Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

“London is a modern Babylon.” (Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister, 1847)

Looking to the North and West – From the East End to Golders Green

Curators: Avichai Halperin | Asaf Galay

“I look at Whitechapel and think to myself: if London is so cheerful, how will it be in America?!”

(Sholem Aleichem, “Motle son of Peisi”)

In the late nineteenth century, the dream of a different and better life led millions of Jews to emigrate from Eastern Europe to the New World. London, which in many cases was the last stop before their longed-for destination, offered refuge to groups of immigrants who did not pursue their journey to its end. These immigrants, who settled in London’s East End, distinguished themselves from the city’s established Sephardic community, and reconstructed their former lifestyle in London.

White Chapel Street, otherwise known as “London’s shtetl,” was the first stop for immigrants from Eastern Europe. They live there in crowded, impoverished conditions and dreamt of moving to the north and west of the city, while establishing education systems, religious institutions, philanthropic organizations, and workers’ unions. Many of them were small traders or textile workers. Among the immigrants and refugees who ended up in this area of London were a significant number of Jewish intellectuals and revolutionaries. They wrote pamphlets, published literary reviews, and participated in radical assemblies.

The exhibition displays photos from Beit Hatfutsot Visual Documentation Center as well as other collections.

Displayed in the lobby


Regent Street, 1900. Courtesy of Bishopsgate Institute


Woman selling fish from a barrel, c. 1910. Courtesy of the Library of Congress Washington, D.C.

Avichai Halperin | Asaf Galay
Opening: October 7, 2014
On display until: March 1, 2016