Stephen Pushkin, creator of the East End documentary film My Jewish London, died on New Year’s Day.
A retired assistant film director, he spent six years working on the film, initially in conjunction with producer Peter Harrison, interviewing people about their East End experiences as a way of telling the history of the East End and the people who settled there in the latter part of the 19th century.
Among those involved were novelist Bernard Kops, the late Yiddish actress Anna Tzelniker, Professor Bill Fishman, who also recently passed away, the actor Lee Montague, and Gerladine Auerbach, founder of the Jewish Music Institute. The late Philip Walker, one of the stalwarts of JEECS, also took part.
In an interview with the Jewish Chronicle in 2011, Mr Pushkin, then aged 71, said:  “It's all about the experiences that people and their families had, and what drove them to the East End.
“I wanted to look at Jewish history and show people the hardships that these immigrants faced.”
Mr Pushkin grew up in the East End and worked in the film industry for over 40 years.
His aim, he and Peter Harrison told the JEECS magazine The Cable when they began the documentary project, was “to tell the magnificent London Jewish stories” and to “enlighten the viewing public about the positive Jewish influence that benefits everyone”.
They cited the example of Barnet Salmon, who moved from the abject poverty of Spitalfields to become a commercial traveller and later co-founded J Lyons of teashop and Corner House fame. 
“From the grasp of deprivation, he worked very hard and became highly successful. His family prospered greatly.
“Barnet Salmon is the great great grandfather of TV celebrity Nigella Lawson.”
Anna Tzelniker, who has a prominent place in the film, was one of the last survivors of the East End Yiddish theatre and  played Yente, the matchmaker, in Fiddler On the Roof at Her Majesty's Theatre for five years and also played the part of Mrs Kovner in the Barbra Streisand film Yentl.  
She tells of her life with her famous father, Yiddish actor/manager Meier Tzelniker. His East End theatre company presented The King of Lampedusa, which opened at the Grand Palais, Whitechapel, on December 31, 1943 during the darkest days of the war. This played to packed houses and ran for an unprecedented seven months with 10 performances a week, drawing audiences from the West End and beyond. 
She also talks about her childhood in Romania and the theatrical tours to the capitals of Europe, as well as her continuing family life in London.

Latest news

  • Hoping for a connection

    Back in 2013 our magazine The Cable published a fascinating article by Ivan Koop Kuper about his maternal family's East End origins in Whitechapel. Read More
  • In search of a better life

    IVAN KOOP KUPER takes a personal journey through his mother’s East End from his home in Houston, Texas.    The average American’s only exposure to London’s East End, if any, is typically through the BBC television series EastEnders, syndicated to the US to be shown by PBS. This long-running British soap opera depicts the offbeat characters who live in the fictional neighbourhood Read More
  • Minnie Lansbury: one of the most remarkable women to emerge from the East End

    A gleaming green and gold clock on the side of Electric House in Bow Road forms a fine tribute to Minnie Lansbury, one of the most remarkable women to emerge from the East End, whose life and achievements are the subject of a recent book from Five Leaves Publications. It was a life cut tragically short at the age of Read More
  • Stepney Synagogue book

    People have been asking us about the top picture on our Facebook page (JEECS Facebook). It is the East London Synagogue in Rectory Square, Stepney Green, long closed and now turned into flats, some of which retain features of the synagogue.. The picture (see above) dates from August 1948 The synagogue’s fascinating history has been told by Marc Michaels in Read More
  • Harking back through the centuries

    News that a change of use application to turn the historic Whitechapel Bell Foundry into a boutique hotel has been submitted to Tower Hamlets Council has prompted us to resurrect this interesting short article by the late Philip Walker z"l, revealing a mysterious Jewish link, from our magazine The Cable, originally published in 2013. To find out more about the plans for Read More
  • Newsletter: January 2019.

        From Clive Bettington, JEECS chairman   1. Isaac Rosenberg Statue I continue working on the above project as I want to ensure that the statue commemorating Rosenberg, the acclaimed East End artist and poet who is recognised as one of the finest poets of the Great War, is erected this year. JEECS has to continue until the project Read More
  • Nelson Street on Wikipedia

    The beautiful East London Centre Synagogue in Nelson Street (30-40 Nelson Street, E1 2DS) now features on Wikipedia, with an entry that draws in part from an article in JEECS magazine, The Cable. Read More
  • JEECS Newsletter August 2018

    From Clive Bettington, JEECS chairman        1. Email address change Clive Bettington’s new email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please change your contacts lists if necessary. The previous email addresses no longer function. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

For the old Jeecs site, visit