British Christians make amends for 700-year-old wrong
In an act of repentance and reconciliation, Christians in Derby, England, have presented a gift of £3000 ($4300) to the local Jewish community as an equivalent for the sum paid by the burgesses of Derby in the year 1260 for a royal charter that specifically excluded Jews from ever living in the town. All Jews were expelled from England in 1290.
The Rev. Geoff Pickup of the New Life Christian Centre in Derby took leadership in arranging for the gift. Funds were collected from local churches and given to the local chapter of the Zionist Federation, which says it will use the money for one of its projects in Israel. A local leader of the Christian Friends of Israel, Geoffrey Smith, had contacted the Bank of England to determine the contemporary equivalent of the 10 marks paid for the charter in 1260. In his letter to the Zionist Federation, Rev. Pickup stated: "We feel we have now cut off the injustice of 700 years with much prayer and repentance. . . . I hope you will accept this gift with our love, apologies, honours and prayers." Alan Aziz, executive director of the Federation, replied on behalf of the Jewish community, stating: "We are stunned and delighted at this fantastic gesture. . . . It underlines all the efforts we have made over the past few years to better the relationship between Jews and non-Jews."