Non­fic­tion

Jew­ish Lon­don: A Com­pre­hen­sive Guide­book for Vis­i­tors and Londoners

Rachel Kol­sky and Roslyn Rawson
  • Review
By – May 23, 2012
Although the cov­er price of Jew­ish Lon­don is a bar­gain, this book may end up cost­ing you a whole lot more — like round-trip air­fare to Lon­don! While Kol­sky and Raw­son are hap­py to guide you to any­thing of Jew­ish inter­est in or around Lon­don, from inven­to­ries of Jew­ish items in var­i­ous muse­ums, to ceme­ter­ies with Jew­ish nota­bles, their walk­ing tours of key Jew­ish neigh­bor­hoods are the real heart and soul of this book. Not only do they point out sig­nif­i­cant build­ings and archi­tec­tur­al fea­tures, they chat about the char­ac­ters — the anar­chists, artists, fem­i­nists, phil­an­thropists, politi­cians, sports heroes and oth­ers — who lived and worked in the area, occa­sion­al­ly adding a web­site address for fur­ther infor­ma­tion. Then too, the authors under­stand that while you’re tak­ing one of their tours, you’d also want to know about cer­tain non-Jew­ish attrac­tions en route. It would be a shame to go all the way to the East End, for exam­ple, and not vis­it the Den­nis Sev­ers’ House. Their descrip­tions of syn­a­gogues avail­able for vis­its or wor­ship (as well as closed syn­a­gogues) are par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful, since this infor­ma­tion is often hard for tourists to dis­cov­er. Not only are their maps easy to use, their col­or pho­tos of attrac­tions are won­der­ful for both the arm­chair trav­el­er and for on-the-spot iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of places of inter­est. While they do list some shops and places to eat in key neigh­bor­hoods, they keep it min­i­mal, aware that such sug­ges­tions out­date guide­books quick­ly. After read­ing Jew­ish Lon­don, there’s only one unan­swered ques­tion — when are Kol­sky and Raw­son going to Paris? Glos­sary, index, maps, photographs.
Bet­ti­na Berch, author of the recent biog­ra­phy, From Hes­ter Street to Hol­ly­wood: The Life and Work of Anzia Yezier­s­ka, teach­es part-time at the Bor­ough of Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty College.

Discussion Questions