Outreach at the Parkes Institute: the Bournemouth Mini-Series

In this instalment of our series of posts on the Parkes Institute’s outreach activities, we learn more about the Parkes Institute’s relationship with the Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation and our regular Bournemouth lecture series.

The Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation (BHC) is the largest Jewish community in the South of England outside of London and is over 100 years old, having celebrated its centenary in 2005.

The Parkes Institute has had a long running and highly successful partnership with the BHC, and each year we hold a mini series in the summer on a theme reflecting the work of the Parkes Institute, which involves members of Parkes giving four or five lectures as part of the BHC’s Adult Education Programme.

The theme for 2013 was ‘Images of Jewish Identity’, with four members of the Parkes Institute giving exciting and engaging talks on their areas of specialism.

Below is the programme for this years Bournemouth Mini Series:

20 May – Professor Joachim Schlör: ‘Modern Photography in Tel-Aviv’

Photography is a modern medium. It arrives in Palestine in the late 1840s, at a time when the country, still part of the Ottoman Empire, begins its own specific process of modernisation. Travellers to the Holy Land document sites and landscapes, while both Arab and Jewish inhabitants of and immigrants to the land use photography as a means to support their national aspirations. The birth of the city of Tel-Aviv in 1909 is a well-documented event. The immigration of Jews from Nazi Germany in the 1930s brings modern, critical photography to Tel-Aviv. This talk presents my research on the ‘Palestine Professional Photographers’ Association’ (and their struggle against ‘Palästina-Kitsch’) and the work of photographers such as Ellen Auerbach, Walter Zadek, Boris Carmi, Lieselotte Grschebina, and Rudi Weissenstein.

3 June – Professor Tony Kushner: ‘Racing against time: Harold Abrahams, Jewishness and Englishness’

Harold Abrahams is now famous through the film Chariots of Fire. This talk will explore Harold’s family background and the identity – Jewish, British and beyond – of the sprinter and why it is he has been so remembered in Jewish and popular culture. Was he really a victim of antisemitism as he believed and has been popularised in David Puttnam’s film?

10 June – Dr Tom Plant: ‘British Jewish Youth Movements’

British Jewish youth movements emerged in Britain in the late nineteenth century as a response to the influx of Jewish migrants fleeing persecution in Eastern Europe. This talk will present original research on three Jewish youth movements: the Jewish Lads’ Brigade, the Victoria Club and the Maccabi Union. It will explore the way in which these three groups responded to the profound changes that affected British life in the postwar period and the implications that these had for the clubs’ attempts to mould the character of their young members.

17 June – Dr Helen Spurling: ‘The Significance of the Bible in Jewish Culture’

A Rabbi once said of Scripture “Turn it and turn it again for everything is in it”. He meant that all questions that could ever be asked have been answered in the Bible. This session will explore the significance of the Bible for Jewish thought and identity through the ages. We will examine how biblical stories are interpreted to reflect different cultural and historical situations and explain relations with other religious groups.


The Parkes Institute looks forward to continuing its long and successful collaboration with the BHC in 2014 and beyond.

For more information on our upcoming events please see our news and events page.

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