British Jews

British Jews

Ethnic group
group = British Jews

Benjamin DisraeliNigella LawsonBernard LewisDaniel RadcliffeRachel Stevens
pop = 266,740-300,000
regions = Greater London, South Hertfordshire, south-west Essex, Greater Manchester, Gateshead, Leeds, Greater Glasgow
langs = English, Hebrew, Yiddish
rels = Judaism
related-c =

British Jews (often referred to collectively, but imprecisely, as Anglo-Jewry) are British subjects of Jewish descent or religion who maintain a connection to the Jewish community, either through actively practising Judaism or through cultural and historical affiliation. The United Kingdom contains the second largest Jewish population in Western Europe after France's Jewish Community and is the seventh largest community of all world Jewry. British Jews span a range of religious affiliations, from the ultra-Orthodox Haredi communities to the large segment of Jews who are entirely secular.


:"See main article, History of the Jews in England"

The first recorded Jewish community in the British Isles was brought to England in 1070 by King William the Conqueror, who believed that their commercial skills and incoming capital would make England more prosperous. This community was expelled in 1290 by King Edward I. A small community persisted in hiding despite the expulsion. The current community dates itself back to 1656, when Oliver Cromwell made it clear that the ban on Jewish settlement would no longer be enforced. In 2006, the Jewish community celebrated the 350th anniversary of the resettlement. [ [ EJP looks back on 350 years of history of Jews in the UK] : "European Jewish Press". Retrieved 21 July 2006.]



The Jewish population in the 2001 Census was published as 266,740 people. However, this figure did not include Jews who identified 'by ethnicity only' in England and Wales or Scottish Jews who identified as Jewish by upbringing but held no current religion. These broader definitions brought the total number of Jews enumerated in the United Kingdom in the 2001 Census to 270,499. ["Jews in Britain: a snapshot from the 2001 Census", Institute for Jewish Policy Research 2007] . However, some 20,000 unexpected Jews living in areas far from established communities all over the country identified as following the Jewish religion (the 2001 census for the first time included a question on religion which was not mandatory to answer). The only region in the country where no Jews identified was the Scilly Islands. On the other hand it is known that a considerable number of strictly Orthodox Jews in N.E. London, N.W.London and Manchester chose not to answer the question. From 2005, for the first time in at least 40 years, the number of births in the community exceeded the number of deaths. [ 2005 and 2006 Annual Reports of CPRG of Board of Deputies] It is probable that the current UK Jewish population is 280-300,000.

Currently, about two-thirds of the UK's Jews live in Greater London or contiguous parts of South Hertfordshire and south-west Essex. Substantial communities outside the London area include Manchester, home to some 30,000 Jews, and Leeds, where now less than 7,000 Jews live. Other substantial communities include Gateshead, Glasgow and Liverpool, as well as other former industrial cities. The community has somewhat aged with 24% of the community at, or, over the age of 65 (compared to 16% of the general population of England and Wales) In the 2001 census Jews were the only group in which the number of persons in the 75 plus cohorts outnumbered those in the 65-74 cohort.

Religious affiliation

There are some 350 synagogues in the country, and it is estimated that 70% of the country's Jews are affiliated with one. Roughly one in five of British Jews attend a synagogue once a week.

Of those affiliated, the affiliations are distributed across the following groupings:
* the central Orthodox synagogues: the United Synagogue, the Federation of Synagogues (Ashkenazi), the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogues (Sephardi) – 61%;
* Progressive synagogues: the Movement for Reform Judaism (previously known as Reform Synagogues of Great Britain), and Liberal Judaism – 27%;
* strictly Orthodox (Haredi) synagogues – 11%;
* Conservative (Masorti) synagogues: the Assembly of Masorti Synagogues – 2%. [ [ A Community of Communities] , Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 2000.]

Communal institutions

Cross-communal organisations

The British Jewish community enjoys a wide range of organisations, funded by private donations, which provide support to Jews of all religious denominations and none:
*The Board of Deputies, founded in 1760, contains members from every synagogue in the United Kingdom.
* The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities is the representative body of all of the Jewish communities in Scotland.
*The Jewish Leadership Council comprises the chairpeople of the major organisations in each sector of communal life, together with key individual leaders of the community.
*The Community Security Trust exists to combat those who seek to threaten the safety and security of the Jewish community in Britain.
*The Union of Jewish Students supports Jewish students at university.
*The Community Policy Research Group is the community's horizon-scanning think-tank run with an advisory board made up of leading professionals from major communal organisations and leading academics.


The annual Limmud winter conference is a high-profile educational event of the British Jewish community, attracting a wide range of international presenters.


There are a number of Jewish newspapers, magazines and websites published. These include, The Jewish Chronicle newspaper, Jewish News newspaper, Jewish Telegraph, JLifestyle magazine, SomethingJewish website and TotallyJewish website.

Famous British Jews

* List of British Jews

External links

* [ Reassessing what we collect website – Jewish London] History of Jewish London with objects and images
* [ Jews in Britain: A Snapshot from the 2001 Census] , Institute for Jewish Policy Research, May 2007


* [ The Board Of Deputies Of British Jews]

ee also

*List of British Jews
*History of the Jews in England
*History of the Jews in Scotland
*History of the Jews in Ireland

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