britain after the expulsion of 1290, it was not until the mid- seventeenth century that a permanent community took root. Endelman devotes chapters to the resettlement; to the integration and acculturation that took place, more intensively than in other European states, during the eighteenth century; to the remarkable economic transformation of Anglo-Jewry between 1800 and 1870; to the tide of immigration from Eastern Europe between 1870 and 1914 and the emergence of unprecedented hostility to Jews; to the effects of World War I and the turbulent events up to and including the Holocaust; and to the contradictory currents propelling Jewish life in Britain from 1948 to the end of the twentieth century. We discover not only the many ways in which the Anglo-Jewish experience was unique but also what it had in common with those of other Western Jewish communities.

Author Notes

Todd M. Endelman is William Haber Professor of Modern Jewish History at the University of Michigan and author of The Jews of Georgian England, 1714-1830 (2nd ed., 1999) and Radical Assimilation in English Jewish History, 1656-1945 (1990).

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Endelman (Univ. of Michigan) elegantly summarizes a generation of scholarship in his narrative of modern Anglo-Jewish history from the resettlement of 1656 through the present. Although the story of English Jewry is often treated as marginal to the modern Jewish experience (even Endelman regards much of English Jewish history as being "undramatic"), he nonetheless makes a convincing argument as to its relevance for modern Jewish life. The Jews of England were among the first in the modern world to have to mediate between simultaneously being Jewish and being national. Endelman periodically juxtaposes Anglo-Jewry's story to that of other Jewish communities to reveal where patterns of development are similar. For example, in its evolution from a small colony of merchants in the 17th century to an active and diversified community buttressed by successive waves of immigration, the story of English Jews is very similar to the history of US Jews. Endelman's study challenges those who regard modern Anglo-Jewish history as an inevitable success story, as well as those who see the diaspora as fraught with the dangers of assimilation and eventual extinction. Provocative and well written. General readers and up. F. Krome Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 The Resettlement (1656-1700)
2 Bankers and Brokers, Peddlers and Pickpockets (1700-1800)
3 Poverty to Prosperity (1800-1870)
4 Native Jews and Foreign Jews (1870-1914)
5 The Great War to the Holocaust (1914-1945)
6 The Fracturing of Anglo-Jewry (1945-2000)
Glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish Terms