6 Annotations

First Reading

dirk  •  Link

Basic text on British Jewry

"From expulsion to emancipation - Henry Cohn presents a brief history of British Jewry"

[search the text for "Henry Cohn"]

TerryF  •  Link

A Chronology of the Jews in Britain

During Pepys's lifetime:
1290 -1656 The period between the expulsion of the Jews in 1290 and their readmission in 1656 is generally called ‘The Middle Period’. Although there was no Jewish community during this period, Jews visited Britain from time to time for various reasons and some Marranos established themselves in Britain for periods of time
31 October, 1655 Humble address from Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell. A fortnight later on 13 November he submitted a petition for the readmission of Jews to England
December, 1655Whitehall Conference to discuss the petition. Dissolved by Cromwell before it reached a decision
1656 Although no formal agreement on readmission, Jewish residents of London began living openly as Jews
December, 1656 First Synagogue established after Readmission
February, 1657 First Cemetery acquired in Mile End
14 October, 1663 Samuel Pepys visits the Synagogue on Simchat Torah
1664 Bylaws (Ascamot) of new community agreed
22 August, 1664 Jews granted Royal protection
January, 1667 Jews allowed to swear in Court on the Old Testament
February, 1674 Jews indicted for holding a service, but the King stopped the proceedings against them
1671 Start of practice of presenting each Lord Mayor with a gift
1677 Court venue changed to avoid a Jew having to give evidence on a Saturday
1692c. Establishment of first Ashkenazi Synagogue
2 February, 1697 Site acquired for first Ashkenazi cemetery
1697 Jews admitted as brokers on the Royal Exchange
20 September, 1701 Bevis Marks Synagogue inaugurated
1702 Great Synagogue founded
24 June, 1702 Act to oblige Jews to maintain and provide for their Protestant children

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

During the 17th century Europeans wrote books about Native American which both created and perpetuated stereotypes. Some were fantasies reflecting the author’s European beliefs; some were propaganda to foster a belief in the superiority of European ways; and some were sympathetic and based on observations.

When the European invasion of the Americas began in the 15th century, they found lands occupied by people not mentioned in the Bible and who did not fit into what they believed was the only world creation story. Somehow Indians had to be connected to people known to Europeans. By the 17th century a few theories had emerged:

In 1622, English scholar Edward Brerewood in “Enquiries Touching the Diversity of Languages, and Religions, Through the Chief Parts of the World” speculated that the Tartars [Mongolians] were the first people to enter the Americas. This assumed Native Americans had walked to North America over a land bridge which attached it to Asia.

Since Europeans assumed American Indians were also immigrants, they needed a reason to migrate. In 1634, theologian Joseph Mede wrote letters to New England ministers suggested Indians had migrated to the Americas because the Devil had led them there. His logic was: the Devil was afraid of losing his dominance in Europe as the Gospel spread. This provoked the Devil to gather together the barbarous northerner hordes who had never heard of Christ. The Devil promised them a superior empty land where they might thrive in a kingdom ruled by the Devil. Building on the tales of the pagan Northmen [Vikings] who had cruelly attacked Christians, Mede made it clear the Indians were ruled by the Devil.

In another idea from 1642, published in “On the Origins of the Native Races of America” by Hugo Grotius, suggested Native Americans were descendants of Germans and Chinese.

In order to place Native Americans into the Christian creation story, some suggested they were Jewish. This gave the Europeans another excuse for discrimination.

In 1650, Thomas Thorowgood in “Jewes in America, or probabilities that the Americans are of that race” compared Jewish and Native American cultures to show Indians were descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. He wrote:
“The rites, fashions, ceremonies, and opinions of the Americans are in many ways agreeable to the custome of the Jewes, not onely prophane and common usages, but such as be called solemn and sacred.” He cited the similarity between Indian and Jewish rites, knowledge of the flood, dancing, and circumcision.

In 1652 Sir Marmon l’Estrange published “Americans no Jews, or improbabilities that the Americans are of that race” pointing out Thorowgood's examples were general human customs and not evidence that Indians were Jews.

For more information, see https://www.dailykos.com/stories/… which is part of a series on Native Americans

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.