17 May 2008

UK: Manchester's rich Jewish history

Manchester (UK) has a rich Jewish history, now documented in a new book - "Jewish Manchester" - by Cheetham Hill's Jewish Museum founder Bill Williams. It examines the community's impact on the city's culture and economy.

He said: "Most of the book focuses on Cheetham Hill. That's where the community began and grew from the early 19th century until the Second World War; it was the 'Jewish Quarter'."

Bill, of Park Avenue, Levenshulme, said some of the book's key figures hail from the Cheetham area.

He said: "Nathan Laski came from Cheetham Hill and was essentially the leader of the community from the 1920s to his death during the war when he was knocked down on Cheetham Hill Road.

"He was a giant in the community, someone who helped shape it. One of his sons, Neville, became the president of the Jewish Board of Deputies in London, while his other son, Harold, became Chairman of the Labour party and an important figure in British communism."

Bill is still the honourary president and historical advisor at the museum and helps to lead its historical walks once a month around the old Jewish Quarter.

"The museum helped shape the book a lot" he said. "Most of the photos I've included come from its collection of over 10,000 pictures.

"I'm not Jewish myself, but I admire the community's ambitions and aspirations, and this book is my acknowledgement."

Published by Breedon Books (£16.99), read more here.

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