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To our dear members in anxious times

Many members of JHSE are broken hearted by the events that began early on 7 October 2023 in settlements close to the Gaza Strip. The atrocities committed by Hamas must be condemned by any compassionate person, whatever their views on the politics of the region. I am sure many JHSE members also share my own sadness for the death and suffering caused to innocent people living in Gaza in the aftermath of the massacre. With many JHSE members affected personally by the anxiety and pain caused by these events, we have postponed the Lecture on York in Jewish History and Memory at the request of York members. But even in these dark times there is some solace in continuing our inquiries and sharing knowledge and fellowship of our interest in Jewish history and culture. So our work continues.

I am happy to report that on 9 October 2023, JHSE members were treated to an inspirational visit to the Parkes Institute, a world leading centre of Jewish learning at the University of Southampton. I had to miss the trip due to covid, but Rachel Frankel kindly reported that the Institute's Library and Archive is home to over four million items related to Jewish history, most from the personal collections of former JHSE President Claude Montefiore and of Dr James Parkes himself. These range from 17th century treatises on Jewish life, to belongings of the Kindertransport children, and were expertly made available to JHSE members by the Parkes Institute archivists. The informal and informative series of talks was led by Professor Neil Gregor, Professor of European History and Director of the Parkes Institute with contributions from post-doctoral students on research topics and ranged from the postwar London Yiddish theatre, and the UK origins of the skills-focused Beyachad movement in support of kibbutzim. The JHSE is grateful to everyone at the Parkes Institute for the warm and expert reception.

I'd like to bring to your attention the upcoming event, on 31 October 2023, 7.30pm, organised on Zoom by our ever-active Sussex Branch on a theme that will interest many Jewish soldiers in Nelson's army. Just sign up here:

I also very much hope that the event planned for 20 November 2023, at Kings College London, will go ahead. You can find the information here:

I wish to remind you how important it is to use this Anniversary year as an occasion to recruit new members. So please think of suitable people to encourage into JHSE or as recipient as membership as a gift from you.

This morning I also received the excellent news that a plaque has now been placed in Winchester alongside the statute of Licoricia, and it looks like this:

Many were involved in making this happen, but special thanks are due to Maggie and William Carver for their leadership and vision in bringing a thirteenth-century Jewish woman to the centre of Winchester.

With warmest best wishes,

Miri Rubin, President of the JHSE


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