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A midsummer message

This summer message has been somewhat belated due to a great deal of activity in recent weeks. June and July are always busy for academics, as meetings and conferences are crammed into a few weeks, before schools break up and vacations begin. I too have been moving about, and on my travels have aimed to promote JHSE and its vision. It was always a delight to meet members of our Society along the way. Memorable events were conference in Cologne (on Jewish craftspeople) and in Erfurt (on religious minorities) where I was able to present and discuss materials that show just how embedded were Jews and their communities in the life of medieval cities. In Erfurt I had the privilege of visiting the Jewish Museum, led by the curator, who showed me parts as yet in conservation: Jewish tombstones, a 12th century painted ceiling of a Jewish house, and more. That city has applied for UNESCO World Heritage status for its medieval Jewish quarter.

Curator of the Jewish Museum, Erfurt

Closer to home, our new JHSE banner has had its inaugural outing at Ormskirk in Lancashire, where the annual conference of the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies (BIAJS), which took place at Edge Hill University. Jewish studies scholars from across the world were welcomed to this beautiful campus, and especially by the BIAJS president and JHSE member Professor James Renton. Since our societies collaborate in the promotion of Jewish history, it was a real honour for me to deliver the keynote lecture tot he theme of the conference: Race and Jewish Studies. Many JHSE members attended, and it was a pleasure to catch up with New Generation group members too, and to recruit some new ones! Our 130th anniversary was celebrated too, at a reception accompanied by music and wine.

Our President with NGG member in front of the new JHSE banner at the BIAJS conference 2023.

Just last week it was also very pleasing to receive from the Historical Association, an Honorary Fellowship awarded to me, for a longstanding connection to the HA, but with a special mention of the course on medieval Jewish history that Dean Irwin and I delivered over the winter. I feel this award is his too, though I was there on the night. The subject attracted 500 HA members, many teachers, educators, a few academics and many members of the interested public. So JHSE was there too.

Receiving the Honorary Fellowship

Indeed, that anniversary has kept the Trustees busy. We launched it in the presence of many of you online on 4 June, and the recording of that event is available on our website. We had a joint event at Beves Marks in memory of Richard Barnett and his important life work. NGG has been busy too, and is currently reorganising its Committee for the year to come. In the autumn, we will continue to celebrate Jewish history in England with a short talk about an historic encounter on the football pitch: We are also intending to bring an anniversary event to Manchester and so to reach more JHSE members in the north of England. We will inform you at every stage as planning progresses.

Please help us continue to grow and develop. Send in your suggestions, and most important, help us recruit new members. Is there a sixth former, a student, a young professional in your family or friendship circle? Why not gift them a membership? Check out the details here:

We will continue sending you messages over the summer, and wish you a good period of refreshment, with reading, visiting of interesting locations, and often - I am sure - those that resonate with Jewish history.

Miri Ruibn, JHSE President


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