Memoir of Leo Baeck College

in European Judaism
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  • 1 Union Liberal Israelite Synagogue
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Memory is a curious thing, as we all know. Revisiting the past even physically, in my case especially physically, can have unexpected results. For me, it has often been a question of 'shrinkage' for want of a better word. Places that seemed in one's youth vast, impressive, overwhelming seem so much smaller. Revisiting Oxford in the 1980s for example, after a period of perhaps fifteen years absence, I was so struck, not only by the 'Disneyland' that the town had become (ten times worse since then), but by how far less physically impressive the vast Shangri-la of my youthful imagination had become to me: beautiful, yes – but no Rome or Versailles. Living in Paris – a majestic city – whatever its other drawbacks and travelling fairly widely in the world had no doubt - unconsciously – put the 'dreaming spires' of my memory into architectural perspective.