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Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883

Alex M. Jacob

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883* ALEX M. JACOB, J.P. Aaron Levy Green (1821-83) was one of the earliest English-born Jewish preachers and a leading member of the generation which set the pattern for the Jewish ministry as we now know it in this country. As the Jewish Chronicle's leader-writer1 commented at his death: 'The life of Mr. Green was coincident with a remarkable change in the position of the Jewish Clergyman in England?a change cujus pars maxima fuit. He strove and strove successfully to raise his profession from the position in which it was placed half-a-century ago. 'At that time a Reader was no more than a Chazan whose sole qualification used to consist in his voice. It was only natural that his social position was no higher than that of a Sheleach Tsibur (Messenger of the Congre? gation) as Mr. Green used often to point out. Against this degraded state of things Mr. Green protested with all the energy of his nature. He made it an established institution that an English sermon should form an inte? gral part of public worship.'2 From the reports of his contemporaries it is clear that his sermons made a deep impression by their learning, sincerity, and wit. But his influence was felt far beyond the bounds of his own congregation and far beyond the pulpit. A. L. Green is best remembered, as he would have wished, as a preacher and as the minister whose energy and force of character made the Central Synagogue the foremost London congregation; but he contrived to find?or more probably to make?time for many com? munal activities. He was an assiduous Visitor to hospitals, asylums, and prisons; it was at his initiative that both the Board of Guardians and the United Synagogue established Visitation Committees.3 He involved himself actively in many of the developments of his day, playing a leading part in the formation of Jews' College, the Board of Guardians, and the Anglo-Jewish Association. He was a prolific writer to the press, both Jewish and non Jewish. Particularly effective were his many contributions to the Jewish Chronicle under the pseudonym of4Nemo', which were very widely discussed in the community and which made him, in the words of his obituarist, a 'power in the land'. Though dealing with questions long since settled, and though filled with topical allusions, the letters explain, even today, Green's reputation for learning and wit as well as the respect that his contemporaries held for his judgment. Though his formal education ended before he was 17 and for the rest of his life ministerial and communal commitments occupied the bulk of his time, he never ceased to be a student. Solomon Schechter (1850-1915) has described him as a 'mixture of the ideal and the practical . . . one of the first of our Jewish clergy [to have] made the . . . discovery that ministerial work is not incompatible with Jewish learning. Thus attending all sorts of meetings and performing all kinds of parish work during the day, he devoted his nights mostly to the study of Jewish literature. Once every month he would sit up the whole night for a mental stock-taking, to review the studies that had occupied him for the previous four weeks.'4 Aaron Levy Green was born in August 1821 at his parents' home at the corner of Middle? sex Street and Ellison Street, Aldgate.5 Many * Paper delivered to the Society on 3 April 1974. 1 In the opinion of Mr. Shaftesley, the most likely writer of the article is Lionel Louis Cohen (1832-1887). 2 Jewish Chronicle (hereinafter J.C.), 18 March 1883. 3 Note 92 infra and J.C, 24 March 1911, letter to Editor from Rev. A. A. Green. 4 J.C Jubilee Supplement, 13 November 1891, p. 20. 5 J.C, 16 March 1883, Obituary of A. L. Green (hereinafter Obit.). (Mr. J. M. Shaftesley suggests that the author was Asher I. Myers, Editor of the J.C This is confirmed by the obituarist's statement that he accompanied A. L. Green to Newcastle in 1873 and by a reference to Myers's presence at a meeting in Newcastle, J.C, 29 August 1873.) 87</page><page sequence="2">88 Alex M. Jacob years later he said publicly that he could 'speak without shame or false pride of Petticoat Lane, for [he] was born there.'6 He was the eighth and youngest child of Levy Ephraim Green (1784-1858) and his wife, Amelia.7 The father was one of a family who, in their youth, had come to England from Amsterdam?on, it is said, a Dutch herring-boat.8 Levy Green settled in the East End of London and under the name of L. Green &amp; Co. traded at 33 Middlesex Street as a matza-baker, cheese factor and grocer; the Green matza factory in Middlesex Street was later to become a well known institution in the East End.9 Of Aaron Green's mother little is known, except that she was English-born and that her father, Aaron Hyams, had married his mother's servant, who was not of Jewish birth and whose name Lydia reappeared among a number of her descendants under the guise of Leah.10 With less than his customary originality, A. L. Green was once to tell a public gathering that his parents were 'poor but honest'.11 (1797-1873), the future Lord Mayor, a Trustee of the society. By 1835 many of the society's sup? porters felt that there existed the need for a specifi? cally Jewish Hospital and Levy Green appears to have been one of the signatories of a manifesto advocating this. The project was later dropped in favour of a scheme agreed with the London Hospital, which made four of its wards available for the use of Jewish patients and provided catering and other special facilities. The Society for Sup? porting the Sick set up a trust fund with a capital of ?1,800, the interest being paid to the hospital half-yearly. Levy Green, as a Trustee of the society, attended the meeting held in April 1842, when the resolutions to give effect to the arrangements received the Committee's consent. (See J.C. 23 October 1868 [letter signed 'A Jew'], 7 May 1869 [editorial], 11 February 1876.) It is of interest that when the demand for a Jewish Hospital was re? newed later in the century, A. L. Green proved one of the foremost opponents of the scheme which his father had supported some 30 years previously. One of Levy Green's brothers, Abraham Green, a street vendor of olives and cucumbers, also lived in Middlesex Street. 'The poorer Jews of London eat Spanish olives and Dutch cucumbers pickled in salt and water as food rather than as a relish.' (Charles Dickens (1837-1896), eldest son of the novelist, in Dickens's Dictionary of London [Macmillan, 1884], p. 140.) He too was deeply involved in charitable matters, his interests including the Widows' Home (of which he was President for some years) (see J.C. 28 November 1845, 10 February 1847), the Hand-in-Hand Asylum, the Lying-In Charity, and the Widows' Pension Fund; but he first became known within the community during the cholera epidemic of 1830. Hearing that a poor Jewish couple had died within a short time of each other, leaving three young children, he took them with him around the Jewish districts and, with his cucumber-bowl in his hand, he collected a main? tenance fund for them (see C. Roth, History of the Great Synagogue, p. 222 [hereinafter Gt. Syn.]; J.C. 30 October 1868 [letter signed S. A. Green]; ibid., 14 July 1899 [obit. S. A. Green]; J.C., articles 'From the Communal Armchair', by 'Tatler', pseudonym of the Rev. A. A. Green (hereinafter 'Tatler'), 25 December 1908). From these humble origins developed the Jews' Orphan Asylum, which since 1876 has formed part of Norwood Jewish Orphanage. The Greens' sister, Sarah (1800-1885), who kept a provision store in Stoney Lane (see 'Tatler', 25 December 1908), married another figure well known in the East End?Isaac Valien tine (1793 1868), whose father, Nathan Isaac Valien tine, was Minister at the Hambro Synagogue for over 30 years, and who was himself a member of the governing bodies of eighteen charitable organiza? tions, a co-founder of five literary and scientific institutions, publisher of the Prayer-Books and of the Almanac which bear his name, and founder of 6J.C, 18 July 1879. 7 The family consisted of Ephraim Levy Green (1809-1874), Michael Levy Green (1811-1876), Solomon (Sholem) Levy Green (1813-1904), Leah (Mrs. Asher Green) (1816-1912), Shaiva (Mrs. Jacobs), Passy (Mrs. Jonas), Sarah (Mrs. Nathan), and Aaron (Information of Miss Lily Fay [1884? 1973], granddaughter of Asher and Leah Green [hereinafter Fay], and Sir Thomas Colyer Fergusson, MS. Papers, Jewish Families' and Jewish Pedigrees' [hereinafter Col.]). s Fay. 9 In the matza factory Levy Green installed a machine that he had invented for kneading dough; but as late as 1874, when the business was under the management of his eldest son, who had taken over after his father's death, all other processes in matza-making were performed by hand, as the Chief Rabbi refused to sanction the use in England of various mechanical devices to be found on the Continent, for fear, it was suggested, of causing unemployment (Jewish World, 6 February 1874). 10 Fay. nJ.C, 9 January 1852. In the first half of last century, modest circumstances did not debar the Jews of London from participating in the organisa? tion and administration of charities. Levy Green became a leading figure in 'The Society for Sup? porting the Destitute Sick' (Meshanat Lecholim), founded in 1824 and supported by subscriptions of one penny per week or 4s. 4d. per annum. He was Treasurer for many years and was also, with Zadok Aaron Jessel (1794-1864) and David Salomons</page><page sequence="3">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 89 The Green family was closely connected with the ministry and from an early age Aaron Green was aware of his parents' hopes that he would enter it.12 In Amsterdam, a cousin, Nathan Green, served as a chazan for many years.13 In 1844, Abraham Green's 20-year-old son, Lewis Abraham (1824-44), was appointed Head Teacher of the Sephardi Free School in Jamaica and Minister to the Montego Bay congregation, only to die of yellow fever before the end of the year.14 And in the next genera? tion another Aaron Green was to make a name for himself in a London congregation.15 Another member of the Green family to enter the ministry was Michael, the second of Aaron Green's three brothers; despite a difference of ten years, a particularly strong bond existed between them?indeed, Aaron was often heard to say that to this brother he owed everything. came Minister at Exeter. The appointment did not prove a happy one, and he ultimately left to become a successful business man.16 Of his sisters, Aaron was particularly attached to the eldest, Leah, who married a cousin, Asher Green (1826-1891). His affection for her and her family was shown late in his life when one of her daughters became engaged and a long delay before her marriage seemed inevitable until he sent his niece a cheque for ?100?at a time when his salary was ?600 per In 1830, when only 19, Michael, a pupil of Dayan Aaron Levy and a favourite of Chief Rabbi Solomon Hirschell (1767-1842), be the Jewish Chronicle (1841). It was Vallentine's connection with Sussex Hall, at which he was the first teacher (unpaid) in Hebrew, that provided A. L. Green with the opportunity for his first public appearance in London. (See J.C., 18 September 1868, Memoirs of the late Mr. Isaac Vallentine [by his nephew Samuel Vallentine]; ibid., 12 December 1906, obit, of Philip Vallentine [1826 1906], son of Isaac and Sarah Vallentine and first cousin of A. L. Green.) i2 J.C, 12 December 1879. "Ibid., 22 September 1933, obit. Rev. A. A. Green. "Ibid., 18 October 1844; 3 January 1845; 5 February 1845. A. L. Green's eldest son, born in 1845, was named Lewis. I5 See family tree (below). 16 Fay. Michael had a reputation in his family for being hot-tempered?on one occasion it is said that, finding a bucket of water on the landing of his Gower Street house, he kicked it downstairs so that the maid should have to dry the staircase and he soon found himself in dispute with his congregation. Exception having been taken to letters written by him in his capacity of Secretary of the congregation, it was resolved that in future these should all be written and posted in the presence of the members, In 1839, having married and wishing to supple? ment his salary of ?5 6s. 8d. per calendar month (Account Book of Exeter congregation [deposited with Anglo-Jewish Archives]), he opened a clothier's shop in Exeter. The congregation ob? jected to their Minister's engaging in commerce and a note in the minute book in Michael's handwriting, reading 'M. L. Green's reply is that he will not give up the shop', was followed by his departure for London and a successful career as a wholesale clothier at No. 10 Houndsditch (J.C, 25 March 1910, report of lecture by A. A. Green to J.H.S.E., on Exeter congregation). Members of the J.H.S.E. may be interested to know that his daughter, Sylvia, wife of Mordecai Abrahams (1844-1923), became the mother of the eminent civil servant Sir Lionel Abrahams (1869-1919), an authority on pre Expulsion Anglo-Jewish history, and President of the Society 1916-1918. (Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England (hereinafter Trans.), Vol. XXI, p. 248b [Dr. P. Abrahams].) Ephraim Levy Green Levy Ephraim (1784-1858) Son Michael Aaron Leah = Asher (1811-70) (1821-83) (1816-1912) i i (1826-91) Aaron Asher (1860-1933) 1 Abraham Lewis (1824-44) Sarah (1800-85) Isaac Vallentine (1793-1868)</page><page sequence="4">90 Alex M. Jacob annum.17 Asher and Leah Green's son, Aaron Asher Green (1860-1933), greatly admired his uncle and namesake, whom he followed into the ministry, becoming a well-known and popular figure as Minister at Hampstead from 1892 to 1930. He used to tell his family that he had always tried to model himself on his uncle.18 Aaron Green was educated at the Talmud Torah attached to the Jews' Free School in Bell Street, Spitalfields, where he was a pupil of Michael Goldsmid, Master of the Talmud Torah; of a certain Rab Moshe, an experienced Koreh or Reader, known by the somewhat bizarre name of Chatziplatz, from whom he learned Hebrew Reading; and of his brother's teacher, Aaron Levy (1795-1875), a much loved Dayan affectionately known throughout the East End as Rov Oron, with whom he studied Rabbinic literature, Mishna, and part of the Talmud; he was later to continue his study of the Talmud until he had mastered it in its entirety.19 From his writings it is clear that Aaron Green also had a wide knowledge of English and Classical literature and his command of German was proved at a meeting under his chairmanship of the Jewish Deaf and Dumb Home in 1872. On that occasion the newly appointed Director delivered a lengthy report in German. Although he had taken no notes of what had been said, A. L. Green immediately gave a paraphrase in English of the report.20 Green's contemporaries are all agreed that he possessed a fine and particularly accurate voice ?a characteristic transmitted to many of his descendants. It is on record that, many years later, on the occasion of a Rothschild Barmitz vah, Benjamin Disraeli showed 'visible enjoy? ment of [his] intonation of grace' at the reception.21 His musical knowledge and ability also enabled him to accept responsibility for the training and performance of the Great Portland Street Choir for a few months in 1862.22 As a result of these talents, he was allowed at the precociously early age of 1423?or, according to some reports, when only 924?to conduct a service in the Great Synagogue; and in May 1838, three months before his 17th birthday, he was appointed Minister at Bristol.25 It is perhaps no coincidence that Zadok Jessel, his father's co-Trustee of the Sick Society, had strong family connections with Bristol. In the first half of the last century, the Bristol congregation, which had been in existence since before 1751, was relatively of far greater importance than it is today, when its Jewish population is put at little more than 400. The current Jewish Tear Book lists twenty-two provincial centres of England and Wales with a larger Jewish population than Bristol's; in 1850, according to Dr. Lipman's studies, the Bristol congregation was among the five largest out? side London, its 300 inhabitants making it the equal of Portsmouth and smaller only than Liverpool (2,500), Manchester (2,000), and Birmingham (750/1,000).26 Three years before Green's appointment a communal split which had weakened the congregation had been healed and the new? found unity expressed itself in the purchase of a building formerly used as a Quaker Meeting House, which was adapted for use as a syna? gogue. The alterations amounted to a virtual reconstruction of the building which contem? poraries regarded as one of the handsomest places of worship in the city. The building was consecrated with much pomp on 18 August 1842. An account of the service in the Bristol Gazette referred to the number of non-Jews invited to it, explaining that 'the Jews had seized upon the occasion in order to give a practical illustration of the feel? ing of universal charity. On the same bench 17 Fay: Amelia (Milly) Green married Michael Fay. 18 Information of Mrs. E. Carmel, W. Palm Beach, Fla., daughter of Rev. A. A. Green. 19 Obit. 20 J.C., 1 November 1872. 21 E. N. Adler, Jewish Community Series: London (Philadelphia, 1930) (hereinafter London), p. 180. 22 J.C., 14 and 21 April 1905. Rev. M. Adler, The History of the Central Synagogue 1855-1905, (hereinafter Adler). 23 Gt. Syn., p. 243. 24 Information of Mr. H. A. Simons. 25 Obit. 26 C. Roth, The Rise of Provincial Jewry (London, 1950), p. 40 (hereinafter Prov.); Jewish Year Book, p. 193 (hereinafter J.Y.B.); V. D. Lipman, Social History of the Jews in England 1850-1950 (London, 1954), pp. 185-7 (hereinafter Soc. Hist.).</page><page sequence="5">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 91 might be seen some of the strictest communi? cants of the Established Church, with Inde? pendents, Methodists, Quakers and Baptists and all in immediate contact with the descend? ants of Abraham?the depositaries of the written law as delivered by Moses . . The galleries . . . are appropriated to the ladies, and they were crowded with beauty and fashion . . . 'The service began with an introductory symphony on the pianoforte composed and played by Mr. M. Moss of the Great St. Helen's Synagogue, London; the Hazan and choir also came from there.' A lyrical hymn, written by Hyman Hurwitz (1770-1844) and set to music by Moss, was also performed. 'The local Minister . . . Aaron Levy Green . . . de? livered a discourse on Prayer?indeed Mr. Green was remarkable as one of the first Ministers in the country to deliver a sermon in English. The service ended with the National Anthem sung in Hebrew.'27 This synagogue served the needs of the congregation until 1870, when it moved to its present premises in Park Row.28 The records of the Bristol congregation for this period are no longer in existence but it is not difficult to picture A. L. Green's activities while serving it. His first concern must, of course, have been the synagogue services and in this connection a problem arose from his desire to introduce regular sermons into them. Even before leaving London he had tried his hand at preparing a sermon, which he had submitted to Dr. Joshua Van Oven (1766-1838), the educationalist, who was at this time occa? sionally preaching at the Great Synagogue.29 Aaron Green later related how he received an invitation to breakfast with the doctor, who discussed many subjects but appeared to be avoiding the main purpose o?the visit. Finally the sixteen-year-old screwed up his courage and as he was leaving asked Van Oven's opinion of the sermon, whereupon he was handed a sealed envelope. When he opened it on his return home, he found his own script together with a second sheet of paper on which Van Oven had written in Hebrew the verses from the Book of Leviticus (xix, 23-24) which lay down that, after a tree has been planted, three years shall elapse before its fruit shall be eaten; but 'in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy for giving praise to the Lord'. 30 Notwithstanding this advice, the new Mini? ster was invited to Exeter by his brother Michael, who strongly urged him to introduce sermons into the Sabbath morning service. At this time sermons in the vernacular?or lectures, as they were then more usually called ?were a rarity; and as their regular introduc? tion was one of the Reformers' demands, it is not altogether surprising that the Establishment of the period looked on English sermons with some of the suspicion and distaste that attach to mixed choirs today. The Bristol authorities seem to have feared that sermons would dis? turb the morning service; but a compromise was reached and sermons were permitted on Saturday afternoons. Michael Green travelled to Bristol, where he was one of the half-dozen present at A. L. Green's first appearance in the pulpit. 31 Ten years later, the Jewish Chronicle, deplor? ing the scarcity of preachers in the country, was to name A. L. Green as one of only five ministers serving provincial congregations who were qualified to deliver a sermon.32 Throughout his life education was one of A. L. Green's major preoccupations. In 1849, the Bristol Hebrew Ladies' Benevolent Society paid tribute to his 'continued and unwearied efforts in the religious instruction of the children',33 and these efforts he no doubt supplemented by private tuition.' He also interested himself in the general affairs of the community. In the first issue of the Jewish Chronicle (12 November 1841) his name?the only clerical one?figures in the list of its Agents, and some nine years later he was 27 Bristol Gazette, 25 August 1842, transcript provided by Mr. A. Schlesinger, Bristol; Prov., p. 41. MJ.T.B., p. 103. 29 Gt. Syn., p. 259n. 30 Obit.; Nemo (A. L. Green's pseudonym to letters to the J.C.) 1 April 1870. 31 'Tatler', 4 September 1908. 32 J.C, 12 January 1849. 33 Ibid., 4 May 1849.</page><page sequence="6">92 Alex M. Jacob to become known in the community by a con? tribution to the struggle for the admission of Jews to Parliament. On 8 July 1850, the Standard newspaper published the report of an attack on the cam? paign, in which it was alleged that Jews did not take oaths with sufficient seriousness, that they were strangers 'by blood, by habit and by religion,' and that they were unfitted to repre? sent Christian constituencies. The author of this outburst was Dr. George Croly (1780-1860), Rector of the City Church of St. Stephen's, Walbrook, a versatile Irishman described in the Dictionary of National Biography as 'con? tentious and supercilious, but not devoid of geniality.' Three days after (11 July 1850), A. L. Green wrote a 15-page pamphlet which was pub? lished and put on sale for 6d. in London and Bristol under the title Dr. Croly LLD versus Civil and Religious Liberty.34 In an essay amply studded with literary and, in particular, poetic allusions, and with quotations from both Old and New Testaments, the Mishna, the Talmud, Maimonides, the history of Islam in the seventh century, a speech by Sir Robert Grant (1779-1838), the early champion of Jewish emancipation, and even from Samantha, one of Croly's own novels, A. L. Green refuted the attack point by point. Jews were accused of a frivolous attitude to oaths; a ruling of the Mishna on the inadmissibility of evidence given by persons of doubtful morals was quoted. They were strangers by blood; 'how many millennia,' he asked, 'since the Crolys are known to fame ? Perhaps an inch on the flyleaf of your family Bible will tell the tale . . . We, Reverend Sir, are brothers, elder brethren, to all men who claim Christ [sic] as their Master . . . You seem to forget that your Saviour was a Jew.' Jews may be strangers by habit; the statistics of crime prove the beneficial effects of those habits. Jews have no religion; but did they not 'preserve the Bible when it was a proscribed Book?' 'How', he cries, 'we have suffered at Christian hands for our undying faith.' And how, he asks, can any Member of Parliament represent either the Christianity of his constituents or a distinct race in a country as diverse as Britain? It may be doubted whether this pamphlet played any significant part in the struggle; but it did attract attention in the community, no less a personage than Sir Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) travelling to Bristol to meet and congratulate its author.35 One other contribution by A. L. Green to the struggle is recorded?the supplying to a sympathetic peer of a reference36 to refute the suggestion that Sabbath observance would prevent Jews from playing a full part in public affairs.35 While Minister at Bristol A. L. Green married (31 July 1844)37 Phoebe Levy (1826 1896), who had been born in that city, where her father had lived for a number of years before moving to Shoreditch.38 On the day of the wedding the 18-year-old bride caused dismay by weeping throughout the ceremony? until it was learned that her tears were caused not by emotion but by an attack of measles.39 The young couple set up house at 1 Pritchard Street, Bristol, and to meet his new responsibili bilities the 23-year-old bridegroom asked for an increase in salary. To support his wife, A. L. Green was granted a rise from 27s. 6d. to 30s. 34 Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica, C. Roth (London, 1937), p. 435 (hereinafter Mag. Bib.). 35 Obit. 36 It seems probable that this was a reference from Maimonides, quoted in the Jewish Chronicle at the time of the 1857 General Election (27 March 1857): 'It is lawful to follow on Sabbath any meri? torious occupation . . . even to attend public assemblies and meetings of Gentiles held for the public welfare' (Sabbath, Cap. 24, Halacha 5). 37 Col. 38 Joseph Levy (1776-1856), born in Hanover, married Elizabeth Levy (1786-1871) (no relation), born in London; her family settled in Deal. The Green family are also Levites. One of Mrs. Joseph Levy's sisters, Dinah, married Jacob Farjeon (d. 1856). Their son, B. L. Farjeon (1838-1903), a Vic? torian novelist, was the father of Joseph Jefferson, Herbert, and Eleanor Farjeon. Mrs. A. L. Green's brother, Lazarus Lee, was the father of Sir Sydney Lee (1859-1926), Editor of the Dictionary of National Biography and Official Biographer of King Edward VII. (Col.; Dictionary of National Biography [herein? after D.N.B.]: Farjeon-Sydney Lee.) 39 Others to follow this practice were Louis Cohen (father of Lionel Louis) and Aaron Jessel (grandfather of Sir George). Trans. XVI, table facing p. 23, and Trans. XVIII, p. 224.</page><page sequence="7">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 93 per week.40 No doubt it was the memory of those days that later led him to take part in the work of the Congregational Officials' Association, whose object was to supplement the salaries and pensions of officiants in the smaller provincial towns.41 The marriage proved extremely happy and an account survives of a typical Victorian household, the husband warmly affectionate and protective, the wife supporting his activi? ties and attending to his comfort; but as a widow at the age of 57, Phoebe Green was to surprise those nearest to her by her determina? tion and force of character.42 In the size of the family the marriage also followed the Victorian pattern. Aaron and Phoebe Green became the parents of seven sons and five daughters. As Aaron's brother Michael had a family of 15, one of their nieces used to point out that her two uncles had between them 27 children.43 In the naming of his sons Aaron followed a practice which Mr. Edgar Samuel describes as common among the Ashkenazim of Germany and Holland. Just as Aaron and his brothers all received their father's first name, Levy, as a second name, so he now gave each of his sons the second name of Aaron.44 A. L. Green always looked back with happi? ness to his days in Bristol and he maintained many of the personal friendships he had made there?after his death it was remarked on that Abraham Mosely,45 a prominent member of the congregation, had travelled to London to attend the funeral.46 But inevitably he felt that his talents required greater scope and in parti? cular he fretted at the lack of facilities for his own studies; it must have been of those days that he was thinking when he wrote, later in life, T felt for many years . . . the want of books?especially the books necessary for the right comprehension of Jewish history, litera ture and theology.'47 And in a postscript to his reply to Dr. Croly he apologised for any errors in his quotation from Sir Robert Grant's speech, as he did not have access to it and was writing from memory. Little surprise can there? fore have been caused by a report in the Jewish Chronicle for 25 January 1850 that the Rev. M. H. Myers and the Rev. A. L. Green were understood to be candidates for the Second Readership of the Great Synagogue. It is to be hoped that this announcement caused no ill-feeling as the wives of the two contestants were first cousins, Mrs. Myers being one of the twenty-two children of Mrs. Green's maternal aunt, Rebecca (n?e Levy) (1784-1866), by her marriage to Victor Abraham (1772-1848), a pillar of the Western Synagogue and Embroiderer by Appointment to Queen Victoria.48 A year later A. L. Green conducted the Friday night and Saturday services at Duke's Place (17 and 18 January 1851), gaining ecstatic praise, in particular for his reading of the Law, which that week included the Song of Moses. The Jewish Chronicle reported that he had 'carried public approbation in his favour. We congratulate the reverend Gentleman on his success and the Congregation that they are likely to secure the efficient services of an Englishman. Let us hope that the election of Mr. Green when it takes place, will be but the dawn of a new era.49 The appointment was duly made and, with his wife and four young children, he moved into 38 Duke's Place, a small house adjoining the synagogue.50 The appointment of two Readers at Duke's Place was a comparatively recent innovation and one that was not made regularly. At this time it may have been suggested by the age of Simon Ascher (1789-1872), who had held the 4&lt;&gt; Fay. 41 Information of late Rabbi H. Swift (Minister at Bristol, 1928-1935). 42 J.C, 21 November 1856. 43 Ibid., 22 May 1896, obit., Mrs. A. L. Green. 44 Fay. 45 Forty years later, in 1922, A. L. Green's grandson, Frederick M. Green, married Stella, granddaughter of A. Mosely. 4&lt;$ Obit. 47 J.C, 5 December 1879. 48 Rev. A. Barnett, The Western Synagogue through two Centuries, London, 1961, pp. 115 and 167 (hereinafter Wes.). After her husband's death Mrs. Victor Abraham adopted another child. (Informa? tion of late A. L. Abraham, grandson of Victor Abraham.) 49 J.C, 24 January 1851. 50 Obit.; List of Governors, Aged Needy Society, 1854.</page><page sequence="8">94 Alex M. Jacob position of First Reader for nearly twenty years and who was by now 62.51 As he continued in office until he had passed the age of 80 and as there was to be an interval of three years between Green's departure from office and the appointment of a successor to him, Ascher does not appear to have been in any special need of assistance; nor, it would seem, can he have welcomed it from a colleague of whom he was once heard to remark that 'Green may be a clever man and give them new lectures, but he can't sing them a new Kedusha every week.'52 The synagogue, on the other hand, did not take advantage of his ability as a preacher, although he was occasionally called on for sermons at other London synagogues; a ruling at the time reserved the pulpit at Duke's Place to the Chief Rabbi alone.53 During this, the least onerous of the three ministerial appointments he was to hold, Green was actively involved in the discussions which led to the formation of Jews' College?how he must have regretted the absence of such an in? stitution in his youth!?and he also became Honorary Secretary of a Fund in Aid of the Jews of the Holy Land?a position he held for the rest of his life.54 But his main extra-syna gogal interest is shown by his request?which was promptly granted?to be 'excused from the performance of certain of his duties for the purpose of study.'55 One appointment at this time must have given him great satisfaction? he became a member of the Committee of the short-lived Hebrew Antiquarian Society,56 an organisation with strong links with the Con? tinent, founded to sponsor the publication of ancient Hebrew manuscripts. Here he found himself in the company of such scholars as Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler (1803 1890), Moses Picciotto (1803-1879), and Hirsch Filipowski (1816-1872), an eminent mathematician and Hebraist. A. L. Green remained at Duke's Place for only four years and it does not seem fanciful to suggest that, in appointing him, the Great Synagogue had in mind the needs of the projected West End Branch, whose formation had been approved in principle in January 1850,57 the very month in which Green's candidature had been reported. On 18 June 1854, without even inviting other applications,58 a meeting of the Vestry under the Chairman? ship59 of his father's old associate, Zadok Aaron Jessel, appointed him Reader and Preacher of the Branch Synagogue at a salary of ?300 per annum exclusive of free residence. A motion that the salary should be ?250 was negatived.60 When the first Annual Accounts of the United Synagogue were circulated 17 years later, his salary was shown to have advanced to ?500 per annum and in 1873 it was increased to ?600, at which level it remained until his death. The building at 120 Great Portland Street was consecrated in time for Passover on 29 March 1855, the Chief Rabbi preaching a sermon in which he warned of the dangers of Reform.61 An announcement from the reading desk immediately before the consecration made it clear that the building was a Branch of the Great Synagogue and, until the formation of the United Synagogue in 1870, Great Portland Street had no Honorary Officers or Board of Management of its own, but was controlled by a sub-committee appointed by Duke's Place.62 It was only when Wardens of the parent body were present that the 'Box' at Great Portland Street was occupied; but as these were the wealthier and more influential men who had migrated westward from the original Jewish centre round Aldgate, they became regular attendants at Great Portland Street, greatly enhancing its prestige. On the occasion of the synagogue's 50th anniversary in 1905, the then Minister, the Rev. Michael Adler (1868-1944), wrote that A. L. Green61 'gathered round him 51 Gt. Syn., pp. 260-261; Miscellanies, J.H.S.E. (hereinafter Misc.), Part IV, pp. 185-189 (Rev. H. Mayerowitsch). 52 J.C., 20 May 1904, 'Jubilee of Mr. Philip Vallentine' (as Beadle of Great Portland St. Synagogue), signed article by Rev. A. A. Green (see note 11 supra, ref. 'Tatler'). 53 Jewish Guardian, 20 September 1929. Unsigned article on birthday of Rev. A. A. Green. 54 Obit. 55 Adler. 56 J.C., 24 October 1851. 57 Gt. Syn., pp. 279-80. 58 Adler. 59 Trans. XVIII, p. 248 (I. Finestein). 60 J.C, 23 June 1854. 61 Adler. 62 Gt. Syn., pp. 280-281.</page><page sequence="9">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 95 all the principal Communal leaders, so that there was scarcely an Institution, charitable or educational, whose Honorary Officers did not belong to the Branch Synagogue.' Although the personality of the minister must have been a powerful attraction, this judgment certainly underestimates the influence of geography; but it is undeniable that, until the formation of Bayswater Synagogue in 1863, all the most prominent members of the Orthodox Ashkenazi community regularly attended Great Portland Street, their numbers including Sir Anthony de Rothschild (1810-1876), subsequently first President of the United Synagogue, with his brothers Lionel (1808-1879), the first Jewish Member of Parliament, Nathaniel (1812-1870) and Mayer (1818-1874), Professor Jacob Waley (1819-1873), first President of the Anglo-Jewish Association; and the first two Presidents of the Board of Guardians, Ephraim Alex (1800-82) and Lionel Louis Cohen (1832 87), the latter equally prominent for his out? standing part in the formation of the United Synagogue. It was at this period that many of the present institutions of Anglo-Jewry were taking shape. With the formation of three in particular A. L. Green was closely associated: Jews' College, the Board of Guardians, and the Anglo-Jewish Association. While still at Duke's Place he had been actively involved in the plans for Jews' College. At the public meeting in 1852, when a resolu? tion in favour of the establishment of a 'College for the training of Jewish Ministers and Teachers' was carried, he acted as Honorary Secretary and he was confirmed in this posi? tion at the first meeting of the Provisional Council the following week.63 For some years he also served as Chairman of the Educational Committee and as Examiner in Hebrew and Theology and was instrumental in obtaining various grants and endowments.63 For reasons which are not readily apparent the College did not fulfil his expectations?at one stage he described it as 'that intellectual multum in parvo\64 He regretted that more prominence was not given to Jewish Literature in the curriculum and that students were not given more opportunity to familiarise them? selves with those everyday communal problems that would face them as spiritual leaders;65 one remedy he suggested for this was a debating society.64 Although re-elected as Honorary Secretary every year until his death, he ab? sented himself from meetings and for many years took no part in the management of the College.66 Indeed, in 1864 he resigned as Honorary Secretary67 although he must have been persuaded to withdraw this resignation without its becoming public knowledge. A. L. Green's greatest service to the College was a posthumous one. He had always hoped that his Hebrew and Theological Library might one day become, in his words, 'of public utility to the community' and late in 1879 he had offered it to the United Synagogue in memory of his parents, but terms could not be agreed.68 Three months after his death, his widow wrote to Dr. Hermann Adler (1839-1911) offering the library to the College.69 Ever since its inaugura? tion, plans for a library had been under dis? cussion, but as late as 1881, twenty-six years later, it was reported that the College's collec? tion 'was inadequate and could not stand up in importance to any library of a contemporary Continental seminary'.?o With the acquisition of the A. L. Green Library, the College now had, in the words of its present Librarian, 'a Library which would serve the needs of its staff and students'?some '6,000 volumes including incunabula and early prints' and 'all those rabbinical and theological works likely to be required by students for the ministry, in ?J.C., 9 January 1852; 13 December 1861; Ruth P. Lehmann, Jews' College Library: A History, 2nd revised edn (London, 1967) (hereinafter Lehmann), p. 3; Rev. I. Harris, 'History of the College' (hereinafter Harris), Jews' College Jubilee Volume, 1906, p. LXXIX (Harris was A. L. Green's son-in-law.) ? Nemo, 28 April 1871. 65 Obit. 6?J.C, 13 November 1891, Jubilee Supplement, p. 32. 6? Miss Ruth Lehmann (now Mrs. Goldschmidt), MS. notebook of extracts from minute books and other records relating to Jews' College Library compiled by her and in her possession (hereinafter J. Coll.). ?J.C., 12 December 1879. m Harris, p. LXXX. 70 J. Coll.</page><page sequence="10">96 Alex M. Jacob addition to a unique collection of pamphlets on Anglo-Jewish History and polemics and a col? lection of sermons in English and German'.71 Of particular interest were the many notes he pencilled in the margins and flyleaves of his books. Schechter once advised students to borrow from this library to profit from the numerous translations of obscure philosophical terms and the historical, biographical, and bibliographical references with which the books were studded.72 Towards the end of his life A. L. Green wrote of how 'by patient and unceasing labour' he had 'collected, in some respects, a unique library'73 and it was certainly his most cherished possession. Throughout his life he was a pas? sionate bibliophile?in the course of a lecture during the first session of the J.H.S.E. (4 February 1894), Dr. Hermann Adler spoke of Green's 'delight in collecting tracts and books relating to Jewish History'74 and he established a particularly close relationship with Dr. Joseph Zedner (1804-1871),75 the Librarian from 1845 to 1869 of the Hebrew Department at the British Museum and compiler of the catalogue of its books.76 One of Green's pleasures at his appointment to Great Portland Street must have been that his new home in Gower Street was so near to the Museum.77 A. L. Green also actively involved himself in other aspects of education. In 1860 he was a founder of the organisation which bore the characteristically mid-nineteenth century name of the 'Jewish Association for the Diffusion of Religious Knowledge'. This institution's main aim was the establishment of Sabbath Schools in various parts of London. A. L. Green visited the schools regularly and was much in demand at prize-givings. To his sorrow, neither the school attached to his own synagogue nor the Saturday afternoon services for children, which he was the first in the country to institute, were well attended. The Association also organised a series of Saturday afternoon services in the East End and A. L. Green took his place on the rota of preachers, walking there to deliver a second sermon after having attended service and preached in the morning at Great Portland Street.? Allied to the Association was the Sunday Evening Jewish Working Men's Lecture Com? mittee; the first committee meeting of the organisation was held in his house and he be? came Chairman of the committee which drew up the programme of lectures. Many of these he delivered himself, including one on emigra? tion which was printed in full as a four-page supplement to the Jewish Chronicle in 1875.79 Less formal were the Sunday Morning Classes for the Study of Hebrew Literature which were held in the Central Synagogue's chambers and were attended largely by the younger members of that congregation. Papers were read, the contributors including Dr. Hermann Adler, Dr. Friedlander (1833-1913), the Principal of Jews' College, and Joseph Jacobs (1854-1916), the historian and folk lorist, and were used as pegs for wide-ranging discussions on Jewish matters. A report in 1880 describes these discussions as having been 'sustained for four years by the sole energies of Mr. Green'.80 Throughout his life, A. L. Green, with his close contacts with the East End, gave much thought to the problems of the relief of poverty. While still at the Great Synagogue, he had accompanied its Warden-President, Joshua Alexander (1803-1876),81 on visits in connec? tion with the work of the conjoint Committee for Relief of the three (Ashkenazi) City Syna? gogues.82 In his view, Jewish poverty was the result of depressed wage levels caused by a tendency to seek work in a limited number of 71 Lehmann, p. 8. 72J.C, 13 November 1891, Jubilee Supplement, p. 20. 73 J.C., 5 December 1879. 74 Trans. I, p. 26 (Rev. H. Adler). 75 Obit. 76 Mag. Bib., p. 6. 77 He lived at 49 Upper Gower Street (renum? bered as 115 Gower Street in 1864) until 1870, when he moved to 4 Charlotte Street, his home until his death. His brother Michael took over 115 Gower Street in 1870. 78 Obit. J.C, 15 October 1880. 19 J.C, 30 December 1870, 6 January 1871, 28 May 1875. wM, 10 November 1876, 11 May 1877; 21 May 1880; Obit. si Father of D. L. Alexander, K.C. (1842-1922), President of the Board of Deputies 1903-17. (See Col.).</page><page sequence="11">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 97 trades, by a reluctance to accept apprentice? ship or other vocational training, and by excessive concentration of the Jewish popula? tion within a very restricted area. (In 1870 he opposed a plan for a large expansion of the Jews' Free School as discouraging dispersal.) On his reckoning half the Jews of London were in receipt of charity, which was administered either by the synagogues, acting through their Overseers, or by a multiplicity of small organisations.83 In both cases, little or no investigation was made and grants were made in so haphazard a manner that, in his words, they kept 'some on the verge of starvation, enervated others and pauperised the many'.84 As a result, 'tens, nay scores, of thousands' were spent ineffectively and the London community rivalled that of Amsterdam as a 'manufactory of schnorrers'.85 The remedies which he advocated were the substitution of trained workers for the syna? gogues' Overseers of the Poor, who, however well-intentioned, had little knowledge of the problems; the amalgamation of overlapping charities; and increased medical attention.86 During most of 1858, delegates of the syna? gogues were discussing the formation of a new organisation to administer relief; and as a major part in formulating the plans was played by seat-holders of Great Portland Street, A. L. Green must have been kept fully informed of them?indeed, at one stage he was asked to join those who were trying to persuade Lionel Louis Cohen to act as Secretary.87 He must have seen with pleasure that planning was fol? lowing the lines along which he was thinking, even though 20 years later he was still expres? sing disappointment at the slow pace of charity co-ordination.88 In February 1859 he chose as the text of a sermon a verse from the Psalms (Ps. xli, 1), 'Blessed is he that dealeth wisely with the poor; the Lord will deliver him at the time of trouble.'89 In the same month Ephraim Alex became first Chairman, and Lionel Louis Cohen first Honorary Secretary, of the Board of Guardians.90 One of the Board's earliest and most success? ful innovations was a direct result of A. L. Green's lifelong practice of visiting Jewish inmates of various institutions; this he did regularly at the London Hospital and at Colney Hatch, and when, in 1864, the Home Office agreed to place all Jewish prisoners at Portsmouth, he travelled to the prison every week until the local congregation appointed an official Visitor and Chaplain.9? (A story often repeated in his family is that, on one occasion, he asked a prisoner why he was there and re? ceived the reply 'O, Sir, not for simchcf). Shortly after the Board's formation it occurred to him that it would be useful if 'some of the young Jewish Gentlemen living in the West End' were to make regular visits to the Jewish poor and he devoted a sermon to advocating this. In 1860 the Board set up a sub-committee to confer with him on this and the outcome was the formation of a visiting committee in the fol? lowing year. Among those inspired by the sermon to undertake this work was Nathan Solomon Joseph (1834-1909), whose interest in the Board's work was to range so wide that its historian has described him as 'ubiquitous'. Joseph's visits led him, as an architect, to a deep interest in the sanitary condition of Jewish housing and at his suggestion a Sanitary Inspection Service was set up?pioneer work in which the Board proved itself some 20 years ahead of the community at large.92 To A. L. Green and his interest in vocational training is also due the establishment of the Board's Industrial Department. The story has often been told of how, acting as almoner for a benefactor who at first preferred to remain 82 J.C. 27 January 1854. 83 Ibid., 6 August 1869, 28 May 1875; Nemo, 7 October 1870. 84 Nemo, 6 August 1869. 85 The Jewish Chronicle reckoned in 1857 that ?30,000 per annum was distributed by organised charities and a further ?20,000 privately. See V. D. Lipman, A Century of Social Service 1859-1959: The History of the Jewish Board of Guardians (hereinafter Soc. Serv.), p. 20, n. 3, quoting J.C, 25 September 1857. See also Nemo, 2 December 1870. 86 Nemo, 3 January 1879; J.C, 11 February 1859. 87 J.C, 20 May 1904, Jubilee of P. Vallentine (see note 52). 88 Nemo, 3 January 1879. 89 J.C, 11 February 1859. 90 Soc. Sew., pp. 23 and 26. 91 J.C, 13 January 1865; Obit. 92 Soc. Serv., pp. 70, 121n, and 125.</page><page sequence="12">98 Alex M. Jacob anonymous but who was later revealed as Charlotte, Baroness Lionel de Rothschild (1819-1884), A. L. Green was able in 1861 to supply ten sewing-machines to be hired out to Jewish needlewomen, whose livelihood was threatened by the advent of the machine. Training was provided and the borrowers were able to buy the machines on easy weekly terms. The payments made were used to buy further machines to be hired out; in the first 13 years of the scheme 412 machines were issued and it has been reckoned that over 1,000 individuals were rescued from unemployment and poverty. Another scheme, suggested by A. L. Green and made possible by Baroness Lionel's generosity, was the, not wholly successful, Girls' Work Room, founded under the Board's auspices in 1867 to provide training in dressmaking and embroidery.93 In 1958, the Board's offices were moved from Middlesex Street (where Aaron Green was born) to Charlotte Street (where he was living at the time of his death). When the Board's centenary was celebrated in 1959, the Central Synagogue was the self-evident choice for the commemorative service and in the course of his sermon on that occasion the then Chief Rabbi, Dr. Brodie, made a most felicitous reference to Green's services during the formative years of the Board.94 One other organisation to engage A. L. Green's particular attention was the Anglo Jewish Association, which was founded largely on the initiative of Dr. Abraham Benisch (1811 1878), Editor of the Jewish Chronicle from 1855 to 1869 and again from 1875 to 1878. As a result of the Franco-Prussian War, the Paris based Alliance Israelite Universelle was cut off from the rest of the country and weakened by the loss of the large and important Jewish communities in Alsace-Lorraine. In order to ensure the continuation of the Alliance's work on behalf of Jews in backward countries, the formation of an English counterpart was pro? posed. This met opposition on the grounds that the new organisation would either compete with or duplicate the work of the Board of Deputies. While he never failed to pay tribute to the achievements of Sir Moses Montefiore, who remained President of the Board until 1874, A. L. Green was severely critical of its lethargy and ineffectiveness, describing it as a 'Board of Congratulation and Condolence' and comparing it unfavourably with the son of the Shunammite woman; for, while he was awakened and sneezed, the Board, on being awakened, sneezed and promptly fell asleep again. In particular he complained that it used the terms of its Constitution as an excuse for not attempting to exert its influence in external affairs, while refusing to take any steps to amend that Constitution.95 At the Conference held in London on 25 March 1871 to consider the formation of a new body, A. L. Green moved the first resolution: 'that active measures be adopted for the pro? motion' (of the objects of the Alliance), and he reminded his listeners that the Board was designed as 'a mere local institution' and that, when the American Board of Delegates had asked the London Board for advice, the reply had been that the Deputies' 'Constitution con? fined them to this country'. The participants at this Conference formed themselves into a Provisional Committee, which organised a public meeting, held on 2 July 1871 and pre? sided over by Professor Jacob Waley, one of Green's congregants, who was later to become the Association's first President. A report of this meeting mentions that 'the Rev. A. L. Green spoke at some length of the dissimilar objects of the Association and the Board of Deputies'. At meetings of the Council later in the month A. L. Green was present, and at once moved a resolution, which was carried unanimously, that the Jewish press should be invited to all its meetings.96 (This decision must have given great satisfaction to Dr. Benisch, whom Mr. Shaftesley, one of his successors at the Jewish Chronicle, has described as 'a relentless pursuer . . . for the right of his reporters to attend com? munal meetings'.)97 Green was also appointed to the Committee formed to frame the laws and Constitution of the Association and until his 93 Ibid., pp. 67-70. 94 J.C, 27 March 1959. 95 Nemo, 1 September 1871, 3 November 1871, 26 January 1877. 96 J.C, 31 March 1871, 7 July 1871, 28 July 1871. 97 Trans. XXI, p. 226 (J. M. Shaftesley).</page><page sequence="13">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 99 death he remained a member of the Council (at that time a far smaller body than today), in addition to serving on the Executive and a number of other committees. The restructuring of the community's institu? tions which began about 1850 and culminated in the United Synagogue Act of 1870 reflected vast changes in the Anglo-Jewish community. Writing in 1870, A. L. Green was to explain that, 50 years earlier, 'the whole language of the Jew was a jargon, a kind of Babel in parvo. A little "Lane" English, a larger proportion of Double Dutch, a sprinkling of Frankfurt Ger? man, and the rest made up of odd scraps of Hebrew?this was the language of even the politest circles. Few, even of the rich, could write, speak or spell English correctly. Now the opening of the professions and the universities to Jews, the spread of Judische Wissenschaft from the Continent, closer con? tacts with the Gentile world, and even the rival attractions of the Reform Movement led to a demand for a different kind of service in the Orthodox synagogues. When the Branch Synagogue had first been mooted delays had been caused by a request to the Chief Rabbi for changes in the service. Relatively few were authorised and today these seem unimportant." The most controversial was the introduction of an interval between the Sabbath Early Morning Service (Shachrit) and the Reading of the Law, to which Dr. Adler agreed only with great reluctance, fearing that it would lead to neglect of the earlier service. These fears proved well-founded, for, in the first year of the Branch's existence, the French publication Archives Israelites printed a report (which was not challenged) that 'Schachrit Service [at Great Portland Street] is altogether abolished except for the paid minyan'100 (which Green once described as 'paid to listen if not to pray').101 Sharing the Chief Rabbi's dislike of this innovation, he was successful in securing its abolition in 1870, but not before a whole generation had, in his words, been 'weaned . . . from the most beautiful portions of our ritual. Who,' he asked, 'now goes to service except at a fashionable hour on Sabbath?'102 But the greatest change in the Orthodox community was its attitude towards sermons. The difficulties of the Bristol days had become distant memories and within six months of the Branch's consecration, the Jewish Chronicle was referring to 'weekly discourses'.103 The effect of his advocacy of visitations in the East End has already been mentioned. On other occasions considerable sums were col? lected as a result of his sermons??2,000 for the victims of an explosion in Regent's Park, ?1,000 for the Lancashire cotton-workers whose livelihood was threatened by the Civil War in America (shortly before the outbreak of war he had preached on the moral issues in? volved), and a large sum for the fund for the relief of Moroccan Jews, which last earned him a personal letter of thanks from Sir Moses Montefiore.104 Because he preferred to speak extempore and without notes, few of his sermons have come down in writing. It is on record that on one occasion he had promised a sermon on a par? ticular subject and a congregant had arranged to bring a non-Jewish friend to hear it. Learn? ing in the early part of the service that the friend had been prevented from coming, he substituted a sermon on another subject, de? ferring the original to a later date.105 In 1869, the Jewish Chronicle printed the greater part of the sermon he had delivered on the Inter? mediate Sabbath of Passover, explaining that it was rarely possible to do so because of the absence of notes.106 Summaries of many of the sermons are extant, but it is difficult to assess the impact of the spoken word when reduced to writing. And this was, in any case, a more leisurely age, when the pulpit faced far less competition from other media. On the Intermediate Sabbath of Passover, 1871, considerable interest was aroused by the first interchange of pulpits in 98 Nemo, 7 October 1870. 99 Adler. 100 Quoted in J.C, 7 September 1855. 101 Nemo, 22 July 1870. 102 Ibid., 7 October 1870; Adler. 103 J.C, 14 September 1855, Review of Year 5615. 104 Adler, J.C, 18 November 1859, 2 December 1859, 15 March 1861, 2 January 1863. los Obit. io6 J.C, 2 April 1869.</page><page sequence="14">100 Alex M. Jacob London. Dr. Hermann Adler preached at Great Portland Street and A. L. Green at Bayswater. The latter's sermon lasted three quarters of an hour without, it was reported, 'any signs of impatience or fatigue being evinced'. On earlier occasions, a sermon at the Sephardi Branch Synagogue in Wigmore Street lasted nearly an hour, and one at Bristol one and a half hours.107 It is doubtful if a preacher, even of Green's calibre, would show such confidence in a present-day congregation; and one cannot help wondering how long were the sermons, especially addressed to the child? ren of the congregation, which he made it his custom to deliver each year. In 1862, a sub-committee was appointed to consider whether the lease of the synagogue should be renewed or whether a new and larger synagogue should be erected on a different site. The formation of the Bayswater Synagogue the following year led to a substantial loss of seat holders, but this was quickly made good. In Green's words, a whole congregation was taken away from the Branch Synagogue, but 'the vacant seats were filled within a couple of weeks', and by 1866 the Branch's revenue was only slightly less, and its surplus was larger, than that of Duke's Place. In 1866, the sub? committee reported in favour of buying the lease of numbers 133-141 Great Portland Street?the site of the present synagogue?and two months later, Sir Anthony de Rothschild took the chair at a meeting at the Westminster Jewish Free School in Greek Street, Soho, to launch an appeal for funds. A. L. Green threw himself enthusiastically into the project, seeing in the new building the future Cathedral-Synagogue of Anglo-Jewry, and he was instrumental in raising a substantial part of the ?22,000 contributed by seatholders. The architect chosen, N. S. Joseph, who has already been mentioned, had been responsible for Bayswater Synagogue and was later to be the architect of the New West End Synagogue. In March 1869 the foundation-stone was laid and a year later (7 April 1870) a large con? gregation attended a farewell service in the older building and then walked across the street to witness the consecration of the new syna? gogue by the Chief Rabbi.108 Three months later, the status of the syna? gogue was completely altered when, on 14 July 1870, the United Synagogue Act received the Royal Assent. Henceforth, as the Central Synagogue, it was no longer an appendage of Duke's Place, but a constituent member of the United Synagogue, an autonomous body with its own Honorary Officers and Board of Management. A measure of the congregation's interest in the conduct of affairs is that in 1870, at the first elections, 30 candidates contested five places on the Board of Management and 38 the seven allotted to the Central on the Council of the United Synagogue.109 In its new building the synagogue's progress continued and within five years of its opening all the existing seats were let and a further forty were added. In 1872 it was reported that the membership included five Members of Parlia? ment (one of whom, Sir George Jessel (1824 1883), the Solicitor-General, was to become Master of the Rolls in the following year), six Barons, two Aldermen of the City of London, and a Royal Academician, Solomon Alexander Hart (1806-1880), successively Professor of Painting and Librarian at The Academy, whose portrait of A. L. Green was on view at the 1858 Exhibition. Some 20 years later, another Jewish artist, B. S. Marks (1827-1916), painted a portrait of him; Marks later remarked that, if he had been a Boswell, he could have filled a book with Green's conversation during the sittings.110 The standing of the synagogue was well illustrated in 1871, when Dom Pedro II (1825 1891),111 the liberal-minded and scholarly Emperor (1831-1889) of Brazil, attended a Sabbath morning service. In a detailed account w Ibid., 30 July 1858, 11 February 1859, 28 April 1871, 12 May 1871. 108 Rabbi C. I. Shine, A History of the Central Synagogue (London, 1970); (hereinafter Shine); Adler; J.C, 25 January 1867, 8 April 1870, 12 May 1871. 109 Adler. no Trans. XIV, pp. 119-120 (A. Rubens); Shine; J.C, 17 January 1879 and 8 December 1916 (Obit. B. S. Marks). m 'The monarch's interest in language, religion, education and science encouraged him to travel abroad. He made trips to Europe in 1871, 1876, and 1887'?Encyclopedia Britannica, 1970.</page><page sequence="15">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 101 of the occasion on its main page, The Times reported that this was understood to be the first visit of a reigning monarch to a synagogue service in this country and the specially com? posed prayer for the health and prosperity of the Emperor was reproduced in full. Ten years later, the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) was present at the wedding of Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917) at Great Portland Street, thereby becoming the first heir to the British throne to have attended a synagogue service and the first member of his family to have done so since the well-known occasion in 1809 when three of King George Ill's sons visited Duke's Place for a Friday evening service.112 By 1870, when the Central Synagogue's new building was inaugurated, A. L. Green, at the age of 48, had established himself as a figure of outstanding influence in the community. Among his own congregants he had many close friends and he made it a habit to entertain the congregation annually at a party in his private Succah. Many relied on his advice when contributing to charity; two of the Barons de Worms in? structed their executors to be guided by him in the distribution of legacies included in their wills.113 On a more mundane level his friendship with the Cohen family led to several of his sons becoming trainees in the stockbroking firm of Louis Cohen &amp; Sons. One of the Green sons significantly bore the name of Lionel and the story is told that, when one of the firm's partners once introduced a young man as 'the son of my minister', his non-Jewish friend replied, 'The original Shoolbred, I presume'. Although his own congregation remained his main concern, A. L. Green showed great interest in other congregations and there is a long list of foundation-stone layings and syna? gogue consecrations in which he took a leading part. In 1873, he undertook what was described as a pastoral tour of the congregations of North-East England, laying the foundation stone of a new synagogue in Middlesbrough, advising the West Hartlepools congregation on difficulties that had arisen over its cemetery, attending service at a synagogue described as being in a back slum of Newcastle, and crown? ing his week's labours by effecting a reconcilia? tion between two factions whose rivalry had weakened the Newcastle congregation for some years. Six years later he was to have the satis? faction of laying the foundation-stone of the new synagogue which the reunited congrega? tion was building.114 In London he gave active help and en? couragement to the establishment of St. John's Wood Synagogue. Though he realised that a congregation in Abbey Road would have adverse effects on the membership of Great Portland Street, he was even more concerned at the growing practice of riding on Sabbath. As he ruefully wrote on another occasion, 'distance is not now regarded by many as a bar to attendance on Sabbaths and Festivals'.115 Perhaps the most striking demonstration of the respect shown for him by other congrega? tions was that, when Benjamin Artom (1835? 1879), the Sephardi Haham, died early in 1879, he was persuaded to deliver an oration at the funeral.116 Outside the synagogue his activities con? tinued to reflect his special interests, particu? larly in the spheres of education and hospital visiting. He was a frequent visitor to Jewish schools in London and was a member of the committee which, after consultations with Sir Julian Goldsmid's sister, Isabel (1842-1911), recommended that a class for 'young ladies desirous of passing the Oxford or Cambridge Examination' should be formed at the West Metropolitan Jewish School.117 He shared the concern felt in the community at the activities of the conversionists and was the first to receive reports of their attempt to infiltrate the Jewish trades unions?an attempt which 112 J.C, 14 July 1871, 21 January 1881; Gt. Syn., p. 205. na Obit. "4 J.C, 22 August 1873, 29 August 1873, 22 August 1879. us Ibid., 4 June 1880 and Nemo, 30 September 1870. 116 J.C, 10 January 1879, 23 March 1883. (When first invited, he hesitated for fear of causing resent? ment among other Ashkenazi ministers: letter from Joseph de Castro.) 117 Trans. XIX, pp. 124-125 (C. E. Cassell).</page><page sequence="16">102 Alex M. Jacob was foiled by timely exposure in the Jewish press.118 The reports of the United Synagogue's Visitation Committee for this period show how punctilious he remained in his visits to the physically as well as the mentally sick. Despite his other activities, very few weeks passed with? out his paying one visit to one of the London hospitals and a second to Colney Hatch Asylum, where he was the only Jewish visitor. In 1881, he came forward as one of the earliest spokesmen for the community at the time of the outbreaks of violence against the Jews of Russia. In a letter to The Times in July of that year, he explained that, if Russian Jews practised moneylending, it was because the restrictions placed on them left them with little alternative occupation and because no one else appeared ready to lend to the peasantry.119 In a further, and very powerful, letter to The Times on the last day of the year he appealed to the British Government to use its influence on behalf of Russian Jewry and to the British press to expose and denounce the persecutions.120 A month later, at a meeting at the Mansion House, presided over by the Lord Mayor, and addressed by a representative of Dr. Tait, the ailing Archbishop of Canterbury, by Cardinal Manning, and by the octogenarian Earl of Shaftesbury, places on the platform were al? lotted to him and Dr. Hermann Adler as representatives of the Anglo-Jewish ministry. The meeting set up a Mansion House Relief Fund and A. L. Green regularly attended its committee, to which he was appointed.121 It was during the years from 1867 that A. L. Green was most active as a writer to the press, both national and Jewish. He showed par? ticular concern at statements which seemed to underrate the Jewish contribution to civilisa? tion?a letter in 1876 challenged a claim by the Bishop of Gloucester that Christianity offered the only consistent explanation for the moral purpose of man's existence and one the follow? ing year disputed a statement by the Marquess of Salisbury which seemed to imply that the practice of charity is an exclusively Christian virtue.122 At times he showed more valour than discretion, as when he suggested that the letters D.D. must stand for Dreadful Dunce or Dreary Doubter when found after the names of Christian theologians who appeared ignorant of the Old Testament origin of the verse 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself J23 On another occasion he commented on a debate by the Lords on the Sunday opening of museums. After explaining that 'there is nothing morose or ascetic in Judaism or Judaic observances. Our reading rooms are open on the Sabbath and the most pious Jews take pleasure in visiting art galleries and museums on the Sabbath day', he proceeded to tell the readers of The Times that Jews are punctilious in avoiding servile work on that day and that they would not permit ser? vants 'to remain outside the Church listening to the neighing of the carriage horses whilst the devout congregation were listening to the Bishop . . . reminding his brothers that the blessings of. . . Sabbath must extend to all men alike, even if they are servants, and to all beasts, even if they are carriage horses.'124 On two occasions A. L. Green crossed swords with Mr. Gladstone, who complained that Jewish sympathy for Turkey in its disputes with Russia hampered his efforts to obtain an improvement in the treatment of minorities in the Ottoman Empire. In a letter to the Daily News in 1876, Green explained Jewish antagon? ism towards the repressions of the Tsarist regime.125 This letter earned him a severe re? proof in the columns of The Times from Arthur Cohen, Q.C. (1829-1914), a future President (1880-1895) of the Board of Deputies, who interpreted a sentence in Green's letter as sug? gesting that Jews acted as an organised group in political matters.126 That no such suggestion was intended is proved by many of A. L. Green's statements?such, for example, as that 'a man's Judaism has nothing to do with his political bias',127 and three years later, when replying to further criticism from Gladstone, he 118 Ibid. XVII, p. 57 (P. Elman). H9 The Times, 1 July 1881. wlbid. 31 December 1881. 121 J.C, 3 February 1882 et seq. 122 Ibid., 3 November 1876 and 12 October 1877. 123 Nemo, 3 June 1870. 124 Quoted in J.C., 13 June 1879. 125 Daily News, 13 October 1876. 126 The Times, 16 October 1876. 127 Nemo, 3 November 1876.</page><page sequence="17">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 103 was careful to include in a letter to The Times the statement that, in political matters, Jews 'recognise no concentrated action'.128 It was during this period, too, that he con? tributed some 150 letters to the Jewish Chronicle, many of 5,000 words or more, under the pseudonym of 'Nemo'. So widely did they become known that in 1873 it was reported that the same nom de plume was being used by a correspondent to the Jewish press in Australia.129 Though the style, learning, and wit of the letters must have led many to guess their authorship, A. L. Green persistently maintained an anonymity which allowed him far greater freedom of expression than would have been possible in letters signed in his own name, and his contributions to the Jewish Chronicle were always accompanied by a covering letter describing himself as Agent for Nemo.130 It has been well said that, in his letters, Nemo used as debating instruments 'the rapier in one hand and a cutlass in the other'.131 In dealing with other correspondents to the Jewish Chronicle, he showed no restraint. One example out of many may be cited. In 1879 a contri? butor, using a pseudonym, had expressed his regret at the campaign for elimination of the Piyutim from the Prayer-Book. In the course of a lengthy reply, Nemo wrote that the cor? respondent'tells us . . . that he lives far North? I hope very far North?and away from our doomed city [of London] with its renegade wardens, its ignorant chazanim, its woe? begone preachers and its benighted Syna? gogues. Surely this aurora borealis can never be spared from his self-created heaven. What would become of his Congregation without his resplendent light? The North Pole has cer? tainly hitherto been unapproachable to Eng? lishmen. I pity the North Pole and congratulate Englishmen'.132 It is scarcely surprising that another correspondent should have asked in a letter to the Jewish Chronicle whether there were not 'two Nemos in the field? Surely the calm, erudite, Talmudical scholar who wrote a glorious letter on "Hebrew Literature" is scarcely the "Nemo" who strikes such hard blows at those who think differently from him? self.'133 To which Nemo replied that his attacks were not on opinions with which he disagreed, but on ill-conceived arguments?'we could', he said, 'dispense with some letters?specimens of bad English and worse sense'.134 Although straying very occasionally into such esoteric fields as the relative ages of the sons of Noah,135 the higher percentage of sons born to Jewish than to non-Jewish families,136 and references to lightning conductors in the Talmud,137 Nemo dealt in the vast majority of his letters with practical questions of the day. There are very few discussions of the affairs of Jewish communities abroad; the only such topics to be found in the correspondence are the readmission of the Jews to Spain, an appeal for the life of a member of the Cremieux family who was under sentence of death, and a criticism of the indifference shown by the wealthy Jewish families of Roumania to the position of their less prosperous coreligionists.138 On domestic affairs much of the correspondence deals with such matters of communal organisa? tion as the sale of kosher meat by non-Jewish butchers in London (of which he was in favour; in the Provinces it was common practice), the operations of the Burial Society of the United Synagogue, the acquisition and layout of a cemetery to serve the needs of the West End synagogues?he was later to conduct the first burial at Willesden?and the appointment of Choir Committees by synagogues.139 Criticism of the Board of Deputies and the consequent arguments in favour of the Anglo-Jewish Association are also spelt out in the letters. As is to be expected, arrangements for charitable 128 Quoted by J.C. 26 December 1879. 129 J.C, 21 February 1873. 130 Ibid., Jubilee supplement, 13 November 1891, p. 32. 131 Trans. XXI, p. 229 (J. M. Shaftesley). 132 Nemo, 29 August 1879. 133 J.C, 25 June 1869, letter signed 'Acerbitas'. 134 Nemo, 16 April 1869. 135 Ibid., 5 January 1872. 136 Md., 1 September 1871. 137 Nemo, 24 December 1869, quoting Tosephta Shabbat, Ch. 2. 138 Ibid., 5 February 1869, 14 July 1871, 21 July 1871, 26 January 1877. "9 Ibid., 8 January 1869, 27 January 1871, 3 February 1871, 22 December 1871, 12 January 1872, 29 November 1872, 6 December 1872; J.C, 10 October 1873.</page><page sequence="18">104 Alex M. Jacob administration in the capital are discussed; co-ordination is a recurrent theme and there are detailed examinations of the schemes put forward from time to time by individual charities. One of the controversies among those con? cerned with relief and welfare at this period was the provision of residential establishments. In the main the Jews of the East End favoured specialised institutions, while those living in the West of London, whose contacts with the Gentile world were closer and more regular, preferred to use national, non-sectarian or? ganisations and to negotiate special facilities for Jewish inmates. A. L. Green's close associa? tion with his own congregants understandably inclined him to the latter view and at times separated him from his own relatives, the majority of whom continued to live in the Aid gate area. Thus, in 1871, a Nemo letter140 opposing the establishment of a Jewish work? house incurred the wrath of his hot-headed cousin, Solomon Abraham Green (1831-1899), a tradesman, of Goulston Street, Aldgate, and later of Mile End Road, who was widely known in the East End as Sholey and whose father was Abraham Green, the seller of cucumbers and olives. As the foremost cham? pion of the workhouse scheme, Sholey took the chair at a public meeting some two weeks after publication of the Nemo letter. His speech on that occasion was so intemperate that the Jewish Chronicle refused to report more than a short section, which, however, included the claim to know the identity of that preacher 'who appears now in a different character, [that] of an anonymous writer styling himself "Nemo".'141 The divergent outlooks of the two sections of the community are also illustrated by A. L. Green's views on a Jewish hospital?a project which, as already mentioned, had been so strongly supported by his father. In one of the most closely reasoned of all the Nemo letters, it was argued that the scheme was impracticable because of the ever-increasing dispersal of Jews throughout London, because not one, but a number of hospitals, would be needed if every type of illness was to be dealt with, and because disease transcends religious difference: 'there is no kosher jaundice, no j?dische dyspepsia, no yomtov toothache, no shobbos cholic.'142 By far the largest number of the letters deal with reform of the Orthodox Prayer-Book. His hope was for 'a service that all can respect, nay venerate and, what is more, believe in'143 and an end to that 'Judaism of the Synagogue where men stay as long, say as much and pray as little as of yore.'144 Could we not, he asked, introduce 'a minhag suitable to our time and circumstances?[not] a millinery minhag [which would] change fashions with every season, but a minhag well-conducted and voluntarily adopted; a minhag in ritualistic matters, based on Talmudical authority.'145 The principal reform of the Prayer-Book advocated in the Nemo letters is the elimina? tion from it of the piyutim, which are de? scribed as 'un-Judaic' in their references to angels144 and as the 'subtle fiction of fantastic brains'146 distinguished for their 'complexity of diction and the extravagance of [their] meta? phors'.147 'There are', he wrote, 'those who would say "Puss in Boots" on the Day of Atonement and cry over it, too, if only written in Hebrew characters and set to music ... in a minor key'.146 The piyutim constantly recur in the letters; indeed, apart from a single passing reference to prayers for the restoration of sacri? fices148 and another to the Triennial Cycle of the Reading of the Law, which he is known to have favoured in order to allow more time for other parts of the Service,149 no other reform is suggested. Concentration on the piyutim was presumably due to the facts that they were comparatively recent innovations, that recital of some had already been declared optional, Nemo, 24 February 1871. 141 J.C, 10 March 1871, 14 July 1899 (obit, S. A. Green). The development of the workhouse is traced in Trans. XX, p. 132n. (I. Finestein). 142 Nemo, 23 April 1819. 143 ibid., 24 October 1879. ^ Ibid., 11 June 1869. 145 Ibid., 19 November 1869. 146 Ibid., 15 August 1879. 147 Ibid., 3 September 1869. 148 'It is too early to write on the question of sacrifices. Whether any one man in the Synagogue really prays for their restoration is a grave question' (Nemo, 24 October 1879). 149 Obit.</page><page sequence="19">Aaron Levy Green, 1821-1883 105 and that to those who claimed that their elimination would constitute a breach with minhag, he was able to point out that their introduction into the service from the eleventh century onwards was just such a breach.145 No doubt, he felt that success in obtaining this reform would open the door to further changes. It seems not unfair to suggest that A. L. Green was in favour of reforms provided the reforms were those he himself favoured. While he wrote that he venerated 'our dearly loved customs' but still saw 'the necessity of modifying to suit the time',150 he also insisted that the performance of certain Divine Laws 'makes us Jews. I have no sympathy with those who say that we must not take away mouldering stones; but I do say, let us take care that we do not take granite away and put limestone in its place';151 and from his writings it is clear that he trusted only the select few?one of whom would cer? tainly have been the Rev. A. L. Green?to judge what was granite and what limestone. This is clearly indicated by the attitude towards the Reform Synagogue of the Nemo letters. Contrary to the general view and indeed to the explicit wording of the Chief Rabbi's 'caution' of 1841, he maintained that the Reformers had not repudiated the Oral Law.152 Indeed, in 1870, when the synagogue in Upper Berkeley Street was nearing completion, he made the startling suggestion that it should be in? augurated by the Chief Rabbi153 and at a later period he made something of a stir by attending Sabbath services there at a time when the Central Synagogue was under repair.154 But he wrote of the Reformers that they had intro? duced 'a self-adjusted system, adopted at the whim and fancy of men having, ab initio, little or no knowledge of traditional Judaism'155 and more specifically he complained that they had made 'an idol of propriety' and believed that 'outward decorum of worship?which has made the service cold and monotonous?is the aim and end of religious adoration'156?a view of those services that many still hold. Among some of his contemporaries A. L. Green had the reputation of being a rebel and an ardent campaigner for reform. His letters show that respect for tradition made him a very cautious reformer and a more general view appears in a report in 1869 on the West End Sabbath School, which stated that it was understood that religious teaching in it was 'strictly orthodox in character; that is to say, in accordance with the doctrines of the old Metropolitan Synagogues; and as the Rev. A. L. Green occasionally lectures there, we are quite certain that this is the case.'157 In matters of personal observance he was strict, if not uncompromising. 'Enactments', he once wrote, 'should always be sufficiently le