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18 June 2014
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Immigration and Emigration
York's blackest day

Twelfth Century York was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in England, besides being a centre for Jewish studies and scholars. The only remaining sites of Jewish interest hide more than they tell about York's Jewish past. At Clifford's Tower, a few sentences describe a massacre of 1190 where Jews "chose to die at each others hands rather than renounce their faith". The memory of this massacre, York's "blackest day", taints the city and makes York's Jewish history more of a shameful secret than something to be celebrated.
York Minster
The Jewish Window in York Minster
© Copyright Dean and Chapter of York

No documentary evidence has been found of a cherem, a Jewish order of excommunication, on York, however, it is widely accepted within the Jewish community that such an order existed. This cherem forbade Jews from settling within York's city walls, and reflects the distaste with which Jews viewed the city.

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Your comments

1 Belia from Originally from Israel, now live in Newcastle - 2 February 2004
"I am a Jew and I have family that live in York. It is recorded in my family history that a relative of mine was killed in 1190, and I am still hurt and confused. Why is the only question I have. The massacre did not drive my relatives out of their York home and I'm proud of them. "

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