Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Oxford University Botanic Garden: A Jewish perspective

oxford_botanic_gardens1_large.jpgThe leafy entrance to the Oxford University Botanic Garden, framed by the serene classical architecture of the Danby Gate, fronted by ornate rose gardens, marks the gateway to an escape from Oxford’s busy High Street, where buses and cyclists jostle to make their way through the city. This tranquil spot remarkably also hosts one of three Jewish heritage plaques in Oxford, commemorating the existence of a Jewish cemetery in medieval times and can be found on the right hand wall behind the Danby Gate, the main entrance, to the Gardens. The Jews arrived in England with the Norman Conquest in 1066, and the Domesday Book that was completed in 1086 recorded a Jew living in Oxfordshire. We don’t know exactly when the Oxford Jewry was f… Read More »

Three Jewish Heritage Plaques at Oxford


Oxford has one of the best-preserved records of medieval Jewish history in Europe and is home to the only artifact of the interior of a preserved Jewish home dating back to the 13th century, belonging to David of Oxford, alongside the exterior of Jews’ House in Lincoln. Commemorating the medieval Jewish history of Oxford, three plaques were placed in 1931 by Dr. Herbert Loewe and are still standing today. Herbert Loewe was born in 1882, and was appointed lecturer in Semitic languages at Exeter College, Oxford, from 1913 until 1931, before accepting a post at Cambridge as Curator of Oriental Literature, and Reader in Rabbinics. Before leaving Oxford in 1931, however, he was responsible for erecting three plaques relating to Oxford Je… Read More »

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