WE HAVE SCHOLARS
David Newman may be a professor of political geography in Israel. But this hardly qualifies him to evaluate the academic centres of Jewish Studies in this country ( JC Essay, September 12).
His allegation that those at Oxford (Yarnton), Manchester and the University of London are “characterised by moderate scholarship largely unknown beyond the shores of the British Isles” is as insulting as it is ludicrous.
Professor Newman does not even mention Cambridge, whose unique Geniza Collection and its distinguished staff attract scholars from across the globe.
When the chair in Jewish history recently fell vacant at University College London, numerous applications were received from highly qualified scholars currently holding significant positions in Israel, USA and Europe.
Would they really wish to move to a centre of “moderate scholarship”?
It is likewise facile and misleading for Prof Newman to compare unfavourably the Jewish institutions and scholars in Britain with those in Israel and North America, each of which has a Jewish population some twenty times that of this country, let alone substantially more resources.
Despite their lesser number of academics and lower salaries, the Jewish institutions at UK universities continue to punch well above their weight on the world scene. Charles Corman firstname.lastname@example.org