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Jewish Britain on Film

Jewish life on screen: a century of insights and hidden histories

This collection uncovers insights, injustices and hidden histories across a century of Jewish life on British screens. It brings together documentary and first-person accounts of Jewish life in the UK, alongside historical dramas and artists’ work exploring the 20th century Jewish experience. The earliest surviving depictions of Jewish characters in British cinema offer a troubling insight into antisemitic representation, yet prejudice was later tackled head-on, with newsreels documenting the anti-fascist movement of the 1930s. Drop in on joyous family weddings and community gatherings, and see the ways in which UK Jewry supported Jews young and old, and those fleeing persecution, in a selection of fascinating films from the 1900s to the 1980s. 

This collection is generously supported by the Neil Kreitman Foundation, Shoresh Charitable Trust, John S Cohen Foundation, and Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation.
 

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Some of My Best FriendsSome of My Best Friends

Documentary196930 mins Location: Westminster

Jewish people - and a few Gentiles - muse on what it means to be Jewish in 1960s Britain

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The Wicked One - What Does He Say?The Wicked One - What Does He Say?

Amateur film193411 minsSilent

A grief-stricken rabbi recollects life in his home country, only to find that tragedy has followed him to his new life

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Jewish Pensioners' Controversial Pools WinJewish Pensioners' Controversial Pools Win

News19755 mins Location: Southend-on-Sea

All good pals and jolly good company! A syndicate of Jewish pensioners from Southend celebrate their big win on the football pools.

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Just One KidJust One Kid

Factual TV197454 minsSilent

A Jewish Eastender recalls growing up in poverty in the 1930s and being part of a community now long gone

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SimchaSimcha

Documentary200012 mins

Extremely rare insight in the role of a Hasidic woman, featuring a mother-daughter team who live in North London.

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Mr. EmmanuelMr. Emmanuel

Drama194497 mins

An elderly Jewish man journeys to Nazi Germany to track down a refugee’s mother in this extraordinary drama

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The Barber of Stamford HillThe Barber of Stamford Hill

Drama196261 mins

On the eve of his 50th birthday, lonely north London barber Mr Figg entertains the possibility of marriage

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Autumn in DelamereAutumn in Delamere

Amateur film196931 mins Location: Delamere

The Jewish school in the forest - a healthy approach to learning in the Cheshire countryside.

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Maureen LipmanMaureen Lipman

Inside Film196810 mins

Charming interview with the 21-year-old Lipman, who had just completed her first film role, as she ponders what to do next.

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The Vanishing StreetThe Vanishing Street

Documentary196220 mins

Moving record of a once-thriving East End Jewish community on the cusp of enormous change

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North London Liberal Jewish GroupNorth London Liberal Jewish Group

Home movie195611 mins Location: Finchley

Rival groups from Ealing and Finchley go head to head in an entertaining and witty amateur film

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The Vanishing Street (Material)The Vanishing Street (Material)

195913 minsSilent

Raw images of London E1 and the disappearing Jewish East End

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By Gosh It's Hot/A Day Out at WhitbyBy Gosh It's Hot/A Day Out at Whitby

Home movie196431 minsSilent Location: Leeds

Eating, dancing in the front room, playing football in the garden, walking around Whitby, a birthday party, a wedding – just being common people, only with a Jewish twist.

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100 Year Old Coach100 Year Old Coach

Non-Fiction19261 minsSilent

Crowds block the streets to catch a view of a handsome old carriage at a Jewish wedding

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Weddings - Cathedral Road Synagogue, CardiffWeddings - Cathedral Road Synagogue, Cardiff

Amateur film19389 minsSilent Location: Cathays

Summer 1938 must have been an exciting time for Marie Cohen and Nettie Morris as they planned their weddings at the synagogue on 25/8 and 6/9, and receptions at the Connaught Rooms.

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Marriage of Miss Rose Carmel and Mr. Solly GerschcowitMarriage of Miss Rose Carmel and Mr. Solly Gerschcowit

Non-Fiction19253 minsSilent Location: Spitalfields

Follow the happy couple from the family shop on Brick Lane to a garden party serenaded by the San Diego Dance Band

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The Wedding of Thelma and Danny, 11th August 1946The Wedding of Thelma and Danny, 11th August 1946

Home movie194610 minsSilent Location: Cheetham Hill

Camera, action! A very stylish wedding is captured on film.

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Marriage of Miss Rossalyn Weinbaum to Mr A. GoideMarriage of Miss Rossalyn Weinbaum to Mr A. Goide

19236 minsSilent Location: London

Guests step out in smart hats and sumptuous furs for a Jewish wedding at London’s Central Synagogue

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Lynne's WeddingLynne's Wedding

Home movie19809 minsSilent Location: Leeds

Eating, dancing in the front room, playing football in the garden, walking around Whitby, a birthday party, a wedding – just being common people, only with a Jewish twist.

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The Wedding of Mr Laurence Marks to Miss Lily BalonThe Wedding of Mr Laurence Marks to Miss Lily Balon

Home movie19252 minsSilent Location: Fallowfield

Rain and confetti, and big smiles all round, as the weather fails to dampen spirits at a Manchester wedding.

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Richard Brookes Collection: Wedding, IlfordRichard Brookes Collection: Wedding, Ilford

Amateur film19733 minsSilent Location: Ilford

Speeches, toasts and kippahs in this Super 8 home movie of Richard and Lyn Brookes’s wedding, held at Beehive Lane Synagogue in Ilford.

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Jew SüssJew Süss

Period drama1935104 mins

Conrad Veidt plays a Jewish man seeking power in the British version of Lion Feuchtwanger’s novel, later adapted by the Nazis

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General PostGeneral Post

War192081 minsSilent

Wartime heroism reveals the shabbiness of antisemitic prejudice, when a small-town tailor becomes a local hero

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MotherlandMotherland

War192712 minsSilent

In the surviving opening scenes of this WWI-set feature, young soldiers head to the front and face life in the trenches

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Cast Us Not OutCast Us Not Out

Documentary196922 mins

Documentary insight into the work of the Jewish Welfare Board, helping some of the most vulnerable people in the community

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Chief Rabbi's Emergency CouncilChief Rabbi's Emergency Council

194719 minsSilent

Poignant postwar appeal for Britain’s Jewry to support orphaned Jewish children rescued from Europe

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KidstakesKidstakes

Amateur film194936 mins

Birthday parties and cake feature strongly in this compilation of childhood moments by amateur filmmaker Sid Douglas

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The Robber and the JewThe Robber and the Jew

Comedy19085 minsSilent

A Jewish man with a bag of gold is targeted by roadside robbers in this early comedy short reflecting antisemitic stereotypes

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A Bad Day for LevinskyA Bad Day for Levinsky

Comedy19098 minsSilent

When a Jewish man mistakenly puts a sovereign in a slot machine, he goes to extraordinary lengths to try to retrieve it

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The Antique VaseThe Antique Vase

Comedy19139 minsSilent

A penniless actor sells his beloved antique vase to a Jewish dealer who is pained to part with his money

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The ChallengeThe Challenge

Promotional196716 mins

Ben-Gurion visits a youth centre in Leeds in this promotional film for the Youth & Hechalutz Department of the Jewish Agency in London

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Joe Kagan: Just Another Bump in the RoadJoe Kagan: Just Another Bump in the Road

Current affairs198038 mins Location: Elland

An intriguing insight into the extraordinary life of Lord Kagan, Jewish escapee from the Nazis, clothier to the Royals, and close friend of Harold Wilson and KGB spy Vaygauskas.

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Impressions of DisraeliImpressions of Disraeli

193116 minsSilent

Celebrity endorsement: Stanley Baldwin introduces George Arliss playing the legendary PM

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William FrankelWilliam Frankel

196720 mins

Bernard Braden interviews the editor of the Jewish Chronicle about recent controversies in the press and the future of the Middle East

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The British FascistiThe British Fascisti

Non-Fiction19241 minsSilent

The British Fascist movement holds a 10,000-strong rally in Trafalgar Square the day before Remembrance Sunday

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British Union of Fascists March October 3rd 1937British Union of Fascists March October 3rd 1937

193710 minsSilent

Led by Oswald Mosley, Britain’s Fascists march through south London

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British Paramount News No. 251British Paramount News No. 251

19332 mins

We Protest: 80,000 descend on Hyde Park to demonstrate against Hitler’s antisemitism

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The Battle of Cable StreetThe Battle of Cable Street

Home movie193611 minsSilent Location: London

The notorious Battle of Cable St kicks off this film from 1936 which also shows young Basque refugees and a Communist Summer Camp in rural Kent

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Fascists Defeated at Cable StFascists Defeated at Cable St

Amateur film19361 minsSilent

Newsreel record of the 1936 crushing defeat of the British Union of Fascists in East London

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British Paramount News No. 1532British Paramount News No. 1532

19451 minsSilent

Britain welcomes children liberated from the notorious Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

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British Paramount News No. 588British Paramount News No. 588

Non-Fiction19362 minsSilent Location: Victoria Park

Defiance is in the air in this evocative newsreel footage of anti-fascist solidarity rallies, after the Battle of Cable Street

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British Paramount News No. 807British Paramount News No. 807

Non-Fiction19382 minsSilent

Kristallnacht: the world responds

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Harold Defries Bar MitzvahHarold Defries Bar Mitzvah

Amateur film19609 minsSilent Location: Redbridge

Some serious moves can be seen by guests of all ages in his lovely film showing the Bar Mitzah celebrations of Harold Defries in London in 1960.

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Derby c.1938 - Eisner Personal FilmDerby c.1938 - Eisner Personal Film

Amateur film19384 minsSilent Location: Allestree

Charming amateur film featuring the Eisner family, who emigrated to Britain from Romania the year this film was made

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Shavuot Celebration at King David Infant School, Cheetham HillShavuot Celebration at King David Infant School, Cheetham Hill

Amateur film19625 minsSilent Location: Prestwich

Manchester schoolchildren celebrating Shavuot in the summer sunshine.

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The Jewish Community in UlsterThe Jewish Community in Ulster

News196622 mins Location: Belfast

Take a rare glimpse into the thoughts and lives of members of Belfast’s Jewish Community during the 1960s.

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Merthyr Office Staff 1936Merthyr Office Staff 1936

Home movie19362 minsSilent Location: Merthyr Tydfil

The Shermans, Cardiff-raised sons of a Jewish tailor from eastern Europe, film in Merthyr, home of one of their betting shops, and feature local solicitor Mr B. Hamilton.

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Mr. Bernhard BaronMr. Bernhard Baron

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: London

In the East End of London, crowds gather to watch Jewish millionaire Bernhard Baron unveil an important new building

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Sharonah Dance and Modern Food StoreSharonah Dance and Modern Food Store

Home movie197519 minsSilent Location: Leeds

There are few more inspiring sights than seeing film of a mixed party of roisterers dancing away, unconcerned about appearances, to different music to what’s on the soundtrack.

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Soup KitchenSoup Kitchen

Amateur film19344 minsSilent Location: Spitalfields

A rare glimpse inside the Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor in the East End during the early 1930s.

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Remembrance DayRemembrance Day

Non-Fiction19357 minsSilent Location: Westminster

In inauspicious times these members of Leeds Jewish community set off for London in a joyful atmosphere, only for the mood to become more sombre as they file past the Cenotaph.

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Maccabi Sports ClubMaccabi Sports Club

Amateur film19501 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

An amateur filmmaker records prize giving at the annual Newcastle Maccabi club sports day - a colourful fragment of local Jewish life.

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Scenes at Maccabi Youth Club, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon TyneScenes at Maccabi Youth Club, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne

Amateur film19379 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

An evocative snapshot of Jewish life at the Maccabi club in the West End of Newcastle as the community prepares for World War Two.

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Women's Annual Bazaar for Israel, Shavuot; Birthday Party; Laying the Foundation Stone of the New Gosforth and Kenton Synagogue 1954Women's Annual Bazaar for Israel, Shavuot; Birthday Party; Laying the Foundation Stone of the New Gosforth and Kenton Synagogue 1954

Amateur film19549 minsSilent Location: Kenton

A fascinating 1950s home movie compilation focuses on some of the official charitable events in Newcastle run by Jewish organisations a link with the new State of Israel.

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Children's Outing to Northumberland 2Children's Outing to Northumberland 2

Amateur film19372 minsSilent Location: Northumberland

Jewish children enjoy the warm Northumbrian sunshine as the rise of Fascism in Europe threatens peacetime.

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Children's Outing to Northumberland 1Children's Outing to Northumberland 1

Amateur film19372 minsSilent Location: Northumberland

Captivating amateur footage offers a snapshot of Jewish families from Tyneside enjoying precious holiday fun in the years before World War Two.

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B'nai B'rith Dinner for New President, Jewish Friendship Club Visits, Coco the Clown VisitB'nai B'rith Dinner for New President, Jewish Friendship Club Visits, Coco the Clown Visit

Amateur film195316 minsSilent Location: Town Moor

Behind the greasepaint of an iconic figure in the British circus - Coco the Clown reveals his Jewish roots.

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Jewish Ex-Service Men's Coronation Parade 1Jewish Ex-Service Men's Coronation Parade 1

Amateur film19374 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

A proud expression of Jewish identity and heroism at a Coronation parade to the Eldon Square World War One memorial in Newcastle.

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Jewish Ex-Service Men's Coronation Parade 2Jewish Ex-Service Men's Coronation Parade 2

Amateur film19373 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Jewish ex-service men make a stand against fascism in a moving display of pride and patriotism in the 1930s.

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Ed Cohen at Oval NetsEd Cohen at Oval Nets

Amateur film19393 minsSilent

A dream comes true for this schoolboy as he practices in the nets at the Oval, captured in wonderful Kodachrome

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Chief Rabbi Visits BirminghamChief Rabbi Visits Birmingham

News19671 minsSilent Location: Moseley

A big day for pupils at King David School in Birmingham when the Chief Rabbi pays a visits.

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Refugee Today and TomorrowRefugee Today and Tomorrow

Documentary193817 mins

A fierce denunciation of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi Germany seen in the context of the global refugee crisis of 1938.

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Talmud Torah and Home for Aged JewsTalmud Torah and Home for Aged Jews

School programme and Educational film193623 minsSilent Location: Leeds

An admonishment to keep to Orthodox ways, or a young Jew poking fun at this; whichever way this film is viewed, it gives a fascinating insight into Leeds Jewish community c.1936.

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The Friendship Club River Tyne Boat TripThe Friendship Club River Tyne Boat Trip

Amateur film19561 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

All aboard a Tyne ferry, the Friendship Club of Newcastle take a pleasure trip down river in glorious summer sunshine.

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Cinema BallCinema Ball

Non-Fiction19365 minsSilent Location: Leeds

A real treasure for aficionados of 1930s cinema, who can try to guess the characters in the film fancy dress competition, with future Police Commissioner Gordon among the judges.

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Opening Maccabi House in No. 9 Windsor Crescent, Newcastle upon Tyne, by the Rt. Hon. Lord Nathan of ChurtOpening Maccabi House in No. 9 Windsor Crescent, Newcastle upon Tyne, by the Rt. Hon. Lord Nathan of Churt

Amateur film195115 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

A big welcome for former Labour politician Lord Nathan at a smart new post-war Maccabi club in Newcastle.

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The Big Board at NewquayThe Big Board at Newquay

Home movie192910 minsSilent Location: Cornwall

This historic masterpiece, from Lewis Rosenberg, records one of the earliest Cornish surfing holidays ever captured on film

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Surfing ScenesSurfing Scenes

Home movie192914 minsSilent

Lewis Rosenberg and his mates try out the beaches of Cornwall and the Channel Islands in this remarkable record of British surfing in the 1930s

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CornwallCornwall

Home movie193010 minsSilent Location: Cornwall

1930s Newquay is the setting for Lewis Rosenberg's film - with horse riding, tennis, girlfriends, much tickling and glorious Cornish beaches

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Camping in Guernsey 1932Camping in Guernsey 1932

Home movie193216 minsSilent Location: Guernsey

A group of Jewish friends set sail for Guernsey - where they enjoy the cameraderie of outdoor camping, aerial sight-seeing and great surfing

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Beach ScenesBeach Scenes

Home movie193011 minsSilent

Lewis Rosenberg and his friends enjoy a camping holiday near Newquay in the 1930s - with dancing, kissing, physical jerks and surfing

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The Big House and CampThe Big House and Camp

Home movie19309 minsSilent

Jewish Communists gather for lectures, games and youthful frivolity at a Summer Camp in Swanage as captured in Lewis Rosenberg's unique film

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Holiday in Catalonia and Beach ScenesHoliday in Catalonia and Beach Scenes

Home movie195012 minsSilent Location: Cornwall

Catalonia is one of the destinations in Lewis Rosenberg's original home-movie which features beaches, bullfights and Barcelona

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DinardDinard

Home movie193013 minsSilent Location: Guernsey

Join Lewis Rosenberg and his mates on a short trip to Dinard and Mont St Michel in this film made during the last years of peace in Europe

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Guernsey Again - Trying Our Hand at FarmingGuernsey Again - Trying Our Hand at Farming

Home movie193017 minsSilent Location: Guernsey

Join Lewis Rosenberg and his friends on holiday in Guernsey where they milk cows, feed chickens, lark about on the beach and attempt to surf

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Friendship Club Outing; Joel Intract Memorial Home of Rest for Aged Jews, Sunderland; Jesmond DeneFriendship Club Outing; Joel Intract Memorial Home of Rest for Aged Jews, Sunderland; Jesmond Dene

Amateur film19559 minsSilent Location: Sunderland

Cat eye sunglasses and best frocks are on display at a gloriously casual picnic with the Newcastle Friendship Club on the banks of the River Tyne.

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Religion and the PeopleReligion and the People

Documentary194014 mins

The social work carried out by churches of all faiths in Britain, including a section on East End Jewish life

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Tea LeafTea Leaf

Documentary19888 mins

An intimate account of frustration and disarray in 1980s Britain from the point of view of a young woman.

More from Jewish Britain on Film in our Rentals collection.