Catch up with our online events

The People on the Beach: Journeys to Freedom After the Holocaust

A vivid history tracing Holocaust survivors who risked everything again for a new life in Palestine.


One summer’s night in 1946, over 1,000 European Jews waited silently on an Italian beach to board a secret ship. They had survived Auschwitz, hidden and fought in forests and endured death marches—now they were taking on the Royal Navy, running the British blockade of Palestine.

From Eastern Europe to Israel via Germany and Italy, Rosie Whitehouse follows in the footsteps of those secret passengers, uncovering their extraordinary stories—some told for the first time. Who were those people on the beach? Where and what had they come from, and how had they survived? Why, after being liberated, did so many Jews still feel unsafe in Europe? How do we—and don’t we—remember the Holocaust today? This remarkable, important book digs deep and travels far in search of answers.


Rosie Whitehouse is a journalist specialising in Jewish life after the Holocaust. She writes for BBC Online, the Observer, The Independent, Tablet magazine, The Jewish Chronicle, Haaretz and others. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she is an historical advisor at the Vienna-based Centropa, a Jewish history institute.

House of Glass: The Story and Secrets of a Twentieth Century Jewish Family

When Hadley Freeman found a shoebox filled with her French grandmother’s treasured belongings, it started a decade-long quest to find out their haunting significance and to dig deep into the extraordinary lives of her grandmother, Sala, and her three siblings, Henri, Jacques and Alex Glass. The search takes Hadley from Picasso’s archives in Paris to a secret room in a farmhouse in Auvergne to Long Island and to Aushwitz.

Hadley had only really known that her grandmother had met her American grandfather through her brother Alex in Paris, and that she travelled to America to marry him in the late 1930s. But by piecing together letters, photos and an unpublished memoir, Hadley is able to thrillingly recount the full story of all the Glass siblings – Alex’s past as a fashion couturier and friend of Dior and Chagall, trusting and brave Jacques, a fierce patriot for his adopted country, the brilliant Henri who hid out in place after place in occupied Paris – and about each of their bids for survival during the Second World War. She discovers her great uncles’ extraordinary acts of courage in Vichy France alongside her grandmother’s equally heroic but more private form of female self-sacrifice.

Addressing themes of assimilation, identity, and home this powerful story of the past explores issues that are deeply relevant today. A moving memoir following the journey of the Glass siblings throughout the course of the twentieth-century, House of Glass is a thrilling account of love, loss, family and belonging.


Hadley Freeman grew up in New York City and London. She has been a staff writer at the Guardian since 2000 and has contributed to many other publications, including Vogue (US and UK.) This her fourth book. She lives in London with her partner and their three children

Antisemitism - the oldest hatred

This year’s speaker is John Mann, Lord Mann of Holbeck Moor HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism

In the summer of 2005, John Mann, Member of Parliament for Bassetlaw, was appointed Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism (APPG). John has commissioned two major All-Party Inquiries into Antisemitism and a further inquiry into Electoral Conduct. In 2008, John established the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA). In May 2009, John received the American Jewish Committee’s (AJC’s) Jan Karski Award in recognition of his commitment and work in fighting antisemitism. In 2010, he chaired the Football Association’s Task Force on Antisemitism and Islamophobia in football.

In July 2019, John Mann stepped down as Chair of the All- Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism when he was appointed the Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism in one of Theresa May’s final acts as Prime Minister.

Josiah Wedgwood and his response to the fate of the Jews.

Josiah Wedgwood (1872-1943) was MP for Newcastle under Lyme from 1906 until 1942 when he was elevated to the House of Lords. He was the great, great grandson of the potter and came from a non-conformist background in Staffordshire.


Throughout his parliamentary  career Wedgwood spoke out on behalf of Jews.  He  was a keen and active supporter of Zionism and worked closely with Vladimir Jabotinsky.  Lesley Urbach will not focus on this during her talk but will speak about Wedgwood’s efforts to persuade the British Government to allow Jews from Germany and Austria into Britain and Palestine; and  on his involvement in the parliamentary campaign against internment.  As with Eleanor Rathbone, Wedgwood’s efforts are largely unknown, and Lesley hopes to do something to rectify this  in her talk.


Since retiring  in 2013 Lesley Urbach has graduated with a Mres(distinction) in Jewish History and Culture from Southampton University (Parkes Institute). During the course, Lesley developed an interest in the response of MPs and government ministers to the persecution of the Jews in and from Nazi-occupied Europe. Her dissertation examined the Labour politician, Herbert Morrison’s response to the fate of the Jews.


This is a talk organised jointly by Milim and the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England

VEGANS IN ICELAND – Photo book virtual launch event.

oin the virtual launch event for Vegans in Iceland, the latest book of photography by Jonathan Straight.

This book documents a visit to the volcanic island, made in 2019, to photograph members of the vegan community there.

The black and white portraits are interspersed with other vegan-inspired  images taken on the trip.

Jonathan will explain how he came to to produce this book and will talk about some of the people he met and photographed as well as talking more generally about his photographic practice.

Jonathan will be in conversation with Sydney Thornbury, CEO and Artistic Director of The Art House in Wakefield.

Dr Jonathan Straight FRSA is a British photographer based in Yorkshire. He specialises in documentary, portrait and street genres.  He had no formal training in photography, instead learning at the knee of his late father, who was a keen and talented amateur. Receiving a 35mm camera for his 10th birthday and carefully watching his father work in a home darkroom gave his sufficient grounding to produce his own work.


Having enjoyed a former career as a successful environmental entrepreneur, he now continues to work on various photographic projects as well as being involved with different businesses and charities.


He was shortlisted for Portrait of Britain 2019, has had photographs published in various places and has held several exhibitions of his work. In 2018, he published Blood, Sweat, Tears and Helicopters, a documentary study of the Israeli Ambulance Service. Now out of print, copies occasionally come up as collectables on Amazon. This is his second book of photography.


Jonathan’s book can be ordered at

£10 discount with code



The Tears of Monterini- A fictional account of true events during the fascist reign of Mussolini.

Amanda Weinberg discusses  how a medieval Italian village with a Jewish past became the inspiration for her novel. She will talk about journeying to the medieval village of Pitigliano in 1998 and discovering its Jewish history and culture; how she was inspired to write a novel based on the events of the era;her research into this period, her discussions with the inhabitants of the town, their stories and further research which then took me beyond Pitigliano to Emiglia-Romagna and to Rome for the massacre of the Fosse Ardeatine.Amanda will explore her relationship with the village, the villagers, the Catholic Jewish bond, the synagogue complex and museum.

A Tour of The Long-Lost Jewish Communities of North East England

David Gordon will be looking at the history of the Jewish communities of Sunderland, North Shields, South Shields, Whitley Bay, Durham, Hartlepool, Stockton Darlington and Bishop  Auckland

David was born in Sunderland in 1956 at a time when the Sunderland Jewish community was still in its pomp. He attended the newly established Menorah Primary School in Sunderland and his family were members of the Sunderland Hebrew Congregation in Ryhope Road which I he attended with his father every Shabbat and Yom Tov.
His grandfather, Isaac Gordon z”l, his  late father Aubrey Gordon z”l (a local solicitor and     part time judge) and uncle Julius Gordon, all played leading roles on the Shul council in their time.
His great grandfather, Reb Chatze Cohen was one of the founders of the Beth Hamedrash     Synagogue in Sunderland (the frum shul), and he was responsible for bringing Rabbi Hurwitz from Lithuania to Sunderland to serve as Rabbi of that congregation when it was established. His late Uncle Dr Benny Gordon z”l was very active in the affairs of the Beth Hamedrash.

This is a talk organised jointly by Milim and the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England

Sex Robots & Vegan Meat

Welcome to a world of kitchens where thousand-dollar chicken nuggets are made, members-only meetings where people learn how to kill themselves, and the discussion boards where men plan all-out war against women. Sex Robots & Vegan Meat will introduce you to scientists, humanoids, designers, ethicists, entrepreneurs and provocateurs; a fertility specialist prepared to do almost anything to satisfy his patients, a man married to his sex doll, a cake decorator who helped her best friend die and an artist who uses living flesh as his medium.

We are on the brink of seismic change in the four core areas of human experience: birth, food, sex and death, from artificial wombs, to lab-grown meat; from sex robots programmable to have polite conversations with your wife, to a new frontier in assisted dying. Who are the people dictating and
shaping the change taking place, and what is motivating them to do it? Can we safely assume that
these entrepreneurs are in it for the thrill of human advancement, or might there be more sinister
motivations at hand?

Jenny Kleeman’s Sex Robots & Vegan Meat takes the reader on a fascinating exploration of the changes afoot, and their implications for who we are as a society, and as humans.

Forman’s – They’re Not Just A Smokehouse. They’re A Salmon Theme-Park

In 1905 Lance Forman’s great-grandfather, Aaron ‘Harry’ Forman set up the family business with his son, Louis, in London’s East End. A Russian émigré with a family to provide for, Harry saw potential in the curing of fresh Scottish salmon, the king of fish. Lance will tell the story of this long standing family business including its recent history.
Following a lengthy dispute, the site of the business was relocated in 2007 from the area which is now the London Olympic Park through a compulsory purchase order involving over 200 companies.

To order Lance’s book

FORMAN’S GAMES:  The Dark Underside of the London Olympics

Please go to:





If you enter discount code  BOOK25 the price will eb discounted by 25%


Zooming in on the Judaica collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Our guide will be Simona Di Nepi, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is responsible for building and displaying the collection of Jewish Art. Originally from Rome, before moving to the United States. Simona has studied and worked in London and Tel Aviv for 25 years. She has filled curatorial roles—in both decorative arts and Old Masters—at the Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where she cared for permanent collections and planned exhibitions. In Israel, she worked as curator at Beit Hatfutsot: the Museum of the Jewish People and as a lecturer in Italian Renaissance art at IDC Herzelyia.

Simona curated the exhibitions Reunions: Bringing Early Italians Paintings Back Together at the National Gallery in London and Dreyfus: The Story of a French-Jewish Family at the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv. In addition to these exhibition catalogues, her publications also include From Duccio to Leonardo: Renaissance Painting 1250-1500, and contributions to Renaissance Siena: Art for a City, Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian, and Velazquez. In Jewish Art, Simona co-authored Italia Ebraica, Storie Ritrovate/Jewish Italy: Rediscovered Stories, and is currently writing a comprehensive history of Judaica at the MFA Boston.

Marching On Together--Now For The Promised Land

Following the success of our event in June we return this time to focus on what promotion to the Premier League means to Leeds United, their supporters and the City of Leeds.
Again our host is football journalist and sports psychologist Gary Bloom.
Our panel will consist of a number of Leeds United fans including Michael ‘Superfan’ Michaelson  and Anthony Clavane author of the Promised Land together with Philip Bernie the Head of BBC TV Sport who will talk about the impact of TV coverage on a team newly promoted to the Premier League and Ian Cheeseman ex-BBC Radio Manchester and football Blogger who will discuss the impact on supporters of following a newly promoted Premier League team.

Please note the first 5 mins of the event did not record


Our last Marching on Together event raised £200 for Leeds Cares.


We would like to raise at least another £200 for Leeds Cares

To donate click here





Piecing together lost history: Jews in the South African War

The men named on a British Empire war memorial at Willesden Jewish Cemetery are all but lost to history. How can we interpret the significance of their service in a military campaign which today is seen as controversial? Molly Maslen investigates.
A special talk by Molly Maslen, volunteer researcher with the “House of Life” and History MA graduate.
Two memorial boards remembering Jewish fatalities of a war in South Africa 1899 – 1902 have been sitting quietly at Willesden Jewish Cemetery for 60 years.
The 116 Jews they name are all but lost to history. But who were they? And what did Jewish leaders want to say by putting their ultimate sacrifice into the public eye on a Roll of Honour while anti-immigrant feeling raged against the community at home?
At a time when historic memorials are subject of immense debate, the House of Life heritage project at Willesden Jewish Cemetery wanted to know the backstory of its memorial to the fallen of the South African Campaign, once known as the “Boer War”. It asked History graduate Molly Maslen to investigate.
Following her research into newspapers, journal articles and public records, in this special talk hosted by the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society, Molly presents her personal assessment of an episode when patriotism and prejudice collided, and asks whether the time is right to lift the veil on the memorials at last.
This is a talk organised jointly by Milim and the Leeds branch of the Jewish Historical Society of England.

Any questions or information for either Molly or Hester can be sent direct to them via: HAbrams@theus.org.uk


To sign up to the Willesden Jewish Cemetery newsletter go to:


‘What Are Jews For? A History of the Idea of Jewish Chosenness'

What is the purpose of Jews in the world? The Bible singles out the Jews as God’s ‘chosen people’, but the significance of this special has been understood in many different ways over the centuries, both by Jews and by non-Jews. The idea that the Jews have a special role in human history has often caused considerable unease, but it also been a persistent presence in almost all domains of modern thought.  In this session Adam Sutcliffe will explore the history of ’the Jewish Purpose Question’ from biblical times to the present,  which he discusses in his new book What Are Jews For? History, Peoplehood and Purpose (Princeton University Press, 2020).

Adam Sutcliffe is Professor of European History at King’s College London.  He has published widely on Jewish history, the history of European thought and on history and memory. His earlier books include Judaism and Enlightenment (2003); Philosemitism in History (2011); and History, Memory and Public Life: The Past in the Present (2018).



We are delighted to be able to offer What Are Jews For?: History, Peoplehood, and Purpose by Adam Sutcliffe at a 25% discount for a limited time.

Sutcliffe traces the history of the idea of Jewish purpose from its ancient and medieval foundations to the modern era, showing how it has been central to Western thinking on the meanings of peoplehood for everybody. Sutcliffe reveals the persistent importance of the “Jewish Purpose Question” in the attempts of Jews and non-Jews alike to connect the collective purpose of particular communities to the broader betterment of humanity.

Visit Princeton University Press’s website to order your copies of What Are Jews For? at a 25% discount (postage and packing costs will be added at point of purchase). Please use the special offer code FOR20 to redeem your offer. Offer available until 31 July 2020.

To order go to:



In conversation with ...

Ashley Blaker was in conversation with Jonathan Straight exploring the world of writing and performing comedy in particular looking at how main stream comedy is having to meet the demands of a changing social environment

Ashley Blaker is an internationally acclaimed comedian, seen and heard on TV and radio across the world. He has performed on five continents including tours of the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Israel and Australia. His 2018 Off-Broadway run was called ‘a slickly funny stand-up show’ by the New York Times and in 2020 he returned with ‘Goy Friendly’ which ran at the prestigious SoHo Playhouse.

In August 2018, Ashley made his debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a sold-out run of his show ‘Observant Jew’. In May 2019, he began a sold-out tour of his new show ‘Prophet Sharing’ alongside Muslim comedian Imran Yusuf. He is the first Orthodox Jewish comedian to be given his own BBC show – ‘Ashley Blaker’s Goyish Guide To Judaism’ – which returned in October 2019 to rave reviews.

In October 2019, Ashley also produced the triumphant return of the comedy phenomenon ‘Little Britain’ after a 12 year hiatus. As an award-winning comedy writer and producer, he has worked with a who’s who of British comedy.
If he has any free time, then it’s spent being run ragged by his six children and two cats.

Follow Ilkley's Jewish Heritage Trail - a virtual walk through the town's Past

This afternoon’s talk will visit the monuments and tell you some of the many stories about the people and personalities who were part of the town’s history.
Nigel Grizzard came North after working as researcher for the Board of Deputies of British Jews. Working in West Yorkshire he became aware of the county’s wider Jewish past and has researched, written and guided many groups around a number of different towns and cities. Nigel is now the Jewish Heritage Guide for Yorkshire and is looking forward to the day when he can take groups around Yorkshire’s Jewish sites.