JEWISH EAST END CELEBRATION SOCIETY

Newsletter 11 February 2018. From Clive Bettington, JEECS chairman

As I said in the last Cable I plan to keep in contact with members of JEECS by newsletters at least until the end of this year.

I want to thank everyone who sent emails regretting the closure of JEECS: David and I were touched to receive them. I shall be working on various projects during the year and hope I can complete them.

  1. Isaac Rosenberg bust

Of all the East End inhabitants I think should be honoured, Isaac Rosenberg is the most worthy. He grew up in appalling poverty, was frequently ill and received an indifferent education. Despite all this he won a scholarship to the prestigious Slade School of Art and is now recognised as one of the greatest British poets of the Great War, second only maybe to Wilfred Owen.

I had hoped for a life-sized statue but have had to be realistic and settle for a bust on a plinth instead. I am still in the process of collecting the required money but I have to commission the sculptor very soon if the bust is to be ready by November this year, when I am hoping to unveil it. As you know Birkbeck College invited us to locate the memorial in front of their building as Rosenberg was an an alumnus. I was therefore shocked when the College and London University demanded £25,000 for asking for planning permission for the bust and for preparing the site. I have told the Master of Birkbeck that such a sum is unacceptable. I am now actively looking for a new site. If any member feels they can help in this project in some way could they contact me.

I am doing a walk on April 1 (the 100th anniversary of the day he disappeared on the Western front), on the theme of “The Whitechapel of Isaac Rosenberg”. We leave at 11am from Aldgate tube. We’re asking for a minimum donation of £10 per ticket. Please come, and do tell all your family and friends. Please book by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to me or by phone on 07941 367882.

  1. Montefiore Drinking Fountain-Stepney Green

I have mentioned our hopes of saving this fountain on several occasions. As I have said I can get certain grants but I do need a donation from the family, which has steadfastly refused to donate anything so far. If anyone knows a member of this very wealthy family could they try to recruit them. If the fountain is not saved soon it will be removed.

  1. Bernard Kops

As you know Bernard is our President. Now in his 91st year he is as active as ever. He is being interviewed by the writer Rachel Lichtenstein on Thursday February 15 at 7pm at the National Portrait Gallery. Bernard is the last of the great writers of the Jewish East End, and is always fascinating to listen to.   There are still tickets available and I do urge you to go to what will be an extremely interesting event.

Tickets are £8 (£7 concessions) from the National Portrait Gallery at 0207 306055.

I remain determined to see Bernard’s great play about the East End, “The Hamlet of Stepney Green”, finally performed in the East End. Anyone interested in helping with this project please contact me.

There will be further newsletters in due course.

 

 

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