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Britain's Jews

Jewish people offer their opinions on assimilation, identity and traditional religious observance in 1960s Britain

1965 26 mins Silent Not rated

Director: Peter Robinson


Accents, fashion and hair styles were clearly only beginning to relax in 1965, Britain’s Jews reveals how some sections of the community were receptive to the increasingly liberal attitudes sweeping through British culture in the 1960s. An impressive breadth of interviewees reveals a striking range of opinions on observance and identity. The film features an extended segment with Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs, whose rejection by the United Synagogue in 1964 led to the birth of the Masorti movement.

Made for the respected ITV current affairs strand This Week, this documentary by prominent reporters Godfrey Hodgson and James Cameron captures the variety and nuance of attitudes found in religious communities. Breaking with the rigidity of traditional Jewish observance, the interviewees enjoy the freedom to practice modern Judaism confidently. The openness and honesty of interviewees - students, a mixed-faith couple, the then-editor of the Jewish Chronicle, and synagogue members - as they explain their personal views are a credit to the makers of this sensitive and intimate documentary portrait of Britain’s Jews.