Lunchtime Talk: 'Oxford's Jewish Heritage' with Victoria Bentata Azaz

Submitted by MuseumofOxford on January 5, 2024 - 11:56

Venue, Timing and Cost

Museum of Oxford
Wednesday, 17 January 2024
A medieval manuscript illustration showing three people in robes cowering before a person wielding a baton above their head.

With one of the best-documented medieval Jewish quarters in the world, Oxford is well-positioned to tell the story of Jewish life in England in the medieval period.

Arriving in the wake of William the Conqueror, the Jewish community prospered in Oxford for at least a century, producing both learned and wealthy citizens, such as Jacob son of Magister Moses, who set up one of the first student halls and David of Oxford, who with his wives Muriel and subsequently Licoricia led a thriving finance business.

As everywhere in the Christian world of the day, the Jews’ position was insecure and became more so during the 13th century, when discriminatory measures made their lives increasingly difficult, culminating in their expulsion from England in 1290.

This talk by Victoria Bentata Azaz will look at the lives of Jews in Medieval Oxford; the places where they lived, worked and were buried, influential figures from within the Jewish community, and how and why life became more difficult for them as time wore on.

The talk will also reflect on later periods of Jewish settlement, including the readmission of the Jews under Oliver Cromwell, the visits by Einstein and the contributions of the refugee scholars in the 1930s and today’s Jewish community.

Taking place in the Museum, this talk will be delivered on the very site of the medieval Jewish quarter, known as ‘Great Jewry’ until 1300.

Victoria Bentata Azaz is a Green Badge Oxford Tour Guide and longstanding member of the Oxford Guild of Tour Guides. She has led Jewish Heritage tours of Oxford for many years. She studied Modern Languages at the University of Oxford and has more recently completed an MA in History at Oxford Brookes University.

Tickets are £5 per person and available from the Museum Shop or via Eventbrite (online booking fee applies).

Further Information

Contact Details: 


Museum of Oxford
Oxford Town Hall
St Aldates
01865 252334

Museums and Heritage