Islington Jewish Heritage Trail, a project by Chabad-Lubavitch of Islington, has received £24,948.00 from the Mayor of London’s Untold Stories fund as part of his Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm. The project will celebrate the rich Jewish history of Islington and its landmarks by developing resources for a self-guided tour and delivering a series of free guided walking tours for the community.
Islington was once one of the most prominent Jewish communities in the UK, yet the last local synagogue closed in 1967 and until recently there were no Jewish community groups in existence. The Islington Jewish Heritage Trail project aims to highlight the Jewish heritage and integrate the story of the Jewish community into the wider story of Islington.
The aim of this project is to raise awareness of the Jewish presence and contributions to the borough, celebrating Jewish culture and identity while engaging in discussions about multiculturalism, contributions of migrant communities and religious minorities, and their role in shaping the identity and heritage of the city and the nation.
The project will develop resources for self-guided tours of 10 sites important to the history and heritage of the Jews in Islington. To coincide with the launch of the resources, including videos, descriptions and online and printed maps, there will also be a programme of 12 monthly free guided tours.
The funding is part of the £1m Untold Stories programme to champion diversity in the capital’s public spaces and ensure London’s landmarks and monuments reflect the achievements of all who have contributed to the success of our city. The grants offer Londoners the opportunity to develop ideas and share their stories which will be represented within the public realm.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, established the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm to improve the representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, women, LGBTQ+ communities and Deaf and disabled people and those from a range of socio-economic backgrounds in the public realm.
Rabbi Mendy Korer, Chief Executive of Chabad Islington, has said:
‘The Untold Stories project has offered us a unique opportunity to embark on an exciting journey. A lot of the Islington history is unknown and often surprising, and we can now finally share it with the public thanks to the funding from the Mayor of London’s Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm. This project will uncover the hidden Jewish history of Islington to anyone strolling through the neighbourhood, thereby bringing its stories alive.’
About the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm
The Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, set up by the Mayor of London in June 2020, reviews the landmarks that currently makes up London’s public realm, furthers the discussion into what legacies should be celebrated, and makes recommendations aimed at establishing best practice and standards. It is wide in scope and considers murals, street art, street names, statues and other memorials. It is co-chaired by Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement Debbie Weekes-Bernard and Deputy Mayor for Culture and Creative Industries Justine Simons OBE, and comprises arts and community leaders from across the capital, as well as historians. It works alongside a Borough Working Group of local councils, and a Partners Board, including ActionSpace, Art Fund, English Heritage and Shape Arts, Arts Council England, Black Cultural Archives, Historic England and Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts). Following his support for the installation of a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square in 2018, Sadiq and his senior team have held discussions with council, community and arts leaders across the capital to assess the best way to improve diversity in the public realm.
About Chabad Lubavitch of Islington
Chabad Lubavitch of Islington is a registered charity serving the Jewish community of Islington. It provides a range of community services, including social and cultural events and groups, religious services and classes, and emotional and practical support. Other projects, such as public events, walks and school talks, celebrate Jewish culture, tackle prejudice, celebrate diversity and promote tolerance. Chabad Lubavitch of Islington was created by Rabbi Mendy and Hadasa Korer in 2011. In 2021 the organisation opened a community centre and synagogue in Elliott’s Place near Angel.