Dear members of the JHSE,
This time of year is always so busy, with shorter daytime in which to fit a great deal. Let me remind you that we have a chance to meet virtually on 15 December 2022 at 8pm, to hear Emily Rose introduce us to the case of Hugh of Lincoln, a boy whose disappearance in 1255 prompted a libel against local Jews in which locals, crown officials and religious leaders were complicit. Just sign up for it in the usual manner here https://www.jhse.org/upcoming-events Just a few days later, on 20 December 2022, you may wish to hear Professor Nathan Abrams, members of the JHSE Advisory Board, speak about the great filmmaker Stanley Kubrick; just sign up here: https://www.jhse.org/event-details/stanley-kubrick
But as 2022 draws to a close, I approach you with an invitation to think of ways to mark 2023, as a mini-anniversary, the 130th, of the foundation of our Society. We, the Trustees, will of course be organising events, as will our Branches, and the New Generation Group. But it would be good to hear from you - our members - as well. So please share your idea with me, or with any other members of the Board. I cannot promise we can fulfill them all, but we;d appreciate the inspiration. It will be interesting to reflect on the changes in the JHSE, its aims, and more broadly on the history of Jews in England across that period.
We still benefit a great deal from sharing of events and recordings with our sister organisation, Institute of Jewish Studies. I enjoyed very much catching up with a recording they shared, of a lecture by Professor Jay Geller (chaired by our Michael Berkowitz) about the Scholem family. This accomplished lecture unfolds the extraordinary tribulation and achievements experienced by so many families. So here is the recording (with a password, if you are interested: https://ucl.zoom.us/rec/share/2qACzBVDgnheNUoXwlX86Tm36e0bi5-IM7XviPLIQtE0p_Qg9wceu7EvsDn5JWeo.7PR7zXDck2MZ7Ig8
As Hanukkah approaches, I thought I might share some images from the period I study, the Middle Ages. I like in particular this image, from late fourteenth century Catalonia, which shows not only the Hannukah Menorah, but also some instruments which refer to the work of the Temple, and even some parts of wall that imagine it at the time of the Maccabees.
This example, from a prayer book of the same period, but from Italy, A man lights a Menorah, which maintains that 'built' quality, invoking the walls of the Temple where the Hanukkah miracle was said to have taken place.
Since then our Menorah have becomes more diverse, made of a variety of materials and in diverse styles. But they all bring smiles to our faces, as we celebrate resilience and freedom that Hanukkah has come to represent, and with family and friends, and especially with young ones.
And speaking of young ones and Hanukkah, why not offer a student or young adult in your family a subscription to the JHSE? This relationship can then stay wit them for a life time as they develop careers and become busy in some many other spheres. Students and youth join for only £20: https://www.jhse.org/plans-pricing
The mention of resilience reminds me of Simon Schama's new BBC series, The History of Now. I found the first episode of three, of last Sunday, 27 November, very moving and interesting, and some of you may too. Just catch up on iPlayer.
And as we look forward to 2023, this is to remind you that the Jewish Book Week will take place at King's Place between 25 February and 5 March 2023: https://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/jewish-book-week/
I wish you all happy winter festivities, and enjoy history!
Miri Rubin, President of JHSE