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Tue, 02 May


Loughton Synagogue

Once upon a Letchworth Garden City

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Once upon a Letchworth Garden City
Once upon a Letchworth Garden City

Time & Location

02 May 2023, 20:00

Loughton Synagogue, Borders Ln, Loughton IG10 1TE, UK

About the event

In this talk, Letchworth-born Yanky Fachler explores a rich but unknown chapter in the history of the Jews of England – the short-lived (1939–1971) provincial Jewish congregation of Letchworth Garden City that was a microcosm of the Jewish communal experience. Yanky, whose book JEWISH LETCHWORTH has just been published by Vallentine Mitchell, describes a unique melting pot where the orthodox coexisted harmoniously with the non-orthodox, Ashkenazi Jews lived side-by-side with Baghdadi Jews, and wealthy families rubbed shoulders with working class families. Letchworth was home to the famous private Judaica library assembled by David Sassoon, including the 1,000-year-old Codex Sassoon that is about to break the world record at Sotheby’s. Yanky’s talk will include the recollections of Bernard Shaw and George Orwell of the odd characters living in Letchworth; why Abraham Grodzinsky was in Letchworth in WW1; why Jonathan Sacks decided to enter the rabbinate; why Letchworth boasted the world’s first traffic roundabout; and plenty more.

What people are saying about JEWISH LETCHWORTH:

·  Colin Shindler, Emeritus Professor, SOAS, University of London, as “A superb and important book.”

·  Wessex Jewish News: “This book will move you by its spirit of compassion, resourcefulness and belonging.”

·  Jewish Telegraph: “Letchworth community lives on in Yanky’s book.”

·  Professor David Alexander, Israel: “Yanky is blessed with a free, fluent and humorous writing style.”


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