Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Shofar

Volume

35

Issue

1

First Page

51

Last Page

67

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Abstract

Jewish business owners, part of the large migrations from the Russian Empire to Great Britain after 1880, faced Sunday closing laws meant to control the behavior of Christians, such as the Sunday Baking Act of 1822, forbidding the baking and sale of bread products on Sundays. Religious Jews who observed the Sabbath on Saturday wanted to bake bread on Sunday and this created a tension that lasted more than fifty years. In the competition for a limited amount of business, Jewish bakers were targeted by Christians in many ways, some underhanded, and legal action was frequently taken against Jews for baking on Sundays. The hostility between Jewish and Christian bakers was never actually a matter of religious principle; rather, it was a consequence of several interrelated economic factors. An increase in the number of Jewish bakers after the Russian new migration threatened the commercial success of Christian bakers, a problem aggravated by the falling price of bread impacting baker incomes. Falling prices resulted from technological changes in the industry, with factories mass-producing bread less expensively than independent artisans. Calm was restored only when British law changed in 1936 and everyone was permitted to bake on Sunday.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1353/sho.2016.0036

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