Research Volunteers Needed for Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews

Are you curious? Are you well organised? Are you interested in undertaking research? Would you like to contribute to our project?

Discovering & Documenting England’s Lost Jews delves into the heritage of the Sephardim who have settled in this country since the 17th century. A vital part of our project focuses on researching aspects of this exciting history. We will be looking into key political events of an English state turned upside down by Oliver Cromwell at a time of fervent religious debate.

Questions we will ask are what was it like to be a Sephardi Jew – secretly or openly – in a country that had known no Jews for centuries? What did the Jews find in England? What did the English make of the Jews who arrived? What did the Jews bring with them to the host society? What language did the Jews speak when they fled persecution by the Catholic Inquisition? And we need your help to find the answers.

We will explore how the Jewish communities, who trickled in to England, gradually led to their acceptance as citizens.  Elements of our research will be fed in to our site-specific performance One Lost Stone on 22 September at Novo Cemetery. Our discoveries will also inform our programme of educational workshops.

Our drama workshop at Bevis Marks Synagogue in February 2019 exploring the English history taught in many schools and the significant dates and events included in historical timelines.

Eight historical moments are key to our research:

  1. Historical antecedent: the expulsion of Jews from England in 1290.
  2. The Sephardi exodus: expulsion and departure of Jews from Spain and Portugal at the end of the 15th century.
  3. The tiny community of secret Jews (crypto-Jews) in England during the 16th and earlier 17th centuries.
  4. The circumstances around the re-admittance of Jews in the 1650s.
  5. The slow growth of the Sephardi community following re-admittance, in the second half of the 17th century.
  6. The Jewish Naturalisation Act 1753, and its subsequent repeal.
  7. Sephardi Jews prominent in 19th century British society.
  8. The 20th century wave of ‘new’ Sephardi immigration.

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to know more about this, please contact Stéphane Goldstein, at

Announcing Discovering and Documenting England’s Lost Jews

A word from Julia Pascal, Artistic Director of Pascal Theatre Company:

I am delighted to announce that Pascal Theatre Company has been successful in securing funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for our new project:


I am a playwright and theatre director who is fascinated by how we view national and international narratives about ourselves and our family histories.

Sephardi Jewish couple from Sarajevo in traditional clothing. Photo taken in 1900.

Sephardi Jews left Spain and Portugal to find refuge around the Mediterranean basin, including in the Ottoman Empire. They settled and lived for centuries in the countries we now know as Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia and Bulgaria. Most of them absorbed the local culture and lived with a double heritage.

Part of the excitement of our journey is learning about how these different waves of displacement influenced English life over the centuries and also today. This includes the experience of Jews who came from Arab countries where many lived peacefully alongside Muslims. As well as examining the Cromwellian and post Republican English history, the project will look at new immigrants – Jews arriving with elements of Arabic cultures in their histories.

I invite you to come with us.

There are many ways in which you can get involved:

On the 20th, 27th January and 3rd February we are running free morning drama workshops at Bevis Marks synagogue exploring three different aspects of Sephardi history and culture. The workshops include a tour of the synagogue. You can find out more information and book your tickets on our workshop page. Tickets are limited so book quickly.

We will also be looking for volunteers to help us document Sephardi oral histories and to participate in a site-specific public installation at the Novo Cemetery, London. This installation will be the premiere of a new work written by me and others involved in the initiative as a response to the stories and histories we’ve uncovered. Sign up to our mailing list to ensure you’re first with the news on how to get involved.

During our September installation, we are inviting four speakers to explore their varied experience of this little known history.

For more information visit our website:, sign up to the mailing list, follow us on social media and through #LostJews, or contact Pascal Theatre Company on

I look forward to sharing what we uncover.


EDRS Secret Listeners Review

A review of the Secret Listens Project written by the young people from the Edgware District Reform Synagogue who took part in the workshop at the Jewish Museum.

On the 20th January 2013, 3 pupils braved the snow on a trip to the Jewish Museum in Camden. Leon Hirsh, Millie Bard and Jonathan Lubin from the EDRS religion school and were accompanied by Nigel Williams, Ben Braverman and Hannah Mendoza-Wolfson. When we arrived we were greeted by two ladies from a West End production company called Del and Ariel; who we worked with throughout the morning learning about the Secret Listeners and what happened at Trent Park in London.
The Secret Listeners were a group of German-speaking translators who put the Germans in a place of luxury in the form of Trent Park in North London to give them a false sense of security so the translators could listen in to the conversations to gain intelligence that would help the Allied forces in Europe. They worked in a separate outhouse in Trent Park in room called the M-Room were they operated.
Once we were comfortable with the topic, we then from scratch started to form ideas on a small production to present in the afternoon. We were all intrigued by the ways that the British manipulated the German Generals into releasing information on the on-going conflict in Europe and the Concentration Camps. We rehearsed our small show in the hall just before lunch with an audience just about reaching five. When we arrived back after lunch we were shocked to see that in the twenty minutes were gone, so many people had arrived and there was an audience of over 60 were now sitting waiting for the show to start. We had not realised that it wasn’t just us presenting but actually a small convention about the Secret Listeners.
After our performance, there was a short Q&A with just us 3 kids. We were also shown a short film made by a man called Mark Norfolk featuring Fritz Lustig, one of the only remaining Secret Listeners. After the film there was another panel discussion with Mark Norfolk (editor), Thomas Kampe (director), Julia Pascal (producer), Mike Tsang (photographer), Nick Ryan (audio), and Jonathon Meth (playwright) along with Fritz Lustig. Jonny and Millie participated in the panel discussion, both asking Fritz their questions. We arrived back at Edgware Station, excited to tell our parents about our amazing experience.
We would like to thank Nigel, Ben and Hannah for taking us, even on that very snowy day.
Millie Bard and Jonathan Lubin



Pascal Theatre are delighted to announce that we are the recipients of a £25,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant that will produce a series of photographs and interviews that focusses on the British-born Chinese community.
Led by photographer Mike Tsang, Pascal Theatre will support this project “Between East and West: The British Chinese”.
This project will document the lives and heritage of the British-born Chinese  to recognise the increasingly influential impact this diaspora has had on British culture.
Through production of photographic portraits and accompanying text interviews, we will also give a voice to an under-represented minority in Britain which  has had disproportionately little media exposure and currently no elected MP representative.  We also aim to celebrate the migration stories of these  families and their lives in Britain today.
This trailblazing project will  focus on photographs    and  interviews which  document aspects of  the lives of British-born Chinese.
Through the collection of old family photographs, we aim to illustrate the history of each family.  This work will conclude with an exhibition and an art book run designed to share experience and testimony  both with  community members and the wider London public.  The collection will be placed with museums and educational establishments with the goal of providing an archive contributing to the understanding of British and Asian heritage.
We will soon be engaging Londoners to participate in learning about this valuable legacy.  We welcome any stories of British-born Chinese heritage and look forward to hearing about them over the next year.