- OXFORD, English university town. The presence of Jews is first recorded in 1141, when they were despoiled by both claimants to the throne during the civil war. The Jewry was in the center of the town (the present St. Aldate's Street). Oxford Jews suffered greatly from the confiscatory tallage imposed in 1210. An ecclesiastical synod of the Province of Canterbury held there (1222) renewed the anti-Jewish regulations of the Fourth lateran Council and condemned to death a deacon who had converted to Judaism. In the 13th century Oxford possessed an archa . The Jewish population was, however, at all times small, probably never exceeding 150. Besides acting as moneylenders, the Jews were notorious as university landlords, which was one reason for the student riot against them in 1244, after which relations with university members were regulated. The wealthiest Oxford Jew of the period was David of Oxford (d. 1244), remarkable details of whose private 1. Isaac b. Moses; Alberic Convers (Joscepin); Moses b. Isaac; Gildhall 1229. 2. Isaac b. Moses; Alberic Convers; David of Oxford; Domus Conversorum; Lower Gildhall. 3. Jacob b. Mag. Moses (Jacobs Hall). 4. Moses b.; Moses b. Isaac; Gildhall 1229. 2. Isaac b. Moses; Alberic Convers; David of Oxford; Domus Conversorum; Lower Gildhall. 3. Jacob b. Mag. Moses (Jacobs Hall). 4. Moses b.") 1\. Isaac b. Moses; Alberic Convers (Joscepin); Moses b. Isaac; Gildhall 1229. 2\. Isaac b. Moses; Alberic Convers; David of Oxford; Domus Conversorum; Lower Gildhall. 3\. Jacob b. Mag. Moses ('Jacob's Hall'). 4\. Moses b. Diaie; Bassena; Ekekin b. Bassena. 5\. Moses of Wallingford (?); Bonefey b. Moses; Reyna; Floria la Vedua (a). 6\. Chera. 7\. (a) Milo b. Deudone Chera (or Vivo). 8\. Josce of Colchester; Moses of Oxford; Josce b. Moses; Jacob le Eveskel; Benedict le Eveske; Sarah widow of Benedict; Ducklington's Inn. 9\. Samuel of Berkhamsted. 10\. father of Pya; Benedict of Caus; Pya. 11\. Benedict of Winchester; Vives b. Benedict; Avegay b. Benedict. 12\. Meir; Benedict de la Cornere. 13\. Lumbard of Cricklade; Moyses Hall. 14\. Mildegod; Vives le Lung (Keresy's Place). 15\. (Simeon b. Moses?) Aaron Canis. 16\. (Mag. Moses b. Simeon?); Bonamy b. Jacob; Vives of Gloucester; Margalicia. 17\. Copin of Worcester; Moses b. Jacob and Issac le Eveske. 18\. Moses of Bristol and Deudone; Copin of Worcester; The Synagogue. 19\. (Benjamin?); Copin of Oxford; Mildegod; Jacob Mildegod. 20\. Copin of Worcester. 21\. Copin of Worcester. 22\. David of Oxford; Muriel. 23\. Jacob and Cresse ff. Mag. Moses. 24\. Jacob and Cresse ff. Mag. Moses. The medieval Jewry of Oxford and house owners recorded in the town registers. After C. Roth, Jews of Medieval Oxford, 1951. life are extant. Oxford was the place of residence of R. Yom Tov and R. Moses Yom Tov of London whose son Jacob of Oxford (d. 1276/1277) was a leading member of the community. berechiah Natronai ha-Nakdan, author of the Fox Fables, is perhaps identical with Benedict le Puncteur of Oxford (c. 1200). In 1268 Oxford Jewry was heavily fined for an alleged outrage on a crucifix and in 1278–79 several Jews were arrested and some executed on charges of clipping the coinage. From the 17th century onward Jewish-born teachers of Hebrew, mostly converts, found their way to Oxford. Permanent settlement began after the mid-18th century but a community was organized only in 1841. Jews were first admitted to the university in 1854. By the end of the century the undergraduate element was large enough to reinforce the shrinking town community – a student society was established in 1904. samuel alexander became a Fellow of Lincoln College in 1882 and james joseph sylvester professor of geometry in 1883. However, such appointments became frequent only in the second quarter of the 20th century. Several distinguished German Jewish refugees arrived after 1933 and during World War II the community was enormously swollen by evacuees from London. In 1967 the Jewish population was approximately 400, in addition to approximately 200 undergraduates. However regular synagogue services were held only on the High Holidays and in termtime. In the 16th century Hebrew studies began systematically to be pursued in the university. A regius professorship of Hebrew was established in 1546. Its incumbents included edward pococke (from 1648 to 1691), E.B. Pusey (1828–1882), S.R. Driver (1883–1914), and herbert danby (1936–1953). The acquisition of the library of david oppenheim in 1817 made the Hebrew collection of the bodleian Library outstanding. H.M.J. Loewe was lecturer in Oriental languages (1914–1931). A readership in Jewish studies was established in 1939, its first incumbent being C. Roth . Although Oxford was arguably slower than Cambridge in welcoming Jews, in the 20th century a major Jewish presence manifested itself at the university. Between 1910 and 1971 there were 13 Jewish presidents of the Oxford Union Society, the famous debating club, including philip guedalla , leslie hore-belisha , jeremy isaacs , and leonard stein . Since 1951, there have been at least ten Jewish heads of Oxford colleges, among them sir isaiah berlin , sir zelman cowen , A.L. Goodhart , lord goodman , and H.L.A. Hart . During World War II, a motion at the Oxford Union Society calling upon Britain to admit more Jewish refugees was reputedly the only one in its history to be passed unanimously. In recent years, Oxford has emerged as a major academic center of Jewish Studies, most notably with the establishment in 1972 of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, founded chiefly by david patterson , which is housed in premises on St. Giles in central Oxford and in Yarnton Manor outside of town. It was given considerable funding by the wolfson family. The Centre has also facilitated the emergence of Oxford as a notable venue for Yiddish Studies, something almost inconceivable a century or even 50 years earlier. In the mid-1990s the Jewish population of the town numbered approximately 700. The 2001 British census showed a declared Jewish population of about 500, with approximately another 500 students. Oxford has an Orthodox synagogue and Masorti and Progressive congregations as well as a University Jewish Society. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: C. Roth, Jews of Medieval Oxford (1951); idem, in: Oxford Magazine (March 7, 1963); idem, in: Oxoniensia, 15 (1950), 63–80; idem, in: M. Praz (ed.), English Miscellany, 9 (1958), 163–71; Neubauer, in: Collectanea of the Oxford Historical Society, 2 (1890), 277–316; Cohen, in: JHSET, 13 (1936), 293–322. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: D.W. Lewis, The Jews of Oxford (1992); M. Jolles, A Directory of Distinguished British Jews, 1830–1930 (2002), 145–53; W.D. Rubinstein, Great Britain, index; C. Cluse (ed.), The Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages (2004). (Cecil Roth / William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.