The Presidential address of any learned society has a ritual of its own, and any incoming President deliver? ing his address has to follow a fixed pattern. He is expected of course to pay tribute to his predecessor; he usually dwells upon his own lack of any qualifications for the office; and he not infrequently produces a paper which all too often serves only to prove that latter point. I can only hope that I will not conform to that third point of expectation.
Let me begin, however, by paying a tribute to the outgoing President, Raphael Loewe. It is a task which I do joyfully. He himself is a scholar of very high standing indeed, not only in this country but all over the world among other such scholars, and he holds his appointment in an institution of learning well known also over past generations as a centre for Jewish studies. Add to that that Raphael Loewe's own family has produced several scholars of such standing as himself, not least of whom of course was his own father, and it becomes clear that we have indeed had a President who has represented worthily not merely the Society but all that the Society has represented over the years since it was founded. On behalf of the Society I would thank him most sincerely for his services during the past two years; I know that I voice the sentiments of all of us if I say that the honour we have received from his two years of office is far greater than that which he may feel has been done to him, and we are glad that he will be able to continue to help this Society over the years to come.
But in addition to our tribute and thanks to Raphael I should like to pay tribute to his predecessors in office. This Society has been fortunate in both the academic standing and the quality of its Presidents, who have been drawn from men of high standing in the Anglo Jewish community or men of letters?sometimes in? deed both. Some I have had the privilege of knowing and have had great kindnesses and help from them. But the one whom I must this evening single out for mention above all others is Cecil Roth. Those of us who had the pleasure of being students in Oxford while he was there and therefore had the privilege of meeting him, of becoming imbued with his own love of Jewish and particularly of Anglo-Jewish scholar? ship, will never forget the influence which he had upon us. For many of us Cecil Roth epitomised the
Presidential Address delivered to the Society on 19 October 1977.
Jewish Historical Society, and it certainly gives me a feeling of the continuity in the activities of this Society to reflect that it is essentially thanks to him that I stand before you this evening. It will always give me plea? sure to remember the courtesy and kindness he would invariably show to