Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Sweetness of Caramel, bitterness of Death

This year, 2013, is the 10th anniversary of Roman Polanski achieving one of the greatest cinematic experiences of a film-maker; he received an Oscar for directing a brilliant tale of courage, hope, suffering, trauma, and above all, the triumph of the human spirit: The Pianist (2002).


We can admire Polanski for a multitude of his personal achievements; escaping death and surviving the Holocaust, becoming an auteur director, creating masterpieces such Rosemary’s Baby (1968)and Chinatown (1974). However, personally, I find his greatest professional achievement in the ‘representation of death in an historical context’. Not any hi… Read More »

Reflections on David of Oxford and Family



David of Oxford, formerly known as David of Lincoln, was one of the most prominent English Jews of the 13th century. His father was Asher and it is not clear when he would have moved to Oxford. However, in 1219 he was one of the six representatives of the wealthy class selected from all English Jewry to apportion tallage. He had dealings all over the country, including Warwick, Berkshire, Buckingham and Northampton and his clients included many of the aristocracy. In addition, he frequently transacted business with other prominent Anglo Jewish financiers, like Aaron of York, Hamo of Hereford, one of the wealthiest Jews of the day, Benedict of Crispin of London and his broth Jaqcob, and especially his fellow tow… Read More »

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