Religion & Beliefs
Travel Deeper: London, Oxford
Since Matthue has been blogging from the UK all week, and since I’ll be winging my way over on New Year’s Day I thought it might be a nice time to recommend some great Jewish travel tips for my two … Read More
Since Matthue has been blogging from the UK all week, and since I’ll be winging my way over on New Year’s Day I thought it might be a nice time to recommend some great Jewish travel tips for my two favorite places in England. In London: If you’re in London for a while and can spare a day just hanging out in Golder’s Green, that’s what you should do. Take the Northern Line to the Golders Green station, and just wander up and down Golders Green Rd and Finchley Rd. There are a bunch of kosher restaurants, Judaica shops and places of interest. I recommend Solly’s on Golders Green and Milk N Honey, just down the street. The best kosher bakery in London, in my not-so-humble-opinion, is Daniel's Bagel Bakery, on 12 Hallswelle Parade, Finchley. Also in Golders Green is a really beautiful Jewish cemetery (on Hoop Lane) just across from the Golders Green Crematorium. Kind of creepy, but an interesting and beautiful place nonetheless. Peter Sellers, Anna Pavlova, Bram Stoker, T S Eliot and Sigmund Freud were all laid to rest here, so it’s worth it to stop by. Now that you’re all nourished and meditated and looking for some entertainment, hop back on the Tube and head over to Camden, where you can go to the Jewish Museum. The museum itself is wonderful, and they even do walking tours of various neighborhoods every once in a while, so check ahead and see if you can get signed up for one such tour. Another fun sight is the Bevis Marks Synagogue, the oldest synagogue still in use in Britain, completed in 1701. Saced Destinations has a nice summary of the synagogue’s history, but it’s definitely worth a trip. My favorite place to daven in London is Assif, a fun and funky egal minyan in Finchley. But if egal isn’t your thing, you’ve got plenty of other options. Now, I highly recommend a day trip to Oxford. I’m partial, of course, but I definitely think it’s worth your time and money. If you book in advance you can take megabus for I quid each way. Awesome!
Mainly I love Oxford because most of my favorite people in England are there, but it helps that they have the most amazing Jsoc (that's British for Hillel) ever. They have all kinds of events, from garden parties, to learning, to Shabbat meals, and the best shabbos zmirot I have ever heard. Jsoc meets at the Oxford Jewish Congregation, which is a gorgeous building with wonderful facilities for all kinds of activities, and every part of the community. I was never really into Oxford Chabad while I was there, but they have an amazing website that gives you instructions for a great Jewish walking tour of Oxford, including a lark through Christ Church Meadow and “Dead Man’s Walk,” the path of Jewish funeral processions. The Meadow is worth a trip even if you aren’t interested in any of the Jewish stuff. It’s gorgeous and huge. Typically when I’m in Oxford I end the day with a certain British gentleman, which you probably can’t do, but you can wander around some of the other gorgeous colleges. I recommend Worcester which has its own lake, and Oriel, which is just pretty. If you’re looking for more awesome Jewcy things to do in England, check out SomethingJewish and Jewdas.