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The Real Meaning of our Work?

Jewish Youth Clubs in the UK, 1880–1939

Anne Holdorph

Youth clubs like the Boys’ Brigade became a trend in the UK in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Jewish community in the UK began their own clubs to educate and entertain young Jews. These clubs mirrored the examples begun within the Christian community and adapted their models of social control by providing purposeful recreation, religious education and sporting activities to cultivate young minds and bodies. Much primary source material exists on these clubs, including publicity material provided by the clubs themselves as well as oral history accounts given by former members. This book looks at the records left behind by the Jewish clubs and asks to what extent they were successful in providing Jewish education to Jewish youth and how this education was defined by gender. The author ultimately argues that some religious elements were evident in these clubs and that where they were included, inclusive British identities were promoted.

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The production of this book is indebted to Tony Kushner, who has provided constant support and guidance and without whom this book would not have been completed. I would also like to thank Joan Tumblety who has provided additional help and support. Thank you to the lovely people at Peter Lang and the anonymous reviewers who helped to turn this from a thesis into a book.

Thank you to the individuals and organisations who have supported this work financially: the University of Southampton, the Spalding Trust, the Catherine MacKichan Trust and the Stapley Trust. I would also like to thank Eleanor Quince for helping me to secure funding to complete this work.

Finally, I would like to thank my friends and family who have suffered through my PhD with me, in particular Lucy Hounsham, Becky Holdorph, Holly Dunbar, Kay Hughes, Emma Merriott, Emma Morris, Luke Hall, Ed Jellard and Charlotte Medland, who have provided much needed advice, guidance, proofreading and attention.

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