Good morning to JHSE members,
The Board of Trustees has recently been consulting its advisory board as well as the New Generation Group about ways to mark later this year the 130th anniversary of our Society. I invite you to write to me - or to other Trustees - with suggestions. As we are a Society with branches, I am sure branch leaders will have their own ideas. So far, our discussions have uncovered a desire to understand what and who Jewish History is for.
This is a serious question, and not an easy one, for the History of the Jews is interesting and important in so many ways: to Jews as a powerful part of their individual, family and communal identity; to anyone interested in understanding how diverse was the past, of the understanding of religious difference as well as toleration. Historians of all periods and places now aim to embed the Jewish experience in their histories of cities, nations, regions, and global exchange. We may also ask what Jewish history means to young people, and how JHSE can help make history part of the heritage of future generations.
These are all interesting approaches, and the study of Jewish history includes people from many different backgrounds, who bring to their studies a variety of skills. I have tried to share some of this variety with you in the President's Lectures, and shall continue to do so. We shall endeavour to bring the conversation to several venues and to involve many of you in it, as well as museums and societies that are our partners. So do get in touch!
Let me remind you that two interesting meetings are scheduled for this month, and you can find the details here: https://www.jhse.org/upcoming-events
Jewish Book Week is fast approaching too, with its rich array of talk, book launches and discussions. I recommend a good look through the programme: https://jewishbookweek.com/
I'd like to share with you a very pleasant experience. Dean Irwin (JHSE Advisory Board member and excellent historian of Jews in England) and I have developed a course on Jews in Medieval England which we offered to the thousands of members of the Historical Association. We were delighted that some 500 signed up, and many have joined the course every fortnight. Tonight is the third such session, on the development of libels against Jews. During the course we found that participants were asking many questions, which we answered both in the chat directly or in the Q&A session. It was so rewarding to witness this engagement. Many HA members are teachers who will be able to pass on their new knowledge and insights to pupils. We hope we may have also recruited some new JHSE members You can find out more here: https://jewishbookweek.com/
Wishing you a good February, and with it the first signs of spring.
Miri Rubin, President of the JHSE