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Preface Vol 44

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies , volume 44, 2012 Preface Introducing the new edition of Jewish Historical Studies: Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England Those familiar with Jewish Historical Studies : Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England - commonly known as Transactions - will notice that this issue is different from those preceding it. The opening page lists an editor, myself, a contributing editor, Jeremy Schonfield, and an Inaugural Editorial Board. This might seem quite ordinary. But it represents a depar- ture from the way Transactions has operated in the past - a change signalling both a new beginning and a commitment to sustain and nurture the Jewish Historical Society of England (JHSE), founded in 1893, and its organ, Transactions , which first appeared in 1893-4. Of course the novelty of a named editor and editorial board on the mast- head does not mean that earlier issues were "unedited". The list of "Society officers and council", typically at the back of Transactions , includes an "Editor of Publications". Jeremy Schonfield has served this role, splendidly, for thirty years, and is instrumental in the transition of Transactions to its new phase. Katharine Ridler assisted him in copy-editing this volume as she has previ- ously. Edgar Samuel, to whom the current Transactions is dedicated, was a dedicated Chairman of Publications for many years. In fact, a distinguishing feature of Transactions , since its inception, has been the meticulousness of the editing process and overall quality of the publication. This is a chief reason why members of the Society enjoyed and were honoured to be published in Transactions. The earlier policy was to collect lectures that had recently been presented to meetings of the Society, including the annual address of the President of th eJHSE, and to present research by members and others that had not necessarily been delivered in the lecture programme. Transactions will continue to publish versions of selected lectures heard at the Society, the presidential address and research reports by its members. But a significant portion of Transactions , beginning with this issue, is dif- ferent: articles not specified as having been presented to the JHSE, or appear- ing in the section for members' research, have been subject to a double-blind peer-review process. That is, following standard academic practice, they have been reviewed by at least two scholars in the field. Why this change? Before I was invited to the position as "Editor of xi</page><page sequence="2">Michael Ber ko wit z Publications" it was apparent to a number of JfHSE members that some kind of shift might be good, possibly essential, for the long-term health of Transactions. The type of "gentleman scholar" who typically contributed to Transactions has not disappeared, but the cohort is no longer plentiful and robust. Perhaps more important: there are indications that the current core of the Society does not have a succeeding generation in the wings to continue the work of the JfHSE. As opposed to those who mainly have a livelihood outside of academe and pursue research "on the side", it appears that most historical researchers of Jews in the English-speaking world are beholden to academic institutions - museums, libraries and universities. For professional and personal reasons, such likely contributors to Transactions are better served, and prefer to publish, in peer-reviewed rather than "open" journals. Some years ago the Council of the JfHSE precipitated this metamorphosis of Transactions by applying for, and accepting, a grant from the Rothschild Foundation Europe toward support for an "academic journal". Transactions will continue to constitute an important public space for sharing and disseminating Jewish historical research. But in an age where there is no limit to what can be posted on the blogosphere and other electronic forums, the rationale for Transactions publishing everything produced by its members is no longer as compelling as it was only decades ago. The journal, therefore, is assuming a somewhat different character, with a greater measure of editorial influence and selectivity. The fact that publishing in Transactions has become competitive also infers that a larger community of historians - including North America, Continental Europe and Israel - is involved in the life of the journal. Currently published independently, we aspire to place Transactions with an established scholarly press for subsequent volumes in order to reflect the editorial tone and to secure a more firm financial footing. As stated in the initial call for papers, Transactions aims to serve as a leading forum for Anglo-Jewish historiography, as well as comparative and multi-site work that integrates English-speaking Jews in its approach. In addition to papers presented and scholarly articles, shorter pieces may be considered as "Research in the Field". Book reviews will continue to be published, and there will be scope for consideration of films, exhibitions and performances that deal with Jewish history in Britain. We aspire to strike a balance between the Society's established attention to local, distinctive aspects of Anglo- Jewish history, and academic work emerging in the field world-wide. Some sense of the character envisioned for Transactions is before you. The first article under the new academic rubric is "Sport or shul?" by David Dee. Although the subject of sport occasionally has graced the journal, the atten- tion paid to the phenomenon, which comprises such a significant part of life for thousands of Jews in Britain, deserves careful scrutiny. Dee begins with the assumption that observing Shabbat was a factor in the inclusion or exclu- xii</page><page sequence="3">Preface sion of Jews from the sporting scene. His analysis comprises a penetrating and, at times, surprising view of sport as an element of the Anglo-Jewish landscape. The next two articles deal with monumental personalities in Anglo-Jewry: Chaim Weizmann, Isaiah Berlin and Karl Popper. James Renton's article, "Yad Chaim Weizmann and the Westernness of Israel", details the attempted memorialization of Israel's first president - the historical origins of what became Yad Weizmann. Visitors to Rehovot take for granted that there is a park and memorial dedicated to the scientist and statesman, and that a world-class scientific research institute is integral to the site. Renton's piece is the first to excavate thoroughly the history of this critical element of modern Israel, which in some important respects is rooted in Weizmann's experience in Britain. Malachi Hacohen, in "Berlin and Popper between Nation and Empire: Diaspora, Cosmpolitanism, and Jewish Life", enriches Anglo-Jewish intel- lectual history by juxtaposing the thought of Isaiah Berlin and Karl Popper concerning Jewish existence in the mid-twentieth century. Hacohen contex- tualizes the evolution of Berlin's "pluralism", combined with "diaspora nationalism", in contrast to Popper's cosmopolitanism within Cold-War lib- eralism. He offers a trenchant analysis of the thought of these figures, acknowledging both their prescience and limits, helping to give largely sec- ularized Jews the consideration they deserve in carving out a Jewish intellec- tual space in Britain. Rather than focusing on individuals, in "A Menace to Jews Seen If Hitler Wins", Stephanie Seul revisits a freighted historical moment through per- ceptions of Nazi anti-Semitism by the British press from 1918 to 1933. In itself an important survey and interpretation, her work also is a fascinating means of understanding the background of attitudes toward Jewish refugees from Central and Eastern Europe. Geoffrey Cantor likewise casts his keen historical vision on a formative moment: the Great Exhibition of 1851 - and the Jewish question (of course). His piece is a very model of the tremendous potential of interweaving social history, with attention to ethnicity, with the history of science and technology. Reflecting back centuries earlier, Julie Meli provocatively calls for a réévaluation of Jewish political representation and identity-formation in medieval and early modern Europe through recon- ceiving ways how Jews functioned in English life before the expulsion of 1290. A common characteristic of these articles is that they rigorously engage the scholarly questions and historiography that envelop their subjects. In the reviews section Nathan Abrams takes on the play "Travelling Light", about a fanciful but historically intriguing tie between Jews in pho- tography in Eastern Europe and the invention of Hollywood film. Emma Harris's review essay on two recent books in Anglo-Jewish history is some- thing of a bridge between the established and evolving orientation of Transactions. It is especially appropriate that she comments on Whatever xiii</page><page sequence="4">Michael Berkowitz Happened to British Jewish Studies?, edited by Tony Kushner and Hannah Ewence, which is certain to be of great interest. I wish to acknowledge the excellent, continuing work of Jeremy Schonfield with the assistance of Katharine Ridler. I also would like to express appreci- ation for the anonymous reviewers, including several members of the edito- rial board, who have offered their valuable time and expertise. The photograph of 77 Great Russell Street, the London headquarters of the Zionist Organization under Chaim Weizmann, which has no marker attest- ing to its significance, was taken by Frank Dabba Smith. MICHAEL BERKOWITZ University College London xiv</page></plain_text>