PREFACE.

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This volume contains a selection from the papers read before the Society since the publication of the second volume of Transactions. In addition a series of documents, hitherto un? published, has been included, and it is hoped that these will be interesting to students of the history of the English Jews in the thirteenth century. For the preparation of the volume the Editorial Committee is responsible.

Two Presidential Addresses are here presented. The first is by the Chief Kabbi, who was President of the Society during the session 1896?7: the second is by Mr. Joseph Jacobs, who has been President for the sessions 1897-9. It will be observed that Mr. Jacobs' address was delivered in Birming? ham. This innovation was designed to express the Society's sense of the importance of securing the adhesion of larger sup? port outside the Metropolis, and the plan met with considerable success. The Jewish community of Birmingham received the President with a warm welcome, and encouraged the Council to hope that future experiments of the same nature in other large centres of Jewish population will be similarly fruitful of good result.

Another novelty in the Society's work has also been initiated. When the Society was founded it was intended to formulate a scheme by which the study of general Jewish history might be popularised. A number of lectures have now been prepared, and several others are in course of completion. These lectures.

are illustrated by lantern views, the subjects of the pictures being derived from manuscripts, old prints, ancient records, and other authentic sources. Thus the pictures are in them? selves instructive, and when the series of lectures is complete the pictures will form a consecutive presentment of Jewish life in many of its historical aspects. An important feature of the slides is that many of them represent places and sites indelibly associated with the past and present of Judaism. That the public appreciates this extension of the Society's work is shown by the large audiences which have assembled to hear Dr. Adlers lecture on " Menasseh ben Israel," and the Rev. S. Singers lecture on the " Jews of Borne." These lectures have already been delivered in Birmingham and Glasgow, as well as in London. Other lectures now ready are Mr. Frank Haes' " Survey of Anglo-Je wish History," and Mr. I. Abrahams' " Moses Maimonides." Of the lectures not yet so forward, but still in active preparation, are Dr. Friedl?nder's on " Rashi and the Rhine," Dr. Hirschfeld's on " The Story of Jewish Emancipation," the Rev. L. M. Simmons' on " Hillel and the Mishnah," Mr. E. K Adlers on " Persia and the Gaonim," and several others, which it would be premature to mention at present. It is satisfactory to state that this scheme has made no inroad on the regular funds of the Society, for the cost has been defrayed by a special fund raised for the purpose. Dona? tions will be welcome to enable the Society to develop this side of its

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