Lectures
Lectures are currently held on Zoom at 2pm normally on the last Wednesday of each month. They last for 1 - 1½ hours including a question and answer session at the end.
The Jewish East End of London
Yasha Berisner      Wed 30th October 2013
  At its October meeting the Kingsbridge Estuary Decorative and Fine Arts Society won a hand in having an entertaining lecture by the 400th Master of the Worshipful Company of Makers of Playing Cards. His special subject was the Jews of London.
Yasha Beresiner gave us a broad outline of the vicissitudes of life for the Jews from the time of William the Conqueror. The new king recognised the value of this community in providing finance for various ventures; some of his successors even built well known cathedrals with such support.
However, history also records events such as the York Massacre by the local populace in 1190 and the expulsion of the Jews, accused of coin-clipping, one hundred years later.
Heads of state from Cromwell to Charles II and James II were tolerant of the Jewish community. Support for the crown during the 1715/1745 rebellions helped their cause and further points were gained by a Jew preventing the assassination of George III. Emancipation followed gradually and the nineteenth century saw the first lord mayor and also the first MP to be allowed to swear an oath on a religious book other than the Christian bible.
In finance, medicine, education and music the Jewish community gained respect. After Russia’s pogroms, London also received large numbers of Jews, many of whom lived in relative poverty: there are still references to the soup kitchens provided by the Board of Deputies in 1902. For a while there were thirteen synagogues in East London and the clothing business began to flourish. Perhaps it was a token of the relative success of the integration of the Jews into British life that the ‘Battle of Cable Street’ in 1936, which put the brake on Fascism in this country, was fought by people of all persuasions.