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The Origins of the Jews' Free School

Salmond S. Levin

<plain_text><page sequence="1">The Origins of the Jews5 Free School1 By SALMOND S. LEVIN, ll.b. ON 13th September, 1814, 28th day of Ellul, there was held the most momentous meeting in the history of the Talmud Torah of the Great Synagogue, entitled in Hebrew yitffl wmm ttmp ?rtjrr mm Tl??m rmn. There were present Mr. Samuel Joseph, a vice-president who took the chair in the absence of the president Dr. Hart Myers, and also Joseph Cohen, Joshua Van Oven, A. Joseph and Walter Nathan. The meeting was important for two reasons. Firstly it received a letter of resigna? tion from Dr. Hart Myers of the Presidency of the Talmud Torah. In flowery language, it paid tribute to "great services to this charity for a great number of years" and begged him "not to withdraw his protection and sanction from an institution he had so long cherished".2 The meeting next considered a report submitted by Joshua Van Oven which deserves to be quoted in extenso. "Your sub-committee having investigated the various minutes recorded by prior meetings together with the proposed regulations contained in the Circular Letter, recommend in addition to those passed May, 25th 1812, the adoption of the following resolutions : That the title of the Charity be altered to that of mm Tl?^m Wlf* "Jim mrm Free School for German Jews.3 That a school room be erected on the plan laid down by Mr. Lancaster for such a purpose". "That a person from the class of German Jews who shall be competent to the task shall be appointed the master and who will have all necessary information respecting the arrangement and management of a Lancastrian School as may be procured from Mr. Lancaster or his assistants." "On a vacancy occurring in the number of 21 boys in the foundation of the Talmud Torah the election to fill such vacancy shall be conducted according to the Laws hitherto observed on such occasion but only from a list previously made out of such scholars who from their attention and conduct in the Elementary School shall have merited being placed on such list. Some regulation shall hereafter be determined on to enable the Committee to promote meritorious lads from the Elementary School as Free Scholars for initiation in Gemarah, Chumash etc., in the upper school." "Particular care shall be taken with respect to the religious management of the School, the reading lessons of which must consist of Prayers or extracts from Tanach with translations." "Every subscriber shall have the privilege of recommending a certain number of boys in proportion to the sums subscribed according to such regulations as shall be made". The writer wishes to express his thanks to Mr. Wilfred Samuel for much invaluable help on the historical background, and to Mr. Peter Quinn for the use of a photostat of the Rev. Solomon Hirschers "caution" against the Missionary schools. The following abbreviations are used in the footnotes : Adamson : J. W. Adamson, A Short History of Education (Cambridge, 1922). M. : Manuscript Minute Book of the Talmud Torah, 1791-1818. Roth : C. Roth, History of the Great Synagogue (London 1950). Wolf, Essays : Lucien Wolf, Essays in Jewish History (edited by C. Roth, 1934). J.C.: Jewish Chronicle. 1 Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 15th May, 1957. 2 M. 196 3 M. 197 h 97</page><page sequence="2">98 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL "The scholars must all attend the school on Saturday forenoon to hear some instruc? tive discourse delivered and to close with Tephillat Minchah." "Mr. Van Oven further reported that enquiries are making respecting a place for building etc., which are in progress." "Resolved that the reports now made are approved of and that the said Sub? committee are hereby empowered to proceed further in the said concern." "Resolved that the Collecting Committee be requested to recommence their exer? tions."1 The quotation is from the Minute Book of the Talmud Tor ah for the period 1791 1818, a minute book covering 250 foolscap pages, which, so far as is known, has not been the subject of detailed research and publication hitherto. Thus it was that the older order, represented by Hart Myers, gave way to the more vigorous leadership of Van Oven and the Talmud Tor ah founded in the year 1732 had a free school attached to it as an elementary school. It is necessary to emphasise 1732 as the year in which the Talmud Tor ah was founded, because a number of references2 give 1770 as the year when its history began. The only evidence is the "Rules framed for the Management of the Orphan Charity School instituted Anno Mundi 5492 mm Tl?^n p'n belonging to the German Jews London". These are the words of the title page of the Rules approved in 1788. The Jewish Year 5492 is the year 1732 of the Common Era. Only one copy of these Rules is believed to survive. It is in the Library of Jews' College. Unfortunately the last four pages are missing. Article XXVI of the Rules dealing with clothing of the pupils laid down that they shall wear "a brass plate on the left side with the words p'S^ n'SD ram IOTA min Ti??n p'n" that is Chevra Kadisha Talmud Torah founded in the year 5492. The only other possible source of information might be the Minute Book of the Great Synagogue covering this period. Unfortunately it was lost during the War 1939-45. The Rules drawn up in the year 1788 are probably the first constitution of an Anglo Jewish institution to be written in the English language. The laws of the parent body, the Great Synagogue, published three years later in 1791 were written in Yiddish. Congregational constitutions both among the Ashkenazim and Sephardim do not appear in English for another generation. If the date 1732 is correct, and there seems no reason to doubt the evidence, the Talmud Torah is in fact the oldest Ashkenazi charity in Anglo Jewry. From the preamble to the Rules it is clear that the year 1788 was a significant one for the institution. The need was recognized to extend its work in the field of education as well as in the social field. Fifty-six years had passed since the birth of the Talmud Torah and twenty-nine years lay ahead before Jews' Free School opened its doors in the year 1817. The period was not one in which to take pride so far as education is concerned. This speaks for the wider community, but even more for the Jewish community of Ashkenazim, sunken in so much squalor and poverty, constantly being re-inforced by poor brethren from the Continent. The Talmud Torah has been referred to as the "Charity School" and it is necessary in judging it, to place it against the background of the education of the day. 1 M. 198. 2 J.C. 16.ii.1883; J.F.S. Annual Report 1916-7; Wolf, Essays, p. 194.</page><page sequence="3">THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS' FREE SCHOOL 99 There was, in fact, no education for the mass of the people. The children of the poor went out to work from a tender age. Juvenile crime was a matter for grave concern and conditions generally were brutal and uncivilizing. From Elizabethan times, and throughout the 17th century, a few private individuals had founded and maintained charity schools for the poor.1 In 1661 a charity school for twenty boys was founded at Lambeth. In 1688 the Blue Coat School was founded at Westminster to educate, clothe and apprentice fifty boys. At the end of the 17th Century, the Church of England began to interest itself in elementary education. The Davenant Foundation School founded in 1680 was one of these schools. In 1699, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge took a leading part in creating charity schools. Their purpose was, firstly religious and moral, and secondly they sought to teach the children of the poor to earn a livelihood. There were 69 of these charity schools in London by the year 1707 giving instruction to 2,813 children. By 1727, the last year of the reign of George I, there were 1,389 schools in England, comprising some 28,000 boys and girls.2 What were the characteristics of these schools ? They were small units of about 40 boys or 20 girls. The children were called "cloathed children". Hence the names "Green Coat School", or "Red Coat School". Nearly every charity school had its own distinctive dress. Education was remarkably simple, reading, writing and arithmetic in the boys' schools, and in addition, sewing and knitting in the girls' schools. Condi? tions were brutal and teachers were often ignoramuses and drunkards. An important feature was that the lads were apprenticed to learn a trade. These charity schools were strictly Church of England. Non-conformists, Catholics and Jews were shut out and were therefore obliged to make their own provision. The problem of missionary activity did not appear until the rise of the free schools. By 1760 charity schools had ceased to develop. They could not meet the challenge of the new industrialism. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries "the problem was to make instruction universal without making it state-directed and to ensure religious and political liberty".3 And so came the compromise known as the "Voluntary System". The methods next adopted of giving education to large numbers were by the monitorial system or "through the medium of the children themselves" in the free schools.4 The two great exponents were Dr. Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster. Lancaster claimed he had "invented a new, mechanical system under the blessing of Divine Provi? dence".5 It was then admitted that "Mr. Lancaster has given convincing proofs that the children of the common people may all be instructed in reading, writing and arithmetic at a moderate expense and that the estabhshing of free schools throughout the nation is very practical and desirable".6 Two agencies finally emerged. One was the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church. The other was the British and Foreign School Society, the expression of Non-conformity in education. Both had their free schools within reach of the Jewish community. A particular object of their attention was Whitechapel where, it was said, that 60% of the children received no education. Nevertheless, even the Non-conformity of Lancaster's British and Foreign School Society decided that the Jewish claim for exemption from lessons on the 1 Adamson, pp. 197, 201. 2 ibid. p. 242. 3 Adamson p. 244. 4 The Star 26 Feb., 1807. 6 Mrs. Trimmer, quoted Adamson, p. 256. 6 Adamson, p. 256.</page><page sequence="4">100 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL New Testament could not be granted, although every care would "be taken to avoid wounding the feelings of parents and children".1 Having briefly traced the development of education from the Charity Schools to the Free Schools in the 18th century, it is essential now to return to look again at Jewish conditions, and to examine Jewish educational developments. In the year 1690 there were probably 80 Jewish families or 350-400 souls in England. By 1734 the number had grown to 6,000, of whom half were Ashkenazim. By 1753 it was calculated there were 8,000 Jewish souls, and in the year 1800, some 26,000. There reached this country a constant stream of illiterate, impoverished and de? moralised Jews without trades, who went peddling for a living, or followed a life of crime. The efforts of the authorities of the Great Synagogue to stop their entry proved un? availing. Sir John Fielding's revelations to a Committee of the House of Commons in 1770 gave rise to much concern among Jews. Both the German and Portuguese Jews had organized a number of charities and a casual system of relief, but these were quite unavailing to meet the situation. At the end of the 18th century the picture of Jewish life painted by Patrick Colquhoun in his Treatise on the Police of the Metropolis is indeed an alarming one. Regarding the Jews, he referred to "their mode of education a national injury as it promotes idleness and profligacy among the lower orders", and the "deplorable state of the lower orders belong? ing to the Dutch Synagogue". "They are generally the medium by which stolen goods are concealed".2 The champion of Jewry was Joshua Van Oven, who, in his correspondence with Patrick Colquhoun explained Jewry's difficulties and attempted to find a remedy for them. "From poor and rich there is great difficulty in apprenticing children to trades. There is no circumstance more distressing to the Jewish father than how to put his son forward in life in some industrious occupation". Jewish education at the time has been covered by Dr. Roth in his monograph entitled Educational Abuses and Reforms in Hanoverian England. The Spanish and Portuguese introduced their own advanced education from Amsterdam. Their Talmud Torah was opened in 1664, eight years after the Resettlement. It became the "Gates of Hope Charity School for educating and apprenticing forty poor boys". It was based largely on Spanish as a sort of Leshon HaKodesh. It was reorganized in 1690, 1733 and 1758. English was introduced for the first time in the year 1736. The Sephardi Villareal School for Girls was opened in 1731. The girls were taught to read, write and count in English. One assumes that other Sephardi children were taught privately. The Ashkenazim arriving in England in the early 18th century had no such advanced system of education. Secular education was unknown to them. Their homes were Yiddish-speaking and Yiddish was the language of instruction for children. From the polemical literature of the time it is learnt that there were in London five Hebrew teachers and two chedarim. There was also an itinerant rebbe, who went from house to house teaching girls in Yiddish. Johanan Holleschau was a severe critic of Yiddish as the language of instruction. During the course of the 18th century and early 19th century, critics were not lacking. They included George Levison, whose work Sepher Gidul Banim repeated the well worn criticism. Hyman Hurwitz, Hebraist and teacher, expressed his criticism of current Jewish education in his Elements of the Hebrew Language. 1 Adamson, p. 256. 2 Colquhoun Index, p. xii; p. 40 (3rd Edition!</page><page sequence="5">THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL 101 F. P. Marks, a Hebrew teacher, was also among the critics ; while the Sephardi commun? ity had its critic of Spanish as a medium of education in the person of J. Mocatta. The early efforts of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities were part of the wider movement to found charity schools. The two Jewish charity schools, the Sephardi and the Ashkenazi, had the characteristics of those of the wider community. It is a principal object of this paper to examine some of the features of the Ashkenazi Talmud Tor ah, to trace its development from the Charity School of the 18th century to the Free School of the 19th century, and to draw on the Rules and Minutes to illumine the points made. In accordance with Article I of the Rules, government of the Charity was vested in governors, male or female, who subscribed not less than one guinea per annum. They alone had the vote, though the vote was later conferred on subscribers of half a guinea.1 The sum of 20 guineas conferred a life governorship. It was a charity "belonging to the German Jews". Portuguese Jews, therefore, had no rights2 until their disability was removed by a resolution dated August 20th, 1804, entitling "every Jew subscriber to the several privileges as provided by the Laws".3 The Honorary Officers were a President for life, or until resignation; he was also Treasurer, and with him were a committee of seven persons. The President, therefore, was all powerful. This paternal form persisted until January 22nd, 1810, when it was resolved : "that the Government of the Charity be directed by a President, two Vice-Presidents and a Committee of eleven persons".4 Samuel Joseph and Abra? ham Goldsmid were the first Vice-Presidents, and on the death of Abraham Goldsmid, Joseph Cohen was elected in his stead on May 13th, 1811. In order to promote the welfare of the charity. Rule XXXVI provided for an annual dinner in the month of Marcheshvan. It was held under the control, direction, and at the expense of five stewards. Members were entitled to come for a payment of three shillings each for their ticket. As time went on, the number of stewards was increased, as also the price for tickets. These feasts were gargantuan affairs, reflecting the England of the day?an age of hard drinking and heavy eating. They also occupied considerable space in the minute book. The arrangements regarding the venue at Saunders, or Paul's Head Tavern or London Tavern, are dealt with in detail. There is much about Hymon the Cook, and Mr. Solomon, and Reb Avigdor, supervisor of the kitchen. It was resolved on one occasion "that a plentiful dinner of solids be provided and that Mr. Abraham Goldsmid do agree with Hymon the Cook the best terms he can".5 On another occasion a special meeting is arranged with Hymon "particularly to regulate matters concerning Kashrus" It was resolved that "Five guineas be given Hymon conditional upon his providing proper Kosher utensils and that nothing be used belonging to the house, except china plates and dishes". It is worthwhile recording the quantity of food consumed for 105 persons, at the feast at the London Tavern in the year 1798.6 1st Course 26 Boiled Fowls, 5 Boiled Turkeys 13 Salt Tongues 5 Dishes Smoked Tongues (with a note at the side "not much esteemed") 1 M. 159. 2 M. 71. 3 M, 111. 4 M, 160. 5 M. 43, 6 M, 63,</page><page sequence="6">102 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS' FREE SCHOOL 15-20 Tureens of Soup 12 Boned Ducks 7 Chicken pies, Vegetables, Sauce, etc. 2nd Course 12 Roast Turkeys 18 Roast Capons 30 Almond Puddings 24 dishes Cherry and other Tarts. On this occasion they also consumed 144 bottles of port wine, 18 bottles of sherry and 8 pints of brandy. The total bill was ?111 7s. lid.; sale of tickets amounted to ?25 15s. Od., so that the seven stewards each paid ?12 4s. 9d. Lucien Wolf in his "Early Ashkenazi Charities",1 relates how Hymon was engaged by the distinguished financier Abraham Goldsmid to cook a dinner at his home on the occasion of a visit of the Duke of Sussex. 'The weather was extremely inclement and the roads were dangerous, and poor Hymon, who had to return to town that night, was infinitely perplexed as to how he should ever reach home. He confided his troubles to Abraham Goldsmid, who, sympathizing with him, promised him that he should accom? pany the Duke of Sussex if he would undertake not to utter a word during the journey. Mr. Goldmid then informed the Duke that he had a distinguished foreigner in the house, who was desirous of returning to town that night, and he asked him whether he would have the kindness to take him with him in his carriage. His Grace acceded, and within a few minutes Hymon was sitting side by side with the Royal Prince in a magnificent equipage, and being whirled with lightning speed to the metropolis. Warmed with wine, the Duke became very loquacious. He discoursed on various topics, but "the dis? tinguished foreigner" was remarkably silent and dignified. At last His Grace began to speak of the dinner, and the cook's ears tingled with delight as he heard the praises sung of dish after dish which he had prepared. "And the almond puddings !" ultimately exclaimed His Grace, "they were simply delicious". Hymon could contain himself no longer. He saw before his dazzled vision a brilliant career under royal patronage, and to the astonishment of the Duke he cried out "Why ! I cooked them." It is said that from that moment until London was reached it was not the cook but the Duke who was dignifiedly silent'. The President at these Feasts acquainted the company with the state of the Charity. Visitors became subscribers and paid for one year in advance. It is stated that "Joseph Gumpertz did qualify himself as Governor for life".2 Thanks were invariably accorded the President for his "great exertion", and the stewards for the excellent entertainment provided. Invariably a number of gentlemen were "drunk as stewards for the following year and after several toasts were drunk and songs sung, the company departed, highly gratified".3 Other incidents deserve mention. One concerns Dr. Brodum4 who "having since his acceptance of stewardship been naturalized by Act of Parliament, and Mr. Abraham Goldsmid having laid the Naturalization Bill before the stewards, wherein it expressly declared him professing the Protestant religion, thereupon the stewards are imanimously of opinion that they cannot act with the said Dr. Brodum". It was subsequently resolved not to accept his annual subscription.5 1 Wolf, Essays, p. 191. 2 M. 8. 3 M. 35. 4 M. 62. 6 M. 66.</page><page sequence="7">THE ORIGIN OF THE JEWS' FREE SCHOOLS 103 Another matter of interest was the concern of the Charity to obey the proclamation to reduce the consumption of wheaten flour during the severe scarcity in the Napoleonic Wars. The stewards were instructed, on December 18th, 18001 "to consider the pro? priety of not having any pastry". While speaking of the Charity's feasts, mention should be made of the dinner given at the school to the masters and boys on October 25th, 1809, "a day kept as a Jubilee Day throughout the kingdom in honour of the King's entering the 50th year of his reign".2 How many of these boys were there ? The number admitted originally was 15. Rule XVI stated that there were to be "as many German Jew Boys" as the funds will permit. In the contract with Lyon Levy Samuel on his appointment as Rabbi, March 13th, 1791, the salary was to be thirty pounds annually, provided the number of boys do not exceed 15.3 Very soon after the committee increased the number to 18,4 and a further resolution stated that it was proposed to admit boys up to the usual number of 21.5 The rules governing the admission of the boys were strict. Rule XVII states that they must be "lawfully begotten". Rule XVIII empowers the committee to "demand whatever proof of the legality of the parents' marriage as they please". A resolution on August 29th, 1811 laid down that no boy be allowed to become a candidate for admission to the school unless he produce a certificate from the Mohel stating his age.6 Were these regulations a reflection of the prevailing poor moral standards ? When a vacancy occurred for a place in the Talmud Torah, it was filled by ballot. The orphan of a subscriber, however, was admitted without a ballot.7 Preference was given to those orphaned of both parents, then to those deprived of one parent. If no orphan applied, then other poor children could be admitted. A case is recorded of a boy rejected because it was found that his mother had some property.8 On another occasion a boy was expelled "being no orphan, having both father and mother Hving",9 having, apparently, obtained entrance on false pretences. It should also be emphasised that no boy was admitted unless of six years of age, and not older than nine years; and he had to be capable of reading the Tephillah. Only one case10 is found as the exception to this rule, of a boy having the run of the school for one year in order to learn the Tephillah and qualify for admission. How were the others prepared ? The Rabbi did it privately, one assumes. Something should be said about the teachers. The Minute Book opens with the appointment of Leib b'Reb Shemuel11 (Lyon Levy Samuel). The candidates for election in the prescribed manner included Shemuel B'Reb Izak Bebir, Yaacov b'M'H'R' Shemuel Prager and Leib b'Reb Shemuel. Levy Samuel's contract incorporated Rule XVI, regarding the subjects to be taught, namely : "Hebrew Reading and Writing; also Gemarah to such whose capacity will admit; and English Reading, Writing and Cyphering". His salary was ?30 per annum, from which would be deducted the salary of the English master. Levy Symmons took the English subjects at the time. With the increase in the number of pupils, salaries too were increased. In the case of the Hebrew master, first to ?25 then to ?31 10s. Od., then to ?36 and ?40. The English master's salary rose to ?12 10s. Od., then ?15 15s. Od., ?18 and ?22. Discontent with standards is apparent from time to time. A committee of visitors was appointed to take it in turns to inspect the school. On one occasion the two masters 1 M. 82. 2 M. 159. 3 M. 3 and 4. 4 M. 13. 5 M. 103. 6 M. 173. 7 M. 141. 8 M. 24. 9 M. 81f 10 M. 189, 11 M. 3,</page><page sequence="8">104 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS' FREE SCHOOL were summoned to "recommend to them seriously their attention to their duty".1 The masters were in the habit of introducing private pupils.2 The matter was finally regulated by resolution, and they were then allowed to have six boys during the school hours in the school room "together with boys belonging to this Charity".3 Subsequently, however, the visitors disapproved of the admission of girls, and the English master was severely reprimanded.4 The failing health of Reb Leib (Samuel) forced a decision to employ a behelfer5 or usher to enable the Rabbi to attend to the older boys. Ultimately, however, it was decided to advertise for an assistant master.6 Among the candidates was R. Mendele b'R. Tuvi, who withdrew because he would be obliged to give up his other school.7 Others were Reb Leib b'R. Shelomo Heinsport, R. Shemuel Lissa, R. Hillel Greditz MiBreslau. R. Hirsch b'R. Moshe MiPrag was appointed to teach under Reb Leib at a salary of ?40. The Rev. Solomon Hirschell was appointed Rav of the Great Synagogue towards the end of 1802. It is therefore interesting to read of his early intervention in the affairs of the Talmud Tor ah. He is referred to as HaGaon Ab Beth Din8 at a meeting on January 27th, 1803, and he complained that Gemarah was not being taught, pursuant to Rule XVI. The President thanked him for any plan "he may suggest". Ultimately R. Hirsch was instructed to teach Chumash, Rashi and Gemara. R. Hirsch was no easy man to get on with. A certain Michael Abrahams complained that he had insulted him so grossly that he sent him a writ.9 R. Hirsch was made to apologize and repay costs at 7s. per quarter. On another occasion Mr. Harber, the visitor, complained that R. Hirsch was absent from duty the day before Erev Succoth and also on the preceding day.10 He replied that he was occupied in the sale of Ethrogim and the minute goes on "which although this may be admitted an excuse for one day, but the same being delivered in an insolent manner unless R. Hirsch will make a proper apology, the president will not advance him the loan he had requested". The committee were satisfied with the apology of R. Hirsch now referred to as Mr. Hart. A little later he again applied for the loan of ?25 to marry a daughter. This was refused but he was given a gift of ?15. R. Hirsch by this time was the senior master with a salary of ?50 and a gratuity of ?10 should results justify. R. Leib was retired with a pension of ?20 during his "natural life" and was also given charge of the boys in the synagogue. Complaints, nevertheless, still came in. An interesting one11 related to boys being allowed to do their copying in Teitch (Yiddish). This was forbidden and Leshon HaKodesh was made compulsory and also the teaching of the Ten Commandments, the Thirteen Principles and also the 613 Mitzvoth. Van Oven reported the death of R. Hirsch at a meeting of the committee on January 23rd, 1817.12 Mr. Marks was appointed to teach the children until such time as the post was filled by election. The Hebrew master was always mentioned by his Hebrew name, but the English master was always referred to by the English name. Mention has been made of Levy Symmons, English master13. He resigned on February 13th, 1804, after many years of service. Such was his devotion to the Talmud Torah that he bought himself a fife governorship.14 The candidates15 were Samuel Lazarus, Samson Genesi and Henry 1 M. 47. 2 M. 71 3 M. 127. 4 M. 130. 5 M. 66. 6 M. 69. 7 M. 70. 8 M. 95. 9 M. 109. 10 M. 153. nM. 188. 12 M. 213. 13 M. 109. 14 M. 114. 15 M. Ill,</page><page sequence="9">Joseph Hart Myers (1758-1823) Seated at the extreme left of this painting by S. Medley, engraved by N. Branwhite, of the Medical Society of London (1801) In the collection of Mr. Alfred Rubens</page><page sequence="10">1 i ? . ? v\ Joshua van Oven Engraving in the collection of Mr. Alfred Rubens, from the painting by S. Drummond, a.r.a.</page><page sequence="11">THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS' FREE SCHOOL 105 Courtenay. Genesi and Lazarus were put up for election, Genesi winning by 43 to 27 votes. His duties were to teach for three hours per day and the salary was ?25 per annum. Genesi started well by keeping a "diary" of attendance, as a result of which two boys were expelled. His plan was recommended to the Hebrew Masters. Nevertheless, Mr. Genesi and the visitor, Mr. Harber, did not get on well and complaints were fre? quent.1 He was accused of using violence in his correction and sending boys on errands at improper distances. On another occasion English studies were found extremely deficient and Mr. Genesi was "acquainted with the committee's dissatisfaction but given the opportunity of restoring himself to the good opinion of the committee".2 Education had its triumphs also. There is frequent mention in connection with the anniversary feasts of the award of silver medals. Thus the Annual Silver Medal was awarded on one occasion to Moses Samuel as the best Hebrew Scholar and Henry Jonas as the best English Scholar. "They each gave proof of their respective ability by making orations in Hebrew and English, which were highly approved of, and several other boys gave specimens of their writing in Hebrew and English as proof of the progress they had made".3 In discussing standards of education, Rule XXX should be borne in mind, for it forbade any boy remaining in the school more than six months after his barmitzvah and in the meantime the committee found the trade he wished to follow and apprenticed him. Nevertheless, it should be said that on February 12th, 1799, the committee gave every encouragement to further education of boys who attain the age of thirteen and "are capable of forwarding their Hebrew studies" and pledged the funds of the Charity to assist them.4 The boys were taught from 9.0 a.m. to noon and from 2 p.m. to 5 in the afternoons, and in summer from 2-6 in the afternoon. The Rabbi accompanied the boys to the Great Synagogue, morning and evening, and remained with them during the service. He was also obliged to attend with the boys to say Tephillah before the funeral of any member of the Talmud Tor ah. The Rabbi also learnt a Shiur on the Jahrszeit of members and a boy said the Kaddish. Professor Marks as an orphan pupil in the year 1821 was chosen to attend funerals of members and to say Kaddish for a year. He was provided with a suit of mourning and at the end of the year received ?10. Marks' first funeral was that of Asher Goldsmid. Asher Goldsmid, the elder brother of the famous financiers, Benjamin and Abraham, was the father of Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid and the great-great-great grandfather of Sir Henry d'Avigdor Goldsmid. Marks recalled being ushered into a room where ten Rabbanim were learning. One of the Dinnim they learnt was : "A bridegroom is not obliged to read the Shema on his bridal night".5 Mention has been made of the Charity providing clothing for boys. The boys of the Talmud Torah were clothed in the manner of the charity schools of the time. Rule XXVI stated that "the boys shall be new cloathed every Rosh HaShana in the following manner : a suit of cloaths in the present mode, of mulberry colour, lined with blue shalloon, brass buttons and a brass plate on the left side ... a hat, a shirt, a pair of shoes and stockings. Besides, two pairs of shoes, two pairs of stockings, a pair of leather breeches and a shirt at proper intervals . . . The best cloaths shall be brought to school on Sunday in a proper bag and left there till Friday, and not to be worn on any other days than Shabbatoth and Yomim Tovim or on particular occasions". 1 M. 143, 2 M. 173, 3 M. 146, 4 M. 68, 5 J.C. 8.viU89&amp;</page><page sequence="12">ABSTRACT OF AN EXPORTATION DELIVERED BY THE Rev. SOLOMON HIRSCHEL, At the Great Synagogue, Dukes Place, on Saturday, Jan. 10, A. If. 556?: A PTE* A D1ICOIUU ON JCBKM1A11 XI. 18, 19. Blessed be the Lord our God, and God of our forefathers 1 one, sole, and indivisible, from eternity to eternity ! ^ho has aot withheld his grace from us since we have been his chosen people ; and who has not suffered any thing to escape our vigilance over the conservation of our holy religion: as I have had occasion to exercise on the last holy Sab? bath, to forewarn every one of .our nation not to send any of their Children to the newly-established Free School, instituted by a society of persons, who are not of our religion ; until we had, by a proper investi? gation, determined if it be compieatly free from any possible harts to the welfare of our religion; as hath also been fully stated in a posted abstract published for that purpose; and which, I am happy to under* stand, has had a proper and good effect. Now having since been fully convinced, through tfee meaat of a printed Sermon and Address, published by the Directors of the Mi&amp;sumcry Society, viz. that the whole purpose of this seeming kind exertion* is but an inviting snare, a decoying experiment to undermine the props of our religion: and the sole intent of this Institution is, at bottom, only to entice innocent Jewish Children, wduring their early aod unsuspecting years, from the observance of the Law of Moses; and to eradicate the religion of their fathers and forefathers. On this account, I feel myself necessitated to caution the Congrega? tion in general, that no one do send, or allow be sent, any Child, whe? ther male or female, to this, or any such $ * established by strangers to our religion ; nor likewise into auy Sui tool of that nature* All such persons, therefore, who ct contrary to this pro? hibition, whether male or female, w ' considered as if they had themselves forsaken their religion, and bt^4&gt;aptized ; and shall lose all title to the name of Jews, and forfeit all claims on the Congregation both in life and death. Eve&amp;y one who fearetii God, is hereby reminded of his duty to warn every one who may be ignorant of these circumstances, and acquaint him thereof, that he may escape the snare laid to entangle him. 'Ilm* tsmy we hope to see the days when the name of the only God will be hotiowed, and the hmd will be one. and his name one ! Amen. i06</page><page sequence="13">: tzmp row ni*? nil rrin rw ^n^tr onagri 'pSa "n "no* ? tu t?r? am o*n ? rrman ranaa srnnn nimp *in? ccatyi tor rupi""? P?m rf? pot ?*-^ v:a Vr wmi irv^p *;??? aw nh tw? rfmn *r"ir p tttpdi ttp thk wvdk 'pSn vphrn 1113 c*powmm -?nau? aar tw tp dio ? viVuo Dt* wrn mo unne non ?WTyixiTnoinii^ yMnov eem ? osanfa wntrtK riehm: ?n na* puMHuyiu DuniM rocr&gt; n w? "jae frnr&gt; ?r? .-iayn ?mp natta wrrncnw ? on war ua Mtraio ir* pta ? tr? imm ^aa1? Smpo ana Tut wm an awwan* -wrora tk&gt; era .pw 1* rw "n? r? ? V*** m .wh txiKTo .ptfrnc p/n* jzV* tat tcna . emnzhnvm raVm votyi xnu waSm mm . bokom o??ta ?m nn t?h i^/uunn dc'na ^rnn *n ? |Mnr&gt; papnnvi pn?? T?rft U*T DJ^V TB3*K f? TT) ?nanu pww im en* tw* n* "ww wrte ircyppi6 m? aruanwai fRT?^PBrr . er?!r?pD sms Tym prriwi ? p&amp;TtrtmnK iv wyanfu jErnfayi wt? ? r&amp;a rrnr? p?a ^nnir pttwawran* prma ptkth eSnimaKa uxth ym rnerD. ^/'^Twicca- iv -?ranyjnNa Tnjt -ironva ypt r* ? "3p31? ist ? nrp pt taf 4 Dm . pt r?* -rcira .t? ti VTpV. o:vioyjw s ?jw prpn? S.TipD DirrjK^ paar' * ?m r? 1?: ? "mpc ana po*? -on urm ete* . ywij* ? tcna nrw pto * w^m vr? ttd ; rV?a jwvrn irxvt pVn f? i? o^jf Ti*n i?a ^ ^anu'j m tod tDoaVr k^j rooyn ?rr?"?w .TinirrKBrKf? -tk ^2iiop'ayi7 0,K"an3m .p?3?t &lt;?*wa er? yaw "wrr ^a -WDcnTmK na??f ? Vmao nto urn *?a . jptw ? laaVa Hn h^t&gt; nan . ?a-ia "n ?v snp'n . snp nao iV-ynV "td ? pxotv cjKpva coin : \s? Tn? "law ttik *n icVsa nnrrn ice arrpn^ ^ trtan d^o^ i "??b3 nSv ?i jnoa "t -cth? "?Vre? . 21.-35 ???n or: ? ft, StntTttf 7SIIITKI, 34, SR1CK Lk&amp;P, ?riTJkirillBt. Solomon Hirschell's "Caution" 107</page><page sequence="14">108 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS' FREE SCHOOL Great care was taken of the boys' clothes and members of the committee took it in turns to conduct a monthly inspection. The committee assembled to inspect the pupils in their new clothes before Rosh HaShana.1 Complaints about the quality of the clothing are not infrequent. On one occasion it was decided that sixpence per pair of shoes be allowed the Neveh Zedek (Jewish Orphanage) in order to have a better quality. Lucien Wolf in his2 "Early Ashkenazic Charities" refers to the programme of the Neveh Zedek including the teaching of trades, having a shoe workshop and a shoemakers' room. Parents and relatives were obliged to keep the boys' clothes and shoes in good condi? tion. One boy was expelled because his mother had pawned his clothing.3 There is a record of an application from the mother of an expelled boy asking for his suit.4 This was refused. It was common form in charity schools for children to be deprived of the use of their best outfits on Sundays or Sabbaths as a punishment. In some cases boys were obliged to attend school and synagogue with a label attached to the hat stating their offences.5 Occasionally blame for misbehaviour in public by the children might have been due to mistaken identity. It is recorded, that "the boys of another charity school have the same dress as the boys of this school,6 in consequence whereof the charities are not distinguished and the improper conduct of one has been attributed to the other". On reaching barmitzvah the boys were given a suit of clothing of one colour, finer than usual, a shirt, shoes and stockings. During the ensuing six months the Talmud Tor ah would consider the trade best suited to the boys and arrange their apprenticeship. Boys who did not stay on for six months after barmitzvah forfeited the right to apprentice? ship. This was one of the great benefits of the charity schools, and in the case of the Talmud Torah a great boon because of the lowly condition of Jewish life, the lack of skilled trades and the absence of facilities for learning them, particularly in conditions that allowed observance of Sabbath and Yom Tov, and Kashrus. A matter of importance was the question of stamp duty on the indentures. The Secretary, Bing, made representations to the Stamp Office as follows "that the boys from this charity may have indentures the same as other charity schools". Bing wrote to the Commissioners of Stamp Duties in these terms : "I beg leave to make this applica? tion ... on behalf of the German Jews' Charity School wherein certain numbers of youth are educated in Hebrew and English . . . also put out to trades. The Governors have apprenticed according to rule several boys and ... paid the different Duties of Indentures and enrolling. I have repeatedly applied for permission to bind them on common indentures as other charity schools but have been refused, giving the following reason 'that being confined to a particular sect of people it did not appear to come under the denomination of a Public Charity' . . . This Charity is supported by voluntary contribu? tions, although for the admission of Jews only (who from the tenets of their religion are deprived of admission into other schools) the good of the Publick at large is equal as the intention is for promoting morality and industry with the distinction of religion only, and as in this country happily every person is at liberty to exercise his religion freely it is to be hoped that in this case they will not be excluded from the privileges ... granted to other charity schools". The Commissioners replied "This case appears to fall within the examples in the Act of Parliament". (Minutes: M. 124-126). The Minutes abound with references to apprenticeships, some of which are worthy of mention. There was the sad case of the apprentice who, after many severe admonish? ments from the President, refused to go to work and wished to be discharged. It was 1 M. 132. 2 Wolf, Essays, p. 198. 8 M. 242. 4 M. 151, 5 M, 89, 6M. 159,</page><page sequence="15">THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS5 FREE SCHOOL 109 finally resolved "that the secretary do wait upon the Lord Mayor, Alderman Le Mesurier, requesting his interference in sending him to Bridewell for the severe correction of the House".1 Masters of apprentices were urged to be attentive to the boys' religious and moral duties. There are cases of complaints received from masters against boys,2 and of admonishment being given to them; there are also complaints against bad masters with the result that the indentures were cancelled and the fee refunded, and the boy bound to another.3 There is a case of a master leaving London, who was unable to take the boy with him. He promised to send for him within six months. He failed to do so, and it was agreed to cancel the indentures, to require the return of five pounds and bind the boy to another master. A Mr. Gershon Woolf received the gratitude of the Society for not taking fees when binding apprentices. The fee was usually five pounds, but the President was empowered to increase this to ten pounds. It is not usual to find in the Minute Book details of the trade which the boys had entered. No doubt details were entered in the treasurers' account books. Tailoring was the trade that seemed most popular. Mention is also made of pencil-making, watch-making and glass-cutting. There are three cases4 of boys going to the West Indies, according to a note in the Minute Book of April 3rd, 1795. One, Jacob Myers, was sent to St. Anne's Bay, Jamaica, to the service of Solomon Lemon. Abraham Abrahams also went to Jamaica into the service of Messrs. Henry Cohen and Co., and a third, Henry Mitchell, into the service of Abraham and Alex Lindo Bros. In each case the boys acknowledged their gratitude for the favour of education, and clothing they had received in the school, and stated that they are going of their own free will and accord. Nothing has so far been said regarding the location of the Talmud Torah. Dr. Roth, in his work The Great Synagogue refers to the new development of the Talmud Torah dating from 1788 in these terms : "Thus reorganised, the Talmud Torah school continued its activities in a couple of rooms in Ebenezer Square, Houndsditch ... between Stoney Lane and Gravel Lane, where it remained for a little more than a quarter of a century".5 This would mean until the time of the emergence of the Jews' Free School in the year 1817. This does not seem to be the case. There is no mention of premises in the minutes until December 24th, 1795, when it was resolved6 that "it will be for the advantage of the Charity . . . and the health and morals of the boys to provide a proper house as a school". The President and commit? tee were empowered to provide a house at a rent not exceeding ?20, " to include residence for the Rabbi, as the result of which his salary would be reduced". It then stated "that the English Master do attend the boys in the said school instead of his own house, for which the President is entitled to make him compensation".7 A Minute of March 21st, 1796, records the taking of a house in Heneage Lane at ?14 per annum, and in September 5th, 1796, it was resolved to allow the Rabbi ?4 per annum towards his rent as an additional expense. It would therefore appear that the Heneage Lane premises were not taken and a further resolution of May 7th, 1797, refers to the necessity of providing a proper school.8 A decision was made to rent a large room in Cuder Street at a rent of ?1 which appeared in every way suitable. Nevertheless, the committee felt the necessity to engage another house "otherwise the advantage of the Cutler Street room could not be obtained". The Rabbi took a house on his own 1 M. 22. 8 M. 52. 3 M. 30. 4 M. 247. 6 Roth, p. 229. ? M. 37. 7 M. 39. 8 M. 51.</page><page sequence="16">no THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL account and the Charity paid for the fixtures. On July 3rd, 1799, it was necessary to remind the English Master to teach the boys in the "Society's School Room instead of in his own house as heretofore".1 The two Hebrew Masters then complained of the inconvenience of instructing the boys in the same room. Reb Leib was allowed to hire another room.2 The school continued at Cutler Street and on May 21st, 1806, it was resolved to meet the landlord to raise the question of repairs and the need of a lease.3 Negotiations failed and it was necessary to leave. R. Hirsch also reported some rooms available in Gun Square.4 The rooms were not considered suitable. Rooms, nevertheless were taken in Gun Square in the house of Reb Hirsch on November 9th, 1807.5 The school continued there until the opening of the Jews' Free School, and on November 20th, 1816, notice was given Reb Hirsch that the use of his rooms would no longer be required. It is timely, therefore, to trace in some detail the emergence of the Free School. It was on May 13th, 1811, that Joseph Cohen, Van Oven and Aron Joseph became a sub-committee "to examine the working and regulation of the school, and to consider what amendments were desirable to put it on a better establishment".6 Their report presented on January 8th, 1812 paid tribute to the good the institution had done, considering its limited means, but "much improvement might be made with method and regulations so as to render it more effectively beneficial as well as more congenial to the public".7 The matter was taken further when Van Oven, on January 23rd, 1812,8 proposed a plan for enlarging the school which was referred to a committee comprising Dr. Hart Myers, Joseph Cohen, Van Oven, Sampson Lucas, Aron Joseph, A. L. Moses and Walter Nathan. On May 25th, 1812,9 the sub-committee submitted its recommendation which read "After minutely investigating all the circumstances respecting the present improvement in education as practised by Mr. Lancaster, as well as the propriety of assuming such a method in the practice of this Institution, consider it would prove exceedingly advantageous to the community to add a free school on the plan of Mr. Lancaster, wherein Hebrew reading and writing shall be taught as well as English reading, writing and arithmetic". A further recommendation made it clear that the funds of the Talmud Torah and the offerings from the synagogues were to remain inviolate and not appropriated to any other purpose. It was also resolved that the clothing and apprenticing of 21 Talmud Torah boys should continue. And so a general meeting on June 8th, 1812,10 resolved to extend the benefit of education for the benefit of the poor by the "annexation of a school on the plan of Mr. Lancaster". Dr. Hart Myers was lavishly thanked for his services and asked to continue in office as President of the enlarged school. At a meeting of the committee on June 30th, 1812,11 which Hart Myers did not attend, Van Oven submitted a proposal for establishing a school on the plan of Joseph Lancaster. It was deferred for further consideration. It was, however, agreed to prepare a circular letter explaining the plan and soliciting subscriptions. A meeting on August 20th, 1812, was informed that the circular letter was approved and would be sent out. Nothing transpired for a year, and in July 1813 the minutes relating to the project of establishing a Lancaster school were read and Mr. Walter Nathan was added to the Collecting Committee. A further year passed, and on September 7th, 1814, the position 1 M. 71. 2 M. 94. 3 M. 128. 4 M. 130. 5 M. 142. 6 M. 171. 7 M. 177. 8 M. 179. 9 M. 182. 10 M. 186. 11 M. 187.</page><page sequence="17">THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL 111 was again reviewed and it was decided to call a meeting at the school in Gun Square.1 This was the meeting held on September 13th, 1814, excerpts of the minutes of which were quoted at the beginning of this paper. Nearly another year, however, was to pass when it was reported on July 24th, 1815,2 that the sub-committee had advertised in The Times and Morning Advertiser for a plot of ground or a building. A plot of ground lying behind Harrow Alley and Stoney Lane was found most suitable, and Joseph Hart Myers and Samuel Joseph and Aron Joseph were appointed "Trustees for all matters relating to the Talmud Torah as well as the Lancaster School".3 The land was acquired for 40 years for a sum of ?250 and an annual rent of ?10. On October 29th, 1815, a sub-committee was appointed to obtain estimates for building but a further year passed before Van Oven, on August 29th, 1816, submitted estimates of Mr. Holwell, which were accepted at a figure of ?473. 7. 9 "exclusive of having flooring and filling up". Building proceeded very fast, for it was only a matter of two months, in October 21st, 1816, that Van Oven reported the building4 "in a state of forwardship and will be covered in very shortly. A doorway has been obtained from Mr. Ponder through Ebenezer Square". The estimates were raised to ?672. 8. 7. It was then decided to advertise for a master of the "Lancaster School" at a salary not to exceed ?100.5 E. P. Marks and H. N. Solomon were the candidates and Mr. Solomon received the appointment on November, 6th 1816, at the very early age of 21. The meeting was interesting for a number of events. Mr. Samuel Joseph was elected as President in succession to Dr. Hart Myers and Van Oven was elected a vice president, and it was also resolved that all past presidents should be members of the committee. The same meeting received the resignation of the Secretary, Bing, and his son, Simon, was requested to act in his stead pro tempore.* Bing had also been secretary to the Great Synagogue and to the Board of Shechita. Bing junior acted until February 1817, when H. N. Solomon took over the duties of secretary. The death of R. Hirsch made it necessary to elect a successor as Master of the Talmud Torah. Among the candidates were R. Hirsch Cohen, Meir b'Reb Itzik and Mr. Marks,7 who had been appointed temporarily on the death of R. Hirsch. These three, however, were ruled out as inadequate, and Michael Goldsmid and Tobias Goodman were put up for election.8 Goodman is remembered as the first English preacher in Anglo-Jewry. The election took place in the new school room, with a victory for Goldsmid, with 58 votes to 39.9 In the meantime, Van Oven prepared a further circular regarding the Free School for the information of the public. A Kruz (proclamation) was sent to the four synagogues declaring that the school would be open on the first Sunday after Pesach and that no one could recommend a child until "he shall have paid his subscription to the new founda? tion".10 The number of subscribers shortly after this reached a total of 210.11 Mr. Solomon reported that on opening the school had 102 boys. Within a few weeks the roll increased to 184.12 They were divided into eight classes; there were 92 and 39 pupils in the first and second classes respectively. On June 5 th there were 220 boys, but a deficiency of monitors, both in English and Hebrew was reported.13 Entrance to the Talmud Torah section was by examinations conducted both by the Master of the Free School and by the Rabbi of the Talmud Torah. The boy received a certificate, 1 M. 195. 2 M. 199. 8 M. 200. 4 M. 204. 5 M. 206. 6 M. 208. 7 M. 218. 8 M. 219. 9 M. 224. 10 M. 223. 11 M. 226. 12 M. 227. 13 M. 231:</page><page sequence="18">112 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL which was signed by the visitors. The school and the Talmud Torah continued to make progress to the satisfaction of the committee and of the visitors.1 So was started the Lancaster Free School. And there was a decision at the meeting held on June 5th, 1817, "that it be left to Joshua Van Oven and I. Levy to remunerate the organiser of the school and likewise prepare a certificate". Lancaster was a poor man, always in debt, from which he was rescued by his patrons and friends from time to time. At this stage in his career he had quarrelled with and parted from the movement he had created. He was known to tour the country to assist in the opening of free schools. Shortly after this he left this country for America, where he was killed in a street accident. To Van Oven was left also the honour of presiding, on November 9th, 1817, at a "General Court held at the Free School". It was the first of these meetings. Van Oven "reported the rise and progress of the school from its origin and foundation, the ground on which it was established. The Union of the Talmud Torah and the Jewish Free School,2 [the first time this term is used], the encouragement they had met. . . and its general approved progress". His actual speech is not reported. It might well have answered many of our questions. To what extent were the missionaries the real spur ? Why did it take so long to accomplish ? Was it Jewish poverty, or disinterestedness ? Was it the unwillingness or the poor health of Hart Myers ? The conversion of the Jews as a fulfilment of Christianity was no doubt a factor that influenced the decision to allow the Resettlement. Nevertheless, at first only rich Jews, who married out of their faith were converted, or those who did it for the sake of self-advancement. Poor Jews, as a rule, occasionally did it as a result of poverty, but often they found their way back. It was not, however, until the beginning of the 19th century that a missionary movement of importance was directed against the Jews and was, of course, a consequence of Evangelism. John de la Roi has calculated that 23,500 Jews were converted throughout the 19th century. His figures were obtained from study of various missionary bodies. It is said that they converted 3,500, while 20,000 was the number of private conversions. These figures cannot be verified, nor can it be known how many found their way back. The two principal missionary bodies were the London Society for Promoting Christianity among Jews, and the London Missionary Society. They undoubtedly sought, with guile and cunning, to exploit Jewish social conditions. In the field of education they were most menacing. From the charity schools Jews were excluded for religious reasons. In the free schools, they were not exempt from New Testament teaching. In the absence of Jewish provision for the poor, what could have been better for the missionaries than to open free schools for Jewish children ! In 1807 the Society established a Free School for Jewish boys and girls. The methods employed to obtain Jewish pupils provoked the Great Synagogue to send a delegation to express their indignation. Nevertheless the numbers attracted seem very small. The Thirteenth Report of the Missionary Society in 1807 admits there is no cause to boast success in endeavouring to evangelize the Jews. The notorious convert Frey admitted that "notwithstanding the Gospel has been preached three years and is now preached four times a week professedly to the Jews, and yet there are not five or six of them that attend regularly, and though a free school has been opened for nearly two years, there are only six children that receive instruction". The School referred to came under a ban of the Rev. Solomon Hirschell in a sermon 1 M. 227. 2 M. 239.</page><page sequence="19">THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL 113 at the Great Synagogue, an excerpt of which was later published in English and Yiddish. Its terms, indeed, were strong. He said "I feel myself necessitated to caution the congregation in general that no one do send or allow to be sent any child ... to this or any such school established by strangers to our religion ... all such persons therefore who do act contrary to this prohibition . . . will be considered as if they had themselves forsaken their religion and been baptized; and shall lose all title to the name of Jews and forfeit all claims on the Congregation both in life and death". The missionaries continued their efforts by attacking Jewish poverty. Frey gathered round him influential members of society including the Duke of Kent, father of Queen Victoria. In 1809 he claimed thirty converts. In 1811 another free school was opened in the Jewish quarter. Very few attended. Sailman wrote: "As is well known, the moral Jew, however poor, is not easily bought over, recourse was had to the lowest order of society. You [Frey] converted a number of ignorant, friendless children, the paupers of vice... these poor, miserable wretches, for the most part illegitimate who did not know whether they were Jews or Christians, were, however, glad to be received in any society that did clothe and feed them". In spite of lack of success, a third free school for Jewish children was opened in 1812 which, indeed, claimed 83 children. The Duke of Kent's further interest was evinced when he laid the foundation stone in 1813 of an Episcopal Jews' Chapel and a school in Palestine Place, Bethnal Green. Jews continued to be a prey to this kind of activity and the Twelfth Report of the London Society states "Instead of their youth being bound apprentices to handicraft trades, they are sent forth to gain their livelihood by the lowest description of traffic . . . One of the best means the Jews could employ to raise their nation from its present de? graded state would be to give a moral education to their youth and afterwards bind them apprentices to trades". The need to combat the missionary schools must have influenced those responsible for founding the Jews' Free School and, because of his resolute stand against the mission? aries, Solomon Hirschell deserves to be remembered for good; indeed, the very different ecclesiastical personality, Professor D. W. Marks, mentions Hirschell's interest in the school. His reminiscences, written in his 87th year, provide a description of the school which he attended in the year 1821. "The Free School was situated in Ebenezer Square. It was entirely shut out from the genial influence of the sun's rays ... It was found exceedingly difficult to induce parents among the poorer classes to send their children . . . Boys of tender age were sent on to the street to earn a living by hawking. . . ". "Although I was under 10 years of age, I was appointed a monitor from the day [ entered, and during the whole of my time at the school I was employed in teaching older boys Hebrew". "Two persons who took a very active part. . . were Dr. Joshua Van Oven and Mr. Michael Joseph. Rabbi Hirschel visited from time to time. Aaron Asher Goldsmid devoted a great deal of attention to one point?endeavouring to get some of the children to pronounce English properly . . . Being for the most part foreign children, they would say ?vich' or Vat'. Mr. Goldsmid would take the lads in class and make them say 'ooich' or 'ooat'. "I had been a year at the school when it was transferred to Bell Lane. The Talmud Torah School was a large room adjoining the main building and used as a committee room. The teacher was Rabbi Michael Goldsmid, who kept a chandler shop in Rosemary i</page><page sequence="20">114 THE ORIGINS OF THE JEWS* FREE SCHOOL Lane . . . Dr. Hirschel was a visitor at the school. He used to ask me to come every Sunday morning to read Mishna to the Rebbitzin, who was blind".1 The first stone of the Bell Lane School "for the educating, cloathing and apprenticing twenty-one boys, and the elementary education of six hundred boys and girls, was laid on the 10th day of May, 1821".2 The school was consecrated by the Rev. Solomon Hirschell on January 13th, 1822. July, 29th 1821, was also a historic day in the life of the school. Mrs. Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild became a life governor. So began an association between the House of Rothschild and the school, which has endured to this day. It is not the purpose of this paper to take the Jews' Free School on its great journey through the nineteenth century, to reach unsurpassed heights in educational achievement. That story must be left for another paper. But it is impossible to conclude without welcoming a successor to the Jews' Free School, Bell Lane, now rising in Camden Crescent. The school which began in the year 1732 lives on to the glory of Anglo-Jewry. 1 J.C. 8.V?.1898. 2 J.F.S. Annual Report, 1916-7.</page></plain_text>

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