Oxford Jewish Community





JCR-UK is a genealogical and historical website covering all Jewish communities and
congregations throughout the British Isles and Gibraltar, both past and present.
NOTE: We are not the official website for this community.

City of Oxford

The university city of Oxford, situated in south central England on a section of the river Thames known as the river Isis, has a population of over 135,000.  It was a county borough until 1974, when it became a local government district of the administrative county of  Oxfordshire.

The Oxford Jewish Community

There was a significant Medieval Jewish Community in Oxford, dating from about 1075 until 1290, when Jews were banished from England. In modern times, individual Jews began settling in Oxford from the mid-eighteenth century, but an organised Jewish congregation was not established until about 1841. Until World War II, the resident Jewish community was never particularly large. Numbers then swelled considerably as a result of the influx of Jewish refugees and evacuees, and although many left following the war, the size of the community still far exceeded its pre-war numbers, and was supplemented by the large number of Jewish students at the University.

Jewish Congregations

Information and data relating purely to the Jewish Congregation will generally be found on the congregation page, whereas information and data relating to the wider Jewish community will generally be found on this page.


Search the All-UK Database

The records in this database associated with Oxford include:

  • Census:

    • Extracts for Oxford from 1841 / 1851 / 1861 / 1871 / 1881 / 1891 / 1901 / 1911 censuses (395 records)

  • UK Jewish Communal Leaders Database - Oxford records:

    • JCR-UK Listings (records of 147 individuals - as of the March 2024 update).

  • 1851 Anglo Jewry Database (as of the 2016 update):

    • Individuals in the "1851" database who were living in Oxford during the 1770s (1 record), 1780s (1 record), 1800s (3 records), 1810s (1 record); 1820s (1 record), 1830s (7 records), 1840s (30 records), 1850s (53 records), 1860s (29 records), 1870s (23 records), 1880s (12 records) and 1890s (7 records).


On-line Articles and Other Material
relating to the Oxford Jewish Community


Additional articles are to be found on the Oxford Jewish Congregation page.

on third parties' websites

  • Oxford Jewish Heritage at http://www.oxfordjewishheritage.co.uk This website contains extensive material on the Oxford Jewish Community, past and present, including the history of the Community (both medieval and modern), maps, biographies, articles and much more.

  • The Jews of Oxford (1992) by David M Lewis, online on the Oxford Jewish Heritage website.

  • Oxford - City of Sweetness - an article on the Oxford Jewish Community from The Jewish Chronicle, 20 October 1978.

  • Memorial Marks City's Old Jewish Cemetery - an online article dated 8 July 2012 in the Oxford Mail on Oxford's Medieval Jewish cemetery.

  • Mikvaot of Oxford, on the Oxford Chabad website, which comprises two articles; "The Mikvaot in Oxford" an article by Marcus Roberts; and "The Building of the first Mikveh in Oxford: From 1845 to 2005" by Rabbi Eli Brackman, which also includes a brief history of the Jews in Oxford.


Some Notable Jewish Connections with Oxford

(primarily courtesy of Steven Jaffe)

  • University Faculty members with major influences on the Jewish student community:

    • Herbert Loewe (1882-1940) (m. Ethel Hyamson, born in Oxford) was born in London. He was appointed lecturer in Semitic languages at Exeter College, Oxford, in 1913. During World War I he served in India and returned to Oxford in 1920. During his time in Oxford the Loewe home at Beaumont street was a focus of hospitality and social and intellectual activity for Jewish students. In 1931 he took up an academic post at Cambridge. The Loewe collection comprises about 5,000 items at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish studies.

    • Dr Cecil Roth (1899-1970), pre-eminent Anglo Jewish historian of his day, collector of Judaica and editor of the Encyclopedia Judaica. London-born Roth was lecturer in post Biblical Jewish studies at Oxford from 1939 until 1964. He and his wife Irene continued the tradition of Herbert Loewe in providing at their home in Oxford a social and intellectual focus for Jewish students, for instance, by hosting an open house on Shabbat afternoons.

  • Other celebrated Oxford academics and alumni include:

    • Samuel Alexander OM (1859-1938), Australian-born philosopher, scholarship student at Baliol and Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford.

    • Professor David Baum (1940-1999), Birmingham-raised professorial fellow in paediatrics at Oxford University, attached to St Catherine's College.

    • Lord Max Beloff (1913-1999), London-born historian and Conservative peer, was a graduate (with first class honours) of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

    • Sir Isaiah Berlin OM CBE (1909-1997), Latvian-born philosopher, was a Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, and a Trustee of Oxford Synagogue.

    • Baruch S Blumberg (1925-1911), American-born Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Master of Balliol College, Oxford.

    • John Bowers KC (b.1956), Grimsby-born principal of Brasenose College, Oxford.

    • Sir Maurice Victor Blank (b. 1942), businessman and philanthropist, was a graduate from St Catherine's College, Oxford.

    • Lord Lionel Leonard Cohen of Walmer (1888-1973), London-born barrister and judge was a graduate of New College, Oxford.

    • L. Jonathan Cohen (1923-2006), British philosopher was a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, and a Fellow and Praelector in Philosophy and Senior Tutor at The Queen's College, Oxford.

    • Sir Zelman Cowen (1919-2011), Melbourne-born Governor General of Australia, Rhodes scholar and later Provost of Oriel College, Oxford.

    • Professor David Daube (1909-1999), refugee from Nazi Germany, fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and Regius Professor of Civil Law at Oxford University, until 1970 when he moved to California, where he became Professor-in-Residence at UC-Berkeley's law school.

    • Baroness Ruth Deech, DBE (née Fraenkel; b. 1943), London-born academic, lawyer, bioethicist and politician, chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), (1994 to 2002), Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford.

    • Walter Eytan (1910-2001), German-born don at Queen's College Oxford, a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II, he became director general of Israel's foreign office.

    • Professor Eduard Fraenkel (1888-1970), German-born refugee from Nazi Germany, Corpus professor of Latin at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

    • Sir Martin Gilbert (1936-2015), London-born honorary Fellow of Merton College, Oxford, historian and the author of eighty-eight books.

    • Arthur L. Goodhart, KBA, QC (1891-1978), American-born Professor of Jurisprudence, Master of University College, Oxford.

    • Lord Arnold Goodman (1913-1995), London-born solicitor, political adviser and chair of the Arts Council, Master of University College, Oxford.

    • Avraham Harman (1914-1992), Israel's London-born ambassador to USA, president of the Hebrew University, Jerusalem was a graduate of and later honorary fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.

    • Herbert Hart (1907-1992), Harrogate-born professor of jurisprudence, principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. He had been a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II.

    • Leslie Hoare-Belisha (later 1st Baron Hore-Belisha) (1893-1957), British politician and Member of Parilament, was a graduate of St John's College, Oxford. He initially represented the Liberal Party, then National Liberal Party and later the Conservative Party and served as the UK Minister of Transport (1934–1937) and Secretary for War (1937–1940)

    • Lord (Sir Charles James) Jesselton (1860-1928), British barrister, magistrate and businessman, was a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford. He was vice-chairman of the British North Borneo Company, and Jesselton, the future capital of British North Borneo, was named after him (now known as Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, Malaysia).

    • Lord (Sir Keith) Joseph (1918-1994) London-born Conservative government minister and political and economical theorist, graduate of Magdalen College, Oxford, elected Prize Fellow to All Souls College in 1946.

    • Elena Kagan (b. 1960), Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court was a graduate from Worcester College, Oxford.

    • Harold Laski (1893-1950), Manchester-born Left-wing political and economic theorist in the UK and the USA and a Professor at the London School of Economics, was a graduate of New College, Oxford.

    • Marghanita Laski (1915-1988), Manchester-born journalist, radio panelist and novelist, who contributed over 250,000 additions to the Oxford English Dictionary, was a graduate of Somerville College, Oxford.

    • Ruth Lawrence-Neimark (b. 1971), Brighton-born child maths prodigy, joined St Hughs College, Oxford, in 1983, aged 12. She graduated in 1985 with a starred first as the youngest graduate of the university in modern times. She teaches at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

    • Nigella Lawson (b. 1960), London-born chef and broadcaster, graduated from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

    • Professor David Malcolm Lewis (1928-1994), Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford. Past President of Oxford Jewish Congregation and Oxford University Jewish Society, author of The Jews of Oxford (1992).

    • V.D. (Vivian David) Lipman (1921-1990), Anglo-Jewish author and historian, was awarded first class honours BA from Magdalen College, Oxford, and a D.Phil from Nuffield College, Oxford.

    • Sir Alan Mocotta (1907-1990), a high court judge, was a graduate of New College, Oxford and a warden at Oxford Synagogue. He served as chairman of the Council of Jews' College and vice president (and later president) of the Board of Elders of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation.

    • Claude Joseph Goldsmid Montefiore (1858-1938), scholar, philanthropist, religious leader and a founding president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, graduated (with first class honours) from Balliol College, Oxford.

    • Lord Claus Moser, KCB, CBE (1922-2015), German-born refugee from Nazi Germany, a leading statistician and civil servant, was Warden of Wadham College, Oxford.

    • Adolf Neubauer (1831-1907), Hungarian-born and a scholar in Jerusalem and Paris, was a noted Jewish librarian in the Bodleian Library, Oxford University, and compiler of the catalogue of the Hebrew collection. From 1884 until 1900 he was reader in Rabbinic Hebrew at Oxford University.

    • Dr David Patterson (1922-2005), Liverpool-born Cowley Lecturer in Post-Biblical Hebrew at Oxford University, was the founder and president of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish studies (biography).

    • Sir Rudolf Ernst Peierls, CBE (1907-1995) German-born British nuclear physicist, who held the post of the Wykeham Professor of Physics and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. In 2004, the theoretical physics building at Oxford University was named the Sir Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics.

    • Robert Peston (b. 1960), London-born journalist, presenter and author, graduated from Balliol College, Oxford.

    • Harold Pollins (1924-1918), historian and author, was a resident of Oxford and a tutor at Ruskin College, Oxford. He was a major contributor of material to JCR-UK, in particular relating to Oxford (biography).

    • Chaim Raphael (born Chaim Rabinovitch) (1908-1994), Middlesbrough-born civil servant and writer, was Cowley Lecturer in Post-Biblical Hebrew at Oxford University (biography).

    • Rachel Riley (b. 1986), Southend-born co-host on Channel 4's Countdown, graduated in mathematics from Oriel College, Oxford.

    • Michael Rosen (b. 1946), London-born children's novelist and poet, graduated from Wadham College, Oxford.

    • Cecil Roth (1899-1970), Anglo-Jewish historian and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, was a graduate of Merton College, Oxford.

    • Herbert Louis Samuel (later 1st Viscount Samuel) (1870-1963), British Liberal politician and former party leader who served as the first High Commissioner for the British Mandate in Palestine, graduated from Balliol College, Oxford, and he and Lady Samuel were war-time residents of Oxford.

    • Sir Simon Schama (b.1945), London-born historian and TV presenter, was a fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, before taking up a post in the USA.

    • Lord Samuel Segal, MRCS (1902-1985), surgeon and Labour Party politician who became Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords, was born in Oxford and was a graduate of Jesus College, Oxford.

    • James Joseph Sylvester (born James Joseph) (1814-1897) is believed to be the first Jewish Fellow at an Oxford college. In the course of a trans-Atlantic career, London-born Sylvester was appointed Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford University in 1883. He was the first to coin mathematical terms such as "graph" and "matrix".

    • Lord George Weidenfeld (1919-2016), Viennese-born publisher who came to Britain as a refugee from Nazi Germany, was an Honorary Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford, Hon. Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford, and was awarded the Degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Oxford University in 2010.

    • Professor Geza Vermes (1924-2013), Hungarian-born British academic, Biblical scholar and historian, was a Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, and the first Oxford Professor of Jewish Studies.

  • Other former Oxford residents include:

    • Robert Carvalho (1907-1996), solicitor, president of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews Congregation, and President of the Anglo-Jewish Association, who was also warden of Oxford Synagogue.

    • Sir Monty Finniston (1912-1991), Glasgow born chemist and industrialist, lived in Abingdon, Oxford from 1946 until 1958.

    • Sir Ludwig Guttmann (1899-1980), German-born refugee from Nazi Germany, neurologist who first settled in Oxford. In 1943 he was asked to establish the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, but continued to live in Oxford until 1951.

    • Miriam Margolyes (b.1941), actress, was born and schooled in Oxford.

    • Lord Segal of Wytham (1902-1984), doctor, Labour MP, working peer and deputy speaker of the House of Lords, lived in Oxford as a child and adult, and was the son of resident minister Rev. M. H. Segal.

  • Rabbinical Figures who were residents, academics or students in Oxford, including student chaplains, include:

    • Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski, a graduate of University College, Oxford, is senior rabbi of Golders Green synagogue.

    • Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Chabad shaliach at Oxford (with which he later split), founder of the L'Chaim Society. He was referred to by The Washington Post as "the most famous rabbi in America".

    • Rabbi Daniel Braune-Friedman, and his wife, Hannah, were Jewish students' chaplains in Oxford from 2009 until 2013.

    • Chief Rabbi Sir Israel Brodie was a graduate of Balliel College, Oxford.

    • Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, notable Jewish scholar and the first rabbi to become an English barrister, spent the war year in Oxford.

    • Haham Rabbi Moses Gaster lectured in Slavonic languages at Oxford University.

    • Rabbi Dr Solomon Goldman was a postgraduate student at Oxford University and rabbi of St John's Wood Synagogue.

    • Rabbi Sidney Benzion Leperer was appointed in 1969 by Chief Rabbi Dr Jakobovits as the first student chaplain in Oxford, but it is not clear whether he took up the appointment which was not to be made official until he met the students.

    • Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler and Rebbetzen Tracey Rosenfeld-Schueler have served as the Oxford University Jewish Chaplaincy Couple from 2013 until present (September 2023).

    • Rev. Malcolm Weisman, minister to small communities, was a student and then chaplain at Oxford University.

    • Rabbi Saul Zneimer, former chief executive of the United Synagogue, is an Oxford graduate who was awarded two blues for football.


Non-Synagogal Jewish or Jewish-Oriented
Institutions & Organisations in Oxford

Institutions connected with Higher Study or Research

  • The Bodleian Library is one of the most important holders of Hebrew and Jewish manuscript and published material in Europe. The earliest Hebrew manuscript acquisition was in 1601. The library of Chief Rabbi of Prague. David ben Abraham Oppenheimer, was acquired in 1829. The library also holds extensive extracts from the Cairo Genizah.

  • The Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies was founded in 1972 by Dr David Patterson to help restore Jewish Studies in Europe in the aftermath of the Holocaust. It is currently based in the Clarendon Institute, Walton Street, Oxford, having relocated from Yarnton Manor in 2014.

Refugee Organisations in World War II

  • A hostel for 15 Jewish refugee boys was located at 1 Linton Road, North Oxford.(xxi) In August 1940, it was reported that "some 20 boys from Germany, previously accommodated at Barham House Training School, Ipswich, have now been transferred to Oxford Refugee Boys’ Hostel which has been empty for a time owing to the internment of all the inmates."(xxii)

  • In addition, Blackwell's (booksellers) and Webber's (department store) had hostels for refugee employees.

  • A refugee club met at a school hall on Leckford Road.

  • The Committee for Refugees had an office in a house on New Inn Hall Street.

  • The community had a social club which used the Forum in the High Street for its activities and the Jewish Community Centre at 95 Walton street at which volunteers ran a kosher canteen for servicemen and residents.(xxv)

  • Association of Jewish Refugees, founded by at least 1947 and existing until mid-1950s.(xxvi)

  • JUFRA club for German-Jewish Women, founded about 1939.(xxvii) Article by Harold Pollins.

  • Habonim in Oxford during World War II. Article by Harold Pollins.

Societies connected with the University

  • Oxford University Jewish Society, formed in 1933 on the merger of The Adler Society, founded 1904, and the Oxford Zionist Society, founded 1922 (although there had been an earlier Oxford University Zionist Society, founded in November 1906, which survived until at least 1910).(xxx) (View photograph of an Adler society dinner.)

  • Cholent Society, an exclusive male only students' black tie dining club which hosted speakers. It celebrated its silver jubilee in 1981.

  • L'Chaim Society, founded in 1989 by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who came to Oxford as a Lubavitch shaliach in 1988, and developed the society into the second biggest student organisation ever at Oxford University by attracting mostly non-Jewish (approximately 5,000), as well as Jewish students. It attracted star speakers from politics, arts, and culture from around the world. In 1994, the society was converted from being a student society into becoming an independent organization and the relationship between L'Chaim Society and Chabad was terminated. It remained active until 2001.(xxxi)

  • Chabad in Oxford.

Branches of National Organisations

  • Friends of Hebrew University, founded by 1939.(xxxiv) 

  • Oxford Womens Zionist Society (or Federation of Women Zionists), founded by 1939.(xxxv)

  • Poale Zion Society, founded by 1945.(xxxvi) 

  • Anglo-Jewish Association, founded by 1946.(xxxvii)

  • League of Jewish Women, founded by 1946.(xxxviii)

Social, Literary and Miscellaneous

  • B'nai B'rith Lodge, which became the Oxford Menorah Society.(xli)

  • Jewish Social and Literary Society, later Jewish Literary Society, formed by 1945.(xlii)

  • Jewish Youth Club, formed by 1945.(xliii)

  • Jewish Centre, at Port Mahon, James Street, st. Clements, established by 1951.(xliv)

  • Oxford Jewish Representative Council, constituted by the religious and lay organisation, formed by 1945.(xlv)

  • Oxford Zionist Society, re-formed in November 1939,(xlvi) presumably following the 1933 merger of the previous Zionist society into Oxford University Jewish Society.


Community Records

  • Registration District (for BMD): Oxfordshire (since 1 October 2001)

    • Previous Registration District:
         Oxford (from 1 July 1837 to 1 October 2001).

    • Any registers would now be held by the current register office.

    • Link to Register Office website.


Oxford Jewish Cemeteries Information

The following are the known Jewish cemeteries that existed in Oxford:

  • Wolvercote Cemetery, Jewish Section, Banbury Road, Wolvercote, Oxford. First Jewish burial dates from 1894. This is the cemetery currently in use by the Oxford Jewish community and contains some 400 burials.

    The Oxford Jewish Cemetery page of the Oxford Jewish Heritage website, includes a downloadable pdf list of all burials in the Wolvercote Jewish Cemetery.

  • Medieval Jewish Cemeteries:

    • The Jews Garden: acquired in 1177, when Jews were first allowed to purchase land outside London.

    • A Jewish cemetery, now part of Magdalene College and the Botanical Gardens, was in use from 1231 until 1290.

(For additional information, see also IAJGS Cemetery Project - Oxford)


Oxford Jewish Population Data



University Students





(The Jewish Year Book 1896/7)




(The Jewish Year Book 1897/8)




(The Jewish Year Book 1899/1900)




(The Jewish Year Book 1901/2)




(The Jewish Year Book 1904/52)




(The Jewish Year Book 1909)




(The Jewish Year Book 1912)




(The Jewish Year Book 1913)




(The Jewish Year Book 1950)




(The Jewish Year Book 1961)




(The Jewish Year Book 1965)




(The Jewish Year Book 1967)




(The Jewish Year Book 1975)




(The Jewish Year Book 1990)




(The Jewish Year Book 1991)




(The Jewish Year Book 1992)




(The Jewish Year Book 1994)




(The Jewish Year Book 2004)



Notes & Sources
( returns to text above)

  •  (i) to (xx) Reserved.

  •  (xxi) The Jews of Oxford (published 1992) by D.M. Lewis, p. 66.

  •  (xxii) Jewish Chronicle report of 9 August 1940.

  •  (xxiii) and (xxiv) Reserved.

  •  (xxv) Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  •  (xxvi) Listed in Jewish Year Books 1947 through 1957.

  •  (xxvii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1940.

  •  (xxviii) and (xxix) Reserved.

  •  (xxx) Various Jewish Year Book entries.

  •  (xxxi) Listed in Jewish Year Books from 1995 through 2002.

  •  (xxxii) and (xxxiii) Reserved.

  •  (xxiv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1940.

  •  (xxv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1940 and The Jews of Oxford (published 1992) by D.M. Lewis, p. 92.

  •  (xxvi) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  •  (xxvii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1947.

  •  (xxviii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1947.

  •  (xxxix) and (xl) Reserved.

  •  (xli) The Jews of Oxford (published 1992) by D.M. Lewis, p. 92.

  •  (xlii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  •  (xliii) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  •  (xliv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1952.

  •  (xlv) First listed in Jewish Year Book 1945/6.

  •  (xlvi) Jewish Chronicle report of 17 November 1939.

Jewish Congregations in Oxfordshire

Jewish Communities of England home page

Page created: 13 June 2003
Data significantly expanded and notes added: 26 September 2023
Page most recently amended: 1 April 2024

Research by David Shulman, assisted by Steven Jaffe
Formatting by David Shulman

Explanation of Terms   |   About JCR-UK  |   JCR-UK home page

Contact JCR-UK Webmaster:

JGSGB  JewishGen

Terms and Conditions, Licenses and Restrictions for the use of this website:

This website is owned by JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. All material found herein is owned by or licensed to us. You may view, download, and print material from this site only for your own personal use. You may not post material from this site on another website without our consent. You may not transmit or distribute material from this website to others. You may not use this website or information found at this site for any commercial purpose.

Copyright © 2002 - 2024 JCR-UK. All Rights Reserved