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President's Letter February 2022

I hope you and yours are keeping well as our lives become less restricted though still far from what they once were. This end of January is always a time for deep reflection, with so many events commemorating the Holocaust, public events which for many members combine with family histories. I was impressed this year by the activities of archives, museums – like the Jewish Museum London - and libraries, and we have tried to advertise these on our website.

A word about the website, it is a legacy the current Board has inherited and which we are in the course of revising for ease of use by all of us. This work is led by trustee Michael Schraer in consultation with the other JHSE Trustees, and we hope for transformative results in the very near future.

Another exciting development is the expansion of the editorial board of Transactions, to include from 2023 Professor April Alva (University of Sydney), Professor Shirli Gilbert (UCL), and Professor Adam Mendelsohn (University of Cape Town). This injection of new talent and energy will make our journal more resilient, and will add new areas of interest to its pages. Our longstanding and excellent editor and trustee Professor Michael Berkowitz will continue to be part of the editorial team.

Mike Berkowitz will also be sharing a very interesting seminar on 21 February 2022 at 5.15 online, from the Institute of Historical Research. It will be a book launch/discussion of Adam Sutcliffe's new book, provocatively entitled: What are Jews For?

The event is open to all, just sign up here.

David Feldman and I will be speaking with Adam about the book.

Later this month and into early March sees the 2022 Jewish Book Week with really interesting and diverse offerings. Have a look here for a combination of conversations, book launches, readings, and even music. The sessions are in-person with arrangements aimed at keeping participants healthy and safe.

If you have ever wondered about the mysteries of the Jewish calendar, a lunar calendar which manages to keep all festivals in their appropriate seasons, then you must join us on 24 February at 8pm. I have invited JHSE member Chris Mitchell to speak to us based on his research for which recently he was awarded a PhD.

Just sign up here:

If you encounter any problems with the website, please write to us at and we will help.

Calendars are fascinating artefacts too. I really like this one printed in Verona, Italy, in 1826, which illustrates each Hebrew months:

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

Miri Rubin, President of the JHSE


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