Growing up in Nottingham, we would often take trips to nearby Lincoln to wonder the cobbled streets and venture down “Jews Street” to “Jews House” and learn about the Jewish community that existed there during medieval times and wander around the Cathedral hearing stories of the Blood Libel as we stood by Saint Hugh’s grave, the boy who had allegedly been killed by Jews to use his blood for Matzah. I was astonished to find out that there was no sign by the grave that explained the allegations to be false and antisemitic until Rabbi Andrew Goldstein’s campaign to add one in 2002.
Working with the NLJC community has connected me once again not just to a Medieval Jewish history but to a community who has managed to return and rebuild and begin to create its own history that will take it long into the future. I have enjoyed attending meetings with those who are collaborating on the exhibition that will be shown at the castle and to see artifacts and poetry that link Norwich to its Medieval Jewish past. I was contacted this week by someone who is creating a play about the Jewish Medieval History in Norwich. Chloe is looking for people to collaborate with and I thought, who better than the wonderful congregants at NLJC! Here is a little information about her and her project. Chloe is a local theatre maker and founder of theatre company Tombola who make work in the East, about the East. With fellow writer/ director Jane Prinsley Tombola are embarking on a new project which seeks to bring Norwich’s Jewish medieval story to the stage. We have been researching the idea for some time and have 3just been awarded a National Lottery Project Grant from Arts Council England to develop the work.
During one week in June and two weeks over July and August, we will be writing and workshopping a piece of theatre, entitled Where We Dwelt (title taken from one of Meir’s poems). This will culminate in a sharing The National Centre for Writing at Dragon Hall on August 6th and the Earlham Rd Synagogue on August 5th. We are working with local archaeologist Sophie Cabot and the Castle Museum’s curatorial team over the course of the research. In the future, we hope this will become a full-scale show produced by Chloe’s company, Tombola.
We’d love to include members of the community in our process and would like to extend an invitation to any member who would like to get involved. We want to hear more about Jewish life in Norwich today and have conversations about the regional Jewish story. Please email Chloe at email@example.com and your response will be forwarded to Chloe and she can arrange a time to speak via zoom or on the phone.
Rabbi Anna Posner