Greetings, members and friends.
I open with the pleasure of reporting that the JHSE's redesigned website is now up and running. If you’re a member, we encourage you to set up a new password which will make it easy for you to book free event tickets, renew your membership and participate in other ways.
If you’re not already a member, why not join the JHSE?
Every website needs continuous nurture and care, so we will be ever-vigilant in tracking its features. And do not hesitate to seek help or make a comment by writing to email@example.com.
We are now truly in springtime, and despite the continuing threat of Covid-19 many of us have been venturing out to face-to-face activities. Indeed, our own Presidential Lecture on the afternoon of 3 July 2022 will take place at the Jewish Museum, and so please pencil that in and details will follow. On Wednesday as your President I accepted the invitation and joined in the celebration at the British Academy of the Diamond Jubilee of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society (AIAS). Professor Martin Goodman delivered a fascinating lecture about King Herod, whose biography Martin is writing. Members of the Society referred to JHSE's long-standing association with AIAS, a relationship I intend to pursue.
Last time I wrote to you about the unveiling in Winchester of the statue of the thirteenth century Jewish businesswoman Licoricia (with her son). Winchester Cathedral has put together a series of talks on Licoricia.
In Worcester an interfaith group together with the local council will be placing a memorial plaque to the Jews of Worcester on which they have consulted me, as well as other members of JHSE. It is interesting to observe these attempts to reinscribe Jews in local histories, especially in communities where there was notable Jewish life in the Middle Ages and less so in more recent centuries. The work of the South Wales Jewish History Group is impressive too. Again, this is work of enthusiasts, historians, archivists and students, Jews and non-Jews, and is a very welcome development. The Society is thinking about how best to support these initiatives.
This Sunday in Oxford there will be a commemoration of an event 800 years earlier, the Synod of Oxford. This was a gathering of church leaders which legislated rules of the church in England, including rules aimed at limiting contacts between Christians and Jews. The Synod passed on papal legislation on the subject. One way was by requiring Jews to wear a badge of cloth or parchment whenever they walked or rode in towns and outside them. We have evidence that this was not enforced, and that generally Jews bought the right not to wear the badge. But the legislation was on the book, as it were, and no doubt contributed to the anxiety felt by England's Jews. The ceremony will be streamed from Oxford Cathedral, and you can sign up for it here.
Please consult the website about our many events. The next President's Lecture will be delivered by Dr William Pimlott on 26 May 2022 at 8pm. William is part of a new generation of Yiddish experts, and his lecture is based on his doctoral research.
Wishing you and yours all the best,
Miri Rubin, President
The Jewish Historical Society of England