The Jewish Museum

Jewish Britain

A History in 50 Objects

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Medieval mikveh

This mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) dates from around the mid-13th century. A medieval Jewish community existed in England from 1066 until its expulsion in 1290.

The mikveh was discovered on a building site in the City of London in 2001. It was built in the home of the Crespin family, members of the Jewish community that lived in the area during the medieval period. It may have been used by the family in private worship or in preparation for public worship.

The mikveh not only demonstrates the long history of the Jewish community in England, but also the survival of religious tradition. Mikvehs are used most commonly by observant married women after their periods and the birth of a child. Men may use it before the Sabbath and religious festivals. It is also used in preparation for marriage and the final stage of converting to Judaism.

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