Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Michael Dov Weissmandl: A Rabbi from Oxford’s Bodleian Library who saved Jews from the Holocaust

Weissmandl.jpgThe University of Oxford did more for Jewish refugees than any other single university in England,[1] claims recently published research by Oxford historian Laurence Brockliss. By the time the war broke out, the university had taken in no less than fifty German Jewish refugees and had given them financial support. Most of the German Jewish refugees who initially arrived were physicists and of international reputation.Weissmandl.jpg


The bringing over of refugees began when Frederick Lindemann, anticipating the purge of Jewish academics in 1933, saw an opportunity to set up Oxford, ahead of Cambridge, as a centre for low temperature physics by recruiting German Jewish academics to come to Oxford to work for the Clarendon Laboratory that he headed.… Read More »

The Oxford Passover Haggadah: The world’s oldest 12th century Haggadah - CCC MS 133

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One of the oldest manuscripts of a complete prayer book for the whole year (Siddur Kol Hashana) with a Haggadah text is an 11th or 12th century Ashkenazi Siddur held at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, known as CCC MS 133.[1] In this introduction to the manuscript we will present a. the details of the manuscript, b. thoughts about the copier, c. suggestions about the date of the manuscript, and d. an in depth focused comparative study of the Haggadah text within the manuscript with the aim of deciphering some of the key influences on the manuscript through twelve short comparative studies of the liturgy. In conclusion, we will argue that the liturgy in England in the medieval period was in fact not a fixed liturgy but a mix o… Read More »

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