a sequel to CS&S.

As a sequel to Chicken Soup and Scouse, we have now completed the definitive video documentary history on Harold House Youth Club in Liverpool which is featured in CS&S. With archive footage, photographs, graphics and interviews with numerous members, volunteers, staff committee members who remember the centre as 'The heart of the Community.'  We chart the history of this unique youth and community organisation from its foundation in the early1900s to the present day. The video is a must for anyone who went to Harold House. A trip down memory lane. Pure nostalgia.

This lavishly illustrated 95 minute video is now on release.
To order your copy contact us at  or



Then scroll down for more news.

"While doing some research on her family tree, Jean Harrison in Irvine California came across this website and ordered a copy of Chicken Soup and Scouse. In the course of correspondence about placing her order she referred to one of her ancestors with Liverpool connections. We told her that we knew of a Liverpool family with a similar surname but spelt differently and that we could put her in touch with them. The Liverpool family had never heard of this lady in the States but they started emailing each other during which she sent over a copy of a census form from the early 1900s. She told them that several of her family were on the form including her grandparents. The Liverpool family were astonished to see that they shared the same grandparents!"

"I bought a copy of this excellent dvd in the information shop at
Albert Dock, and would like some more copies. Could you tell me how
to go about this, please?!

My visit was part of retracing my own family's past. My father Leien
(Len) Berger was born in Radcliffe Street, Everton, Liverpool in
1908, studied at the University, and for a time worked as an
architect in Dale Street .  But his early years there in very
difficult circumstances left him less than anxious to talk about his
forbears, so it is left to me to find out about it all ...for the
sake of my own children, and theirs, and for my siblings and their

There are still three cousins living in Liverpool, and they have
been wonderfully helpful - and interested - not least in putting me
up on my trips from Oxford, where I live.  This week on one such
trip I discovered your marvellous dvd, and thought it provided very
good context and illustration for the material I am working on,
writing.  For me it quite literally brings to life a world which has
vanished under ring roads and new development, as well as showing
just how significant - in global terms - the Liverpool Jewish
community has been, and is.

Thank you for it, and please may I have some more ?!"
Ruth Stockland, Oxford

"Thank you for your response to my piece in the Roots column of the Jewish Telegraph.  I first heard of Chicken Soup & Scouse last year & immediately bought a copy.  I sat & watched it from beginning to end, without even bothering to make myself a coffee in-between.  then, when the film ended, I watched it again!   Michael, I enjoyed every-single-minute-of-it.  God, what I wouldn't give to talk to some of the people who took part in that film!   For me, it was both educational & entertaining.  Many of the people who took part in the film seemed familiar to me, most probably because I have lived in Woolton for over 30 years.  I really do appreciate you contacting me & I must tell you that, your brilliant film has now been watched by my 87 year-old cousin in Brisbane, Australia & by her family in Paris, Sydney & Hong Kong & they enjoyed every single minute of it too.   Plus, it is already mentioned & given credit in my book!"
M.Mc (Liverpool UK)

"I purchased 'Chicken Soup and Scouse' when conducting preliminary research
for my undergraduate dissertation and found it informative, well-presented
and interesting. It provides an easy-to-watch and lively timeline of the
Liverpool Jews and revitalises history, achieving what a book cannot. I'd
strongly advise that anybody studying the Liverpool Jewish Community to get
hold of a copy."
Sally Makaruk : undergraduate student at the University of York.

"Affectionate panorama of Jewish life in Liverpool"  "Stories told with characteristic Liverpudlian verve that make this comprehensive tribute come alive, even as their tellers move on."
Norma Cohen's review in Renaissance Magazine

"Having just watched Chicken Soup and Scouse I was delighted to see on the photograph on the DVD box sleeve, my grandfather Dr Jacob Samuel Fox who was the principal of the Hebrew Academy. It's correct title however was The Hebrew Higher Grade School. He was often known as Papa Fox. However I was disappointed that he didnt get a proper mention in the film."
Felice Harris (nee Ellenbogan) 

Producer's Note; The school operated from premises on the corner of Bedford Street North and Chestnut Street. The photograph was taken around 1905 and the copy we used in the film was given to us by Elliot Henley whose father Shammai Henkewhich was a teacher at the school and appears on the right hand side of the photograph. Standing next to him is the bearded Dr Fox holding a cane and wearing a yamulka sculcap. In this all male class comprising young boys from working class immigrant families they are seen wearing Eton collars to give an impression of style and uniformity.

In June 2010 a Dr Fox in Canada was searching the net while tracing information on his family and came across the references in Chicken Soup ans Scouse to Dr Fox as mentioned above. He got in touch with us, bought a copy of the DVD and informs us that he is a relation of the original Dr Fox.


Chicken Soup and Scouse
selected to go in a time-capsule

Chicken Soup and Scouse makes several references to Harold House and the Liverpool Jewish Community Centre as well as the King David schools. Since then as the community has shrunk plans have moved forward, Harold House has closed down and the building has been demolished. The community centre has now moved into the brand new King David school on its campus in Childwall. The new building opened in October 2011 marking another chapter in the history of the Liverpool Jewish Community.

The architects and builders of the new campus reserved a space for a time-capsule to be buried under the school and invited pupils to select items to place in it. Executives of the Community Centre selected a copy of Chicken Soup and Scouse as part of the community's input to the capsule. On 2nd April 2012 the capsule was sealed and buried, witnessed by a selection of children from the school, some as young as 4year olds who might just be around in the year 2112 when the capsule is retrieved.  We wonder what they will make of the film should it survive that long and they find something to play and watch it on!


Chicken Soup and Scouse inspires an
international magazine

Chicken Soup and Scouse was the inspiration behind a special new feature about the Liverpool Jewish Community which appeared in the January 2008 edition of the excellent quarterly magazine

While this multi page fully illustrated feature article included numerous references and still images taken from the film, it is full of fresh, new and exciting material with contributions from within and outside the community. In addition the feature included many fascinating interviews with famous Jewish Liverpudlians including several conducted during the editor’s trip up to meet the community.

The feature clearly indicated how the community may have been several times larger in its heyday but it’s sons and daughters continue to make names for themselves around the country and the world, following in the footsteps of pioneering predecessors, and continue to make a vital contribution to the cultural, artistic and commercial success of this vibrant city which in 2008 celebrated being European Capital of Culture.

Jewish Renaissance is only available on subscription but you can order a back copy of this edition by contacting the magazine direct as below;-

Renaissance Publishing Ltd, Freepost, LON 17819,
London SW13 0BR  England

Or fax to 0208 392 1339 or phone 0208 876 1891

See website for details of distribution rates, UK, Europe, World

For more details contact;-




It’s not often a local British film maker gets invited to speak and show a film at a distinguished New York Synagogue but that’s just what happened to Michael Swerdlow the producer of Chicken Soup and Scouse. On a recent trip to New York to see her sister Barbara Suleiman, Liverpool artist Janet Webb took a copy of Michael’s documentary  ’Chicken Soup and Scouse.’ Barbara then showed it to fellow officers of the Cultural League of her synagogue, The Sephardi Spanish and Portugese Congregation Shearith Israel on Manhattan's Central Park. They were so impressed that they immediately invited Michael over to New York to give a lecture and show the film at their Annual Warshawsky Lecture.

Michael was over in New York on 7th May 2009 and delivered his lecture and slide show highlighting numerous aspects of the Liverpool Jewish Community and it’s many personalities followed by a screening of his film which charts the history of the Liverpool Jewish Community from the 1700s to the present day and the valuable contribution it has made to the success and culture of the city. The New Yorkers were particularly interested in the Liverpool connection in that hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews fleeing persecution in the years 1880 to 1920 emigrated to the USA via the port of Liverpool. Thousands of them stayed behind to form the backbone of today’s Liverpool Jewish Community. In his talk, Michael pointed out that had the families of people like George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Samuel Goldwyn and others not completed their trip, they might well have been Scousers (Liverpudlians), but conversely, had Michael’s great grandparents crossed the Atlantic, he would have been a New Yorker.

Michael produced his own publicity material for his talk but was warned that not only did New Yorkers have little or no knowledge of the Liverpool Jewish Community but they didn’t even realize it had one.  Also that the title of the film may have little meaning as they would not have known what scouse was.  Michael put matters right with a description in his talk of the famous Liverpool dish and how the title of the film reflects the harmony between the city and it’s Jewish Community.  He re-titled the talk, “From the Shtetles to the Beatles” and delighted the audience with numerous anecdotes and references to the Beatles’ connection with the Jewish Community. No one appreciated this more than audience member Sid Bernstein who was instrumental in securing for Brian Epstein all the Beatles’ original and legendary performances in the States.

The audience of 150 included numerous expats who had heard about Michael’s talk from their families back home in Liverpool and via the synagogue’s website. The synagogue is currently celebrating its 350th anniversary.  "The talk went even better than I expected," Michael said. "They had to put extra chairs out because the audience was bigger than anticipated."

In addition to copies of his DVD Michael did some PR for Liverpool and the Jewish community. He brought with him tourist information, a copy of the Jewish Telegraph and a specially prepared binder on historic Princes Road Synagogue prepared by Alaster Burman. And Michael extended a personal invitation to everyone in the room to come and visit Liverpool where he promised to show them around.

Sid Bernstein (left) and Michael Swerdlow at the Shearith Israel Congregation on Central Park West, New York on May 7th 2009. Sadly Sid has passed away since this photograph was taken.

Since the New York trip, Michael continues to receive regular invitations to give talks on the Liverpool Jewish Community and show the film to historic and cultural groups around the north of England which he does on a voluntary basis.


Copies of Chicken Soup and Scouse are on sale at;-

Books from Nowhere, Bold Street Liverpool L1

Princes Road Synagogue Liverpool L8 (during tour
times only. 0151 709 3431)

The Liverpool Jewish Resource Centre at the Community Centre on the King David School Campus, Childwall Road, Liverpool L16




We hope when you have seen the film, you may have an interest in the Livrpool Jewish Community, its institutions, members, families and its heritage. Please use this website as a forum to exchange ideas and make friends.

Please get in touch with us and let us know what you thought of the documentary and if you have ideas for future programmes on a similar subject.  And with your authority we may publish any interesting stories or messages.

our email address is :



Chicken Soup and Scouse makes reference to the Jewish Cemetery in Liverpool's Deane Road. A campaign recently started by a team of multi-faith volunteers and enthusiasts to rescue this important heritage site which over the years, since the last burial there in 1929, has fallen into decay, plantlife has overgrown and headstones have fallen and been vandalised. The campaign received Heritage Lottery Funding and work is now underway to restore and renovate the cemetery.  This important burial ground is rich in Liverpool and communal history and will be opened to the public as a visitor centre. Descendents of those buried there receive invitations to visit and pay their respects. In 2011 one such family discovered that a headstone had never been installed for their ancestor due to him dying penniless in 1843, so for the first time in 80 years, a service was held in the cemetery to commemorate a new headstone.

Michael Swerdlow has produced a 12 minute video to promote the work of this project and enlist support. Copies can be obtained from
The proceeds from the sale of this DVD will go to the project.

Copy and paste this link to watch the Deane Road film on Youtube. It's in two halves and the second half will come up after the first ready for you to click on.



Chicken Soup and Scouse is simmering nicely. We are receiving enquiries and orders from all over the world, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Israel, US and Canada as well as from all over the UK. The film is appealing to Jewish people and non Jewish people who are keen to learn about the Liverpool Jewish community and about this interesting facet of Liverpool's history.

We have also given talks to accompany the screening of the film to several cultural and other groups in the Liverpool and Manchester area. In addition, we are currently considering the viability of editing the film down to 20-30 minutes and making a version suitable to show children as part of the school curriculum. Our friends at Liverpool Capital of Culture are keen for another public screening of the original film in the not too distant future. For people in Liverpool, watch out for details and announcements of this. 

In the meantime, copies of the film are available from the shop in the Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool L3;  To purchase a copy by mail order go to the order page on this website.






When it comes to comfort foods, chocolate, ice cream, doughnuts and even burgers and chips, pale into insignificance compared with the world’s most famous dish that comes with its own built in feel good factor. A bowl of hot, delicious, golden chicken soup cooked to perfection in the Jewish style, just like momma used to make has often been called Jewish Penicilin.

On the eve of the sabbath or a high holy day, a pot of steaming golden chicken soup is as much a focal point on the dinner table in a Jewish home, as the pair of candles with their glimmer of hope, remembrance, solidarity and well being. Food is very much a central part in Jewish ritual and the observance of festivals and the sabbath. Cookery skills which are passed down through generations include frugal methods reminiscent of not too many generations ago when Jewish families wondered where the next meal would come from. Traditionally the peasant Jewish families living in Russia before the 1st World War may have only been able to afford meat once a week. To mark the Sabbath day as special and different to the rest of the week, a chicken was purchased. A fowl was cheaper and made perfect soup. With often six or more children to feed, meals had to go further. Every part of the chicken was used, extracting every last ounce of flavour.

The chicken would provide ingredients for at least three courses; starting with the fresh carcase and bones to make the stock for the chicken soup, the liver was finely chopped, seasoned and served as a secondary starter. The remaining pieces of meat roasted. The soup was garnished with either or both fine stringy vermicelli (lockshen), fluffy dumplings made from matzo meal and egg (kneidlach), as well as carrot, onion and celery. Popular Jewish cookery books including, Claudia Roden, Florence Greenberg, Evelyn Rose, Bessie Carr etc will claim to have the definitive recipe for chicken soup but those handed down from mother to daughter are often the best. Here is one version.

Ingredients: 1 boiling fowl; a large onion; 2 carrots sliced lengthways; a piece of parsley root; a stick of celery; a teaspoon of salt; 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; water to cover; parsley to garnish.

Method: Scald the fowl with boiling water then remove all the fat. Prepare and slice the vegetables. Place the fowl in a large boiling pot, add vegetables and seasoning. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Remove the scum. Simmer for 3 hours or until tender. Remove the fowl and serve it separately. Skim the soup to remove the fat. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Flavour can be enhanced by adding a chicken stock cube. Serve with a small qty thin vermicelli and or kneidlach. See below.

Kneidlach: 1 small onion; 2 tablespoons melted chicken fat; 4 oz (1cup) medium matzo meal; salt and pepper. 1/4 pint (1/2 cup) boiling water; 1 egg; Peel and grate the onion. Melt fat in a saucepan and fry the onion. Add to the matzo meal with the salt and pepper. Add the boiling water, and allow to cool, then add the beaten egg. Stir well. Leave in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly. Dip your hands in cold water and then roll the mixture into small balls. Drop the balls into the boiling soup or boiling salted water and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Serve in the soup.


Another staple meal cooked to feed large families living in poverty. Originating in the late 1800s and introduced by seafarers possibly from Scandinavian countries and originally known as Labskause but mostly associated with Liverpool where the name was anglicised to become scouse. Although considered a working class dish, there is an alternative version called Blind Scouse, made by those on the harshest of budgets, and with the absence of meat. The internet is full of recipes and anecdotes for scouse but here is one.

Ingredients to serve 4-6 people: Half a Pound of Stewing Steak; Half a Pound of Lambs Breast;  A Large Onion; 1lb of Carrots; 5lb of Potatoes; 2 beefstock Cubes; 2 Teaspoons of Vegatable Oil, Worcester Sauce, Salt and Pepper, Water.

Method: Takes 4 hours of slow cooking
Cut the meat into large cubes and fry in the vegatable oil until lightly browned all over. You may wish to add some Worcester Sauce at this point for added flavour. Transfer the meat to a large saucepan and add the onion that should have been chopped into large chunks. Follow this by chopping the carrot into medallions and place this on the meat. Peel and then Finely dice 1lb of the potatoes and place on top of the carrots. Fill the pan with cold water until it is half full. Break up the beefstock cubes and sprinkle into the water. Add salt and pepper for seasoning. Let the pan simmer gently, stirring occasionally. The large pieces of onion will start to break up and the potato will become soft and will make the final sauce thick. Simmer for a total of two hours, then add the remaining potatoes that should have been peeled and roughly chopped, along with a few splashes of Worcester Sauce. Then simmer for another two hours. Serve piping hot with red cabbage, beetroot, pickled onions and crusty bread. You may add Ketchup, HP or Worcestershire sauce for flavouring.