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Localism and Pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80

Barry A. Kosmin

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80* BARRY A. KOSMIN The use of terms such as 'Anglo-Jewry', 'British Jewry', 'the Jewish com? munity', 'the Jewish public' and 'the Jewish population' as though they are all synonymous is common today. This imprecise use of language and concepts is indicative of the lack of intellectual rigour which is common in dealing with society, so I must establish my own terms and concepts here with more clarity and at greater length than would otherwise be necessary. I shall use the term 'British Jewry' for the totality of members of the Jewish public and rely wherever possible on the term 'population' for aggregates of individual Jews. I shall restrict my own use of the term 'community' to Jewish institutional or corporate activities. For a social scientist operating in a contemporary urban context Gans' definition of a community is most helpful. He uses the term when referring to an aggregate of people who occupy a common and bounded territory within which they establish and participate in common institutions.1 In other words, common social institutions, sodalities or representative bodies equal a com? munity. Professor Maurice Freedman agreed, stating: 'In so far as there is a set of institutions, ritual and secular which mark out a distinct sphere of Jewish social life, there exists a Jewish community.2 Anglo-Jewry is heterogeneous in the geographical and cultural origin of its members and the history of their migration. Jewish numerical strength varies in different parts of the country, and peculiar local conditions all affect various subgroups differently and give way to one process or another with varying time-sequences and in different combinations. However, we must be aware that our analytic framework inevitably biases how we interpret the historical dynamic. This dilemma was clearly set out by Ernest Krausz in a paper to the second Conference of Jewish Life in Britain in 1977. He stated: In analysing Anglo-Jewry, as in the case of any other Jewish community, the first issue of importance is whether we study the internal structure ofthat community in context of its immediate societal environment and consider the adjustments between the two, or whether we propose to study the Jewish community within a more complex and wider global framework that would take account of the many and * Edited version of the paper delivered to a meeting of the Society in Birmingham, on 17 October 1982. III</page><page sequence="2">112 Barry A. Kosmin variegated other diaspora communities and the nationally and territorially estab? lished Jewish community of Israel. Taking the first possibility, that is, the study of the Anglo-Jewish community, as a self-contained unit our conceptual framework could be either the host-minority one, with its concepts of ingroup-outgroup segmentation, and dominant-subordinate relationships, or the pluralistic society setting with multi-faceted cultural expressions and more balanced group relationships. Should we on the other hand, adopt the wider context, our conceptual framework would have to shift to the factors and conditions connected with a dispersed people in which a national-territorial base figures prominently.3 Traditionally, Anglo-Jewish historians have taken the self-contained host-minority option in this two by two matrix. In keeping with the fashion of the 1980s and the idea of a multi-cultural Britain and a multi-racial society, I shall rely heavily on the pluralistic-society argument in my analysis. Nevertheless, structurally we must admit the historical legacy of minority - host adjustment in the formation of contemporary British Jewry, and assert the international comparison. According to Todd Endelman, a primary influence on Jewish society in Britain was the 'liberal' tradition, and the 'voluntaristic character' of Georgian and Victorian communal organization, which had no legal or fiscal authority of an autonomous kind. Indeed, one cannot speak of the Jewish community in England in the sense that one can in regard to its counterparts on the Continent, that is, a community whose membership was coterminous with all the Jewish residents of a locality. In England, membership in communal institutions was not compulsory; synagogues, charities, and schools survived on the voluntary contributions of those Jews who wished to affiliate with them and to enjoy the religious and social benefits they conferred. . . . The English community can best be described as a loosely related group of voluntary associations. The rabbis and the parnasim of the congregations in the Georgian period enjoyed no real powers of coercion, nor did the later community-wide institutions that developed in the Victorian period possess any greater authority. . . . Thus, once the inner religious compulsion to obey Jewish law and its authoritative interpreters had weakened, little was left to restrain individual Jews from doing as they pleased. Similarly, once alternative interpretations of Judaism appeared in England - inter? pretations both more and less orthodox than that of the rabbinical establish? ment - communal authorities were powerless to suppress them, try as they might. The absence of a centralized Jewish communal structure with a monopoly of religious authority reflected the liberal nature of the English state and the liberal social and political values... that... set England apart from the Continent in general and from central and Eastern Europe in particular.4 A. G. Brotman, writing in 1962, was quick to make a similar point. 'In the case of the British Jewish Community it is probably more appropriate to deal...</page><page sequence="3">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 113 in terms of 'organisations' rather than 'organisation' as the latter word implies some central and controlling body for every phase of Jewish communal life, as was, and to a certain extent is, the position in the Gemeinden in some Central European countries.'5 Brotman went on to explain that the nucleus of the community, in this as in other countries, is the congregation and its synagogue. It is, therefore, to the synagogal scene that I first wish to turn in my search for contemporary manifestations of pluralism. At the 1977 Second Conference on Jewish Life in Britain, Chief Rabbi Jakobovits agreed that pluralism was the current trend: 'The fairly homo? geneous, almost monolithic character of Anglo-Jewry was long ago transferred into a pluralistic society, especially with the heavy refugee influx before, during and after World War II. But the cohesion of 'mainstream Judaism' as the broad heartland encompassing the vast majority of 'average' Anglo-Jews has been preserved until more recent times. During the past 15 years, however, this pattern has changed quite radically and with increasing speed, as the centrifugal forces gain momentum.'6 The late Dr George Webber had ascertained this trend in 1962 and expressed his disapproval. 'For myself I deplore the state that Anglo-Jewry has reached today. Homogeneity has gone; there is too clear a dichotomy between the right and the left.'7 When, therefore, was the golden age of homogeneity, unity and communal bliss? I would suggest that it was the interwar years. Prior to that, in the years before 1914, the natural tendency towards religious pluralism among the East European immigrants was suppressed by a politically, socially and economic? ally dominant elite. For example, Bernard Homa has described the pressures placed on the Machzike Hadath to defer to Anglo-Jewish authority.8 Where minimal pluralism or autonomy had to be accepted the immigrants were incorporated into elite-led structures such as the Federation of Synagogues, whose establishment is an excellent example of this process. The Federation was only conceived after attempts to force the members of the immigrant synagogues into large City Congregations of the United Synagogue had failed. Montagu was, of course, following the Anglo-Jewish and general trend of the Victorian age which believed in the advantages of cooperation and unitary structures. A union of the immigrant synagogues offered the possibilities of suitable buildings and burial facilities. It offered the Anglo-Jewish leadership the possibility of extracting from the new union an agreement to help bear the financial burden of communal facilities such as the Board of Guardians, Shechita, and Jewish Religious Education. The criticism the leadership made of the small immigrants' shtiebel is indicative of their desire for social control to be applied through homogeneity.</page><page sequence="4">ii4 Barry A. Kosmin These immigrant synagogues were said to quarrel too frequently and to be housed in insanitary places. Their presence, and the fact that they catered for the working classes, posed a potential threat to the Image' of the Jewish community. We thus see that the argument against a large number of small independent congregations was social and political rather than religious. It was exactly the same threat to the established order that the presence of foreign rabbis, using the title, posed to Chief Rabbi Adler. The Anglo-Jewish establishment was high successful in their organizational policy and their attempts at social engineering. The rising generation, the children of the immigrants, was purged of its foreign ways, including its attachment to the Yiddish language, in institutions like the Jews' Free School or the East End settlements. Instead of Jewish fractiousness and enthusiasm, they imbibed the deferential ways of England and the English minhag. It was their passport to social mobility and acceptance by the powerful establishments which still dominated the Jewish and wider communities in the 'age of Baldwin'. Thus the interwar years saw a favourable scenario from the viewpoint of community unifiers or homogenizers. The integration of the children of the immigrants into the 'native orthodoxy' of the United Synagogue was made possible by that body's financial and administrative resources combined with the still dominant social prestige of those who led it. The process of anglicization and homogenization was evident in the doubling of the size of the United Synagogue to fifty synagogues by 1939. The religious homogeneity of the interwar years was certainly clearly evident in the distribution of synagogue marriages, as the table shows. Synagogue marriages by synagogue group (percentages) Central Right-wing Orthodox Sephardi Orthodox Reform Liberal 1921-40 96.8 1.6 0.3 1.7 1.5 1976-80 68.2 3.3 7.4 14.4 6.1 However, this 'Central Orthodox' predominance was short-lived, because the next wave of immigrants, the Central Europeans of the period 1933-45, were not willing to accept subordination, and had the intellectual, and later the financial resources successfully to reject it. They constructed or revitalized alternative religious institutions to both the left and right of 'native orthodoxy' and created our contemporary pluralism. Between the war years and the late seventies the decline in allegiance to Central Orthodoxy has been even more dramatic than the figures in the table suggest. This is because the real numerical decline by the 19 70s had reduced the actual number of synagogue marriages in this group to around a third</page><page sequence="5">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 115 (1000 a year) of the annual total of the decade 1938-47. So, despite the temporary triumphs of the twenties and thirties we must recognize that there has been an overall movement towards both extremes, and that in recent decades it is the Central group that has been unable to retain its adherents. This is evident if we consider the level of allegiance to the authority of the Chief Rabbi. When the thirty-four synagogues and around 9000 male members of the Federation of Synagogues are removed from the Central Orthodox grouping we discover that the Chief Rabbi has the loyalty of 62 per cent of the country's synagogue members, but only of 5 3 per cent in London.9 It is ironical that the Chief Rabbi's office is almost entirely funded from London through the United Synagogue, since he remains almost completely dominant in the smaller provincial centres. However, in Greater Manchester he holds the allegiance of only 75 per cent of the religiously affiliated. Such figures suggest that there is a polarization of religious opinion and a pluralistic situation wherever religious choice is available. Why has religious pluralism asserted itself? I would suggest that such a process, as Endelman explained, is inevitable among free citizens in an open society. Jewish homogeneity was an artificial device and a reflection of Jewish subordination in society. Since British Jewry is not a closed society - a classical ghetto - and not separated from the outside world by ritual rules, and since there is neither compulsory segregation, nor social control even along the lines of the Sephardi Mahamad of the 17th century, fissiparous tendencies are to be expected. Contemporary Jewry is very different from the traditional Jewish society of Eastern Europe. Jewish populations were traditionally held together by: a common religious values b a sense of brotherhood c legal provisions of a legal corporate entity d family bonds e out-group hostility. As regards a, common religious values, these have definitely gone. There are now vertical divisions based on theology of left, right and centre. This is epitomized by the statement in the Jewish Chronicle of 27 August 1982 by Dayan I. D. Berger of the London Beth Din, that Reform is, in his opinion, a breakaway religion and not an aspect of Judaism. This opinion is not unique; when I asked an orthodox Golders Green group what ties or feelings they had or felt towards the Glasgow Reform Community, they unanimously declared none at all. Certainly it is probably true that the community of Gateshead relates more closely to the Jewish communities of Antwerp or Brooklyn than to that across the River Tyne in Newcastle. Vertical theological divisions are also</page><page sequence="6">n6 Barry A. Kosmin reinforced by those of place of origin. Exotic ethnic communities like the Chassidim, Oriental Sephardim, and German-Austrian have joined our tradi? tional Ashkenazi-Sephardi, and earlier-established and increasingly less salient, Anglo versus Russo-Polish divisions. As regards a sense of brotherhood, this still exists, but is externalized towards campaigns on behalf of Israel or Soviet Jewry, each of which has a leaven of gentile involvement and concern. Moreover, Zionist nationalism was never really able to replace the basic and all-embracing solidarity once given by Judaism. Legal provisions never existed in Britain, and, as regards point e - out-group hostility - this lessened considerably after 1948 during the guilt-ridden moratorium and self-imposed censorship of anti-Jewish views in polite society, which now seems to have ended. But this was a welcome respite and may well have formed the backcloth to the encouragement of Jewish pluralism during the 1950s and 60s. Finally, as regards family bonds, these have been weakened in postwar society by the rise of the nuclear family, social mobility, migration and divorce. At this point we move from vertical to horizontal divisions amongst Jews. The most obvious of these is social class and socio-economic status. Of course, British Jewry has never been homogeneous in terms of social class and some would state that it has never been so homogeneous as it is today. Most people view it as a middle-class community, but our surveys reveal some appreciable divisions when the official social indicators are applied. Undoubtedly Jews are less spread among the different social classes than the national population, but considering that British Jewry numbers well under 400,000, the divisions are significant, as are the differences between Jewish populations in different areas of the country. Social class of Jewish population by percentage (excluding unclassified ?? ofessional Intermediate occupations Skilled occupations Partly skilled Unskilled households)1 Older National Sample 1961 4.1 34-7 46.9 14.3 o Younger National Sample 1961 11.1 37.8 40.0 11.1 o Edgware 1963 16 43 39 2 o Hackney 1971 6 3i 48 11 4 Sheffield 1975 29 34 36 1 o Redbridge 1978 131 34-4 46.8 4.0 1.7 One would not suggest that Jews subscribe to purely English class norms, but outsiders have pointed out the Yiddish expression hohe fenster, which is unique to Anglo-Jewry and which must suggest perceived class differences.</page><page sequence="7">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 117 The wide distribution of Jews between socio-economic groups (SEG) both within a district and between districts has been revealed by recent studies. SEG is analysed so 'that each socio-economic group should contain people whose social, cultural and recreational standards of behaviour are similar'11 and therefore different from other groups. The data in the following table12 suggests a far from homogeneous social standard among Jewish populations. A comparison of SEGs in three Jewish populations by percentage (for SEG defini? tions, see note n) Redbridge Sheffield Hackney Jewry Jewry Jewry SEG 1978 1975 1971 1, 2 (13) 26.3 23.2 19.6 3, 4 9.1 24.2 2.8 5 6.9 11.7 10.7 6 29.0 9.5 19.5 8, 9 7.6 4.1 13.1 7, 10 (15) 4.6 1.9 18.1 11 0.1 ? 2.5 12(14) 16.3 21.5 13.5 16(17) 0.1 3.9 0.2 Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 Of course, these differences are not as wide as the classic Marxist division of turn-of-the-century Jewry, between Jewish financiers and factory owners on the one hand, and the mass proletarian industrial wage labourers on the other. Today, however, in terms of economic sectors, the range of economic interests, may, even among middle-class Jews, be quite wide. Certainly Montagu Burton and his workers had divergent interests over economic rewards, but they were united in a sectoral interest, the wellbeing of the clothing industry. Today the divergence of economic interest between Jews in the private commercial sector-the businessman and the self employed - and those employed in the public sector - the teacher, lecturer, local government worker, or health service professionals - are very real. In the small Sheffield population the two distinct elements of the middle-classes within British society, the traditional middle-class and the new middle-class, and potential conflicts of interest, were clearly evident: Jewish males appear to form two separate and distinct occupational groups, professional and business/management. The concentration in these two overall categories is particularly interesting if one considers the historical occupational development of the Sheffield Jewish community. The majority of sons and grandsons of the early Sheffield Jewish merchants - shop owners, market traders, small factory managers - have continued that mercantile tradition, often enlarging the original</page><page sequence="8">ii8 Barry A. Kosmin business, or branching out into related areas and generally becoming more economically successful. The descendants of the later immigrants, who were mostly self-employed or manual workers, have more often graduated into the professional fields, a trend which perhaps reflects the social values of their immigrant forbears.13 Of even more sociological significance were the correlation of marriage and occupational data to produce two social groups with different outlooks on the world. We wrote that: A greater degree of similarity of interest, and occupational backgrounds exists between actual marriage partners than is indicated by their family's social backgrounds. Whereas no clear pattern could be discerned of sons and daughters of those with similar occupations marrying among the couples, there is a marked division into two groups: those with a profesional/public service background, and those in the business-managerial field. In cases where both marriage partners were working, it was found that there were 13 instances where both husband and wife were engaged in the professions (SEGs 3 and 4), and 20 cases where professional husbands' wives were employed in SEG 5 (school-teachers, social workers, nurses, etc.). In fact, more than half of all working wives were married to professionals. Wives of businessmen were less likely to be found working, and those who did work tended to have business and office occupations, rather than professional qualifica? tions.14 While researching sociological trends regarding divisions within communi? ties, I became increasingly aware that in Anglo-Jewry, an ostensibly tightly knit, integrated structure on a national level just does not exist. The evidence of decline of national Jewish institutions was obvious. A multiplicity of Kashrut Commissions had emerged. Organizations as varied as Jews College, the AJA and the ZF seemed to have become shells of their former selves and influence. AJEX and the TAC were of declining influence due to ageing processes. There was no coordinated national educational or welfare system. Such services were now reliant on public funding and subject to the vagaries of local authority policy, which varied between administrative areas. Within our own sphere of absolute control there was not even a system of transference of burial rights, and organizations aimed at coordination, such as the National Jewish Youth Council, inevitably failed. Even new developments such as 'Jewish radio' were inevitably localized and uncoordinated. Where national forums such as the Central Council for Jewish Social Service did emerge, they were restricted to debating societies. If truly national, in the geographical sense, interest groups like the Union of Jewish Students emerged, then they lacked links with local communities and existed in a vacuum, and, moreover, failed to affiliate the bulk of their potential market. One observed that</page><page sequence="9">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 119 the JIA, AJEX, B'nai B'rith, even Zionism itself, varied in importance and influence in each community. One began to hear complaints from Jewish welfare agencies that they could not recruit volunteers to work in the inner city and working-class neighbour? hoods, and that communal work was increasingly sought by people in 'their own patch'. It was apparent that nobody outside Stepney was very worried if the local kosher meals on wheels service collapsed, nor outside Redbridge if the Youth and Community Centre closed. It appears that there are few people left with an overall view of communal affairs and the means to affect matters. Communal workers explained such problems to me in terms of the class and status concerns of Jewish people, and even began to look back longingly to the days of the Anglo-Jewish aristocracy and the philanthropic settlements, when noblesse oblige and true concern for Jewry in all its aspects prevailed. One would have dismissed this as expressions of professional/lay rivalry or as excuses for failure, had one not seen clear evidence of this tendency oneself. The background, outlook and psychology of the Jewish leadership seemed increas? ingly to lead them to prefer to be big fish in small ponds. Moreover, few individuals had general standing, acceptance, or legitimacy in the eyes of their fellow Jews. The new national leadership of North West London suburbanites had begun, in fact, to 'hijack' the communal institutions and transport them physically out of the West End and into their suburban bailiwicks, particularly Finchley. That all the Zionist organizations, plus Jews' and Leo Baeck colleges should end up in Mrs Thatcher's contituency of Finchley is a remarkable and impredictable occurrence, seen from the perspective of Anglo-Jewish history. The need for cheaper office sites alone cannot explain the fact that nearly all the southeast of England's welfare agencies also went to a relatively inaccessible site in North Finchley. This process merely confirmed the trend to provincialize even peripheral centres of London Jewry, such as South, North East and East London, and the newer settlements of young families beyond the Green Belt. Such symbolic treatment of minorities and their interest did not seem to me unlinked to the statement by Jane Moonman, in her analysis of communal institutions, that 'for many working class Jews, the Chronicle is virtually their only contact with the community'.15 Undoubtedly the Jewish Chronicle, with sales of over 50,000 copies a week, is the largest and most influential national institution in British Jewry. Its mixture of parish pump and international affairs provides the only real point of contact for all religious and social sections of Jewry and the only medium whereby they communicate with each other. But the Chronicle has its weaknesses in terms of national coverage. It has 75 per cent of its sales in London, and is weakest in its coverage and impact in the two key largest provincial centres of Jewish</page><page sequence="10">I20 Barry A. Kosmin population, Greater Manchester and Leeds where the Telegraph and Gazette dominate the Jewish media. Whether the Jewish Chronicle is a newspaper or really another communal institution is open to debate, but it is certainly a Vital organ' of British Jewry. It takes on a national role in its concern for the Jewish public in general. Certainly, it is most supportive of the work of the Board's research unit. Moreover, in the case of the work of the Reverend Malcolm Weisman, it took over most of the financial burden of the important work of servicing the outlying smaller congregations from the Jewish Memorial Council. Without this support, thousands of Jews in small communities from Jersey, to the Isle of Man, Bexhill, Torbay and Aberdeen would have been left unattended. It is highly significant that the important work of supporting and encouraging new communities of young families, such as Guildford, failed to stir other bodies. Unfortunately, the Provincial Representative Councils also displayed little interest. They failed to provide practical help for the small communities around them, while other bodies were, to put it politely, 'doing their own thing.' Only the Jewish Chronicle was willing and able. All the indicators and practical evidence on the ground, suggested that in terms of objective criteria Anglo-Jewry had ceased to be a single community but was rather a loosely knit complex of separate communities. As a result I gave voice to these conclusions in a paper to the 1977 Conference on Jewish Life in Britain. I wrote: The common assumption that there is a national 'Jewish Community' to be studied in this country is of dubious scientific value. We may speak about a Jewish population or the neutral term 'Jewry', even a Jewish subculture; but the plural term 'communities' is increasingly a much more accurate description of the sociological reality than is the singular noun. The lack of a significant level of interaction between the various geographical, social, economic, and religious sections and strata within British Jewry, except in cases of organized anti-Semitism and perhaps to a lesser extent where the existence of the Jewish State is concerned, is manifestly evident to even the casual observer. Their own nuclear family, their own particular synagogue, their own suburb or town, is the setting in which the individual Jew or Jewess increasingly defines and plays out his or her ethnic and religious role. Moreover, the organizational structure of British Jewry is essentially pluralistic, and most of the power, finance and decision-making process in communal affairs lies at the local level. As a result, national and even regional bodies are usually merely confederations with represen? tative rather than executive functions. . . . It is also now probable that sections of British Jewry are so acculturated on the behavioural level that the distinct regional patterns of the general society might be reproduced in terms of important indicators such as education, income, occupation,</page><page sequence="11">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 121 housing, disability attitudes, and even in such separate Jewish concerns as intermarriage, identification and religiosity. Not only are there evident differences between different towns, but also between sections of the large metropolitan areas. The heterogeneous pattern of communities depending on their size, age distribution and location, can be related both to inter generational residential movement and now in some cases to the desired religious composition of a neighbourhood, so that the very orthodox, the wealthy, the poor, the young marrieds now give a distinctive flavour and social cohesiveness to their own spatial community. This type of differentiation has always been evident in medium-sized provincial centres. There is the resort (Bournemouth, Southport); overlapping with the commuter towns (Brighton, Southend); the fortress of orthodoxy (Sunderland, Gateshead); the academic and intellectual centre (Oxford); and the mixture of regional centre or industrial city (Leicester, Sheffield).16 My verdict was endorsed by Dr Levenberg. He suggested that in terms of 'national leadership', 'neglect of the provinces was another problem. Each local community was self-contained. National Jewish leadership is still dominated by London. Nor do suburban communities exercise an appropriate influence on the affairs of Anglo-Jewry.'17 Another supporter of my thesis was Professor Gould, who propounded its virtues: The essence of 'community' seems to rest in localism - in the mutual relations of those who share a (relatively) limited space in which they carry out most of their daily activities both at work and play. In Jewish history such localism has been of the most profound importance. The Jew has been tied to his locality, sometimes quite literally locked into it. Even if we discount nostalgic and romantic reflections of the Jewish past, such localism gave rise to an often vibrant sense of community - a sense of apartness, of being different, of sharing a common awareness of danger and often of actual danger, both cruel and arbitrary.18 I went on to give expression to the fragmented nature of Jewish society at the operational level when one tried to carry out surveys of Jewish populations: One problem in the larger provincial centers is having to work through the local Jewish representative council. In most cases it is a cumbersome non-executive body, with powers of veto, but which can provide little tangible support. Moreover, our personal experience has been that it is difficult to find real leaders of standing in many communities, who can persuade other people how to act. The fact that Britain is the most synagogocentric community of the Western world also leads to local friction, since there is often a reluctance to include Reform or Progressive congregations in the work of the councils and even in the surveys. Diplomacy and tact and a political, if not Machiavellian, mind are necessary qualifications to succeed in such surround? ings. Moreover, the scale of the inquiry is another trap, since it is especially difficult to</page><page sequence="12">122 Barry A. Kosmin make local people see their community in the general local setting and as part of a wider Jewry. It is also necessary to be frank in admitting that in many provincial communities there is a distrust of intellectuals and outsiders.19 What then is the role and function of the Board of Deputies, which claims to be the representative body of British Jewry? Firstly, we must realize that it only has executive powers in the spheres of Foreign Affairs and Defence. In other matters it merely discusses, recommends, oversees or protests.'20 Additionally, its ability to act is diminished by its weak financial base. Of greater significance is the fact that its membership is synagogue-based and therefore reflective of the divisions in Anglo-Jewry which I outlined initially. In 1979 there were 301 deputies from London synagogues, 145 from provincial synagogues and 76 from non-synagogal organizations. Provincial residents number around 130 out of 5 50 deputies. Provincial representation is fairly equitable and roughly in line with overall population distribution. However, the centre of power at the Board lies not in plenary sessions, but in its committees. Their practice of meeting at 5 in the afternoon on weekdays in Central London obviously precludes provincial involvement. Thus, of the 130 provincial residents, only 3 serve on committees other than the new Provincial Committee. There is, of course, a provincial among the honorary officers, and in fact in recent decades there have been Presidents from the provinces. Nevertheless, the fact that more than one in three of London deputies is a Committee member suggests the Board still remains in practice the 'London Committee'. The Board has tried to place monthly plenary sessions in the provinces. These took place in Manchester in 1953, when Alderman Moss was President, and again in 1962. Recently in response to provincial criticisms sessions were held in Manchester in June 1981, and this year in Birmingham. The attendance on both occasions was below average among London deputies and above average, but below expectations, among provincial deputies. In fact, in March 1982 a wedding in a prominent family in Birmingham led to the absence of most local deputies. This event was utterly characteristic of localism as it is often defined-as consisting of above-average interest in local personalities and social activities at the expense of national concerns. The twice-yearly provincial conferences of the 1950s degenerated to an annual affair, and by the late 1970s Jane Moonman concluded that 'the Provincial Representative Councils do much of their work in a local vacuum; they maintain links with the Board of Deputies, but according to reports collected locally they are virtually irrelevant to provincial needs.'21 To remedy this situation a Provincial Committee was called for and produced, but unfortunately the method of regional representation and electoral systems</page><page sequence="13">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 123 seemed to involve more energy and resources than discussion of the committee's powers and real purpose. Certainly it has yet to deal with the crucial question of why the big communities are unable to look after the small ones in their area. Certainly 'real work', such as the Reverend Malcolm Weisman's, and occasional schemes like the 'seed project' for Yeshiva Bachurim to visit outlying areas, has no connection with the work of the committee. From the catalogue of facts already presented it should come as no surprise that there is no national Jewish vote or even a national Jewish vernacular or accent. Our Jewish populations form their communities locally. They assimilate and integrate into the wider community at the local level in the areas in which they reside and work. For all practical purposes they are fully involved in the social and civic life of their own cities. Since the Jewish aspects of people's lives are essentially voluntary activities, in accordance with the liberal British tradition, and its emphasis on local government and self-management, they play these out at the local and regional level and in this way the local Jewish community becomes acceptable to the wider society. Just as religious pluralism is an inevitable devlopment of a free society, so a localism based on local loyalties and identity is the natural tendency of social relations in a complex modern society. It is an organic development at the level at which people really operate. Bill Williams wrote of Manchester Jewry: 'It originated, like the modern industrial city, at the end of the eighteenth century and assumed its distinctive social, economic and religious character during the first three quarters of the nineteenth_The time-scale itself is significant, for it emphasizes that in no sense can the Jewish community be regarded as "alien" to Manchester. It was not a late addition to an established pattern itself. Its role. .. was not peripheral or derivative, but central and creative, in a city which has always been cosmopolitan.'22 This process in Manchester, of incorporation of the Jewish community within a specific local civic culture, is, I am sure, also true of Birmingham and other provincial centres. How many provincial Jews would really wish it were otherwise? Without the reassertion of the trend towards pluralism and localism in recent decades, organized British Jewry - the community - would have suf? fered even sharper numerical decline and greater disaffection as a result of the alienation of its membership. NOTES 1 H. J. Gans, The Urban Villagers (NY, Free Press, 1962) 108. 2 M. Freedman, 'Jews in the Society of Britain', in M. Freedman (ed.) A Minority in Britain (London, Valentine Mitchell, 1955) 206.</page><page sequence="14">124 Barry A. Kosmin 3 E. Krausz, 'Concepts and theoretical models for Anglo-Jewish Sociology', in S. L. and V. D. Lipman (eds) Jewish Life in Britain 1962-1977 (New York, K. G. Sauer, 1981) 17. 4 T. M. Endelman, 'Liberalism, laissez faire, and Anglo-Jewry, 1700-1905', Contem? porary Jewry V (1980) 3. For a similar analysis see V. D. Lipman, 'Synagogal organisation in Anglo-Jewry', The Jewish Journal of Sociology, I (1959) 88-9. 5 A. G. Brotman, 'Jewish Communal Organisation', in J. Gould and S. Esh (eds) Jewish Life in Modern Britain (London, Rout ledge &amp; Kegan Paul, 1964) 1. 6 I. Jakobovits, 'An analysis of religious versus secularist trends in Anglo-Jewry', in S. L. and V. D. Lipman, (see n. 3) 40-1. 7 Gould and Esh (see n. 5) 59. 8 B. Homa, Orthodoxy in Anglo-Jewry 1880-1940 (London, JHSE, 1969) 20-1. 9 B. A. Kosmin and D. J. de Lange, Synago? gue Affiliation in the United Kingdom, 1977 (London, Research Unit, Board of Deputies of British Jews, 1978). 10 Source of table: B. A. Kosmin and C. Levy, The Work and Employment of Suburban Jews (London, Research Unit, Board of Depu? ties, 1981) 27. The original data are drawn from the following: For older and younger national samples from S. J. Prais and M. Schmool, 'The Social Class Structure of Anglo-Jewry, 1961', The Jewish Journal of Sociology XVI (1975) 5-15. Edgware from E. Krausz, 'The Edgware Survey: Occupation and Social Class', The Jewish Jour? nal of Sociology XI (1969) 151-63. Hackney from B. A. Kosmin and N. Grizzard, Jews in an Inner London Borough (London, Board of Deputies, 1975) and Sheffield from B. A. Kosmin, M. Bauer and N. Grizzard, Steel City Jews (London, Board of Deputies, 1976). 11 Brief definitions of the socio-economic groups (OPCS, Classification of Occupations 1970 [HMSO 1970] xi.) 1 Employers and managers in central and local government, industry, commerce, etc. - large establishments 1.1 Employers in industry, commerce, etc. Persons who employ others in non-agricultural enterprises employ? ing 25 or more persons. 1.2 Managers in central and local govern? ment, industry, commerce, etc. Persons who generally plan and supervise in non-agricultural enter? prises employing 25 or more persons. 2 Employers and managers in industry, commerce, etc. - small establishments 2.1 Employers in industry, commerce, etc. - small establishments. As in 1.1 but in establishments employing fewer than 2 5 persons. 2.2 Managers in industry, commerce, etc. - small establishments. As in 1.2 but in establishments employing fewer than 25 persons. 3 Professional workers - self-employed. Self-employed persons engaged in work normally requiring qualifications of uni? versity degree standard. 4 Professional workers ? employees Employees engaged in work normally requiring qualifications of university degree standard. 5 Intermediate non-manual workers 5.1 Ancillary workers and artists. Employees engaged in non-manual occupations ancillary to the profes? sions, not normally requiring qualifi? cations of university degree standard; persons engaged in artistic work and not employing others thereat. Self employed nurses, medical auxiliaries, teachers, work study engineers and technicians are included. 5.2 Foremen and supervisors non manual. Employees (other than managers) engaged in occupations included in group 6, who formally and immedi? ately supervise others engaged in such occupations. 6 Junior non-manual workers Employees, not exercising general plan? ning or supervisory powers, engaged in clerical, sales and non-manual communi? cations and security occupations, includ? ing those who have additional and formal supervisory functions (these are included in group 5.2).</page><page sequence="15">Localism and pluralism in British Jewry 1900-80 125 7 Personal service workers Employees engaged in service occupations caring for food, drink, clothing and other personal needs. 8 Foremen and supervisors - manual Employees (other than managers) who formally and immediately supervise others engaged in manual occupations, whether or not themselves engaged in such occupa? tions. 9 Skilled manual workers Employees engaged in manual occupa? tions which require considerable and spe? cific skills. 10 Semi-skilled manual workers Employers engaged in manual occupa? tions which require slight but specific skills. 11 Unskilled manual workers Other employees engaged in manual occu? pations. 12 Own account workers (other than profes? sional) Self-employed persons engaged in any trade, personal service or manual occupa? tion not normally requiring training of university degree standard and having no employees other than family workers. 13 Farmers - employers and managers Persons who own, rent or manage farms, market gardens or forests, employing peo? ple other than family workers in the work of the enterprise. 14 Farmers - own account Persons who own or rent farms, market gardens or forests and having no employees other than family workers. 15 Agricultural workers Employees engaged in tending crops, ani? mals, game or forests, or operating agricul? tural or forestry machinery. 16 Members of armed forces 17 Occupation inadequately described 12 Kosmin and Levy (see n. io) 24. 13 B. A. Kosmin, M. Bauer and N. Griz? zard, Steel City Jews (London, Research Unit Board of Deputies, 1976) 22. 14 Ibid. 18. 15 J. Moonman, Anglo-Jewry - An Analy? sis (London, Joint Israel Appeal, 1980) 50. 16 B. A. Kosmin, 'The case for the local perspective in the study of contemporary Bri? tish Jewry', in S. L. and V. D. Lipman (see n. 3) 83-4. 17 S. Levenberg, 'The development of Anglo-Jewry, 1962-77', in S. L. and V. D. Lipman (see n. 3) 180. 18 S. J. Gould, 'Grandchildren of the Ghetto', in S. L. and V. D. Lipman (see n. 3) 181. 19 Kosmin in S. L. and V. D. Lipman (see n. 3) 88. 20 Moonman (see n. 15) 20. 21 Ibid. 56. 22 B. Williams, The Making of Manchester Jewry, 1740-1875 (Manchester, Manchester University Press, 1976) vii-viii.</page></plain_text>

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