Books - Jewish Journey

Book: Jewish Journey

THE JEWISH JOURNEY: 4000 YEARS in 22 OBJECTS FROM THE ASHMOLEAN MUSEUM by Rebecca Abrams with a foreword by Simon Schama
Ashmolean Museum, ISBN 978-1-910807-03-3

“Flawless storytelling…intelligent curation… gorgeously illustrated…. a celebration of Jewish life in all of its worldly immensity” - The Financial Times

£15.00 - Click here to buy online

The 4000-year story of the Jewish people told through 22 spectacular objects from the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. 

 A jasper seal belonging to a Bronze Age Judean woman.  A coin made from gold looted from the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.  The funeral plaque of a kosher sausage-maker from 4th century Rome.  A medieval magic amulet made by Jews for Christian pilgrims.  A wedding ring from Renaissance Italy.  An English bank note forged by Jewish prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp.  A painting hidden within a painting.

These are a few of the extraordinary objects from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford whose stories are told in The Jewish Journey: 4000 years in 22 objects.  Preserved in stone, marble, copper, paper, gold, glass, ink, wood and paint, the objects span thousands of years and thousands of miles, covering 14 countries, 4 continents and diverse cultures.  The mere fact of the existence and survival of these objects is in many cases extraordinary, and the stories they tell are no less so.   

All are connected in one way or another to the singular history of the Jewish people, their emergence from Mesopotamia around four thousand years ago, their gradual evolution over the next two millennia into a distinct group of people with their own language, customs, territories and religion, and their subsequent journeying, sometimes enforced, sometimes voluntary, out to all four corners of the globe.

 Gathered here for the first time, the objects in The Jewish Journey tell of diversity and continuity, tradition and change, suffering and resilience.   Their stories are particular and universal, speaking to the experience of immigrants and refugees across the ages and in the world today. 

Private tours of the Jewish objects in the Ashmolean are available on request.  For more information, please contact Rebecca directly. 



All 22 objects featured in The Jewish Journey can be seen here:    


The Jewish Journey takes twenty-two of the great riches of the Ashmolean Museum, from ancient Mesopotamia to catastrophic Sachsenhausen, and with the wonderfully imaginative guidance of Rebecca Abrams, the model of a learned story-teller, provides a route through time and its objects to moments of illumination.  

SIMON SCHAMA, from the Foreword to The Jewish Journey

The Jewish Journey is a celebration of Jewish life in all of its worldly immensity, and reads like a tribute to the cosmopolitan ideals of Stefan Zweig, who wrote that “the purpose of Jewry is to show through the centuries that communion is possible even without soil, merely as the consequence of blood and spirit, merely by means of the Word and the faith”.  Gavin Jacobson, The Financial Times

More reviews of The Jewish Journey:

The Observer, “Like Stars in a Complex Constellation These Objects Convey the Sweep of Jewish History” 

Jewish Chronicle, “Jewish Treasures Hidden in Plain Sight in Europe’s Oldest Museum”

Financial Times, ‘From the Word to the World’ review of The Jewish Journey

BBC History Extra, The Jews of Medieval England


Oxford Times, “New book uncovers Ashmolean’s secret Jewish treasures”

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