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A Survey of Anglo-Jewish History

Rev. Dr. H. Adler

<plain_text><page sequence="1">JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY. A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. By the CHIEF KABBI. Ladies and Gentlemen,?When I accepted the honourable post of President of the Jewish Historical Society of England for the current session, my yielding to your request was not devoid of con? siderable reluctance and misgiving. For I was painfully aware that, owing to the manifold responsibilities and unending duties that press upon me, I should have but scant leisure vouchsafed to me to further the interests of your Society. And indeed, from a financial point of view, your choice, I fear me, could not be pronounced a felicitous one. Our treasurer has intimated to me that we do not suffer from a lack of members, but that in the case of our Society, strangely enough, the terms members and subscribers are not exactly synonymous. The glowing desire, characteristic of other societies, to pay subscriptions the moment they become due, is not, I have been told, a distinctive feature of our body. This is a peculiar phenomenon; for surely we give you adequate value for your money, save and except, of course, in regard to the address to which you are doomed to listen this even? ing. The volume of Transactions alone, just published, of which I can speak freely, as it contains no contribution of mine, is surely well worth half-a-guinea And, in addition, you will enjoy the advantage of listening to the instructive papers which will be read during the present session. Surely these and other privileges, touching which you will hear in the course of the evening, are more than an adequate return for the small annual subscription asked of you. I do hope that this gentle reminder will suffice to stimulate the laggards to pay vol. hi. a</page><page sequence="2">2 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. their arrears, and thus triumphantly to disprove the imputation recently made upon us by a high authority on finance, that the clergy are not good men of business. But one qualification for the post I have the honour to fill I may claim without being guilty of arrogance or conceit: I am fired with a deep and absorbing love for Jewish History and Literature. Anglo Jewish History especially has absolutely exercised a fascination upon me from my earliest youth. When I was yet in my teens I began to prepare an outline history of Anglo-Jewish worthies, and the first lecture I delivered before our working-men in Heneage Lane, as far back as 1869, was on the subject of " The Jews in England." All history, indeed, should be an inspiring and entrancing theme to every thinking man and woman. It has been truly said that " history makes some amends for the shortness of life." How can we, within the limited span of our existence, gain sufficient experience to quit ourselves worthily amid every trial and in every difficulty? We turn to history, and in il Her ample page, Rich with the spoils of time," we read of the successes and failures both of nations and individuals. We see monuments of glory and beacons of danger set along the shores of the past to direct us through the trackless ocean of the future. Happy, thrice happy, he who has ears to hear the voices of the dead, to which those around him remain deaf; who has eyes to see the visions of ancient times, which to others are dim and dark. Thus does the young man become like unto him who is threescore and ten years old without either wrinkles or grey hairs. Thus he is endowed with the mellow experience of old age, without its infirmities and miseries, without the tears, without the fears, of dim declining years. As Carlyle has it: "History is the Letter of Instruction which the old generations write and posthumously transmit to the new \ the message, verbal or written, which all mankind delivers to every man; it is the only articulate communication which the Past can have with the Present, the Distant with what is Here !" But, impressed as we must be, with the brevity of human life, cognisant, as we are, of the multitudinous subjects that present</page><page sequence="3">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 3 themselves to the human mind for thought and study, we know full well that we cannot hope to gain more than the faintest smat? tering, the merest surface-knowledge of general history. The days of " Admirable Crichtons," and of schoolmen who could boast of know? ing omne scibile^ are over and gone. The domain of knowledge has become so vast,?every department of science has become like each star above us, a world in itself,?that it commands the entire devotion of a lifetime. Professor Grassi received the other day the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society for his researches in that one little nook and corner of the wide field of Zoology?the White Ants of Sicily. But to us English Jews there are two sections of history of special interest and value: the history of our dear country, "this noble realm of England," and of the race and religious communion to which we belong. Although we do not propose to deal with the history of Israel during Bible times, it may not be out of place to cite a very remarkable deliverance made by Lord Acton in his inaugural lecture at the Cambridge University. He says : "If we are to account mind not matter, ideas not force, the spiritual property that gives dignity and grace and intellectual value to history and its action on the ascending life of man, then the footsteps of a silent yet prophetic people, who dwelt by the Dead Sea and perished in the Fall of Jerusalem, come nearer to our lives than the ancestral wisdom of the Barbarians who fed their swine on the Hercynian acorns." I have cited this passage because it applies with equal force to the annals of the Jews dating from the period when the scriptural records end. For we did not perish with the Fall of the Temple. This event forms a turning-point, not the close of that wondrous history? " With its many-coloured splendour, And its sombre darkling gloom." It must be admitted that these annals do not constitute, as do so many portions of universal history, a complex chain of bloodshed and a tangled web of intrigue. It is a history, not of kings or demagogues, not of armies, camarillas and cabals, of rebellions and revolutions, not the record of selfish dynastic ambitions nor of popular encroach? ments. It is the history of a people, a great but unfortunate people, upholding its faith despite all the dangers and temptations that assail</page><page sequence="4">4 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. it. It is the history of a literature not entirely unworthy of the People of the Book. I do not propose forestalling the discussion of the question to which you will be shortly invited, as to whether papers on the general history of the Jews will be admissible here. But, by our constitution, the primary objects of our Society are the promotion and organisation of research into, and study of, the history of the Jews of the British Empire. You are probably aware that, for some considerable time, there were many people labouring under the delusion that no material existed for compiling a history of the Jews in England; that, in fact, there were no incidents worth relating; that those who dwelt here prior to the exile were all engaged, more or less, in monetary transactions, and that all facts worth knowing since our re-admission had already been recorded. The fatuity of such a belief has long since been ex? posed. I will, with your permission, proceed to sketch, with the utmost brevity, some of the leading facts hitherto elicited, bearing upon our residence in these isles during the Pre-Expulsion Period and since our readmission. I would likewise indicate, though but in bald outline, the work that still remains to be accomplished. You will readily agree with me that the present renascence of interest in Anglo-Je wish history is mainly due to the efforts of our Vice-President, Mr. Isidore Spielman, who, during the golden Jubilee year, skilfully planned and admirably organised the Anglo Jewish Exhibition. The publication of the volume of Shetaroth re? moved a reproach which had too long attached to us. Their editor, Mr. Myer Davis, has, we are well aware, made many laborious re? searches in the musty and dusty archives of the nation. It is to be hoped that he will ere long give to the world, arranged in scholarly fashion, the results of his painstaking labours. The deeds contained in the volume edited by him relate primarily to conveyances of land, and deal with transfers of debts, quittances to debtors, and deposits of security. Now and again a little gleam of romance pierces the gloom of these prosaic business transactions. We come across betrothal deeds, marriage settlements, and releases from marriage. Three brothers of Norwich bind themselves to seek a " handsome and sweet husband " for their sister Sarah within the next three years, to present to her a</page><page sequence="5">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 5 dowry to the amount of ten marks, equivalent to about .?200 of the present day,1 a suitable trousseau and trinkets, and to provide an appropriate wedding and feast. I believe that brothers are not always equally kind and generous in these degenerate days. Fathers, in several instances, give their daughters a house on the occasion of their marriage. They also promise to support the young couple for a period of twelve months after marriage, even going so far as to engage a teacher to instruct the husband during that time. These documents are also invested with vivid interest to the antiquary by the minute information they convey touching the topography of important towns in the thirteenth century?London, Norwich and Lincoln, Nottingham and York, Canterbury, Colchester and Hereford. Mention is made of streets, and even of families, concerning which no other record has come down to our time. The very names are not without their charm. We find that "Jessica," only familiar to us through Shakespeare's present? ment of "that beautiful pagan, that most sweet Jew," was quite an ordinary appellation, being, indeed, the equivalent of the Hebrew "Yiscah."2 " Muriel," long the pet name of gilded saloons, was the "Betsy" of the Ghetto of yore. Names that sound so weird and grotesque in their Norman-French garb, such as " Deulecresse," "Deudone," "Hagin," "Yives," and " Cok," are found to be good old acquaintances when we trace their Hebrew originals?" Gedaliah," " Elchanan," " Chayim," and " Yitzchak." But the most valuable outcome of the Anglo-Je wish Exhibition was the circumstance that it brought home to another of our Yice Presidents, Mr. Joseph Jacobs, the knowledge of the existence of an enormous mass of available material for compiling a mediseval history, whereby he was led to write his most useful work on the Jews of Angevin England. He has gleaned his facts from Hebrew and Latin sources, primarily, however, from English documents, especially the Pipe Rolls in the Record Office. The facts which the author marshals before us, with characteristic care and thoroughness, will compel the just historian to revise, in some measure, the verdict ordinarily passed on the Jews of those days. When we read of the excessive demands made by kings and princes of these hapless Hebrews, when we find 1 See Jacobs' Jews of Angevin England, Appendix IV., " Money Value in the Twelfth Century." 2 Genesis xi. 29.</page><page sequence="6">6 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. that they had to provide absolutely one-twelfth of the royal revenue, we may pity, but dare not condemn them, for devoting themselves to money-getting, and for charging more than a fair rate of interest. It is a mistake, however to imagine that the sole occupation of the Jewish merchants of those days was money-lending; they were also engaged in the corn and wool trades. It would likewise be a grave error to imagine that they were all in prosperous circumstances. Mr. B. L. Abrahams, in his paper on the condition of the Jews of England in 1290, just published in the second volume of our Transac? tions (page 83), has shown that the rich formed the minority, the great majority of the Jews of England being then, as is the case now, in necessitous circumstances. That period of history, however, is far from being exhausted as yet. Mr. Jacobs tells us that "it would take a score of similar volumes to complete the history of the English Jews on the same scale for the eighty-four years that elapse to the Expulsion.'' Verily we may apply to this mass of material what was said of other archives, " There is more fear of drowning than of drought." Let us hope that Mr. Jacobs, in accordance with the Babbinic maxim, that he who makes a proposition should also carry it through, will engage upon the heroic task of becoming the path-finder through this jungle. Nor should it be forgotten that careful investigation into Jewish sources may yield a rich return. We have a striking instance of this in the publication of a Hebrew Elegy,1 composed for the Fast of Ab, in which the author, Babbi Menachem, laments the martyrs of York, who gave glory to God and declared His praise in the Isles. Dr. Salfeld, of Mainz, is at present engaged in publishing, on behalf of the Historical Commission of Berlin, the Memor-Buch of N?rnberg. He finds mention therein of KW^JJK Angleterra, Martyrs of the Island, Martyrs of England. This same memorial book contains a record of persecutions which took place in London in 1264, thus corroborating the statement of Florence of Worcester, that " in this year the barons and the Londoners spoiled the London Jews and killed many." 2 1 Vol. I. of Transactions, " A Hebrew 2t The work has now been published N?rnberger Memorbuches, being Volume Elegy," by Prof. S. Schechter, M.A. under the title Das Martyrologium des III. of the Quellen zur Geschichte der</page><page sequence="7">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 7 But the main, and indeed the most fruitful result of this renas? cence, has been entirely to overthrow the long-cherished prejudice that the Jews of those days were exclusively addicted to money-getting in its various forms. Mr. Jacobs has taken infinite pains to collect the various scattered notices relating to Anglo-Jewish theologians and literati in the twelfth century. In his enthusiasm he has, perhaps, here and there laid claim to some who never crossed the Strait of Calais. Dr. Steinschneider in his monumental work, Die Hebr?ischen TJeher Setzungen des Mittelalters, goes to the other extreme,1 when he makes the Jews of England entirely dependent on the French for their literature and culture. " Can anything good come out of England, save, perhaps, golden sovereigns 1" some of our learned German brethren seem uniformly to ask. I frankly admit that certain learned Babbis whom the late Leopold Dukes2 claimed as Londoners can no longer be described as such, since Dr. Neubauer has proved that the description p^h *1"D does not represent " London," but the French town of Chateau Landon. We may, perhaps, be obliged to surrender Berachya, the author of the " Fox Fables." But beyond a doubt, prominent Mas sorites and grammarians flourished in this " island in the corner of the sea." This was the term by which England was designated in those days. When Maimonides in his introduction to the Jad Hachasaka states that the Israelites in their dispersion came to the D^pimn D^K, the distant islands, he probably refers to the British Isles. It is possible that the great Ibn Ezra, on the occasion of his visit to this country in 1158, gave the first impulse to these studies. Chief among these grammarians was Moses ben Yomtov of London, Hanakdon, or Punctator, as he was called. Only a fragment of a treatise on the Hebrew vowel system and accentuation, entitled Juden in Deutschland, edited by the Historical Commission.for the history of the Jews in Germany. The entry is JWDJ HIND V'B Wll))*? D\1 ^1"in. In his scholarly annotations (p. 153), the editor cites Arnaldi Cronica Londo niensia, a. 1264, "Postea in septimana ante ramos palmarum destructum est Judaismum in Londoniis," showing that the Jewish quarter was destroyed between April 6th and 12th. 1 Page 960, Note 77. 2 In his articles on the Bodleian Library in the Jewish Chronicle, June 22, 1849, and the following numbers.</page><page sequence="8">8 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JE WISH HISTORY. rVOTini TlpJPI "OTT, has come down to us.1 But the few pages we possess are sufficient to prove the value and originality of the treatise. Norzi, the compiler of the Minchas Shai, writes that " this man Moses was great in the knowledge of the science of grammar." Wolf Heidenheim2 declares that no other grammarian explains so satisfactorily as he the rule concerning the letters *1P1K&gt; when followed by ri?D Baer, in his capital edition of the Prayer Book, quotes him twice on the first page. Of no less merit was his disciple, Moses ben Isaac Hannasiah (Comitissa) of England, author of a grammar and lexicon which bears the fanciful title of DHt^n HDD, the Onyx Boole, two MSS. of which are extant, one in the Bodleian, and another in the Imperial Library of St. Petersburg. The first portion of the work has been edited by the late G. W. Collins. Earnestly do I hope that the liberality of our friends will enable us to publish the entire work at an early date, as it contains much that is of solid value, more especially some sound interpretations of difficult Bible passages, and as it gives striking proof of the literary activity of our forebears in those troublous times. Dr. Neubauer in his Rabbins Francais, and Professor Dr. Bacher in his Hebr?ische Sprachwissen? schaft, contributed to Winter and W?nsche's J?dische Literatur, vol. ii. pp. 205-207, give accounts of the Onyx Booh, and come to the con? clusion that Moses ben Isaac, the author of the Onyx Book, was the disciple of Moses ben Yomtov. As far back as 1849, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle asks: "Ought not the Jews of this country to bestir themselves to have that manuscript printed and published ? Besides the merits of the book itself, which is not even inferior to Kimchi, it ought to possess a peculiar interest for English Jews, the author having been an Englishman." When we come to the department of Talmudic learning, we meet with a gallant array of names quoted in the Tosaphoth, in the Mordecai, and by other authorities. I readily admit that they cannot be compared in respect either of numbers or of eminence with the Rabbis who flourished in neighbouring France. The mention of 1 Printed originally in the nifcOpD, and published with an Intro? duction and Notes by Dr. S. Frensdorf! (Hanover, 1847). 2 In his Commentary DIG? on Genesis ii. 15.</page><page sequence="9">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 9 Norwich and Lincoln will not evoke such a thrill in the heart of a Hebrew scholar as would be roused by the naming of Troyes, the birthplace of Rashi, or of Rameru, the small village of the Champagne where stood the cradle of Rabbenu Tarn. I will also admit that they were, in most instances, the disciples of French Rabbis who at that time were the most illustrious in Jewry. Rabbi Benjamin of Canterbury, author of D^pDS (Decisions), some of which are contained in a manuscript in my possession, had sat at the feet of that self-same Rabbenu Tarn. Rabbi Yomtob, who died a martyr's death at York, was also his disciple. The first author whose researches rescued from oblivion a notable series of English Talmudists was the immortal Dr. Zunz. His lists are, however, far from being complete. In his learned excursus on the " Semak of Zurich," which forms one of the appendices of Die Ritus des Synagogalen Gottesdienstes, he describes with characteristic thoroughness this work, of which there is a splendid MS. in the British Museum. But he seems to have no conception that the D^TI YVi the Tree of Life, several times quoted therein, was written by a Jew of London, or that Nicola, the domicile of another much-quoted authority, t)DV R. Joseph, is none other than Lincoln. This is the name by which Lincoln is designated in the Shetaroth. The author of a " History of the County of Lincoln" (1834) suggests that Nichol is a misreading of Incol or Lincoln, or the imperfect pronunciation of the Normans, as the French have dis? figured many proper names in later times. Dr. Heinrich Gross has just published his extremely useful Gallia Judaica, containing literary notices of each town in France in which Jews have flourished, and some account of their Rabbis and authors that were born or taught there. It is a stout volume of 766 pages. I gladly acknowledge that the work is the result of the most painstaking research. But without being guilty of captious criticism, I may be permitted to express my surprise at the author having included pI'Hlltf, Everwic, i.e. York, in his list, a city which, as far as my historical and geographical knowledge goes, has never formed a part of the kingdom of France. If, like Rabbi Meyer of Rothenburg, he wishes to consider France and England as constituting one country, why has he excluded London and Norwich, Nottingham and Lincoln, and many other English towns from his survey ?</page><page sequence="10">10 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. But I cannot conceal my regretful surprise that in his scholarly work he has omitted all reference to the Tree of Life, written by Babbi Jacob ben Judah, Chazan of London, that valuable MS. of the Leipsic Baths-Bibliothek, to which I was enabled, by the courtesy of Dr. Neubauer, to be the first to draw public attention in my lecture on " The Chief Babbis of England." What a valuable contri? bution to our knowledge of Hebrew Liturgy does that work constitute ! When Dr. Zunz published his Ritus des Synagogdlen Gottesdienstes, in 1859, he stated that the Bitual of the English congregations presumably closely resembled the French, if it was not absolutely identical We now possess in that MS. a full account of the early English Prayer-book, whilst the French has been well-nigh lost. Pro? fessor Dr. Kaufmann has fully treated of this subject in his articles in the Jewish Quarterly Review} I will only now incidentally refer to two points of interest. The concluding prayer, )yby, is much more copious than the one we possess. It seems to be aglow with indigna? tion against the idolatry and relic-worship which was then prevalent, and sometimes led the English Hebrew to indulge in imprudent scoffing and ridicule. As a matter of special interest to the ladies, I may mention that the day on which nuptials were celebrated, ?V ]DJltl9 the " Bridegroom's Day/' as it was termed, was considered a festival, and distinguished by a special festal liturgy. I will not now further dwell upon this work, save to say that I have had a copy taken of the MS., which consists of 910 closely-written octavo pages, and that I hope to be enabled to publish the volume in full, with notes and an introduction, setting forth the works which the author has used, the authorities he cites, and the quotations from his works to be met with in other writings. Nor were our predecessors in this island entirely devoid of poetic talent. The Tree of Life contains some hymns, composed in all probability by the author himself. Babbenu Yom Tob wrote the Penitential Hymn, p D^fttf, sung on the eve of the Day of Atone? ment, as appears from the introductory lines preserved in some MSS.2 1 Vol. iv. pp. 20-63 and 550-561. 2 Zunz, Literaturgeschichte der Synagogalen Poesie, pp. 286, 7; Graetz, Geschichte der Juden, vol. iv. p. 9; and Jacobs' Jews of Angevin England, pp. 109-111, where Mr. Zangwill's translation is given in full.</page><page sequence="11">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 11 ~\b pitn-rp DV DV " Day by day stronghold they seek in Thee, Good One ! let stronger yet thy word be Forgiven." There must likewise be named Meir ben Elijah, of Norwich, whose didactic poem, embodying the Scripture narrative from the Creation to the Passage of the Red Sea, Dr. Berliner was fortunate enough to discover in the Vatican. Its merit is not of the highest, yet this and some other compositions stamp the author as having been possessed of a thorough mastery of the Hebrew tongue. You may argue, This shows that some slight literary activity prevailed in those days, but what proof have you that a love of learning and culture was widely diffused ? This, I think, can be shown from what I may term several undesigned coincidences. We know that Ibn Ezra gathered around him several enthusiastic pupils. It is related that, about the year 1200, a certain Judah ben Isaac Kardinal translated the famous Kusari from the Arabic into Hebrew. He says in his preface, "When I had commenced to translate this work at the instance of the learned Rabbi Joseph ben Baruch, he took the first two books to England, and there were they kept, and I could not get them returned, so that I was forced to translate these chapters again." Evidently there were good bookkeepers in England even in those days! Whatever may be our opinion as to the ethics of that action, it shows that the Jews of Eng? land were athirst to drink the words of the wise. But there remains the most decisive proof of all. The crucial test, the season of trial came; the decree of banishment went forth. How did the men of those days act? They adhered with undaunted courage to their faith. With gladsome hearts they enrolled themselves in the glorious band of martyrs. The great bulk of the indwellers of these isles, 16,000 in number, without a moment's hesitancy, preferred exile to apostasy. Do not these various facts conspire to prove that the men of those days were not entirely addicted to money-getting, but that there were those among them who devoted themselves with ardour to the study of the Law and their sacred literature, and that these studies were not mere intellectual feats, but moulded their moral and spiritual being 1</page><page sequence="12">12 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. We have now to deal with the Middle Age of Anglo-Jewish history, the years elapsing from 1290 to 1656. The prevalent belief has been that this period constitutes an entire blank. In Tovey's Anglia Judaica we have one line marked at the margin Edward I., and the succeeding line Oliver Cromwell. But the labours of our retiring President, Mr. Lucien Wolf, and of Mr. Sidney Lee, the gifted editor of the National Dictionary of Biography, have wrought a considerable change in our impressions concerning this period.1 These writers have proved, from the records of the House of Converts, State papers, and other documents, that at no time from the reign of Edward I. to the Protectorate of Cromwell, the Hebrew race was unrepresented in this country, that more especially Jewish doctors lived in Elizabethan England whose influence can be traced in con? temporary literature. In 1581 one Joachim Ganz, a Jew of Prague, proposed to supply the English Government with information con? cerning the smelting of copper and lead ores. He was permitted to make experiments at the copper-mines near Keswick, and would have remained in this country had he not committed the indiscretion of endeavouring to prove to a Christian friend that there was but one God, who had neither wife nor child. There must have been a gradual infiltration of Jews who braved the terrors of the decree of outlawry, the majority of whom, however, concealed their origin and followed the example of the Marranos, outwardly conforming to Christianity, but in the secrecy of their homes performing their ancestral rites with mingled feelings of joy and terror. The fact that Crypto-Jews were sojourning in this island at the time when Menasseh ben Israel sought the re-admission of his brethren, and the circumstance that the Lord Protector availed him? self of the services of Jewish " Intelligencers " during his wars, clear up much that has been obscure in the negotiations that preceded our re? settlement. Without detracting at all from the high services rendered by the Amsterdam Babbi who was the spiritual founder of the London Hebrew Community, Mr. Wolf has shown 2 that Antonio Fernandez 1 See Papers read at the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition, " The Middle Age of Anglo-Jewish History," by Mr. Lucien Wolf; and Sidney Lee, "Elizabethan England and the Jews " (Trans. New Shakespeare Society, 1881). 2 Transactions, vol. ii., The First English Jew, by Lucien Wolf.</page><page sequence="13">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 13 Carvajal must be regarded as its material and actual founder. We may claim that the documents bearing on the re-admission of the Jews into England have now been fairly tested, though probably patient research will elicit some new facts that will be laid before you on future celebrations of " Re-Settlement Day." But I may be permitted to advert to one circumstance in connec? tion herewith, though it is more concerned with practical life than with ancient history. You may perhaps have heard that, from the time of our return to this realm, for a period of two hundred years, no proselytes were received into the synagogue. This abstention was due to the belief that a promise to this effect had been given to the Lord Protector. It was probably for this reason that, when Lord George Gordon asked the then Chief Rabbi, my great-grand-uncle, Rabbi David Schiff, to be converted to Judaism, his application was refused. My father assured me that he had seen the letter in which the applica? tion was made. And Lord George wTas received into the covenant at Birmingham without the sanction of the ecclesiastical authorities. And whenever requests for admission into the synagogue were made, the candidates were compelled to incur the considerable expense and great inconvenience of proceeding to Holland or Germany. Indeed, as recently as 1876, the late Haham, Dr. Artom, states in his volume of sermons that, in consequence of the promise made to the Lord Protector, "no Christian has ever been converted to Judaism here. That was, and is still, the rule of the Chief Rabbi in England."1 Some time, however, before the publication of that volume, I had inquired into the origin of this practice, and had come to the conclusion that no valid foundation whatever existed for this abstention. Menasseh ben Israel, in his " Humble Address," had indeed stated that the Jews did not entice any man to profess their Law, but he adds forthwith, " They do not reject him altogether, if any man of his own free will come to them." Since 1875, therefore, no impediments are placed in the way of proselytes who present themselves of their own free will, beyond the safeguards provided by Jewish Law and specified in Menasseh's address. I have thought it right to mention this, for only a few months ago a member of a Colonial congregation protested against the 1 Page 275, note.</page><page sequence="14">14 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. reception of any proselytes as constituting a violation of a solemn pledge. The fact of such a pledge ever having been made must, I believe, be regarded as apocryphal. Exigencies of time compel me to pass over the third period of our Anglo-Jewish annals with exfcremest brevity. Gladly do I offer my unstinted tribute of praise to Mr. James Picciotto for what he has accomplished in the volume which, with characteristic modesty, he has styled Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History. With great industry he has dived into the archives of the various synagogues, deciphered their minutes, many of which are written in Spanish, Hebrew, and Judaeo-German; he has made researches in public and private libraries, and availed himself of oral communication, so that he might faithfully chronicle the fortunes of our race in these isles since our return. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Lucien Wolf, who seems possessed of an absolute genius for tracing hidden and involved genea? logies, and who has but recently shown how some of the noblest families of England, in whose veins flows " the blood of all the Howards," may trace connection with Rabbi Herz Treves, the Kabbalist and Chazan of Frankfurt. And yet how great and manifold are the voids that remain to be filled up ! Rich sources have still to be tapped. Contemporary Hebrew records, Responsa, books of travel and history, controversial pamphlets must be consulted. Even as in its earlier days Anglo-Israel entertained a living intercourse with France, and was powerfully influenced by its teachers, so during the period in question our communal life is deeply affected by what passes in the Jewries of Germany and Holland, Russia and Poland. May I indicate the direction in which our future labours may be utilised % We need fuller biographies of Anglo-Jewish worthies. To the Haham David Nieto, the author of the Sketches of Anglo-Jewish History devotes barely half a page. And yet the career of this scholar, a man of varied culture, preacher, astronomer, and physician, would well deserve elaborate treatment. One episode in his life is of especial interest. He once preached a sermon at Bevis Marks on Divine Providence which roused the displeasure of his Wardens. They deemed it heretical. They thought that it favoured pantheistic views in teaching that the Deity and the Natura Natur ans were identical. Strange to say, instead of applying to any Sephardic autho</page><page sequence="15">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 15 rity, they consulted the learned Rabbi of Amsterdam, Zevi Ashkenazi, who, in a lengthy disquisition, vindicates the piety and orthodoxy of bis learned brother of England. The documents on the subject, both the impugned sermon and its apologia (contained in the Responsa No. 18, 'QV DDn noiBtfll rnfw), fully deserve to be re-published with an English translation. No writer on Anglo-Judaica has, to my knowledge, dwelt on the fact that the unhappy dissensions caused by the Messianic pretensions of Sabbatai Zevi made a deep impression upon our communal life in this country. The before-mentioned Zevi Ashkenazi, who boldly de? nounced the Kabbalistic vagaries of the adherents of the pseudo Messiah, was forced to leave his Rabbinate and to sojourn for some time in England. Both his sons and his grandsons occupied the Rabbinate here, his son, Rabbi Hirsch L?bel, called here Hart Lyon, and his grandson, the Rev. Solomon Herschell. Both were men of great wit. One of the bon-mots of the father is well known. He was asked why he desired to quit London. "Because this is the first question put to me/' was his reply. The Wardens are said to have asked further, why he wTent to so poor a place as Halberstadt; did he not receive rich presents here from DW) D'HDtyn?travellers? (those that pass by and those that return). "Ah," he answered with a sigh, "of the passers-by I have seen many; of those that return not one." He must have formed but a poor opinion of the piety of his flock. Of his son I will only relate one little anecdote. He once found that a burly man had been placed in the pew next to his stall. His neighbour opened the Prayer-book, and asked him, " Rabbi, how comes HD^K? (pronounced n^n^ in Cockney fashion) next to '""^l-?**-" "Ask the Beadle," answered the Rav. with a merry twinkle in his eye, "for he placed you next to me." Another son, R. Saul, lived here for some time and died here; he was the editor, probably the author, of the Responsa, D*W2?a work which roused so furious a controversy that it may well figure among literary curiosities.1 Another grandson, Israel Meshullam, a son of Rabbi Jacob Emden, was for some time Rabbi of the Hambro' Synagogue.2 1 See Zunz, Die Ritus des Synagogalen Gottesdienste, Beilage VII. 2 See Biography of R. Jacob Emden (Lublin, 5641), pp. 28, 29, and n^Kfc? II. No. 145.</page><page sequence="16">16 A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. The literary warfare which raged between the Sabbatians and their opponents, it must be remembered, did not originate in matters of slight importance. It involved considerations of supreme moment. Nothing less than the question whether the Jewish conception of the Deity was to be preserved in its pristine purity, or whether it was to be clouded by corporeal and Trinitarian perversions. Two Hahamim of the Sephardic community were prominent in these polemics?Jacob Sasportas, an opponent, and Solomon Ay lion, a partisan of the Sab? batians. And here I may be permitted to mention that I hope ere long to remove the mystery which has hitherto enwrapped the weird personality of the wonder-working Baal Shem, Dr. Falk, by showing his relation to the Sabbatian sectaries. We need fuller details touching several interesting episodes in our history, the building of the present Great Synagogue, in which Mrs. Judith Levy, the niece of a former London Chief Babbi, was mainly instrumental. Only last week information was sought in the agony column of the Times concerning the descendants of a Dr. Jay Adolphus, who are entitled to a share in the estate of a London merchant, descended from a Mr. Benjamin Levy, no doubt the father in-law of that "noble, munificent, and virtuous lady," as she was termed, the richest Ashkenaz Jew of his day, a portion of whose legacy yet remains to be distributed. We require a full account of the foundation of the Hambro' Synagogue, the establishment of which may " point a moral and adorn a tale," by showing from what trivial differences secessions may spring.1 What remarkable points of interest are there in the lives of the two Fellows of the Boyal Society, Isaac de Sequeira Samuda and Jacob de Castro Sarmento 1 How scant is the homage we have paid to Grace Aguilar, one of the most spiritually-minded women our community has produced ! She was perhaps a descendant of the re? markable Moses Lopez Aguilar, concerning whom so many interesting 1 See my sermon at the closing service of the Hambro' Synagogue, Jewish Chronicle, November 11, 1892, and article by Mr. Wolf on the " Origin of the Hambro' Synagogue," Ibid., November 18, 1892. Valuable contributions to the early history of this synagogue may be gleaned from the Autobiography of R. Jacob Emden (""l?D r6jD), published by David Cohen of Odessa, some time after this address had been delivered.</page><page sequence="17">A SURVEY OF ANGLO-JEWISH HISTORY. 17 biographical details are given in the Memorabilia of the congregation of Aussee, recently published. And how delightful it would be to have a vivid illustration of the condition of the London '' Kehilla" at different stages of its development! What could be more fascinating than to possess a view of our community as it moved and lived and had its being a hundred years ago, when every member dwelt in the " Four Streets" and the adjoining quarter, promenading on Sabbath afternoons in the then fashionable Goodman's Fields, and" the aristo? cratic Tenter Ground, a pleasant glimpse of which is afforded us in Mr. ZangwilPs King of the Schnorrers ! We require a pragmatical history of the evolution of the entire Anglo-Jewish community, not merely that of London, but of the whole United Kingdom, aye, of the British Empire generally. And in this work I hope our provincial and colonial brethren will eagerly co-operate. How striking to watch its development from small beginnings to the position achieved in this, the sixtieth year of her Most Gracious Majesty's reign, as disclosed in the most recent contribution to our historical literature, the Anglo Jewish Year-BooJc for 5657 ! An attentive study of this little book is calculated to rouse many varied emotions in our hearts. Keen satisfac? tion at the position we have by Divine Providence achieved, earnest striving to redeem the faults of the past, and to heal the blemishes of the present. But I dare not continue in this strain. I have come here to deliver an address, not to preach a homily. Southey was once asked by Coleridge, "Have you ever heard me preach?" Southey's answer was, "I have never heard you do anything else." I would fain not incur this scathing reproach. I will therefore now only thank you for the kind and indulgent hearing you have given to my inaugural discourse. vol. in. b</page></plain_text>