Exhibition explores the history and influence of Redbridge’s Jewish settlers
- Credit: Archant
A new exhibition exploring the history and influence of the Jewish community in Redbridge offers an insight into the lives of those who first migrated to the area.
From East End to Essex: Jewish Migration Routes has been put together by Eastside Community Heritage’s chief executive, Judith Garfield MBE, with help from fellow members.
Judith decided to put the display together to tell the untold stories of the people who moved to Redbridge, away from the traditional Jewish heartland in the old East End.
“I grew up in Redbridge as part of the Jewish community and I realised it had never been researched and documented and I thought it was the right time to do it,” said Judith.
“In the 1960s, and a bit before, a lot of people moved out of Whitechapel and Hackney and moved to Redbridge for a better life.”
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She revealed that most people don’t know that Redbridge has the largest Jewish community of anywhere in Europe and wants people to see the impact they’ve had in the borough over the past half a century or so.
“It’s about the tradition and culture of the Jewish community, I think it’s telling the whole story and the interviews are very powerful.
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“Many of the older members of the community tell their stories about weddings and bar mitzvahs – everything that helped cement and develop the community.”
Those who moved to Redbridge soon set up kosher shops, synagogues and influenced the area through their traditions but Judith credits councillor Alan Weinberg MBE for helping to establish the Jewish community’s presence.
“He made a huge contribution to getting the menorah in Gants Hill.
“That was a huge development in acknowledging the contribution and lives of the Jewish people in the borough.”
The free exhibition, at Sinclair House, in Woodford Bridge Road, opened on Thursday and will run until January 5, although Judith hopes to take it around the borough.
“We’re hoping it will tour Redbridge libraries, there’s so much interest in it and we’ve collected so much material.”