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A Memorial Tribute

Aubrey Newman

<plain_text><page sequence="1">In Memoriam A Memorial Tribute* May I begin by saying how personally I feel the sadness of this occasion. When Professor Kedourie became president of this Society in 1979 it was my task as immediate past president to introduce him officially to the Society and to preside over his Presidential Address. It is the sadder that it has fallen to me on this particular occasion to pay tribute. Elie Kedourie might have been regarded as a rather unusual person to find as the president of this Society. The range of his published works on nationalism and the Middle East, on the work of Chatham House between the wars, on the activities of various Government departments, and on the future of university education - as well as the appointments he held at various universities: LSE, UCLA, Princeton, Monash University in Australia, Harvard and Tel-Aviv (the list is almost endless) - indicate a breadth of vision which could hardly be confined within a narrow discipline or any one institution. His election to our presidency was intended by us as a tribute to an outstanding scholar, while his acceptance of it was to some extent a recognition of the part played by Anglo-Jewry within a tangled web of that area of history he had made his own. It was at the same time an expression of his devotion to and understanding of Jewish history in its broadest sense, and of his recognition that the history of each Jewish community has something to contribute to the totality of the Jewish experience. Indeed, two of his books paid specific tribute to that belief. The lavish volume edited by him entitled The Jewish World (1979) contains a number of essays bringing these experiences together in a way which remains meaningful to readers of all ages. I give it as a standard barmitzvah present, for it brings not only to the young some idea of the world of which they have become members, but is designed to remain of value twenty, thirty or forty years later, offering fresh insights and concepts for the more mature mind. One of his most recent works, Spain and the Jews, was marked by a similar understanding of the continuity of historical experience. I can speak of this latter volume from a personal point of view, since he kindly invited me to write the chapter on the Sephardim of England. On only one point did he insist on a change; in a loose, superficial, reference I had referred to the ways in which there had come into the Sephardi congregations in London new groups of members deriving from the Middle East, from Iraq and from Iran. He very gendy but firmly pointed out to me the errors of my thought, explaining that these stricdy speaking were not Sephardim at all but Jews who had either had their own culture overlaid by Sephardi thought or had found for themselves a more congenial home in Bevis Marks than they might have found elsewhere. * Delivered before the Presidential Address on 29 October 1992. xviii</page><page sequence="2">In Memoriam That is the memory I have of Elie Kedourie, the bulk of whose considerable scholarship lay in areas far removed from my own more limited expertise. He was a man not only of fine scholarship in his own fields, but a scholar who could always find time to help and educate others. We, the members of his family, his friends, and all members of this Society, mourn his passing. Aubrey Newman xix</page></plain_text>