JHSE Local Branches
The Israel Branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England has been meeting in Central Jerusalem for many years. Before the Covid pandemic it held nine public meetings a year with a variety of local speakers or guest lecturers, usually from the United Kingdom, in Israel for a brief visit. Popular speakers have included figures well known to members in Britain, including Stefan Reif and Elkan Levy, now based in Israel, while Yanky Fachler has been a frequent visitor during family visits. The branch produced The Jewish Emigrant from Britain 1700-2000: Essays in Memory of LLoyd P Gartner in 2013 with our branch chairman Gabriel Sivan as editor. Lloyd P Gartner was the previous branch chairman and was the author of the groundbreaking The Jewish Immigrant in England 1870-1914. A further volume is due to be published by August 2022 entitled Out of Zion: An Anthology of Papers first delivered at the Israel Branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England and edited by Gabriel Sivan and Kenneth Collins. For the past two years meetings have been held on ZOOM and this is likely to continue during the 2022-2023 session though we hope to be able to offer a hybrid system in the future with both ZOOM and a live audience. Visitors to Israel are always welcome, either as speakers or as attendees at our meetings and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org in advance of their visits. We have also been pleased to welcome participants from outside Israel through ZOOM. The branch has been financially self-supporting through the contributions of those attending our meetings though the cost of hybrid meetings, if they become a regular feature, may make financial self-sufficiency more challenging.
Chaired by Ray Morron, a retired local government manager, who was born and still lives in Liverpool. He is a volunteer for Jewish Community Care and conducts guided tours of Princes Road Synagogue. His many interests include researching his Jewish family history, travel, quizzing and both playing and watching tennis.
South London, Kent & Surrey
The South London, Kent & Surrey branch was launched by its Chairman Cantor David Rome in August 2020 in order to present an eclectic array of historical talks on all matters related to Jewish history. The inaugural event featured a conversation with Jennifer Jankel, daughter of the famous band leader Joe Loss. Other events have included talks on the hidden Chanukah megilah, Al Jolson, Understanding Kabbalah, and the Trial of Ike Solomon, on whom Charles Dickens is said to have based the character of Fagin in Oliver Twist. The branch has attracted hundreds of attendees to its events and looks forward to covering an even wider range of topics into the future.
The branch is chaired by Michael Crook, a retired Chartered Surveyor, whose family history in Brighton and association with the town’s Middle Street Synagogue goes back over 125 years. In 2016, the branch published the Anthology of the Brighton & Hove Jewish Community 1766-2016, with the support of JHSE, to celebrate 250 years since the first record of a Jewish resident in Brighton, and arranged the installation of a Blue Plaque to commemorate this historic event.
The branch usually meets on the last Tuesday of October, November, January, February, March and April at Ralli Hall, Denmark Villas, Hove, although dates may change depending on Jewish holidays. Since autumn 2020, all meetings have been on Zoom, but it is hoped to arrange hybrid meetings from October 2022.
The JHSE President Lecture series is curated with the aim of bringing to the JHSE membership new research in Jewish history very broadly conceived. The subjects covered have included the history of the Jews in modern Wales and modern Ireland, the links England's Jews had to the Tower of London, and the development of the term 'antisemitism'. The President's Lectures have been delivered since April 2020 and so far has attracted members from across the UK and beyond. Speakers have included early career scholars as well as familiar established voices, all presenting new research with a variety of approaches using written sources, visual imagery, literature, and architecture. The cutting-edge research is offered in an accessible manner, and the questions and answers that follow are invariably illuminating and friendly.