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I recently took a trip to the private London Library to look at some archives there. Not only where the staff incredibly helpful but the archives were amazing. This is likely to be the first of a series of ‘Look what I found’ posts.

 

A prayer book from the Stepney Jewish Lads’ Club.

The London Library, M397This prayer book was produced by the Stepney Jewish Lads’ Club in 1916

Why is this significant?

This is a really interesting find as it is a really clear example of a boys’ club using religion in their club life. Additionally, it is published in 1916. Due to the War there wasn’t much going on in the clubs at this time and even less evidence to prove it, so this date is excellent.

How will this help my PhD?

This is a real challenge to the notion that boys’ clubs didn’t use religion in their programme. Certainly, this is the exception rather than the rule and is the only Orthodox Jewish boys’ club to include a prayer book. I hope to be able to use this to show that religion WAS a concern amongst clubs for boys and although on the whole prayer was seen as something quite ‘feminine’ by many of the clubs, some clubs ignored these gender stereotypes and embraced religion anyway.

 

Some more images from the book

London Library 171

 

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