29 September 2007

UK: Jewish Historical Society resources, events

Founded in 1893, The Jewish Historical Society of England is the oldest historical and learned society of its kind in Europe, and has active branches in Birmingham, Essex, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

Past presidents have included such prominent individuals as Cecil Roth, Isaiah Berlin, Israel Zanwill, F. D. Mocatta and others.

Tracing the Tribe's readers will be interested in the group's monthly meetings covering Anglo-Jewish history from the middle ages to contemporary times. The society's goal is to bring interesting historical scholarship to both general and specialist audiences.

The group's Jewish Historical Studies has been published annually since 1893. For the full contents list of all volumes, clicking here.

Topics cover Ashkenazi and Sephardic, art, music, crypto-Jews, communities, synagogues, Jews in other countries (such as the Canary Islands, Jewish colonies in Cyprus, etc.), cemeteries, publications, Jewish history, events, personalities, lists of names in various documents and records, Jewish glassmakers, Jewish shipowners, physicians - all of interest to genealogists and family historians. The full list is extremely interesting.

Volume VI of Plea Rolls of the Exchequer of the Jews (National Archives, Kew) is listed as a new publication:

The Plantagenet Kings of England derived a considerable income by licensing Jewish moneylenders and taxing them and their debtors heavily. The ‘Exchequer of the Jews’ in Westminster administered that part of the Crown estate in accordance with its own rules. Their records are surprisingly complete and their study reveals much about medieval English administrative and judicial procedure.

This volume opens with a long and detailed Introduction by Dr Paul Brand, Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, explaining the location, staffing and activities of the ‘Exchequer of the Jews’. It includes detailed biographies of the ‘Justices of the Jews’, who controlled it under Edward I. There follow the Latin texts of the Plea Rolls or Memorandum Rolls, from 1282, and comprehensive indices of names, places and subjects. From these the reader can trace additional information about the business activities of medieval English Jews in the period shortly before the expulsion.

Upcoming events include:

OCTOBER: Monday, 1 - Leeds - Dr Henry J Cohn: Guckel of Hameln (1646-1724) - A Jewish woman in a gentile world who was an early advocate of business ethics; Tuesday, 9 - Essex - Raymond Sturgess: Alfred Dreyfuss - A Lawyer’s Dream: a 100 year trial; Sunday, 14 - Manchester - Sara Gremson: The View from Nebo - Jewish North Wales;

NOVEMBER: Sunday, 4 - Birmingham - Dr Nathan Abrams: Remote Jews: Uncovering the lost Jewish communities of Scotland; Tuesday, 6 - Essex - Ron Shelly: The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen; Sunday, 11 - Manchester - Dr Nathan Abrams: “I Don’t Roll on Shabbos!” American Judaism on Film 1990 to the Present; Tuesday, 13 - Herts & Middsx - Prof Michael Alpert: Jews & the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939; Thursday, 15 - London - Professor Marc Saperstein: Ploughshares into Swords: Anglo-Jewish Preaching in Times of War,1800-2001; Sunday, 18 - Liverpool - Michael Gillis: I Did Not Think That Was Jewish History; Sunday, 25 - Manchester - Dr Shaul Itzhaki: The Cairo Conference of 1921 and the present-day map of the Middle East

Other elements of interest on the site: A Chronology of Jewish Events in England from 1066, is here, an impressive list of British Jewish "firsts" here, and a list of Chief Rabbis (Ashkenazi from 1696 and Sephardic from 1664) here.

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