19th Century Jewish Life aims to collect, organize and make widely available historical documents that reveal the rich history of Jewish life and culture. Its current focus is on nineteenth-century Britain—a central time and place in the history of Jewish migrations around the world. 19th Century Jewish Life provides an organized portal to relevant documents, images, and information scattered across the web. The second phase of the project—to build a searchable, online archive of nineteenth-century documents currently available only in print in museums, libraries, or private collections—is in development. Long-term plans call for expanding this project to include information and documents about continental European and North American Jewish life as well.
Religion Feature: Benjamin Disraeli and Jewish Disabilities
by Michel Pharand, Director
The Disraeli Project.
Those who continue to believe that Benjamin Disraeli, born Jewish but baptized an Anglican at the age of twelve, had merely a cultural or historical investment in the religion of his forefathers will be surprised to learn that his defense of Judaism altered the political landscape in the House of Commons for posterity. A few years ago Dr. Mel Wiebe, then director of the Disraeli Project at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, came upon an important document that underscores the key role played by Disraeli in the eventua...
Daily Life Feature: The Path of Emancipation
Legal restrictions on Jews in England in the nineteenth century were far more than formalities: they affected daily life in fundamental ways, from limiting people’s professions to defining representation in public offices. Perhaps the most well-known moment in Jewish emancipation is the 1858 revision to the Parliamentary oath, which enabled the Baron Lionel de Rothschild finally to take the seat to which he’d initially been elected in 1847 as the first Jewish MP. However, the 1831 revisions to restrictions on conducting retail trade within the City of London had more immediate co...