The Popularity of English Travel to Jewish Places
Ḥamishah ḥumshe Torah (chumash), Genoa, Kepha Eylon: 1617 (8 cm high)
A chumash, meaning ‘five’ in Hebrew, consists of the Five Books of Moses (Genesis to Deuteronomy) and is used for synagogue worship. This chumash was printed by a Jewish printer (Kepha Eylon).
From the Middles Ages, most Jews lived in segregated neighbourhoods or walled-off ghettos. Most had to wear distinctive clothing, or yellow badges. In 1660 there were 200
Jews living in the ghetto of Genoa. There were so few because since 1134 Genoa required its Jews to pay towards the illumination of the cathedral. In the 16th century, Genoa expelled and readmitted its Jews three times.
England expelled its Jews in 1290. Until the readmission of Jews in 1655, any English contact with Jews would have been abroad.
Between those dates, it became very fashionable for English travellers to visit Jewish homes and synagogues on the continent. Many Jews regarded English visitors far more favourably than other Christians.