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Sir Moses Montefiore & Lady Judith: Tradition and Modernity

Jewish Museum London
Event organized by Jewish Museum London

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We welcome you to join us and prizewinning historian Abigail Green – Professor of Modern European History at the University of Oxford – for a talk that explores the life and works of Sir Moses Montefiore, and the less well-known story of his equally extraordinary wife, Judith.

Montefiore was the preeminent Jewish figure of the nineteenth century and one of the first truly global celebrities – a man whose 100th birthday was the cause of national and international rejoicing. A pioneering humanitarian, fundraiser, traveller and campaigner for Jewish emancipation on a grand scale, Montefiore and his Judith braved Greek pirates, stormy seas, and melting rivers as they crisscrossed Europe and the Mediterranean to relieve the plight of Jews in distress.

The Montefiores were simultaneously icons of Jewish modernity and models of traditional religiosity. This was a contradiction which, at the time, was perhaps less striking than it is now. Taking us from London to Jerusalem (via St Petersburg and Marrakesh), this is a talk that invites us to think again about tradition and modernity in Jewish history, and about what orthodoxy meant – then and now.

Guest lecturer, Abigail Green, previously published 'Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero' which won the Sami Rohr Choice Award, was a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, and the New Republic Best Book of 2010. She is now writing an international history of Jewish liberal activism book tentatively entitled ‘Children of 1848: Liberalism and the Jews from the Revolutions to Human Rights’.

This annual Cecil Roth lecture, funded by the Cecil Roth Trust, has been created in collaboration with Cecil’s nephew, Joseph Roth. Joseph sadly passed away earlier this year, this lecture will serve to honour his tireless dedication and determination to celebrate his uncle’s contribution to Anglo-Jewish history.

Cecil Roth was one of the greatest Jewish historians of the 20th century. The museum is privileged to host these thought-provoking lectures. He was also one of the original founders of the Jewish Museum in 1932.

The talk will be approximately 45 minutes long with time for questions and answers afterwards.


This event is free with museum entry. Book your space: 020 7284 7384 / admin@jewishmuseum.org.uk