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A festive season approaches, but many will feel less joyful than usual

Dear members,

It is Hanukkah, a festival I have always thought of as very historical. It is well documented in historical and archaeological sources, and it raises important historical questions about religion and identity, about empires and their attitude to conquered people. Like so many festivals - not least Christmas - it has become oriented towards children, with gifts and games and treats. It is usually joyful and bright, a festival that brightens the winter evenings and brings family and friends together. Here is the oldest menorah for Hanukkah from England, of 1709, from the collection of the Jewish Museum:

In modern times Hanukkah is often celebrated in the public domain. That is why it is so sad to hear that a few public Hanukkah events have been cancelled. I remember well how heartwarming I found this scene in Haifa in December 2018: three religions coexisting with their winter festivities.

Moving on to the JHSE's activities, we now have a rich array of talks for the dark winter nights. Do join us:


Don't forget our Anniversary Event at the Jewish Book Week on 3 March 2024 at 11am where we will discuss the place of Jewish History within British history in the pubic domain and in school curricula.

Wishing you all the best and looking forward to seeing you at JHSE events.

Your President, Miri Rubin


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