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Warmest Good Wishes for 5783: Shana Tova!

On behalf of the Trustees of the Jewish Historical Society of England, I wish all members a very happy Jewish new year. There is always such a sense of beginnings, anticipation, and the delight of meeting family and friends during these holy days, pleasures which we so often missed in recent years. Those who celebrate will each have their own combination of favoured rituals, in food, conviviality, dress, and music. But the spirit is one: hope for sweet moments, and for an abundance of good experiences.

The recent State Funeral reminded me how powerful is the sound of heraldic trumpets, and no trumpet can match the soaring sound of a well blown shofar. Scholars over the centuries have reflected on the sound and meaning of the ram's horn, like the medieval Jew who described it in this manuscript made in Italy in 1383:

British Library Additional manuscript 26968, fol. 244

Over the centuries traditions developed around the regional foods available to Jews across the world: apples in honey, pomegranates (believed to have 613 grains, like the number of mitzvot); and soon came the custom of sending Rosh Hashana Cards in 15th century Germany.

I hope many of you are able to enjoy in synagogue and at home. I find Rosh Hashana a festival easy to share with those who have no or little Jewish heritage. How can one fail to delight in its hopeful and positive outlook, while also appreciating the transition into the days of reflection that follow. A judicious balance.

Shana tova. Miri Rubin, President of the JHSE


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