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The first chapter in the multicultural history of Britain; the continuing importance of religious difference in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries; sources and biases in the methodology and case studies selected. Discussion of different methodologies, especially the ‘literary turn’, and reflections on recent debates on twentieth century liberalism and antisemitism. Varieties of female friendship, the ambiguities of philosemitism and the threat of conversion. Comparisons with Jewish women’s movements in Europe and America; the case for British exceptionalism; the need for gendered studies of immigrant communities.