Saturday, February 21, 2009

British Library - Taking Liberties Exhibition

The Taking Liberties exhibition (free entry) at the British Library provides an in-depth time-line of the evolution of liberties in England, from the Magna Carta through to the modern day. One of the many things I learned of during this trip is the appalling treatment of Jews in England around the 12th century:

"Although nominally under royal protection, the Jewish community in England faced violent persecution from the end of the 12th century, culminating in the massacre at York. In 1290, Edward I confiscated all Jewish property and expelled the Jews from England. It was not until the 17th century that they formally petitioned to be allowed re-entry."
The BBC site linked above shares this interesting tidbit of info:
"According to sources in the Chief Rabbi's office, devout Jews travelling on the East Coast Main Line still take care not to eat sandwiches as they pass through York, as this would contravene the cherem still associated with the city. On overseas Jewish community internet message boards, the question of whether travel to York is permitted is a frequent one."

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