History

World’s oldest Torah found - in a library

By Sandy Rashty and Anna Sheinman, May 29, 2013

An Italian university has found the world’s oldest complete Sefer Torah — in its library.

The sheepskin manuscript (below), which could be over 800 years old, has been held in the library of the University of Bologna for over 100 years.

It had previously been examined by an academic at the university in 1889, who mistakenly labelled it as a 17th century text.

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Foreign Office fears for Palestine prompted by intercepted Ben-Gurion papers

By Jennifer Lipman, May 23, 2013

Foreign Office hopes that a resolution to the situation in Palestine could be delayed until after the war were shattered in 1941 after they intercepted the private papers of David Ben-Gurion detailing Zionist objectives and his discussions with Anglo-Jewish leaders.

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Chagall exhibition to open at Tate Liverpool

By Jennifer Lipman, May 13, 2013

An exhibition dedicated to the career of Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall is to open in Liverpool next month.

Fifteen years after the last major retrospective of his work in the UK, and 27 years after his death at the age of 97, Tate Liverpool is to remind art-lovers of the modernist painter's genius.

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Poem by celebrated Victorian feminist sold at auction

By Jennifer Lipman, May 9, 2013

One of the final writings of a Victorian Jew who Oscar Wilde praised as a "girl of genius" has been auctioned for £3,500.

The poem by Amy Levy, At Dawn, was sold at Bonhams on Wednesday for £500 more than anticipated.

Written around 1889, shortly before Levy's suicide, it is the first time any of her work had been made for sale.

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Dickens’s Jew — from evil to delightful

By Charles Drazin, May 3, 2013

When David Lean directed Oliver Twist 65 years ago, the character of Fagin had already been long established as a popular villain. There was the serialisation and subsequent editions of Charles Dickens's novel, while the celebrated actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree played the part in a successful stage version in 1905. And there had been many film adaptations.

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British warned of 'bitterness' over handling of the Exodus ship

By Jennifer Lipman, April 26, 2013

The High Commissioner to Palestine warned officials in London that the "bitterness evoked" by events on board the SS Exodus in 1947 should not be underestimated.

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Arabs in 1943 'obsessed with Zionism' said secret British report into nationalism

By Jennifer Lipman, April 26, 2013

Anti-Zionism, suspicion of US imperialism and Allied loyalties were key concerns for the Arab world five years before the state of Israel was declared, according to a report commissioned by British officials in May 1943.

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Secret documents reveal plans for 'British Haganah' in Palestine as Mandate ended

By Jennifer Lipman, April 26, 2013

British men and women living in Jerusalem during the last days of the Mandate period planned to establish a "British Haganah" to protect themselves.

In a series of secret documents from the colonial period, newly released by the national archives after almost seven decades, the uncertainty felt by the British in what was then Palestine in the spring of 1948 becomes apparent.

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The tragic poet Oscar Wilde called a genius

By Jennifer Lipman, April 26, 2013

A handwritten poem written by one of Victorian Jewry's most highly-regarded writers and feminist thinkers shortly before her suicide is expected to fetch up to £3,000 when it is auctioned next month.

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British saw 1948 Jewish fighters as 'like those of Nazi Germany'

By Jennifer Lipman, April 26, 2013

The High Commissioner of Palestine viewed the behaviour of Jewish fighters as comparable to that of the Nazis, according to an intelligence report issued two weeks before statehood was declared.

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