Norwich seeks funds for history exhibit
NORWICH HEBREW Congregation is seeking donations to complete funding for a building project incorporating an exhibition chronicling Jewish life in the city from medieval antisemitism to the present day.
In just a year, the 75-family community has raised £275,000 of a targeted £385,000.
Congregation president Marian Prinsley said the initial aim had been solely to renovate the 66-year-old communal hall.
But it has since been decided that once the renovation is complete, the shul will team up with Norwich Castle Museum to establish the Norwich Jewish Community and Heritage Centre. The hope is to start building work next spring.
Although the museum will not contribute financially to the project, it will offer curatorial expertise.
“We have suggested some of our colleagues who might be able to provide support and advice,” explained Tim Pestell, Norwich Castle’s curator of archaeology.
The museum is also looking to include a section on Jews within its upcoming exhibition on Norwich’s medieval past.
“Norwich has an ancient history of antisemitism,” Dr Prinsley said. It was the location of the first ever blood libel. We want to put Jewish history here on the map.”
Academics believe the first accusation of ritual murder against a Jewish community was made in 1144 in Norwich.
A recent visit from Ephraim Mirvis was Norwich’s first by a Chief Rabbi since 1969.
“He was very kind,” Dr Prinsley said. “He made a point to talk individually with each member of our congregation. A member of Pinner United Synagogue came all the way here to bring kosher food.”