Film ID:
NEFA 9814

BRIEFING: JEWISH COMMUNITY

1983

Visitor Tabs

Description

An incomplete edition of the Tyne Tees TV current affairs programme Briefing about the Jewish community in Newcastle, also broadcast as part of Tyne Tees Television's "About Britain" series. Subjects covered include celebrations for the annual festival of Purim, traditional food, education and study, and the dwindling Jewish population in Newcastle and Gateshead.

In a Newcastle synagogue the rabbi reads from the Book of Esther in Hebrew from a ceremonial scroll. It is Sunday 27th February 1983, which is the fourteenth day of Adar in the annual festival of Purim in the Jewish calendar and a Jewish holiday. There are various shots of the congregation during the reading. When the name of the villain Haman is spoken during the reading, the children, and some of the adults, blow horns and bang their books on the pews to make noise and drown out the name. Many of the congregation smile during a noisy interruption. There are portrait shots of fancy dress worn by the children in the synagogue for the occasion. These include a young boy in a Mickey Mouse outfit; a young girl looks through a cardboard television with "TTT" letters for Tyne Tees Television. Looking down a pew, people are reading their scrolls. A man wears the kippah, or Jewish skullcap.

The film cuts to the celebration in the streets around the synagogue. Children and adults wear fancy dress and comic (or sinister) rubber masks. [Picture sequence missing] A man performs his Charlie Chaplin routine in the street for the camera as a group of the children in costume watch. A family watches from their front garden. A group of children perform a song and dance for the camera.

A family drives off in a car decorated with balloons. A mother leads a small girl in a princess outfit by the hand. Presents of food and drink are unloaded from a car boot. A large group of students in traditional Jewish dress dance around in a ring out on the road. Some of the students dance into a house. Here, a large number of Jewish men crowd around a table laid with food, and continue to dance together. An accordionist plays in a corner.

The next sequence of the programme looks at Jewish communities from Russia and Eastern Europe settling on the north bank of the Tyne in Newcastle, opening with shots of Tyne bridges, looking east. [brief picture sequence missing] There are shots of Jacksons the Tailor on Northumberland Street, Newcastle, founded by Russian émigré Lionel Jacobson. Next, there are shots of embroidered memorial objects inside a synagogue.

Tracking shot across the Tyne with a view of the three bridges. The scene shifts to a Gateshead street. This section includes footage of the different kosher food services and businesses in the Gateshead Jewish communities. Footage includes shots of Gateshead Kosher Milk & food Supplies Ltd. Deliveries and interiors of kosher butchers, exterior and interior shots of the Stenhouse Continental Delicatessen on Coatsworth Road. An interview with the owner follows.

Shots of a woman preparing food in the home according to Jewish custom and mealtime with the family follows.

Interview with a Jewish man in his study and a dining room where he studies Jewish law and practises in his spare time. There are shots in the Gateshead Jewish Primary School classroom of children being taught Hebrew. Boys study Jewish customs in a classroom. Interviews with Jewish Principal are intercut with an interview with a father (previously seen), and shots of playground and classroom.

A rabbi instructs young men in the Gateshead Talmudical College. Young men study the Talmud and Torah in a yeshiva. Men sway rhythmically in the classroom while reading from the texts. Interview with college rabbi, possibly Rabbi M. Solomon. An exterior shot of the college follows.

Across the Tyne in Newcastle, we see the assuming terraced premises of the Jewish nursery and Newcastle Jewish Day School. There are interior shots of a mix of Jewish and non-Jewish children eating a school meal, intercut with an interview of school Principal. Children play in the school playground.

The next section is about Herbert Loebl, a non-Orthodox Jew from a Jewish refugee family who escaped Hitler's purges in 1939. His father and uncle set up the electrical firm Loblite Limited of the Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead. There are exterior and interior workshop shots. Herbert Loebl, owner of Loblite, recounts the Loblite history and that of his family. Interview is intercut with shots of people working in the factory. There are shots inside the Methodist Hall in Newcastle, shared by the Reform Synagogue, set up by Herbert Loebl's father. Loebl explains about the more liberal services of the non-Orthodox synagogue, more inclusive of women, and with a mixed use of Hebrew and English.

Shots of a Jewish cemetery and interior and exterior views of Jesmond Synagogue open this section on the dwindling Jewish population in the area. There is an interview that discusses the economics of a site move for synagues with dwindling congregations. Views of the site for development accompany the interview.

Jewish teenagers in the Jewish Youth Study Group meet up for discussions. There are individual interviews with some of the teenagers in the group discuss their future in the north-east.

An overhead shot of the large crowd at a traditional open air Jewish wedding in Gateshead, which takes place in a quadrangle of a modern housing estate block. Shots of the crowd in the rain follow. The bride and groom move through the crowd and enter the wedding car. Men at the wedding perform an exuberant line dance behind the car. There is a high angle shot onto the male group clustered around the wedding car in a back alley as they sing and dance the couple's departure.

Men and boys meet in a hall in Newcastle for a session of intensive Jewish study at Project Seed, reading and discussing collectively and in partners. An interview with a Rabbi on Project Seed Newcastle is intercut with scenes at the meetings. The curtains close on a synagogue's ark, or repository for Torah scrolls.