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Memorial Addresses Vol 27 2

<plain_text><page sequence="1">JOHN MAURICE SHAFTESLEY obe, ba, frsa 1901-1981 Our late Vice-President and Editor was a Manches? ter man. He conceded London to be the capital, but I sometimes felt that he regarded this as a usurpa? tion. The influence upon him of his Mancunian origins and education was reinforced by the fact that it was in his native city that he learnt and first practised his special skills, and came to know from the inside about the making of newspapers. Before he joined the Jewish Chronicle in 1937 as assistant editor, he served on the staff of the Manchester Guardian and was a lecturer in the Department of Printing Technology at the Manchester College of Technology. His knowledge, theoretical and practical, of all matters to do with typesetting and printing tech? nology and design was impressive. This Society greatly benefited from his expertise during his celebrated years as Editor of our publications. His meticulous attention to detail became proverbial to his colleagues. He had a no less unfailing regard to duty, even when other matters pressed upon him. These qualities equipped him with an infectious confidence in his own resourcefulness. This volume of Transactions was to have been published in his honour as a grateful tribute on his 80th birthday. It now appears in memoriam. By temperament, he stood aside from all estab? lishments. Not even so prestigious an establishment as the Jewish Chronicle naturalized him. He carefully preserved his domesticity and light touch. His wry and knowing smile was part of his armoury. In 1946, this strikingly private man became editor of that important journal. It was a time of sharp political partisanship in the Anglo-Jewish com? munity. His was a calming influence. He had little taste for polemics, but it was not always easy to avoid them. His tenure coincided with great, rapid and worldwide changes in Jewish life and Jewish public relations, as well as in the patterns of leadership and of opinion in Anglo-Jewry. All of this he reflected, and to all of it he responded with undramatic pragmatism. The immediate post-war period was followed by new styles of commercial management in the newspaper world. Those were never his fields. Nor did he profess to be in the line of the greatest editors. He never aspired to the wide communal impact of an Abraham Benisch, or to the provision of literary stimuli of an Asher Myers, or even to the political influence of a Leopold Greenberg. John Shaftesley was a mollifier, a consolidator, an encourager. He attained his own distinctive and chosen levels. In the ultimate roll-call he has his own niche, and it would have pleased him: that of the wise, home-spun mentor, whose reporters in Tel-Aviv, New York and South Shields could expect to receive the same courtesies, the same corrections and the same requests for facts. If he felt the slings and arrows of fortune deeply, he bore their marks, as he did his long illness, bravely. Whether in the editorial chair or not, he followed communal events with intense and well informed attention. Many causes benefited from his concern - for example, the lewish Book Council, the Tercentenary Council, the Zangwill Society, the Bnai Brith, the Hiilel Foundation - directly as well as by a proper exercise of editorial support and sometimes patronage. John had a remarkably retentive memory, was highly methodical in all things, and extremely industrious. His works on Jews in Freemasonry were an original contribution to historical study, in</page><page sequence="2">xvi Memorial Addresses which he took legitimate pride. He also found time to present a well-researched study of Benisch as editor, and a highly informative paper on 19th-cen tury Jewish colonies in Cyprus, with many illu? minating Anglo-Jewish connections. They appear in Volumes XXI and XXII of Transactions respect? ively. His Jewish Chronicle index - he took it to 1891 - is a typically professional piece of work and a valuable aid to researchers. Nor should his index to the Voice of Jacob (1841-6) be forgotten. Among his other work I would select for special mention his lecture on 'Religious Controversies', which appeared in the volume of historical studies pub? lished on the centenary of the United Synagogue in 1970; and his joint paper with Norman Bentwich on 'Forerunners of Zionism in the Victorian Era', which appeared in the Festschrift to Cecil Roth in 1966 edited by John for the Society. This man of many parts has left enduring memorials, not only in printer's ink but also in the recollection of his life and deeds. We mourn a dedicated colleague, a devoted public servant, and a friend of long standing. We convey to Evelyn, and to their daughter, Helen Levin and her family, our sense of loss, and also our thanks to them for their indispensable support to him over the long years of a notable career. We are grateful for the memory of a kind heart and a good companion. JUDGE ISRAEL FINESTEIN</page></plain_text>

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