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Les juifs au Royaume-Uni

History and settlement

Jews first came to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066. In 1290 they were expelled from the country ; it was only under Cromwell in 1655 that Jews were formally readmitted.
Starting around 1881 there was substantial immigration of Ashkenazi Jews (those originating in central and eastern Europe), taking the number of Jews in England from less than 50,000 to about a quarter of a million by the start of the First World War. Immigration was resumed in the 1930s and continued until the early 1950s as a result of Nazi persecution and the Second World War.

Synagogues and representative organizations

More than half of Anglo-Jews describe themselves as religious in one form or another. Twenty per cent describe themselves in non-specific terms as ‘Just Jewish’, while less than a quarter claim to be secular or non-religious.
The United Synagogue, a mainstream Orthodox grouping, has 64 synagogues in Greater London and associated synagogues in the provinces. Some 60% of Jews affiliated with a synagogue belong to an Orthodox synagogue, with most of the remainder associated with Progressive (Liberal and Reform) groups. The current Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Professor Rabbi Jonathan Sachs, is formally the religious head of the United Synagogue. He also is the spiritual head of British Jewry, even though on religious matters both Progressives and the ultra-Orthodox often take different views. Alongside the Chief Rabbinate is the Beth Din (Court of the Chief Rabbi) that acts as the religious court for mainstream Jewry.

The list of places of worship in England and Wales maintained by the Registrar General as approved locations for marriage ceremonies includes 349 synagogues (in 1999).
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, founded in 1760, is the main national representative organisation. It consists of about 300 delegates (or Deputies) elected from synagogues, social and welfare organizations, local community bodies and other such groups. The Board describes its purpose as being ‘to protect, support and defend the interests, religious rights and customs of Jews in the United Kingdom and to promote the development of the Jewish community in Britain’.

There are other national organisations with more specific missions, including the League of Jewish Women and the Anglo-Jewish Association. In places where the Jewish population is substantial there are local Representative Councils that include both religious and community organisations.

See also David Graham, L. D. Staetsky and Jonathan Boyd, Jews in the United Kingdom in 2013 : Preliminary findings from the National Jewish Community Survey, January 2014.

D 6 mai 2013    ADavid Voas

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