July is the time of conferences and holidays, and this year it starts with a heatwave which makes concentration on things historical quite difficult.
I shall be attending the annual conference of the British and Irish Association of Jewish Studies in London to chair a session on Jewish history in Ukraine. The Society has co-sponsored this session, where five scholars will speak about ‘The state of Jewish tangible heritage in Ukraine: Buildings, monuments, museums and libraries’, and a discussion will follow. Members of the JHSE New Generation Group have contributed the fruit of their research to the programme, which takes places across this week in Kings College London.
July also saw our first hybrid event, with a large in-person component, as we met to hear Daniel Snowman on the afternoon of Sunday 3 July. This was a joint venture between JHSE and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. Daniel regaled us with fascinating stories about his life, a Jewish boy who benefited from all that the post-War world had to offer: free education, more relaxed social conventions, the ability to fly across the globe. It was nice to see so many members turn up in person, and enjoy a cup of tea with cakes baked by our Chair, Caroline, and me.
There is a Presidential Lecture by JHSE member Jeremy Smilg on 21 July 2002 at 8pm. Jeremy’ has researched the effect of the age of Revolution – the French Revolution and its aftermath – on Jews, and his book on the subject was published last year. The French Revolution was full of promise with its Declaration of the Rights of Man, and for many Jews this brought citizenship rights. But for how long? In England there was fear of Revolution which led to censorship and restriction of assembly; how did this affect Jews? Just join as usual, by registering for a ticket here.
I shall be joining the event from Worcester, where on the morrow I shall attend – and say a few words as your President – the unveiling of a plaque in memory of the city’s medieval Jewish community. There is a great deal of interest in discovering that past, by Jews and non-Jews alike, as we have seen in Winchester where a new statue was erected in memory of Licoricia, a thirteenth-century Jewish businesswoman of the city. I shall report back about the event at Worcester. I wish you an enjoyable summer, and look forward to the autumn and the start of another cycle of making history, enjoying history, and vigorous promotion of history. Best wishes, Miri Rubin, President The Jewish Historical Society of England