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Some Ashkenazi Charities in London at the End of the Eighteenth and the Beginning of the Nineteenth Centuries

Siegfried Stein

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Some Ashkenazi Charities* in London at the End of the Eighteenth and the Beginning of the Nineteenth Centuries By Siegfried Stein1 ytpn r"a n&amp;Vw1? roVn -wx WHEN, some time ago, I undertook to address you, I had found a hitherto unknown MS. in the Mocatta Library, which contains the rules and minutes of a charity for the feeding, clothing, teaching and apprenticing of orphans. The MS. was written in 1795, partly in mediaeval aramaizing Hebrew, partly in Judaeo-German, with only a very occasional sprinkling of an English terminus technicus in between. It was obvious from the outset that the programme of this charity cannot be put before you by way of a mere descriptive account of its contents. Other, earlier and later, Jewish and non-Jewish institutions of its kind will have to be discussed to set the Hebhra Qaddisha De-rahme Le-ghaddel Yathme Qetannim2 [sic] into its proper frame. The end of the eighteenth century marks a decisive, though long prepared and clearly foreseeable turning point in European and particularly in Jewish history. The establishment and re-organization of communal institutions as well as all contemporary taqqanothy i.e. rules and regulations of synagogues and charities, and records of proclama? tions (keruzim), made in official assemblies, reflect in one way or the other the waning of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the era of Emancipation. The closed society opens and the wealthy leaders of the community give veiled or unveiled, conscious or subconscious, expression to their aspirations, and translate them into vigorous action. The long and probably not quite accidental interregnum in the tenure of what may be termed the Chief Rabbinate, between the death of Rabbi David Tevele Schiff in 1791 and the election to High Office of Rabbi Solomon Hirschell in 1802, seems to have encouraged the Ashkenazi leaders to seize the reins of government. Though taqqanoth of many European communities had for centuries been revised le-fi ha-eth we-ha-zeman? according to time and circumstances, it was significantly within these years, that new rules were drafted or old rules re-drafted: for the Great Synagogue in 1791, for the Hambro' Synagogue in 1795, for the Synagogue in Denmark Court in 1799, all of them written in Judaeo-German with an introduction in Hebrew, probably borrowed from earlier no longer extant models. * I am indebted to Professor Owen of Harvard University who kindly drew my attention to some important bibliographical references, to Dr. Gruenpeter who allowed me access to the Archives of the United Synagogue, and also to Miss Ruth Lehmann, Librarian at Jews' College, to Mr. A. J. Dickson, Librarian at the Wellcome Historical Medical Library and to Mr. A. H. Hall, Librarian of the Guildhall Library. Last but not least I wish to thank Mr. W. M. Schwab, Honorary Editor of the Transactions, who has taken such painstaking care in correcting the typescript of my article. 1 Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 22 February, 1961. 2 "Holy Society of Mercy for the Upbringing of Young Orphans." zTaqqanoth of the Hambro' Synagogue, 1795, p. 1. 63</page><page sequence="2">64 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON It may be mentioned by the way that the term taqqanoth underwent a fundamental semantic change in the course of time. From the tannaitic period to approximately the end of the Middle Ages, ordinances, halakhic, synagogal and social, were issued, drafted or at least supervised by the greatest rabbinic authorities. Gradually, influential lay leaders, sometimes themselves scholars, became the co-signatories or sole signatories of such regulations until, as in the taqqanoth of the Great Synagogue, the Rabbi became the Dienst or meshitbadh of the Synagogue1 or the "Society," as it was termed in the un? published Minutes of the Hambro' Congregation as early as 1796.2 Once the transition from Hebrew or Judaeo-German into English had been effected, the process of secularisa? tion and laicization becomes less and less noticeable to the untrained observer. To my knowledge, no detailed investigation, tracing this development in time and space and evaluating its implications, is hitherto available. Various charities, too, had their new or old regulations edited or re-edited, approxi? mately during this period, e.g. the Orphan Charity School, belonging to the German Jews, in 1788. It had been founded in 1732 and, in the words of its printed rules, was formally known by the name Hebhra Qaddisha Talmudh Tora. The constitution of the newly founded Jews' Hospital in Mile End, called Newe Sedheq, appeared in print in 1808. As we shall see later, this famous charity was originally established?partly at any rate?"for educating to useful industry the youth of the Jewish poor." The regulations of both societies were written in English.3 The same applies to the unpublished Minutes of the Talmudh Tora, covering the years 1791-1818, on which Air. S. S. Levin recently read a paper to our Society.4 Our Hebrew, Judaeo-German Manuscript stands in more than one way in the middle of this multifarious activity. All these taqqanoth, synagogal or otherwise, are somehow inter-related. The names of the same 'alufim, qesinim, gabbdim, parnasim u-manhighim?all honorific titles, tenta? tively to be translated as benefactors, leaders, treasurers, wardens and members of the council?re-occur again and again. They belong in most cases to well-established families who had been resident in this country for one or two generations. The technical method of electing Honorary Officers or of distributing benefits to the poor follows earlier long established patterns. Sabbaths, New Moons, fasts and feasts still seem to regulate the life of the community. Yet, as we have just seen, the tone of these taqqanoth is on the whole one of patronage, demanding subservience from those who were meant to obey. However, Ashkenazi or Sephardi synagogal rules of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries cannot be our main concern to-night. I shall confine myself to an occasional quotation from them, to illustrate a point indicative of the colour and temper of the time, though it should be pointed out that a critical edition of the rich hitherto unpublished documentary material is still a desideratum of the first order. The eighteenth century has been endowed with a number of epithets which enshrine its leading characteristics. In philosophy it has been summarily described as the age of reason, in politics as the age of Whig ascendancy, in economic history as the age of the industrial revolution. It is sometimes forgotten, however, that it was also the age of 1 Cf. the implications of the Taqqanoth of the Great Synagogue, 1791, pp. 10b and 32ab. 2 Pp. 41, 43. 8 The Judaeo-German Taqqanoth of the Hebhra 'Ahabhath 'Ahim were re-written and printed in London in 1807. 4 Trans. J.H.S.E., XIX, pp. 97-114.</page><page sequence="3">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 65 benevolence.1 If we are to accept the last part of Miss Jones' evaluation of eighteenth century Puritanism, it must, in the light of recent sociological research, be realized that the desire of the upper classes to do good was not confined to this period and that it was not always disinterested, however praiseworthy its ultimate achievements may have been. Social and religious discipline had to be established among the poor who proved them? selves and were looked upon as peculiarly susceptible to infidelity, sloth, delinquency and rebellion. One of the main endeavours of the benefactors, both here and on the Conti? nent, was therefore directed towards the foundation of Charity or Free Schools, in which an attempt could be made at the integration of the children of the poor into the lowest form of an honest self-supporting society. In 1799, the number of these schools?in London and Westminster alone?had reached 179, that of attending children over 7000.2 The clergy of the Established Church played on the whole an active part in the manage? ment of these foundations, though with greater reservations than the laity. For reasons to be discussed later, similar encouragement does not seem to have been given to Jewish establishments of this kind by the Ashkenazi Rabbinate during the second half of the century, though the criminal tendencies and illiteracy of the community's poor was publicly criticized by Colquhoun, an eminent magistrate and economist of the time.3 During the first part of the century, the congregation was relatively small and our source material is extremely scanty. We know nothing, for instance, about the syllabus of the aforesaid Hebhra Qaddisha Talmudh Tora before 1788. We do know, however, that the learned David Nieto, Hakham of the Sephardim, delivered a sermon on the occasion of the foundation of Sha'are 9Orah Wa-abhi Yethomim which was established in 1703 for the clothing and educating of fatherless cliildren. It was apparently modelled after an earlier institution of the same name set up by the mother community of Amsterdam in 1648.4 There is, I am told by our former president, Dr. R. D. Barnett, further unpublished material in the archives of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, of which his late father has given such painstaking and exemplary account. I refer to documentary evidence on the Isaac da Costa Villareal School for Girls, regulations of which were adopted in 1739, the Ma'asim Tobhim Society for appren? ticing poor boys (1749) and the Moses Lamego Trust for the Benefit of the Orphan Society (1756).5 These and other educational charities still await a critical assessment of their achievements and development. It is clear, however, from the outset that the Sephar? dim, in consequence of their cultural standards acquired over many centuries, laid greater stress on elementary education in the vernacular than their Ashkenazi brethren. In Christian circles, the shift from purely religious to philanthropic endeavour had started at the end of the fifteenth century. We have now two excellent books by W. K. Jordan, professor of History at Harvard, in the tradition of Max Weber, Troeltsch and Tawney, on the changing pattern of English social aspirations from 1480 to 1660, one entitled Philanthropy in England (1959), the other The Charities of London (1960). Conclusions are reached by a detailed examination of wills, legacies and institutional records of the period. In the eighteenth century, the active interest of laymen in charities became more and more predominant. 1 M. G. Jones. The Charity School Movement, Cambridge 1938, pp. 3f. * Ibid., p. 61. 3 Cf. Inter alia Cecil Roth, History of the Great Synagogue, London 1950, pp. 220f. * "Gates of Light and The Father of Orphans," cf. L. D. Barnett, Bevis Marks Records, I, Oxford 1940, p. 48, and S. W. Baron, The Jewish Community, Philadelphia, 1948, Vol. 2, p. 332. 8 Cf. A. M. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England, London, 1951, pp. 84f.</page><page sequence="4">66 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON It is interesting in this connection that the first known printed constitution of an Ashkenazi Hebhra Qedhosha Meghaddele Yethomim, which appeared in Amsterdam in 17381 and which became in many though certainly not in all respects, a model for com? parable later institutions and their taqqanoth, still has an approbation of the 'Abh Beth Din of Amsterdam. It stipulates, moreover, in section 42 that he and the parnasim have the final word in deciding disputes which might arise. ThcHebhra Qedhosha Meghaddele Yethomin of F?rth, founded in 1763, no longer has such approbation of a rabbi or any provision for the assertion of his authority. Almost needless, to say, this also applies to those Anglo-Jewish charities with which we are here concerned. What was taught in non-Jewish charity schools of the eighteenth century? How did one try to implement the ever-repeated task of making the children virtuous men and useful2 members of Society? Reading, writing, casting of accounts, some handicrafts for boys, spinning, sewing, baking, washing for girls belonged to the syllabus. Goods actually manufactured by the children, were sometimes paid for. But the main emphasis was laid throughout on the Bible and Catechism. These alone, with perhaps occasional help from Aesop's Fables, provided the religious, moral and intellectual food. Especially in the earlier part of the century, more than half of the seven hours in a school-day were devoted to Bible reading, prayers, public worship and pious exercises. The rest was given to the discipline of labour. On Sundays, "constant attendance at church"3?the phrase appears in the source from which I quote?was obligatory for the children. They had to be accompanied by their teacher and occupied a specially reserved pew from which they assisted the choir.4 Dr. Roth says in his History of the Great Synagogue* that a similar minhagh existed there. The borrowing here is no doubt on the Jewish side, though customs of this kind were spread all over Europe and it is difficult to ascertain their first appearance. This applies to most practical and terminological innovations recorded in early and late Jewish sources. Even the term Hebhra Qaddisha has been traced to the medieval non-Jewish Holy Brotherhood confederations, though scholarly arguments on the admissibility of this derivation have been going on for well nigh a century.6 Skill in the learned languages, poetry and oratory was not required by the Christian charity school managers. It was thought to be sufficient if the master was a faithful member of the Established Church, frequented Holy Communion and was able to explain in a suitable manner the principles of the Christian religion, in other words the Catechism. In addition, he was required to write a good hand and to understand the grounds of Arithmetic. Salaries, as in comparable Jewish institutions, varied from ?30 ?65 per annum.7 1 "Holy Society. Upbringers of Orphans," not mentioned in Ben Jacob, who registers only the revised edition of 1781. A copy was kindly sent to the Library of University College by the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, Amsterdam. 2 Since the days of John Locke, socio-philosophical considerations began to play their part in introducing the concept of 'usefulness' to the discussion on education. 3 For an interesting variation cf. section XXXI of the above-quoted Rules of the Orphan Charity School, London, 1888: "The Hebrew master ... is to go with them (the children) constantly to the ShooL" 4 Cf. M. G. Jones, I.e. pp. 31, 37, 74f., 80-82 and Plate III, facing p. 62. 5 Pp. 229f. Cf. also section XXI of the Rules, I.e. 6 Cf. Appendix VIII of Jacob R. Marcus, Communal Sick-Care in the German Ghetto, Cincin? nati, 1947, pp. 248-252. 7 To-day's approximate value of money is arrived at by multiplying all figures given in this paper by ten. I am indebted for this estimate to Dr. Roth.</page><page sequence="5">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 67 Educational efforts were usually confined to the respectable poor.1 They were not only instructed but clothed, special badges being attached to their coats. Additional rewards were given to them after they had completed their course and before the managers or governors of their schools apprenticed them to their masters. To check misuse of funds, reports were not only written by the masters and mistresses, but also by the inspecting benefactors and trustees of the charities, who gave an account of the behaviour of the children, the wearing of their clothes and their attendance at school.2 To obtain the appropriate yardstick for comparison with educational theories and practices in Jewish Free Schools?the name is again borrowed from the environment?one must bear in mind the special socio-political task which these schools were meant to perform. In a stratified society, based on a rigid class system which divided people into nobility, upper and lower gentry, great and lesser merchants and tradesmen, a liberal education was not aimed at. Such remained the privilege of the rich and the elected few. Even Rousseau had boldly declared that the poor need no education. "Teach them," says Isaac Watts in the first third of the eighteenth century, "the duties of humility and submission to superiors and of diligence and industry in their business." In 1755, on the occasion of a charity school sermon, the Bishop of Norwich went still further: "There must be drudges of labour as well as Counsellors to direct, and Rulers to preside.... To which of these classes we belong, especially the more inferior ones, our birth determines. If such children are brought up in a manner ... to qualify them for a rank to which they ought not to aspire, they would be injurious to the Community."3 I do not think that any Rabbi or Jewish lay-leader, however little imbued with the powerful and ever-repeated Biblical and Talmudic emphasis on the care for orphans and the poor would ever have made such a statement,4 even if the establishment and administration of institutions for the implementation of loving-kindness towards the forsaken and destitute may well have been stimulated by non-Jewish examples. This does not mean that the puritan acceptance of the inequalities of wealth and poverty as the will of God was not, consciously or otherwise, shared by some at least of those 'alufim u-qesinim, who contributed their share to, acted for and presided over the Jewish charities of the fin de siecle, whilst providing private tuition for their own children. At the beginning of the nineteenth century they could already send them to some Jewish private school of higher standing, for instance to the "Academy" established by Hyman Hurwitz and, apparently, to some non-Jewish schools.5 It took a long time before voluntary and subscription schools, supported by members' contributions of about a guinea per annum, could, by accumulation of gifts and donations, grow into properly 1 The above mentioned Rules of the Orphan Charity School follow the same line. Accepted children must be of "approved character" and "lawfully begotten." (Sections XV and XVII). The Hebrew, Judaeo-German Taqqanoth of the London Hebhra Qaddisha De-rahme Le-ghaddel Yathme Qetannim stipulate more specifically that the orphans must be banim kesherim be-huppa we-qiddushin ke-dhath Moshe we-Yisrael (Section II). The Rules . . . for the Management of the Jews' Hospital, London, 1808, state that only boys "from parents of good character" will be ad? mitted (p. 19). The change from purely religious to social concepts needs no emphasis. 2 Cf. M. G. Jones, I.e. pp. 72, 98, 100, etc. 3 Quoted by M. G. Jones, I.e. pp. 74f. 4 In an early version of the 'Abhoth de-Rabbi Nathan (ed. Schechter, text a, beginning of chapter three), the school of Shammai stipulated that one should only teach a pupil who is wise, modest, of good family and rich. Such an attitude was felt to be so strange that the reference to wealth as a prerequisite to the student's admission was left out in text b (beginning of chapter four). In the same context, the school of Hillel held that everybody should be taught. Its decision prevailed for wellnigh two millenia. 5 Cf. my Beginnings of Hebrew Studies at University College, London, 1952, pp. 17 and 21.</page><page sequence="6">68 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON endowed schools and/or hospitals like the Newe Sedheq. The Anglo-Jewish communal leaders of the period never saw in their times non-denominational state-controlled schools, though the most progressive of them might well have envisaged such a development, accompanied by the disappearance of their own disab?ities as citizens. There was in this respect little difference between them and all those who stood outside the Established Church. Their co-operation with non-conformists and Quakers, to which we shall refer later, was no accident. We can now turn to a closer analysis of the printed Rules, framed for the management of the Orphan Charity School, instituted Anno Mundi 5492,1 known by the nameHebhra Qaddisha Talmudh Tora, belonging to the German Jews, London 1788. After our introduction there is no need to comment on the new title of the Society, the relegation of the concept of holiness into the past, and on the almost entirely English dress of the publication. It appeared "highly beneficial and advantageous" to the gentlemen, present at a Meeting of the Governors, held in January 1788, to establish "a proper code of laws for the future management" of this charity for "educating and apprenticing orphans and other necessitous boys." Any person subscribing one guinea or more per annum becomes a Governor, whilst a donation of twenty guineas entitles the benefactor to a governorship for life. People subscribing less than one guinea per annum have no vote in the concerns of the charity, nor can they be elected to any honorary office. The number of votes depends on the amount of subscriptions. Persons, paying one guinea per annum have one vote, two guineas two votes, up to ten guineas per annum six votes.2 The Committee was supposed to meet at least once in three months' "to inspect and regulate the general concerns, to determine the salaries of the servants"?which includes, of course, that of the teaching Rabbi?"and all other expenditures."3 The Amsterdam Taqqanoth of 1738 have a somewhat different opinion on these matters: "It is incumbent on wardens and treasurers to see to it that the children be given to the best teachers so that they are cared for in divine and wordly matters."4 On every Sabbath, the wardens must send them to "lomedhim," to scholars, to be examined on their progress.5 In F?rth, the Honorary Officers themselves had to conduct an examina? tion every Friday.6 The actual educational programme of the London Charity is given in Article 16. "The Committee shall admit into this school as many (German) Jew Boys, as they shall judge the funds will allow; the boys shall be instructed in the accustomed manner (under the control and direction of the Committee), Hebrew-Reading, and Writing; also Gemara to such whose capacity will admit; and English-Reading, Writing and Cyphering." This was to be done "for the preservation of the morals of the boys, that they may become useful members of society." The older regulations have no reference to the preservation of morals. This was somehow taken for granted. As we have seen, special circumstances in London might well have given rise to serious anxieties on the part of the communal leaders. On the other hand, the constant 1 I.e. 1732. 2 Articles 1, 2, 10. 3 Article 8. 4 Par. 32 mnanD mnnn? k?Vsh ^an ffVa iratzn Vnan ikt pt] ron hd .nnsni 5 Par. 32. "Man muss sie schicken zu verh?ren." 6 Taqqanoth F?rth, 1768, par. 37. A photostatic copy of the printed edition was kindly forwarded to me by the Librarian of Hebrew Union College, Cincinatti.</page><page sequence="7">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 69 stress on morality is part and parcel of the new "enlightened" attitude, which equated ethics and religion and had little understanding for the warmth and splendour of what Mendelssohn called the Ceremonial Law, even if it was still observed in practice. The Jews of Amsterdam, some fifty years earlier, saw no reason to talk about integration into a society which was not yet theirs. Their declared educational aim was talmudh tora keneghedh kullam: The study of the Tora has precedence over everything. The teaching of a handicraft was also included in their syllabus, though sometimes this was confined to pupils who were not fit to learn Tora in the widest sense of the term. All were taught to write yehudhith, i.e. the Hebrew cursive script, but also gallohus lehabhdil, i.e. the Latin script.1 The detailed syllabus for the Jewish subjects in the London regulations is rather vague. To all outward appearances the Committee left things as they stood. One can assume that the Pentateuch, Rashi and the Prayerbook continued to be taught in more or less the same way as before. From the salary paid to the teachers one can conclude that the number of teaching hours must have been in the neighbourhood of six or seven per day. That the study of Gemara was not pursued with the old intensity, appears from the protest raised by Solomon Hirschell in 1803, shortly after his appointment to the Chief Rabbinate.2 He then referred explicitly to the disregard of the rule we have just been discussing. In F?rth and Amsterdam, Bible, Mishna and Gemara were, as we have seen the main subject, and the teacher was expected to teach those pupils who were capable of understanding Gemara all day, in winter also after sunset in the evening and before dawn in the morning. If an orphan showed promise in his studies, his tuition was to be continued until the age of fifteen,3 and he was sometimes sent to a Yeshibha elsewhere?this in contrast to the London rules according to which no boy is to remain in the school for more than six months after his Bar-Miswa* It is clear to anyone familiar with the contemporary history of European Jewry, that developments in London can in no way be considered unusual. The same changes, only on a much more radical level, became apparent everywhere in Europe, particularly in Germany. Shortly before the death of Mendelssohn in 1786, and especially thereafter, we are there confronted with a flood of literature which brought about a radical trans? formation of the whole structure of Jewish society and institutions.5 One example may illustrate this point. In Berlin, the J?dische Freischule was founded in 1778. One year later it had its Lesebuch f?r J?dische Kinder, the first reader of its kind written in pure German. Behind its anonymous publication and responsible for its contents was David Friedl?nder, disciple and admirer of Mendelssohn and one of the wealthy leaders of the community, well known for his subsequent readiness to adopt Christianity on condition that he and some other members of his circle be freed from the necessity of believing in the divinity of Jesus. It is significant that this book contains no Hebrew, apart from the alphabet. Instead we find translations of the Ten Command? ments, of a poem by Yehuda Ha-levy, of Maimonides' Thirteen Articles of Faith and of some talmudic and mediaeval Aggadhoth, as well as an anthology of German poems and maxims. Mendelssohn himself prepared the translation from Maimonides and possibly 1 Taqqanoth Amsterdam, p. 2a and par. 23, Taqqanoth F?rth, par. 17. 2 Cf. S. S. Levin, I.e. p. 104. 3 Taqqanoth F?rth, par. 35, Taqqanoth Amsterdam, par. 15. 4 Article 30. For later amendments in favour of a prolonged Hebrew education see S. S. Levin, I.e. p. 105. 5 Cf. the comprehensive account of Mordecai Eliabh, Jewish Education in Germany during the Period of Enlightenment and Emancipation, Jerusalem, 1961 (in Hebrew).</page><page sequence="8">70 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON that of the other Hebrew passages, though there is no need to assume that he identified himself with Friedl?nder's radical tendencies.1 The title-page of this reader bears the inscription Hebhrath Hinnukh Ne'arim, i.e. Society for the Education of Boys. Clearly the founders no longer had in mind anything of a Talmudh Tora, let alone of a Hebhra Qaddisha. Jewish and Christian teachers were employed, Jewish and Christian pupils admitted. Originally, only secular subjects were meant to be taught in the J?dische Freischule, and Hebrew instruction was to be left to the teachers of existent Hadharim. It was only in 1784 that Rabbi Hirschel Lewin,2 the Head of the Berlin Jewish Community, distinguished Talmudist and friend of Mendelssohn, was asked to supervise the Hebrew syllabus of the school to obviate attacks from the adherents of traditional Judaism. It is a curious though not surprising coincidence that his son Rabbi Solomon Hirschell, was confronted with a somewhat similar task some twenty years later in London.3 When the Jewish Free School was opened in 1817, Dr. Joshua van Oven named it the Union of the Talmudh Tora and the Jewish Free School* He thus combined, not necessarily in full awareness of all the facts and their implications, the name of the J?dische Freischule in Berlin with that of the old London institution of 1732. Yet, notwithstanding his moderation, he too can best be understood as a Maskil or Aufkl?rer, as can be seen from a letter to Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, published elsewhere.5 In 1815, he translated Shalom ben Jacob Cohen's Shoreshe 9Emuna into English, calling it Elements of Faith. What he meant to offer was a Jewish catechism, comparable to those published for the use of Christian Charity Schools in the eighteenth century. Cohen was a well known contributor to the Me'assef, for a time editor of the Me9assef He-hadhash and of the Bikkure Ha-ittim, quite apart from his work as a translator and poet. He was, moreover, a teacher at the Berliner J?dische Freischule at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Van Oven made his acquaintance and apparently cultivated his friendship during his stay in London in 1813, where he tried unsuccessfully to establish a school. Personal contacts of this kind play a considerable part in the transmission of ideas. As early as 1780, Benjamin Goldsmid, about whom more will be said later, established close associations with Friedl?nder, Lazarus ben David and Israel Jacobson, all torch bearers of the post-Mendelssohn era of Jewish enlightenment and early spokesmen of the Reform Movement.6 To come back to the regulations of the London Talmudh Tora of 1788, section 19 stipulates that no boy will be admitted, unless he is six years of age and capable of reading 1 Cf. M. Eliabh, I.e., pp. 71-79. For the teaching of the Ten Commandments, the Thirteen Principles and the 613 Miswoth in the London Talmudh Tora, cf. S. S. Levin, I.e. p. 104. 2 He had been Rabbi" of the Great Synagogue in London from 1758-64. 3 Cf. p. 69 of this paper. For a comparable development in Prague, cf. J. Warmiczek, Geschichte der Prager Haupt- und Normal-Schule der Israeliten, Prague, 1932. This school was founded in 1782. On condition that only Reading and Writing of German, Arithmetic and "Ethics" (dibhre musar wehanhaghoth tobhoth) should be taught in institutions of this kind, the renowned Ezekiel Landau, then Rabbi at Prague, welcomed their establishment. At the same time he uttered a sharp warning against those teachers who might try to undermine orthodox belief and practice in an indirect way. Cf. Landau's Sefer derushe ha-selah, Warsaw, 1886, pp. 48 and 107. I am indebted to Dr. Ruth Gladstein for this information, but had no access to Warmiczek's book. 4 In 1814, he had proposed that its Hebrew name should be Hebhrath Hinnukh Yeladhim we- Talmudh Tora. The English name then suggested was Free School for German Jews. Cf. S. S. Levin, I.e., pp. 97 and 112. 5 Cf. my Beginnings of Hebrew Studies, I.e., p. 12. 6 Ibid, p. 5.</page><page sequence="9">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 71 the Prayerbook. Where did orphans and the poor learn this? I have come across an entry in the Judaeo-German Proclamations of the Hambro' Synagogue belonging to the year 1799(?), which adds another Ashkenazi charity to those already known. It says there in connection with an appeal for money?I am giving the text in free translation? "The Governors of the Hebhra Qaddisha Hinnukh Yeladhim have found their organization of great benefit, since through it many boys and girls whose parents are too poor to pay for their education, have learnt to read our Holy Language and to say our prayers, and since the Hebhra Qaddisha Talmudh Tora does not accept pupils before they have reached the age of six and before they can say their prayers, children can prepare themselves in the Hebra Qaddisha Hinnukh Yeladhim for entrance into the Talmudh Tora. There they can advance further in Humash, Rashi, Mishna and Gemara." This charity was founded in 1794 or 1797. The last Hebrew letter, indicating the date, cannot be deciphered with certainty. The section on clothing the orphans of the Talmudh Tora and on the badges to be attached to their coats (article XXVI) has already been dealt with by Dr. Roth1 and Mr. S. S. Levin. I should only like to add that the Taqqanoth of Amsterdam and F?rth contain similar regulations which, of course, does not preclude us from seeing the specifi? cations of such details in the light of contemporary non-Jewish usages. Regarding the special clothes to be presented to a Bar-Miswa boy, the London regulations do not lag behind those of F?rth, except perhaps for a rather significant detail, according to which the F?rthian boys were to be given a pair of tefillin as well. F?rth also has the carba kanfoth for boys who are not yet thirteen years old, and no school badges are mentioned.2 We have so far dealt with one Talmudh Tora for orphans and poor children between the age of six and thirteen and one preparatory school for destitute boys and girls between, say, four and seven or eight. It seems that the girls were left behind at a stage when they could read their Prayerbook. The tide page of the MS. with which we shall now concern ourselves is delicately iUurninated by flowers, by a crown and a Hon, and by hands stretched out for blessing. The following abbreviated translation of the Hebrew text explains the embellishments: "This has been dedicated by the worthy benefactor (ha-aluf ha-yaqar) ?epithets like qasin or parnas u-manhigh are significantly omitted?Yehuda Leb, son of David Katz of blessed memory of Frankfurt-on-Oder, founder of the Hebhra Qaddisha, and his wife R?chele, daughter of Salman Strassburger of Bamberg. Here, London, A.M. 5555 (i.e. 1795)." I could not identify this Mr. L. D. Cohen, as he is styled in English,3 in any other Jewish or Hebrew document of this time except in the list of donations attached to the Laws of the Meshibhath Nefesh charity, which was established in 1780 for the distribution of bread, meat and coal amongst the poor. The regulations of this Society were printed in 1797. There, Mr. Cohen's annual subscription is given as four shillings and four pence per annum, which was the minimum amount payable. In a similar list, to be found at the end of the Rules for the Management of the Newe Sedheq Hospital, his annual contribu? tion amounts to half a guinea. There, his address, 19, Playhouse Yard, Whitechapel 1 Cf. his Educational Abuses and Reforms in Hanoverian England, Kaplan Jubilee Volume, New York, 1953, p. 473. * Taqqanoth F?rth, section 24. * End of taqqana 23 in the MS. F</page><page sequence="10">72 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON Street, is given as well.1 In this case, his half a guinea per annum "would be received"? as the regulations have it?but he or other people, giving so little, "could not have any vote in the concerns of the charity."2 It might be added that one could not become or remain a warden or committee member of the Great Synagogue either, unless one paid eight guineas per annum for a seat.3 It was apparently felt that only the greater bankers or merchants should have something to say in the management of its charitable or religious institutions. L. D. Cohen thus serves as an example of the desire of the Jewish middle class to initiate or to further the various endeavours of the time to better the lot of the poor. In his case, his exertions went so far that it was decided at a General Meeting in 1797 to "present" him?this is the term used?for his services an annual salary of twenty pounds, later raised to thirty pounds, from which he had to repay debts he had incurred because he neglected to care for his maintenance in consequence of his preoccupation with the Hebhra, or in the words of the MS.: "weil er sich hat meqappeah parnoso gewesen bishwil tirdaus de-Hebhra Qaddisha"* Such efforts remain on the whole unrecorded and, though they may have been less effective than those of the 'alufim u-qesinim, who presided over Synagogues and charities, they seem to have been prompted by greater warmth and by more genuine motives. In addition, benefactors of this kind must have made relatively greater personal sacrifices than their superiors, who can hardly have given their tithes from their sometimes very considerable wealth. A Hebrew foreword in Melisa style introduces the founder. I abbreviate and translate freely: He took an orphan, a fortnight old, and his brother, fifteen months old, because he could not bear looking at their suffering, one of them still clutching the breast of his dead mother. With the help of some people he paid for them from 1792 until the 1 In Holder?s London Directory of 1808 he is described as a salesman. We learn from the keruzim of the Hambro' Synagogue, that Meetings of the Hebhra were held at the Great Synagogue. The Hebrew names of the other Honorary Officers, Mohalim, orphans, salaried collectors (shamma shim), and paid secretary (kothebh) appear under taqqanoth 16, 18, 19, 20, 23 and on the last pages of the MS. They can?apart from the children?often be traced in the published or unpublished records of the various synagogues and charities. The presidents, vice-presidents, treasurers and "committee-men" are always described as 'alufim u-qesinim, some as parnasim u-manhighim, i.e. as wardens or presiding wardens of their places of worship. One or two may be singled out to illustrate their social standing in the community. There is Abraham ben more morenu ha-rabh Michael of Ostrowza or Abraham Mitchell in the English list of the MS. He was a warden of the Great Synagogue in 1785 (cf. the unpublished list of its privileged members, p. 11, and its printed Taqqanoth, I.e., p. 1). He is also known as a contributor to other charities such as the Meshibhath Nefesh Society and the Nezve Sedheq Hospital (cf. pp. 35 and 50 of their respective Rules). Dr. Cerf or, as he is styled in Hebrew VST W? TH? p f TH nl?riD2 "1 K?Vin ?V? is almost a new name amongst Anglo-Jewish notabilities. Towards the end of the eighteenth century, he was presiding warden of the New Synagogue and participated very actively in all its Committee Meetings (unpublished Minute Book, pp. 4, 6, etc.); he acted, apparently in an honorary capacity, as Mohel to some of the orphans of the Hebhra Qaddisha De-rahme (list of orphans at the end of the MS.) and contributed very generously to Jewish charitable institutions, including the Nezve Sedheq Fund. In its Rules and in Holden's London Directory of 1807, his address is given as 29, King Street, Tower Hill. Neither the Royal Society of Medicine nor the Wellcome Historical Medical Library could trace him as an apothecary or surgeon. Cf., however, the brief entry in the Zeitschrift f?r Hebr?ische Bibliographie, XVII, 1914, p. 87 (Steinschneider, J?dische ?rzte, supple? mented by A. Freimann). E. Carmoly, Histoire des Medecins Juifs, Brussels, 1844, to whom Frei? mann refers, was not available to me. 2 Rule 6 of the printed regulations, 1808, p. 2. 8 Taqqana 8 of the printed Rules of the Great Synagogue, 1791. 4 Taqqanoth 17 and 23.</page><page sequence="11">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARIEIES IN LONDON 73 formal establishment of the Hebhra in 1795.1 Since then, they have maintained nine children and paid for all their needs. "Two bundles of myrtle"2 are then referred to, who were instrumental in putting the society on a proper financial foundation. One, the President, was Vst ]WV H'D p V^mp*? JTD ?TD pXpm ^iVkH He occurs elsewhere in the manuscript as Alexander Phillips.3 At the time, he was the presiding warden of the Hambro' Synagogue and we know that[he settled a very difficult, one might say scandalous, dispute which went on for quite a while between his congregation and that of the Great Synagogue about the burial of a child.4 Asher Goldsmid became Vice-President. He was a leading member of the Great Synagogue and so well known in every sphere of contemporary Jewish activity that nothing else need be said about him. The third benefactor mentioned in the introduction was Hayyim ben Josef of Mannheim. He belonged to the New Synagogue and is mentioned in its unpublished Minutes of 1799 as a warden emeritus.5 Jacob ben Eliezer of Worms, the last of the founder-members, appears as a privileged member of the Great in 1790. The new charity was thus, as it were, a United Synagogue establishment, if the term may be used seventy-five years before the latter received its formal constitution. In addition, there appears on the last page of the manuscript a Master Tobias, as member of the Hebhra's Committee. He may well be identical with the first minister of the West? minster Synagogue, the Reverend Tobias Goodman. One could become a member of the Society by paying at least one penny per week, i.e. four shillings and fourpence per year, the more or less usual subscription for societies of this kind (section 1). Though the various regulations about the appointing of the Regiergabbayf the other honorary officers, the two collectors and the secretary, the choice of orphans by lots, and the keeping of accounts offer little that is new, the functions of the charity were rather peculiar. Orphans, male and female, were, at the beginning at any rate, only eligible for admission between the age of one day and three years. In addition to working day and Shabbath clothes, their mothers or foster-mothers would receive a weekly contribution of three shillings, but this full grant was only continued for three consecutive years, after 1 A comparable description of the origin of the Christian Foundling Hospital, established in the first part of the eighteenth century, is given by R. H. Nichols and F. A. Wray, The History of the Foundling Hospital, London, 1935. The foundation of this charity too was due to the efforts of a man, belonging to the middle classes. Captain Thomas Coram. "During his journeys . . . the sight of infants abandoned by the wayside became to him as frequent as it was shocking" (p. 13). It is of interest, that Sampson Gideon was one of those who, in 1740, provided an annuity of the hundred and sixty guineas per annum to him, when he became so poor that he could not support himself any longer (p. 22). Benjamin and Abraham Goldsmid became Governors of the Foundling Hospital in 1795, E. P. Salomons in 1800, Daniel Eliason and Nathan Solomons in 1804 (pp. 389 392). For the family and business relationships between the Goldsmids, Daniel Eliason and Nathan Solomons, see Cecil Roth, History of the Great Synagogue, I.e., pp. 177 and 223. For Sampson Gideon and E. P. Salomons, cf. the bibliographical references in Anglo-Jewish Notabilities, Jewish Historical Society of England, 1949, pp. 25 and 60. It may be mentioned that the latter was one of the original subscribers to the Newe Sedheq Fund, to which he contributed the sum of five hundred pounds. 2 A talmudic phrase taken from B. Shabbath 33b. 3 Section 23. 4 Cf. Cecil Roth, The Great Synagogue, p. 232. In 1780, he appears in the unpublished List of Privileged Members of the Great Synagogue (p. 9). 5 Pp. 6f. 6 The term occurs also in the printed Judaeo-German regulations of the Hebhra 'Ahabhath Ahim, London, 1807, article 6. The Taqqanoth Amsterdam, article 9, speak of ^regierender Gabbay.</page><page sequence="12">74 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON which they were merely given money for the children's tuition and their outfit (section 2). As the main concern of the charity was the feeding and clothing of orphans, we learn little if anything about an educational programme. There is only a stipulation according to which mothers or foster-mothers must see to it that the children are sent to an approved school (Hedher) in order to learn, and to the synagogue in order to pray (sections 12 and 17). I have not come across any such regulations in either Jewish or non-Jewish sources, but it is quite possible that similar societies existed elsewhere. The charity was at the same time a kind of a middle-class insurance, so that orphans of members had to be considered before orphans of non-members could apply for admission (section 2). There is a clear parallel for this in the Taqqanoth of F?rth (30), in those of the Hebhra 'Ahabhath 'Ahim (article 14) and even in those of the Newe Sedheq Hospital.1 Such regulations seem to go back to the rules of medieval guild corporations. At the age of thirteen, i.e. long after the children had ceased to have the full benefit of the society, the Committee tried to apprentice them. There is at the end of the MS. a long list of some fifty children who were accepted in the Hebhra between 1792 and 1819. In the first few years, the entries often show the word apprenticed in Hebrew letters, though no further details regarding their profession, comparable to those available in the records of the Foundling Hospital are given.2 An interesting point in these taqqanoth consists in the emphasis they lay on prayer for the soul. The orphans have to say Qaddish, if one of the benefactors leaves no sons, and they are to attend his funeral. This minhagh has a long mediaeval and in all proba? bility non-Jewish pre-history. Jordan informs us that between 1480 and 1540 London merchants and tradesmen contributed some four to six thousand pounds in each decade to the endowment of chantries and prayers. We know of a number of Sephardi and Ashkenazi legacies, from the end of the seventeenth to the middle of the eighteenth centuries, which contain a clause to the effect that prayers should be said for the soul of the departed.3 There is no essential difference in this respect between the older Taqqanoth of F?rth (39 ff.) or Amsterdam (37) and our MS. (14 f.) or, for that matter, the English rules of the Talmudh Tora (34 ff.). Here and there, strictures of the Hebhra against lack of discipline or uncleanliness seem harsh, but warmth and tenderness permeate the regulations as a whole. The Committee is explicity cautioned not to be rigid and the old Talmudic maxim not to punish without warning is quoted in support (12). The constitution of the Hebhra Qaddisha De-rahme Le-ghaddel Yathme Qetannim could, with all its imperfection, its peculiar jargon, its relatively small importance, be described as one of the last expressions of autonomous Anglo-Jewish mediaeval life, orderly, and the aims too narrow. We enter the last phase of our enquiry, which brings us to the foundation of the Newe Sedheq Hospital in 1807, established "for the relief of the imbecile aged and the educating to useful industry of the Jewish poor." We cannot possibly compare the ITebhra Qaddisha Talmudh Tora, let alone the Hebhra Qaddisha Hinnukh Yeladhim or thcflebhra Qaddisha De-rahme with this magnificent institution, which had at the outset 1 P. 2, article 8, cf. also, V. D. Lipman, A Century of Social Service, London, 1959, p. 19. 8 Cf. R. H. Nichols and F. A. Wray, I.e. pp. 182-200. 8 Cf. A. Hyamson, The Sephardim of England, I.e. p. 58; C. Roth, The Great Synagogue, I.e. p. 97.</page><page sequence="13">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 75 an inviolate fund of thirty thousand pounds Stock, yielding nine hundred pounds per annum. To get the right proportions, we must set against this sum the two hundred and forty pounds capital, mentioned in 1799 with a feeling of proud achievement in the MS. (20), which we have just discussed. What had happened in these few years? How could such a sum be raised by a relatively small community of some twenty to twenty-five thousand Jews? The success with which the effort of more than ten years was crowned, is mainly attributed to two financial geniuses, Abraham and Benjarnin Goldsmid. A full account of their sudden emergence as eminent bankers in the City of London was given by the late Paul Emden in 1939.1 We learn that the capital of their firm was estimated to have stood at eight hundred thousand pounds in 1806. In 1809, after the suicide of Benjamin?he had been suffering from gout and depression for many years?a government loan of the formidable amount of ?14,600,000 was subscribed by Abraham Goldsmid and his junior non Jewish partner Thomas Moxon. It was in consequence of a similar, but unsuccessful transaction in 1810, that Abraham Goldsmid, too, cornmitted suicide. His firm was found to be insolvent. Whilst Asher Goldsmid, their brother, was so intimately connected with the Hebhra Qaddisha De-rahme and appears again as chairman of the Newe Sedheq foundation, contributing two hundred pounds towards it, Abraham and Benjarnin do not figure at all amongst the many names, mentioned in the earlier charity, neither does Gershon or George the fourth brother, though we do find his son, styled as Abraham Goldsmid Junior, as a kind of deputy. For Abraham and Benjarnin, the older charity did not offer sufficient scope for their aspirations. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, they had already established closest connections with the Royal House, the most important merchants of the city and those non-conforrnists and Quakers?often themselves very wealthy?whom they joined in their battle for the removal of political disabilities. The subscription list to the Newe Sedheq Fund is most revealing?and one might say revolutionary in this respect. About half of the eighty odd names are not Jewish. One donation of five hundred pounds was made by a "Friend," which means in all probability a Quaker. Such a large amount was only contributed by one Jew, E. P. Salomons to whom we referred before in connection with the Foundling Hospital. Another subscription of one hundred pounds was also made by a "Friend." In addition, there are those of old established banking houses like Thelluson &amp; Co. (two hundred pounds) and W. Allen (one hundred pounds), equally famous as philanthropist, scientist and Quaker, though here his name is given.2 As to the donation by A. Newland (one hundred pounds), I can only refer again to Paul Emden's paper who, though unaware of this entry in the Newe Sedheq Rules, describes him as a very popular and at the same time very speculative Chief Cashier of the Bank of England, who even in his will bequeathed five hundred pounds to each of the two Goldsmid 1 Cf. The Brothers Goldsmid and the Financing of the Napoleonic Wars, Trans. J.H.S.E.,XIV9 pp. 225-46 and P. Sraffa, The Works of David Ricardo, X, pp. 80/. (By kind communication of Mr. E. R. Samuel). 2 He was the editor of a widely read periodical, The Philanthropist, which dealt with questions concerning the relief of the poor, charity schools, the slave trade, conditions of prisoners and the emancipation of negroes on an international and non-denominational level. In various issues, we find favourable comments on Jewish generosity, for instance, in volume III, 1813, p. 90. Volume VI, 1816, p. 199, refers to three Jews, Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, Isaac Keyser and the well known economist David Ricardo?the latter had by then joined the Unitarian Church?as members of a committee engaged in an investigation of the causes of juvenile delinquency in the metropolis.</page><page sequence="14">76 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON brothers.1 What does all this mean? We know that for quite a time Jews for their part had generously contributed to non-Jewish charities, as for instance to the foundation of the Naval Asylum or to that of the Foundling Hospital? but we still need a balance sheet of the approximate total of their gifts, to both Jews and Gentiles, to assess the whole complex of problems historically and sociologically, i.e. not sentimentally or philanthropically. Through their abilities and benefactions they had secured some sort of place for themselves in society and aroused sympathy for their unequal status in it. All over Europe, the plea for tolerance on philosophical and humanist grounds was coupled with economic considerations.3 Originally, five aged men, five aged women, ten boys and eight girls were admitted to the Hospital in 1807. We are only concerned with the two last groups. The boys were accepted from the age of ten to thirteen. They were kept till the expiration of their apprenticeship and taught Humash, Pasuq, i.e. Bible, u-khethabh yehudhith, i.e. the cursive Hebrew script, used for writing letters in Judaeo-German, Hebrew or English. In addition they were taught English?what exactly this implied I do not know?Writing, Reading and Arithmetic. 1 He appears also as "Abraham Newland Esq. of the Bank" in an English MS. list of bene? factors to a Kosher Soup Establishment, which was founded in 1800 under the presidency of Ben? jamin Goldsmid. Notwithstanding earlier Jewish precedents (cf. e.g. Pe'a, VIII, 7), contem? porary non-Jewish practices were explicitly followed, because they had proved to be "of the utmost utility to the poor." Newland contributed ten guineas. One might suggest that he was Jewish or of Jewish origin, but this becomes unlikely, as the list of donations includes amongst many well-known Ashkenazim and Sephardim one by Thomas Cope, Stock Exchange (five pounds). The same firm gave two hundred pounds towards the Newe Sedheq Fund. Subscriptions to this "Soup Kitchen" amounted to more than three hundred and sixty pounds in the first year. The MS. is part of a volume of rare pamphlets, and belongs to Jews' College (50h 1). 2 Another Christian acknowledgment of Jewish charitable endeavour is to be found in A. Highmore, Philanthropia Metropolitana, London 1822. In connection with a report on the founda? tion of the Jewish Free School in 1817, he states that "400 children of their persuasion were provided with the means of instruction." In addition, he has this to say. "The happy communication of deeds of charity between modern Jews and Christians and men of all nations and persuasions, at least in this United Country, affords daily proof of the liberality of our time. If the members of our own faith are found in the lists of supporters of Jewish Establishments, it is no less true that in most of our Institutions we find also the cordial support of the most opulent and respectable of the Hebrews, and this too in many instances, where the Established Church of England forms a leading feature of those Societies" (pp. 230, 233, 270-284). His words are comparable to and possibly dependent on the Introduction to the Rules of the Newe Sedheq Hospital. Hebrew letters, though almost all misprinted, are used for the enumeration and pfaise of other Jewish charities, such as the Meshibhath Nefesh and the Poors' Aid for the Sabbath Societies. The latter was founded in 1798 (see E. H. Lindo, A Jewish Calendar, London 1838, p. 102). In an earlier book by Highmore, Pietas Londinensis, London, 1810, we come across similar observations (Vol. I, pp. 85-95). Here the Newe Sedheq Hospital is described as "one of the best institutions of its kind." It should be noted, however, that the activities of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews received their share of praise, too. "It will no doubt be gratifying to every Christian to learn that seventeen Jewish children have already been received into its Charity School" (Vol. II, pp. 754-758). A certain missionary bias occurs even in the aforementioned Philanthropist III, 1813, pp. 18f and 148-154. For earlier and contemporary Christian interest in Jewish education in Germany, cf. Eliabh, I.e. pp. 73, etc. 3 Israel Jacobson's sermon on the occasion of the inauguration of the Temple in Seesen in 1810?it was the first synagogue with an organ and the first and last with church bells?may serve as an example. He says inter alia to the invited Christian audience. "Far from receiving my brethren (the Jews) with a cold shoulder, you (the Christians) will accept us lovingly into your society ?and business circles (Gesellschafts?und Gesch?ftskreise). You will stretch forth your hands to us to achieve the reconciliation, for which I have here put down some ideas and, partly, dedicated this Temple." (Cf. my Sulamith, Zeitschrift f?r Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland, 1937, pp. 203 and 207.)</page><page sequence="15">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 77 At the same time they were employed in some industrious occupation1 and paid, as in other charity schools, for the work they had done. Needless to say that they were clothed, this time sisith and tefillin are mentioned.2 Girls were admitted from the age of seven to ten and kept till fifteen, when they were apprenticed either as servants?as the rules have it?in a respectable family or to some reputable tradesman. They were taught to read their prayers in Hebrew, to read and write English and to cypher, also to do needle work, knitting, washing, ironing and plain cooking. They were to be kept strictly apart from the boys.3 More of the sometimes harsh rules of discipline could be enumerated, but they are in no way unusual, if com? pared to contemporary forms of education at the same level. Prayers were to be said every day by the boys in the morning, afternoon and evening under the supervision of their master. Apart from the ordinary service on Shabbath, they were to be given a moral discourse?or as it is formulated on another page?a discourse be-dhibhre musar. Those of the boys who are able should read shenayim miqra we-ehadh targum, twice the weekly portion and its Aramaic translation, together with the old men. They may then go for a walk with their master. Grace after meals is to be said regularly by one of the boys, Qiddush and Habhdala by their master.4 The administration of the Newe Sedheq Hospital must have been a model of its kind, most efficientiy conducted by its House Committee, Auditors, Secretary, Master, Matron and Superintendent. What is so astounding about it all, is the combination of progress and tradition. Apart from the apparent?and in view of the syllabus of the older establishments?glaring omission of the teaching of Mishna and Gemara and their replacement by a weekly moral discourse, one can find little at first glance that would betray the fundamental changes of outlook on the part of the founders of the institution, who found their motto in the well known maxim, quoted in the Introduction to the Rules, "Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto. I am a human being and consider nothing human alien to me." Even Rabbi Solomon Hirschell made his contribution to the Fund and thus approved the principles on which the great and new venture was founded, though he was apparently never invited to participate in the deliberations of any Committee. The Jewish Free School and the Norwood Orphanage were established after the Newe Sedheq Hospital. There is no doubt that they and the various older charities improved and gradually transformed the physical and social condition of the Jewish poor under their care, but it is also quite clear that the religious and political problems which arose in the course of these changes remained unsolved. In the framework of this paper it must suffice to have drawn attention to their complexity and seriousness. ADDITIONAL NOTE After completing this paper, I came across another Judaeo-German MS. in the Mocatta Library which throws additional light on London Ashkenazi charities at the end of the eighteenth century. Though compiled with much less care, its contents 1 E.g. the making of mahogany chairs, as mentioned by A. Highmore, Philanthropia Metro olitana. I.e., p. 277. 2 Cf. pp. 20 and 25 of the Rules . . . and p. 71 of this paper. 3 pp. 21f. of the Rules . . . 4 pp. 25f. of the Rules . . .</page><page sequence="16">78 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON are comparable to the Rules of the Hebhra Qaddisha De-rahme Le-ghaddel Yathme Qetannim. Like the latter, it originally formed part of the Asher I. Myers Collection. A translation of its title-page reads as follows: Rules of the Holy Society for the Supply of Adequate Maintenance for Widows and Orphans, which was set up anew on Sunday, 6th of Tebheth, portion of the Law wa-yiggash, A.M. 5549 (i.e. end of December, 1788). The Hebrew heading is followed by a list of six founder-members, which is amplified on the following page of the MS. by another two, although the heading of that page refers to twelve. The Society's secretary was Menahem b.Sanwel Segal, Rabbi? perhaps we should transliterate his title as Rebbe?of the Hebhra Qaddisha Talmudh Tora.1 The identity of the first founder-member, Abraham b. Yisrael Ger, is not certain. It may be suggested, however, that the secretary or his informants slipped and that the entry should read Yisrael b. Abraham Ger. In this case we might have before us the only remaining Judaeo-German record of Lord George Gordon's active identification with the London Ashkenazi community of his time.2 The following reasons can be advanced in support of this hypothesis: (1) Abraham b. Yisrael Ger sounds odd, as we would expect Yisrael b. Abraham, the latter being the father of all proselytes. (2) Lord Gordon was admitted to Judaism in or about 1786. (3) From January, 1787, to the end of his life in 1793, he was imprisoned at Newgate for stirring up mutiny among condemned convicts and for issuing libels about the moral and political conduct of the Queen of France. Yet we are told that he held 'public' services in his cell every Saturday. On these occasions he was assisted by ten Polish Jews. One of his published English letters, written in 1789 to Angel Lyon, a poor Jew who had asked him for financial help, bears the signature Israel b. Abraham G.3 Gordon. The participants in his "minyan," whether themselves prisoners or visitors, and other Jews or Jewesses who obtained kasher food for him, may have acted as intermediaries in arranging for his nomination as chairman and founder-member of the Hebhra. In our MS. the name Leb b. Moshe originally stood before his, but it was then erased and given second place, apparently to honour the righteous proselyte. The names of most of the remaining seven founder-members of the Hebhra appear in other MS. records of the period kept in the archives of the United Synagogue. Leb b. Moshe Peter was "called up" once at the Great Synagogue in the year 1789 90, offering two shillings.4 David b. Yehuda seems to be identical with a David b. Yehuda of Salisbury, who was "called up" seven times in the same synagogue in that year. The sum total of his 1 He is no longer mentioned in the Minute Book of the Talmudh Tora, covering the period from 1791-1818. See also p. 68 of this paper. 2 He seems to have been referred to in the archives of the Hambro' Synagogue, which were inaccessible to me. The relevant records of the Great and New Synagogue contain no trace of him. Cf. Israel Solomons, Lord George Gordon's Conversion to Judaism, Trans. J.H.S.E., VII, pp. 238-255. We learn inter alia that he offered one hundred pounds on being called up to the Law at the Hambro' Synagogue. 3 G. for Ger. Cf. Transactions, ibid., pp. 232, 248 and 255. For further details about Gordon's radical political views and his role in the Gentile-Jewish fight against the Disabilities of Dissenters, cf. A. Rubens, Portrait of Anglo-Jewry, 1656-1836, Trans. J.H.S.E., XIX, pp. 32 ff. and Plates 30-32. 4 In our MS. -JD^D; in the unpublished List of Offerings, Made at the Great Synagogue in 1789-90, marked I.B.19, he appears as ^O^D on p. 18. To transliterate the word as "fighter" or "fitter" is perhaps less likely, though special characteristics or professions do appear as surnames. Peter, on the other hand, is not very different from other early surnames such as Henry, Harris, Philipps, etc., which occur in the records of English synagogues during this period.</page><page sequence="17">Plate 7 Hebrew Title Page of the Constitution and Minutes of the "Holy Society the upbringing of young orphans" (1795)</page><page sequence="18">1*2?? Vf&lt;* I*?, ? i&gt; ?9 fry &gt;&amp;\*f ? _f~? ^ ^jf^ JJ? ?gf*&lt;V ?^^4&gt;f^ ^*f V / KT?* Plate 8 Judaea-German Minutes of a Meeting of the Holy Society of Mercy (1799)</page><page sequence="19">i T/S?1-"*?- - iJ&amp;L- - :.Hi-r-* Plate 9 Hebrew Signatures of Some of the Honorary Officers of the Holy Society of Mercy (1799)</page><page sequence="20">Plate 10 Hebrew Title Page of the Rules of the "Holy Society for the Supply of Adequate Maintenance for Widows and Orphans" (1788)</page><page sequence="21">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 79 offerings amounted to six shillings and six pence.1 In the previous year2 he had been "called up" four times, the sum total of his contributions being five shillings. Yosele b. Gershon belonged to the New Synagogue, of which he became a member in 1787. He then paid two guineas as Einkaufsgeld.3 Meir Hirsch b. Manus Leb of F?rth worshipped at the Great.4 His offerings amounted to five shillings and sixpence in two years. Abraham b. 5ebhi may be identical with Abraham b. Hirsch of Amsterdam. If this assumption is correct, he offered one shilling at the Great5 on each of two occasions in the year 1788-89. Jacob b. Salman of F?rth cannot be traced in the relevant records, but one Salman of F?rth, probably his father, occurs in the List of Offerings, Made at the Great Synagogue in 1789-90. Moshe b. Salman of F?rth, named in the same list, appears to be his brother.6 Moshe b. Reuben was "called up" once at the Great in the same year, offering six shillings on the occasion of the Bar-Miswa of his son.7 Allowing for some doubtful identifications, it would appear that the majority of the founders of the charity belonged to or worshipped at the Great Synagogue, although at least one of them was a member of the New. Moreover, rule eleven insists on the responsibility of a negligent treasurer to his Qahal, whilst according to rule twelve proclamations regarding benefits to widows and orphans had to be made in the three synagogues, i.e. the Great, the New and the Hambro'. Again we note that joint social efforts served to pave the path for the ultimate organizational unification of the Ashkenazi community in London. As in the case of the somewhat younger charity for the education of young orphans, the Great Synagogue was the joint administrative centre of the older society for the maintenance of widows. This seems to follow from section fifteen of its rules, which stipulates that no regierender Gabbay should retain more than five pounds in his hands. The rest was to be handed over to the trustee (ha-ne'eman) of the Hebhra, i.e. the presiding warden (of the Great Synagogue): nirp TIP1? H'D &amp;'1D This Leser Keyser is the only parnas u-manhigh to be met with in our MS., whilst qesinim or 'alufim do not appear at all. In this connection it is noteworthy and not irrelevant to mention that Keyser was "called up" thirty-six times in the Great Synagogue in the year 1788-89 and that the sum total of his contributions amounted to more than fourteen pounds.8 In contrast, none of the founder-members of the charity offered as much as one pound between 1788 and 1790. The implications of such figures for the historical assessment of the social and religious structure of the Community do not lose 1 Cf. I.B.19, p. 27. As far as I know, Salisbury ChbzitVhO) is not referred to by historians as an Anglo-Jewish settlement in the eighteenth century. 2 Cf. LB. 18, p.44. There is, however, another David b. Yehuda n^SBITfl?C?) mentioned in the same list (p. 59). Or should we read it as Houndsditch, situated at the City border of the East End of London? 3 Cf. the unpublished Register of Bet ale Battim of the New Synagogue, 1768-1822, /// A.I.a., p. 10. 4 Cf. LB. 18, p. 70, /J3.19, p. 53. These entries refer to Meir Hirsch only, and do not name his father or his place of origin. 6 Cf. LB. 18, p. 78. ? Cf. LB. 19, pp. 72 and 86. 7 Cf. LB. 19. His widow, Gittele and her six sons appear in the unpublished List of Privileged Members of the Great Synagogue in 1796. (I.A.3.) 8 Cf. LB. 18, p. 14. Another wealthy and well-known member of the Great Synagogue, Leb Pressburger or Baron Lyon de Symons, as he is styled in contemporary English records, was "called up" forty-five times during that year and offered about twenty-one pounds on those occasions He was not connected with our charity.</page><page sequence="22">80 SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON their force if we bear in mind that considerable exertions had to be made at that time to cover the costly rebuilding of the Great Synagogue. In the first instance, therefore, the Hebhra Qaddisha Le-sippuq 'Almanoth Wi thomim was a Mutual Aid Society. Like its earlier and later sister organisations, it owed its existence to the initiative of ordinary people of limited means, who played no major part in the administration of their respective synagogues and who were mainly concerned with healing the sick and clothing and educating the poor, providing at the same time some form of security for their dependents and descendants in case of their own premature death. In view of this, widows of former members had preferential claims on eligibility for benefits as stated in rule fourteen. In fact, the list of eleven beneficiaries given at the end of the MS. includes one widow whose husband had been the secretary (and shammash?) of the charity in the year of its re-organization:1 ??an rvn biwn n nmbx This does not mean that the insurance contributions of the lower and middle classes were sufficient to meet the needs of necessitous widows who applied for relief. The wealthy members of the Community must have contributed a good deal?though hardly their full share?to renew the lease of the charity and to keep it going for its very short life span. Apart from subscriptions and donations there were also the dividends and interest, accruing from legacies, which enabled Hebhroth of this kind to improve the conditions of the poor.2 The MS. itself does not record any activities beyond the year 1791. The only list of contributions received is to be found on one of the last pages of the MS. There, entries amounting to a total of some fifty pounds are made for less than one year, accord? ing to eighteen weekly portions of the law. The particular date is unspecified and the donors remain unnamed. Presumably these figures represent the subscriptions, dona? tions or offerings collected by the shammash on his rather irregular rounds.3 Those parts of the constitution of the charity which have not already been discussed, can be summarized as follows: every member had to pay not less than one penny4 per week or four shillings per annum. An addendum, following rule nineteen, specifies eligibility for membership by including women and unmarried persons of both sexes. In contrast, however, to the Rules for the Management of the Newe Sedheq Hospital, this small subscription entitled every member of the society "to inherit the capital in Life Eternal and to eat its fruit in this world." Every widow accepted by the Hebhra, was entitled to receive three dinarim5 per 1 Cf. p. 78 of this paper. Mendel is the usual Judaeo-German equivalent for Menahem. 2 As an example of such bequests I can refer to an English extract from the will of Lazarus Simons, dated 31st January, 1764. It belongs to a MS. marked I A.29, Great Synagogue, pp. 8ff, and is to be found in the archives of the United Synagogue. In this case the dividends of three hundred pounds were to be received from time to time at the Vestry Room of the Great Synagogue and to be disposed of for the use of the Society for Educating Poor Jewish Children, i.e. the old Talmudh Tora. 3 He received five guineas per annum for his services. Cf. rules 17 and 18. 4 This must be the meaning of IPS, written in square letters in the Judaeo-German text of taqqana 1 and of its more extensive, explanatory codicil, written in cursive script. New regulations, adopted in the course of time are added in the same way in other parts of the MS. The amount corresponds to the subscription of the Meshibhath Nefesh Society (cf. p. 71 of this paper) and to that of the Charity for the Support of Young Orphans. (Cf. sections 1 and 4 of the MS.) 5 Cf. taqqana 3. It would appear that the omission of section 2 in the MS. is due to the redrafting of the rules. In view of what has been quoted from the taqqanoth of theHebhra- Qaddisha De-rahme on p. 73 of this paper, dinarim must here stand for shillings. The writing in this case is quite clear, though standard works on English coinage have no reference to dinarim which we</page><page sequence="23">SOME ASHKENAZI CHARITIES IN LONDON 81 week, subject for better or worse to the financial status of the charity. The same rule contains a reference to a Hebhra Qaddisha Rabbi,1 who is to pay the widow an unspecified amount for two orphans. This term reflects early and late medieval usages, according to which these middle class fraternities had their own rabbi who guided them in their charitable efforts and studied the Law with them. The performance of social and religious duties?if the two were felt to be separable at all?was the essential function of these societies.2 The taqqana was first written in square characters, then crossed out and again re-formulated in cursive script. Here, however, the reference to the Hebhra Qaddisha Rabbi no longer occurs; nor do we come across the name of Rabbi David Tevele Schilf, who was still alive when the constitution of the Society was re? drafted. The laicisation of organized welfare work becomes more and more apparent even in documents which in their language3 and general set up remain untouched by the spirit of the new epoch. Immoral conduct before or after her widowhood, re-marriage or a regular income from private benefactors would disqualify a widow from the receipt of benefits. The phrasing of these regulations uses the full weight of biblical and talmudic terminology and includes severe injunctions against the playing of cards.4 Rule seven provides for the transfer of benefits from the widow to the orphans in the event of the former dying. This is modified by a codicil, according to which responsibility for such orphans must henceforth lie with the Hebhra Qaddisha De-Rahme. An amendment of section eight rules that the death of an orphan diminishes the benefits of the widow by half, whereas the original taqqana envisaged their complete discontinuation. Rules nine to eighteen deal with the various duties of the Honorary Officers and the shammash, such as the calling and attending of meetings, the distribution of benefits by lots, the proper keeping and examining of accounts etc. None of these regulations differ essentially from those of other organisations of this kind. To sum up: The Hebrew and Judaeo-German source material left by London's Ashkenazi Jewry of the eighteenth century has?quite apart from its linguistic peculiari? ties?distinctive features which reflect the community's coherence no less than its class divisions and religious stirrings. To evaluate these records the historian must look backwards as well as forwards and pay attention not only to the achievements of the Modern World but also to the faith of the Old. His commitments in one or the other direction will perhaps for ever prevent him from understanding the past "as it really was." Yet unexpected perspectives may well appear, if he listens carefully to the challenge of the still small voice which sometimes speaks to us from these seemingly unimportant rules, ledgers and minute-books. Once they appear in English, we have crossed the border from the medieval to the modern in Anglo-Jewish History. 1 The text does not make it quite clear, whether he is identical with the shammash. 2 To illustrate this point from fourteenth-century Spanish source material, cf. F. Baer, Die Juden im christlichen Spanien. Urkunden und Regesten, I, Berlin, 1929, pp. 229-39. 3 Linguistic adaptations such as "General Meeting" or "casting vote" are still rare. 4 Cf. Taqqanoth 4-6 and 19. would normally expect to be the equivalent of pennies. I cannot relate the peculiar description of pennies and shillings to German or Dutch usage either. Zunz identifies the dinar with a shilling, but maintains that such terminology cannot be traced in Jewish sources beyond the Middle Ages. (Cf. Zur Geschichte und Literatur, Berlin, 1845, p. 564.) To confirm the dinar = shilling equation, I may add that the dividends of a non-Jewish legacy of the eighteenth century also yielded a weekly allowance of three shillings for poor widows. Cf. Printed Parliamentary Reports of the former Commissioners for Enquiry concerning Charities, I, 1819, pp. 44f.</page></plain_text>

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