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Introduction to Jewish Oxford

With its amazing historic buildings, fantastic ambience and situation near to the beautiful Cotswold countryside, Oxford is a great place for everyone to visit. On top of all this, Jewish visitors can experience the unique flavour of Oxford's Jewish life.

Oxford has a small but thriving Jewish community similar to that found in any city that has a large University and range of hi-tech industry.

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Oxford also attracts leading Jewish scholars who come to visit the Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Bodleian Library (which houses one of the world's leading collections of historic Jewish books and manuscripts). We also have people who come for short periods to engage with Oxford’s special status as home to a worldclass university, with a leading teaching hospital, so we are used to accommodating a transient population. We very much welcome all our visitors, for however short or long a period.

So it may be that on a visit to the synagogue on a Shabbat morning, the visitor may find himself standing between a local shopkeeper and a visiting scholar from Jerusalem, or a graduate student, and a local pharmacist. On some weekends you may have a choice between the Orthodox form of service (which happens every week) and one of the other traditions that we have. Please refer to our prayer pages for details. If you are visiting Oxford an excellent place to meet residents and other visitors is the kiddush after Saturday morning services, where all worshippers meet no matter what service they have attended.

If you have a choice then it may be better to make your visit away from the peak tourist time of July and August. Accommodation is particularly expensive and the students and many of the residents will be away on their own travels, meaning the OJC will be very quiet. The most pleasant time is May and early June, but at any time Oxford offers a unique experience.

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