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An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place: The History of Stepney Jewish School, 1864-2013

Gerry Black

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 45, 2013 An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place: The History of the Stepney Jewish School, 1864-2013 The book from which the following is taken will also address the future of schooling in the United Kingdom, comprehensive schools, grammar schools, academies, free schools and faith schools. This excerpt details the events leading to the establishment of Stepney Jewish School in 1864. In various books, articles and annual reports, references have been made to the establishment of the Stepney Jewish Schools (hereafter, Stepney Jewish School) as being in 1863, 1865, 1870 and 1872. In fact, the school opened on 22 August 1864, with five pupils, in what was a private house for 82 years. Until 1946, it educated pupils up to the age of fourteen, but in that year it transformed itself into a primary school, with pupils leaving at the age of eleven. Until then, the boys' and girls' schools occupied entirely separate premises, though in the same building, and since 1946 boys and girls have been taught together in the same classes. It is now about to enter its 150th year of existence. This article will deal with the factors leading to its opening in Stepney in 1864, why it remained there until 1970, why it then moved to Ilford and its history since then. Jewish religious education As befits "the people of the book", Jewish religious education has always been at the heart of Judaism through the study of sacred texts and the teaching of traditional practices and beliefs. Such education in Jewish schools has never been state-funded but has always been paid for by the pupils' parents or by money raised by charitable donations. Many believe that Jewish schooling contains the key to the future of Judaism in the United Kingdom; that its evo lution here is itself an illustration of how the Jewish people have striven throughout their history to adjust themselves to whatsoever geographical region their destiny has brought them, and to integrate within it. Although integration was encouraged, neither the immigrant families themselves nor the Jewish leaders have sought complete assimilation. British Chief Rabbis 131</page><page sequence="2">Gerry Black have naturally always emphasized this education's importance. Nathan Marcus Adler (Chief Rabbi, 1845-90) said in 1874, "with [religious] educa tion, Judaism stands, without such education, it falls." Lord Jakobovits (Chief Rabbi, 1967-91) said that during the Jews' dispersal over the centuries, edu cation has been the principal instrument of Jewish defence. "Where others relied on prudent statecraft and military skill to preserve their integrity, Jews relied mainly on learning as the supreme condition of survival." When he assumed office, he promised to make Jewish education his top domestic pri ority. Lord Sacks (Chief Rabbi, 1991-2013) has claimed that the Jewish people were the first to make education a religious command, and the first to create a compulsory universal system of schooling, eighteen centuries before Britain. "The Egyptians built pyramids, the Romans built empires, Jews built schools. They knew that to defend a country you need an army, to defend a civilization you need education. So the Jews became the people whose heroes were teachers, whose citadels were schools, and whose passion was study." He also commented on the fact that the world is changing faster than ever before. "In a single generation, there has been more scientific and technolog ical advance than in all previous centuries since human beings first set foot on earth. In uncharted territory you need a compass. That's what Judaism is." Ephraim Mirvis (Chief Rabbi, 1 September 2013 to date), has expressed similar views. Originally, the education of children was regarded solely as the personal duty of the father, but two thousand years ago it additionally became a com munal obligation for Jews. Wherever a colony of Jews settled, a Jewish school was established. According to Rabbi Tanchuma in the Midrash, when Jacob and his family went to Egypt he sent his son Judah ahead to start a yeshivah (religious school), mainly concerned with training the boys in Hebrew and the tenets of Judaism, to prepare for the families who were to follow. Lord Sacks has asked the rhetorical question, "How can we deprive our children of that heritage?" Leaders of other religions have taken the same view. Roman Catholics, for example, maintain that religious education should be in the forefront of education - taught every day by precept and example. Cardinal Vaughan, interviewed by the Jewish Chronicle in 1872, put it this way: "reli gious education is like sugar in the cup; it must permeate everything that is taught; it must form part of every day's curriculum." And Pope Pius XI (1929-39) claimed that "education belongs predominately to the church - neutral or lay schools from which religion is excluded are contrary to the fun damental principles of education." Following the 1944 Education Act, the Bishop of Hexham said: "I therefore lay down the Catholic principle. We shall stand by it and will not surrender - we shall have Catholic schools where our children will be educated in a Catholic atmosphere by Catholic teachers, 132</page><page sequence="3">An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place, 1864-201 j approved by a Catholic authority. We cannot, and will not, surrender our schools." How far this has changed will be discussed later. At the end of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth, education was a much discussed topic. Two particular questions that had to be addressed were: firstly, should schools be denominational and controlled by the Church of England and other religious bodies, or non-denominational and controlled by the state? For many years the religious authorities success fully opposed the introduction of state education in the United Kingdom. Secondly, how could they cope with the millions of hitherto uneducated children? The answer to that question, from the beginning of the nineteenth century, was teaching by the monitorial system, which in turn was followed by the pupil/teacher method which began in the 1840s, and which was in existence when the Stepney Jewish School opened in 1864. Both systems will be discussed later. The introduction of state education Until 1870, education for the poor in the United Kingdom was mainly in the hands of the churches, private individuals and charities. Just as rabbis feared conversion of Jewish children to Christianity if they attended Christian schools, so Catholic priests considered that without Catholic schools there was an acute danger of their children growing up as Protestants, and they fought to maintain their parochial schools. At the same time, the Nonconformists, who sought to challenge and counter the Church of England's claim to be the schoolmaster of the nation, were keen to keep their basic tenets free from the dilution that would occur if their children attended Catholic schools or Church of England schools, and so built their own dis senting schools. The religious organizations then combined their efforts to resist attempts by the state to provide education for the masses because they wished to remain in control of admission to their schools and to make their own decisions as to what should be included in their curricula. As a result of their opposition, it was not until the 1870s that state education was introduced into Britain, later than in most European countries. Since 1864, the Stepney school has been influenced by the many changes that have occurred in society generally; for example, in 1864 boys were still being sent up chimneys to sweep them and it was not until 1875 that an Act of Parliament was passed to stop that usage. In their turn, Jewish schools have to an extent influenced events, such as establishing the Jews' Free School which became the world's largest school, and, led by Stepney Jewish School, they were in the forefront of teaching scientific education in primary schools. Overall, I hope to present a balanced view of the history of the Stepney Jewish 133</page><page sequence="4">Gerry Black School in the context of the general changes that have occurred in society since 1864. Among the important changes have been: ( i ) the attitude of Jewish parents towards sending their children to Jewish day schools, which has waxed and waned, and varied widely from out right opposition to enthusiastic acceptance. Today, a higher percentage of Jewish children attend Jewish day schools than ever before, and a question that needs to be posed is whether their main attraction is that they provide a Jewish religious education which the parents seek for their children, or whether it is because the academic standards they attain, and the disciplined ethos they maintain, are perceived to be higher than that achieved in state schools. (2) the growth of the Orthodox (Haredi) element in the community, and its likely effect on the future of the Jewish community and its schooling. (3) the general decline of religious belief and observance in the United Kingdom, and the increase of atheism. (4) the effects of the increasingly multicultural society which now exists in the United Kingdom. (5) the introduction by the Labour government of comprehensive schools in 1964, and the reduction in the number of grammar schools. (6) the introduction of academies and free schools. (7) the shift in the dominant leadership of the Jewish community, from the Cousinhood, which included the families of the Rothschilds, Samuels, Montefiores, Cohens, Henriques, Goldsmids and Montagus, to a wider section of the community, starting with Isaac Wolfson and other self made men. The Cousinhood members took their responsibilities to Judaism and their co-religionists seriously, and were instrumental in leading the way to feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, establishing schools and building synagogues. (8) the growth in the importance of women in Jewish, as in general, society. Two examples drawn from the educational field are Josephine (Jo) Wagerman, the headteacher of Jews' Free School from 1985 to 1993, who became the first woman President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, and Ruth Robins, her successor as headteacher at the school from 1993 to 2007, who was honoured by being made a Dame for her contribution to education. (9) the Jewish community's transformation from being a predominantly working-class group into an above-average and successful middle-class body, and from being an inner-city community largely settled in the East End, to its move to the more affluent suburbs of Greater London and beyond. 134</page><page sequence="5">An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place, 1864-2013 (10) the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, which added a new zest to the learning and teaching of Judaism and Jewish history, as well as the Hebrew language. 1656 -1864: Jewish schooling before the establishment of Stepney Jewish School and events leading to the school's founding The conversionists, their societies and their schools The Jews who arrived in London in 1656, mainly Sephardim, lost no time in making arrangements for the education of their young. Within a year, the Sephardi community opened its first synagogue in Creechurch Lane in the City of London and immediately established a Talmud Torah. John Greenhalgh, a non-Jewish schoolmaster, who paid a visit shortly afterwards, noted that the children could all read Hebrew "and were as ready and nimble in it as the men". A boys' school, the Gates of Hope, was established in 1664, an important element of whose curriculum was the teaching of reading and writing English. A girls' school, the Villa Real, opened in 1730 and continued until the 1920s. There was no equivalent Ashkenazi communal school until 1732, when the Great Synagogue in Duke's Place, Aldgate, opened a Talmud Torah catering for fifteen pupils. In 1817, it was transformed into a school as we now know it and became the Jews' Free School, which in due course became the largest elementary school in the world; it still flourishes today in Kenton as a comprehensive school and currently is con sidering applying for academy status. A major question in eduction generally which had to be addressed was whether universal education was desirable and, if so, what the possible dangers were. Many were concerned that the provision of education for the poor might lead to a "reign of terror" as had occurred in Paris The French Revolution of 1789 was a complex upheaval which not only profoundly affected every aspect of government and society in France, but also influ enced other countries in Europe who feared that their working classes would be similarly affected. In England, as late as the 1870s, there could be found some who were still arguing that educating the working class was wrong and dangerous, and only made them "uppish", caused strikes and discontent, and raised them above their station. Another question was: what system was there that was practicable and affordable, which could cope with millions of hith erto uneducated children? The answer was in the development of the moni torial and then the pupil/teacher methods, which will be dealt with in Chapter 5 of my book. 135</page><page sequence="6">Gerry Black The state of Jewish education in London at the start of nineteenth century Unfortunately, in 1800 the situation that prevailed for the education of the Jewish young was that the Jewish leaders had failed to provide adequate schooling facilities. The existing Jewish schools were insufficient to cope with the demand, and the problem had arisen because the churches had long been highly active in establishing schools for the poor. In 1658, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was founded to provide a charity school in every parish in and around London. The Nonconformists established the British and Foreign School Society in 1808 and the Anglican church the National Society in 1811, both of which opened schools in the Jewish district of London that made no concessions to Jewish pupils. An increasing number of Jewish children either attended these schools, and those opened by con version societies, or roamed the streets. The willingness of many of the Jewish poor to send their children to them demonstrated just how keen they were to obtain some kind of education for their children. The Jewish leadership feared that children who attended these schools were at risk of losing their heritage. They worried that they might become so saturated with Christianity without being conscious of it, that "the blank leaf between the Old and New Testament in our bibles may thus be turned, so gradually, so slyly, as not even to be noticed by the most wary parents", as the Chief Rabbi Solomon Hirschell phrased it. A leading challenger to the mis sionaries and their schools was the Chief Rabbi Solomon Hirschell (1762 1842). On successive Sabbaths in 1807, he preached sermons in the Great Synagogue warning parents not to send their children to such schools and proclaimed that any who did so would be considered as having been them selves baptised and would forfeit all claim to be Jews, but his call seems to have had little effect. It was a situation that desperately cried out for action by the Jewish lead ership to which they responded well. By the mid-i840s there were 2,000 pupils in Jewish day schools in London. In addition to the Gates of Hope, the Villa Real and the Jews' Free School, there were the Westminster Jews' Free School (established in 1820), the Jews' Infants School (1841) and the West Metropolitan Jewish School, founded in Red Lion Square in 1845 by the then newly established Reform movement. After the Stepney Jewish School was founded in 1864 came Jewish schools in Bayswater in 1866 and in the Borough, south of the Thames in Heygate Street, in 1867. In the meantime Jewish schools had been established in the provinces in Hull (1830s), Birmingham (1840), Liverpool (1841) and Manchester (1842). Most surprisingly, it was the opening of the Christian missionary societies, which had conversion of Jews to Christianity as a major aim, that acted as the catalyst prompting the leadership of the Jewish com 136</page><page sequence="7">An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place, 1864-2013 munity into taking action to open more Jewish schools. As Cecil Roth com mented, "it is curious that an outside impetus was necessary before the great est problem of all - that of education - was systematically coped with". The societies for the conversion of Jews Conversion of the Jews to Christianity was much talked about in eighteenth century Britain but it was not until the end of that century, and into the nine teenth, that institutions were created with the specific task of bringing Jews into the Christian fold. Their basic objective, to make England a more Christian nation, engendered sympathy and attracted considerable financial support. The question was raised whether any religious group had the right to persuade members of other groups to convert. One who expressed the views of those who thought they did not was Sir Oswald Simon, a Liberal MP and a leading member of the Jewish community in the nineteenth century. He argued that no one was entitled to attempt to convert another to a different religion: To meddle with the settled religious convictions of our neighbours in the hope of supplanting them is a very dangerous exploit. It is a proceeding which in the case of the poor and the weak becomes a stepping stone to temptation and fraud - there is no inherent right in any individual or denomination to interfere with the faith of others - there seems almost something immoral in the idea that any society may intrude itself into the homes of private families with the object of altering their faith . . . Christian conversion societies invade the sanctuary of domestic life. They entice children from parental guidance. They sow discord in the home. Finally, by means which are rarely other than material, and which could not be successfully applied except to those who are in actual physical need, they tempt weak Jews to become doubtful Christians. Sir Oswald concluded that, if anything, the actions of the missionaries confirmed the Jew in his Jewishness. Many missionary societies had branches in the East End both before and after the establishment of Stepney Jewish School. These included the British Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Jews, established in 1842, which also ran its Gilhead Medical Mission in Fournier Street from 1878 to 1969; the East End Mission to the Jews was at 119 Leman Street; the Presbyterian Church of England Jewish Missionaries was established in i860; and the East London Mission to Jews in 1877. At 82 Whitechapel Road was the Barbican Mission to the Jews. In Spitalfields, Christ Church provided Jews with the services of a nurse; and the Bethesda Mission to the Jews was at 262 Commercial Road. Some members of these societies waited at the 137</page><page sequence="8">Gerry Black docks and were often among the first persons to greet the immigrants. As they had premises thickly dotted throughout the East End, that put them in close and convenient contact with the new arrivals. Their methods of attracting Jews to attend their schools, mission halls and medical missions included the distribution of leaflets and pamphlets in Yiddish, holding open-air meetings, invitations to young Jewish children to attend lantern-slide shows and, what was effectively bribery, the distribution of relief in the form of tickets for food and clothing to those who attended their meetings. When the missionaries served free teas as part of the attraction of coming to their meetings, they bought the food from Jewish shops. This enabled the missionaries to have the invitation tickets stamped with the words "lawful" or "kosher" and by this ruse they could claim that "thus every pos sible excuse for rejecting the invitation was removed". For the purposes of this article, of the many conversion societies in exis tence I have focused specifically on two. The first was the London Missionary Society, founded in 1795 to convert the inhabitants of Africa and the Indies. In 1806 it set up a special committee to work among the Jews in London. Members of this committee became dissatisfied with what they considered were the meagre financial resources allotted them, broke from the parent body in 1808 and established what eventually became the world's largest organization devoted exclusively to evangelizing Jews, the London Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews (hereafter, the London Society). Its work during the nineteenth century is best recorded in W. T. Gidney's History ofthe London Society for Promoting Christianity Among the Jews i8og— igo8, published in 1909. The London Society numbered among its patrons several highly influen tial figures in British governmental and clerical circles. It was the richest, most active and most influential of the missionary groups. Many of its members tended to regard all believing Jews as backward, misguided and wilful beings, as problem children almost, who if treated firmly, but humanely, might in God's good time come to realize that it was to their advantage to give up their sinful ways and attain salvation through Anglican Christianity. The society's supporters were convinced that the Jews would never take their proper place among the nations until they had accepted Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and were great believers in the saying, "Give me the children and I shall have the whole nation." The second society, the London City Mission, founded in 1835, and still today operating successfully by London Bridge, had effectively the same aim but an entirely different approach. It sought to tackle the Jews in a spirit not only of friendship but also almost of veneration, as the ancient people of God. They freely admitted that Christendom owed a debt of shame in respect of the past centuries of persecution and maltreatment. Some of its members G»</page><page sequence="9">An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place, 1864-2013 even maintained that the voice of reason could not make itself heard until the last relics of discrimination against the Jews had been removed. Most impor tantly, the movement insisted on the recognition of the Jews as members of English society, something that Jews were keen to achieve. In their case, the secret was "the same person, going to the same people, regularly, to become their friend for Jesus' sake". Lord Blythswood, a leading supporter, said that relentless visiting was the backbone of missionary work, "to visit; visit; and then begin again, to go where he is not wanted, until he is wanted". They believed that "all have sinned, and unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." They sought to extend the knowledge of the Gospel among all the inhabitants of London without reference to denominational distinctions. The London City Mission chose only already converted Jews as activists for this task among the Jewish population of the East End. They ended every day's work with a written report which together comprise an important, almost unique and accurate source of information of the then true condition of the poorest areas of London. Their archives are fascinating, containing everything from a monthly magazine and annual reports dating back to 1835, to the handwritten and unpublished manuscripts penned by the missionaries themselves, together with a wealth of old lantern slides and photographs. They merit further research. In 1841, a letter headed "Peace Be With You" was sent by the Mission to every known Jewish family in London. It began: We feel it to be very difficult to address you, knowing that an epistle coming to you from Christians will not meet with a cordial reception. We are aware of the causes of your strong prejudice against Christianity, and trust that a candid examination of a few of them may tend, by the blessing of God, to soften that prejudice. The first we shall allude to is the bitter persecution your forefathers have endured from ungodly people who called themselves Christian, to which we may add, the oppression and injustice you are exposed to in many countries at the present time [my italics]. But, although persons who thus afflict you may assume the Christian name, they act quite contrary to the example and precepts of Jesus of Nazareth. So far is He from countenancing cruelty and opposition that He has said, "Love your enemy, bless them that curse you, be good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." The letter then set out their arguments to prove that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. "By the providence of God", they claimed, "we have been called to warn those, who seem to think of nothing beyond this world, to flee from the wrath to come." Both the London Society and the London City Mission regarded the anguish their missionary work occasionally inflicted on the Jews as regrettable, 139</page><page sequence="10">Gerry Black but unavoidable, and both proceeded from the premise that because, as they sincerely believed, their objectives were undeniably noble, and patently in the best interests of the Jews, their agents had the right to assume that when it came to converting the Jews, the ends justified the means, and they still persisted in their work. There was a case reported by the London City Mission of a Jewish family in which a son had been converted. He wrote and told his family of his con version and such was the depth of intense religious belief among the family that one of his brothers replied, "This doleful intelligence will assuredly bring our dear parents to an untimely grave, and you alone must bear the awful sin of it." His sister wrote, "I am shocked at your madness-breathing lines. I con clude that you are insane. I am convinced that our dear parents will rather desire death than the horrifying news. Should your mind improve and alter, we are willing to forget and forgive; but if you persist in your awful decision, never write again. Never. Never. Forget your parents and relatives. Never, never, call me sister again. We know you no more." The Mission reported that the convert stood firm in his faith in Jesus Christ. The missionaries, the difficulties they faced and their failure The missionaries were certainly resilient but so were the Jews they attempted to convert, and there was great opposition to their efforts. Both societies pursued an aggressive East End programme, concentrating their efforts on the most vulnerable section of the Jewish population, namely those who were poverty-stricken and thus considered fair game for the conversionists. The Jewish Chronicle commented, "They hold no openair services in Maida Vale, they leave Bayswater severely alone! Apparently the more prosperous of our brethren stand in no need of salvation - We hope the non-Jewish press will take the matter up, and educate public opinion to resent this gross waste of money." What could have held out greater promise of success for the missionaries than to open free schools that welcomed Jewish children? Between 1806 and 1813 three free schools were established in or near the Jewish East End quarter. The most successful was the school founded in 1812 by the London Society. Its magnificent premises at Palestine Place, Bethnal Green, con tained, in addition to a school for Jewish boys and girls, a chapel, a Hebrew missionaries' training centre and a home for any Jewish artisans wishing to undergo conversion; it also provided maintenance for any Jewish children brought up as Christians. As influential as the schools, their other successful ploy was to open medical missions. These were undoubtedly popular among the East End Jews who believed the doctors practising there could cure where others failed, and 140</page><page sequence="11">An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place, 1864—201 j they had a high degree of confidence in them. Why did the Jews attend the medical missions in such numbers? The reasons were manifold and must be seen from the viewpoint of the poor East End Jew, unable to afford a "six penny doctor", some fearful of the workhouse infirmaries and the large hos pital out-patient departments, and often unable to speak English adequately or at all. By contrast, the medical missions were small institutions; the doctors were less busy and not inclined to hurry. They gave time for general conver sation and personal sympathy, and made enquiries after relatives, and the patients were encouraged to come again. None of the general hospitals or public dispensaries could afford to be carried on in this way. The missionar ies' medical staff acquired goodwill, and many Jews who could afford to go to a general practitioner still preferred the mission doctors. Equally important, the missions were on people's doorsteps - all within less than ten minutes' walking distance. They were open at convenient times, including Saturdays, the only day that some workers could attend; the waiting time was shorter; and many of the doctors and staff spoke Yiddish. Once Jews had been attracted to a meeting, the missionaries tried to per suade them to convert - by sermons, readings from the Gospels, private con versations, calling on them at their homes, and by making themselves generally helpful and acting in a sympathetic and Christian way towards them. Among the East End Jews, emotional reaction to the activities of the mis sionaries ranged across the entire gamut from tolerant amusement to apoplec tic rage. Some considered the whole missionary effort as something of a joke, and an opportunity to obtain free gifts with little effort, and there can be no doubt that many of those attending the medical missions went simply to obtain the advantages on offer, which were substantial. Milk, coal, bread, clothing tickets, toys, groceries and cash were given, all without payment or obligation, other than the burden of having to listen to a sermon or read a tract. At different times there were no less than nine medical missions within the Jewish East End. One Bishop of Stepney complained that there were about 500 Jews "who were in the habit of going round the Mission halls and flocking only to the special teas and services which were held from time to time." They would come for whatever benefit might be offered and, if they were required to listen to a passage from the scriptures in a language they did not understand, did not consider that too high a price to pay. During the meetings, some Jews put cotton wool in their ears so that they would not hear the name Jesus Christ and others left the mission halls and went directly to the nearest synagogue to pray. The agents of both societies appreciated that difficulties, and even dangers, were to be expected in so aggressive a work as visiting the Jews in their own quarters. In the London City Mission magazine of 1836, there was 141</page><page sequence="12">Gerry Black a report by one missionary: "I get very little access at present, and seldom get a sound hearing. When I do attempt to read, they turn their backs on me. If I venture to make my remarks, they go away." An early missionary who approached Jews in Petticoat Lane reported that he was roughly handled, howled at with blasphemous words against his Lord, hissed by the women, struck at by the men and pelted with mud and offal by the children. He had much to endure "for theirs and the gospel's sake". On one occasion he was pushed into an empty room and the key turned on him; but opening the window, and standing calmly until the people could hoot and yell no longer, he solemnly pronounced, in Hebrew, the name of Jehovah and then preached to them. He claimed that his courage, firmness and kindness won the day, as after a time he was liberated, and then secret inquirers sought him, and "a few souls were gathered to the redeemed people". Other reports included: "I told a woman that I had come from Jerusalem, and that I had found the Lord. She took up a pail of dirty water with which the servant was washing the step, and said 'if you will not go I will pour this over you'." Another said, "I decided to have an open-air meeting and got a small crowd round me. All at once a flower-pot fell down that had been aimed at me from above." One Jew he visited became enraged, "and standing with his back to the door, took out his knife and threatened to stab me. I showed no fear, spoke to him quietly, and took the matter as a joke: but still it was not a pleasant one, and I breathed more freely when safely outside the house." In a report of a committee convened later in the century by the Bishop of Stepney, to consider the various aspects of Church work among the Jews in London, it was emphasized that "every care should be taken to obviate the possibility of Jews attaching themselves to the Christian church for merely mercenary reasons, and that while being ready to assist Jews, as well as other parishioners, with such advantages as are provided by well managed clubs, institutes, reading rooms, and sick dispensaries, the Church should absolutely discountenance the association of relief from first to last with attendance at religious services." This was also a source of concern to some Jews, particu larly their clergy, who were worried about the effect on the character and morals of those Jews who, for purely financial reasons, "cheated" by pretend ing to adopt another faith. An anonymous poet, quoted by Professor Todd Endelman in The Jews of Georgian England (1979) summed up the matter: 'Tis true 'tis strange, and strange 'tis true, Cash buys but cannot keep a Jew. The meanest, trembling, bribed to lie, Back to the "God of Israel" fly. All faiths are equal to a wretch in need. Not one from choice has joined their train. 142</page><page sequence="13">An excerpt from Gerry Black, The Right School in the Right Place, 1864-2013 Or can from principle remain. Aware of this, they compromise, And wear a sort of thin disguise So Cohen can both faiths unite, Still Jew, and yet a Christian quite; Receives the rites and pay of both, And serves two masters nothing loth. The overwhelming evidence is that all the missionary endeavour was some what counter-productive and , despite the enormous sums expended, failed to produce many genuine and last-longing converts. Both Jews and Gentiles argued that the time, money and energy being expended to convert a Jew might more profitably be devoted to bringing some of Protestantism's own lost sheep back into the fold. Charles Booth, the renowned author of Life and Labour of the People in London, which was completed in the 1890s, joined in the chorus of disapproval in the strongest terms. "Christian conversion soci eties to the Jews", he said, "indirectly have a most pauperising effect, and would assuredly achieve the utter demoralisation of the Jewish poor if the work they accomplished equalled to any degree the sum of their expendi ture." He concluded that on the whole the exercise was a waste of money and the number of converts was "infinitesimal". Booth's conclusions accorded with those of Reverend Simeon Singer, who in a letter to the Bishop of Salisbury said that the money could be better spent elsewhere "on the eve of what is likely to prove a trying winter to the poor - on a hundred objects more deserving than the vain attempt to disturb his Jewish fellow citizen". Arnold White, no friend of the alien immigrants, wrote in his book The Modern few, published in 1899, that "funds, which are collected all over England from good but silly people who are really deluded into the idea that they are pro moting the salvation of souls, are really wasted. I know of nothing in our gen eration which is such a deplorable waste of money and energy". According to Gidney, the total number of Jews baptized in London by the missionaries of the London Society from 1809 to the end of the century was 2,022. Even if these baptism figures were correct, they give an average of only 22 baptisms a year, and it is not known how many of them remained con verted to Christianity. It was estimated that each convert cost the missionary societies between £500 and £600, and many of those subsequently lapsed. In 1880, the London City Mission admitted that the results of their efforts had not been considerable, but claimed that neither had they been negligible. As to their work in the medical missions, they admitted in 1882 that "some might argue that this was an underhand way of reaching these people with the gospel, but the missionaries saw themselves as doing exactly what their Saviour had done before them, helping people with their problems and while 143</page><page sequence="14">Gerry Black their heart were open, telling them the good news that Jesus was the Messiah." After the further mass Jewish immigration into the United Kingdom from Russia and Poland, in 1900 the London City magazine said that they were very glad to say that the bitterness and violence of past days had to a very large extent passed away, and that compared with the past there was now an open door of usefulness "amongst the sons and daughters of Abraham in London", but there is little, if any, evidence to support this conclusion. 144</page></plain_text>