York Museums Trust

York’s Jewish Story: 1170 to present  

York’s Jewish Story: 1170 to present  

Co-curated Exhibition with York Liberal Jewish Community  

28 November 2021 9 February 2022 

Liberal Judaism is a branch of progressive Judaism that was founded in the UK at the turn of the 20th century ‘to adapt the ancient faith to the progressive needs of our contemporaries’. York Liberal Jewish Community was founded in 2014, with the aim to hold regular Shabbat services and observe major festivals. There are currently about 100 members.  

Jewish people have lived in York for over 800 years. York’s first Jewish community arrived from Lincoln in the 1170s. This new community started to put down roots but in 1190 the whole community were massacred in the Tower (now known as Clifford’s Tower).

A second settlement in York in the early 13th century was more successful, but following renewed vicious persecution under King Henry III, all Jews were expelled from England by King Edward I in 1290. This stain on York’s history was not forgotten and in modern times a rumour even developed that Jews should not settle in York.   

This exhibition remembered those who were lost less than one hundred metres from where the exhibition was held. It also explored our major festivals and traditions and highlight the contribution the community has made to the city.