Editorial

Introduction

Authors
  • Shirli Gilbert (UCL, UK)
  • Adam Mendelsohn (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
  • Avril Alba (University of Sydney, Australia)

How to Cite:

Gilbert, S., Mendelsohn, A. & Alba, A., (2024) “Introduction”, Jewish Historical Studies: A Journal of English-Speaking Jewry 55(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.14324/111.444.jhs.2024v55.01

Rights: Copyright © 2023, The Author(s).

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Published on
11 Jan 2024
Peer Reviewed

Our collective thanks to Michael Berkowitz, under whose long-serving leadership Jewish Historical Studies has flourished as the preeminent journal for research on the Jewish past in pre-modern and modern England.

We take over the editorship of the journal with gratitude to him, as well as with a strong sense of possibility. Building on the platform he has created and with the support of the leadership of the Jewish Historical Society of England, we have broadened the journal’s remit to include communities with which Anglo-Jewry shares intimate historical ties: South Africa, Canada, Australia, and the English-speaking Caribbean. This change is reflected in our new title, Jewish Historical Studies: A Journal of English-Speaking Jewry.

Even as England remains a primary focus of the journal, we will publish articles that address the distinct histories of Jewish communities in English-speaking lands, that trace transnational connections between these communities, and that compare communities that otherwise have been typically studied as discrete units. We seek contributions that deepen and broaden our understanding of the characteristics of English-speaking Jewry, particularly the challenges and opportunities that liberal host societies have presented to the development of Jewish life.

In keeping with this new vision for the journal, this special issue investigates a variety of themes central to South African Jewish history. These include the intersections of racism and antisemitism in South Africa, the Yiddish press and its relationship with the broader Yiddish world, the political dynamics of Zionist youth movements during apartheid, the cultural and religious evolution of the postwar community, and the origins of the religious revival that has transformed South African Jewry. We also include an essay that analyses the state of scholarship about South African Jewish history, with responses from several leading scholars of modern Jewish history, South African history, and South African Jewish history; a tour d’horizon of the historical development of antisemitism in South Africa; and a reprint of an important but largely unknown early contribution on the immigrant experience in South Africa.

In addition to pieces focused on South Africa, this issue contains two articles that explore transnational dimensions of Jewish life in English-speaking lands.

As before, each edition of the journal includes book reviews on both pre-modern and modern Anglo-Jewish history. These reviews are ably curated by our new book review editors Miriamne Krummel (medieval and early modern) and Roni Mikel Arieli (modern). Future issues will include regular “reflection” essays well as public history reviews on exhibitions, films, installations, and fine arts.

In all our endeavours we are assisted by the invaluable know-how and efficiency of our editorial assistant Jemima Jarman, contributing editor Jeremy Schonfield, designer Tony Kitzinger, and managing editor Katharine Ridler. Our thanks to all of them as well as to our Editorial Board, whose expertise spans the gamut of Jewish historical, literary, and cultural production in the English-speaking world.