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The Portsmouth Community and its Historical Background - First Lady Magnus Memorial Lecture

Cecil Roth

<plain_text><page sequence="1">FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 157 The Portsmouth Community and its Historical Background THE FIRST " LADY MAGNUS" MEMORIAL LECTURE. By Cecil Roth. Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England. March 11, 1935. This series of lectures has been instituted in memory of the late Lady Magnus, one of the most gifted women who ever graced the Anglo-Jewish community. I never had the privilege to meet her, though I worked for some time in close collaboration with her brilliant son, Laurie Magnus, under whose auspices some of my earliest historical papers appeared in the columns of the Jewish Guardian. One of the last occasions on which I met him, in his bustling Fleet-street office, was in order to discuss the additional chapters which I had prepared for the revised edition of his mother's Outlines of Jewish History. It is a privilege for me to offer the paper which I am to read this evening as a tribute to their memories, and to that of the venerable figure, the late Sir Philip Magnus, by whom this lecture has been endowed. Lady Magnus was born in 1844 in Portsmouth, being the daughter of a devoted citizen and staunch fighter for Jewish rights, Emanuel Emanuel. It is not therefore out of place for me to turn your consideration this evening to the origins of the Jewish community of Portsmouth?a subject, which, though touched upon already by more than one writer, has never been yet treated with the attention which it undoubtedly deserves. It is not easy, or wise, to speak dogmatically regarding the date when Jews first arrived in any place. That the community of Ports? mouth is, after that of London, one of the oldest in the kingdom there M</page><page sequence="2">158 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND is, however, little doubt. It is true that an unconfirmed legend places the establishment of the Canterbury congregation as far back as 1680.1 This may be counterbalanced by an assertion of the late Lucien Wolf (for which, however, I have been unable to find any confirmation, and which he himself appears to have abandoned subsequently) that, from the Portsmouth records, it appears '(that a congregation was in existence there before the London Ashkenazim elected Aaron Hart to their Rabbinate "?i.e. towards the end of the seventeenth century.2 But there is no need for us to be dependent upon questionable secon? dary authority in this matter. The official seal of the Portsmouth community, which belongs to the eighteenth century (of this, more will be said later), gives the date of foundation as 5507, or 1746-47. It is true that some local historians3 substitute for this the year 1742. It is conceivable that this refers to the first arrival of Jews in the city, and their first informal meetings for prayer : but the official date, based on evidence so ancient and so reliable, can hardly be controverted. That it is far wrong is indeed out of the question : for the first burial-ground was acquired only two years later, in 1749. That of Canterbury, it may be mentioned, was leased in 1760 :4 that of Plymouth in 1752.5 From these facts, one may reasonably deduce that the Portsmouth Congregation is anterior to either of these, being in all probability the oldest in England outside the capital. Local tradition speaks of the first Portsmouth synagogue as having been situated in Oyster Street, near the High Street:6 not a very elegant neighbourhood, apparently, containing as it did in 1 Jewish Year Booh, 5660 (London, 1899), p. 91. 2 Essays in Jewish History (London, 1934), p. 124. 3 H. and J. Slight, Chronicles of Portsmouth (London 1828), p. 95, followed by later chroniclers (e.g. W. H. Saunder's Annals of Portsmouth, 1880, p. 286). 4 Canterbury lease of 1807, preserved in the Archives of the United Syna? gogue, London, refers to a previous lease to Solomon Emanuel, of March 3rd, 1760. This appears to be the earliest authentic reference. 5 Jewish Encyclopedia, s.v. The earliest reference to the Bristol community is c. 1754. (Gentleman's Magazine for that year, p. 44.) 6 W. G. Gates, History of Portsmouth (1900), pp. 364-8. The author states that this was anterior to the establishment of the synagogue in White's Row (its present site) in 1742 : but this, like the statement that the official congre? gation subsequently had its home in Daniel Street, is demonstrably based upon a confusion.</page><page sequence="3">-FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 159 1716 as many as five public bouses!7 The local rate-books shew us only one Jewish name in this alley at the period?that of Nathan Jacobs, who was resident here between 1746 (if not earlier) and 1749, his house being registered as " void " in the following year. His is the only unmistakably Jewish name, indeed, which the rate-books of the parish provide at this early date.8 It is not therefore a very hazardous suggestion that the original congregation met in his house. That the synagogue was a specially-constructed building is out of the question. This probability is made into a certainty by the fact that the local leases shew that no ground in this part ever seems to have been in Jewish hands at so early a period. In 1749, apparently, the infant congregation outgrew its accommodation and moved else? where. The site was then occupied by the White Hart public-house,9 now derelict, though still standing. The new home of the congregation was, it appears, in White's Row (now Curzonhowe Road), off Queen Street, Portsea?the site which it still occupies.10 Once the congregation was provided with a meeting-place for prayer, the next step was to acquire a House of Life. We have now left the domain of hypothesis. On 6th December, 1749, a piece of 7 A. N. Y. Howell, Notes on the Topography of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, 1913), p. 119. 8 These invaluable sources of information are preserved in the Portsmouth Guildhall. A careful examination of these, and even more of those of the parish of Portsea, would be certain to throw more light on the early history of the com? munity. In 1780, one Philip Nathan was registered as being resident in Oyster Street. A suspiciously Jewish name in 1758 is that of Emanuel Geistock, on The Point. He was conceivably the father of Samuel Emanuel for whom see infra. 9 Gates, ubi supra. In confirmation of this report, it may be mentioned that the White Hart is not mentioned among the public-houses in Oyster Street in 1716, nor does it figure in the rate-books up to 1747, though it does later on. According to the lists published in East's Portsmouth, the land on which the White Hart was subsequently built was leased in 1704 to George Norris; it was never in Jewish hands. 10 Precisely when the congregation first settled in White's Row (then a slum-alley, though now entirely rebuilt, and dignified by the name of Curzonhowe Road), does not appear in any record, and it does not seem that any lease of the property was acquired until 1780 : but it was certainly situated there, accord? ing to the contemporary records, at the time of the great dispute in the autumn of 1766, and there is no reason why it should not have been some twenty years earlier.</page><page sequence="4">160 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ground off Lazy Lane, Southsea Common, was leased by Richard Anham to four Jews, presumably representing the whole body of their co-religionists.11 For a long time, the adjacent path (now Fawcett Road, hemmed in on all sides by houses) was known as Jews' Lane.12 This cemetery (which, of course, has since been enlarged by the acquisition of adjacent ground) is still in use, though now nearly full: it is perhaps the oldest in the British Isles still regularly employed. The oldest easily legible stone to be found in it is that of " the child Alexander, son of Isaac," who died on the second day of Pentecost, 1763.13 Some of the inscriptions are of considerable literary, and even artistic merit: and a systematic examination of them would certainly repay the pains.14 The signatures to this lease introduce us to the leading members 11 This lease is the oldest document in the possession of the Portsmouth community.?It does not seem out of the question that Nathan Jacobs had died in this year, this fact giving the impetus to the formation of the community. It is at least a coincidence that, in the same year when his house was registered as " void " (very likely through decease) it was necessary to acquire a burial ground. 12 A. N. Y. Howell, Notes on the Topography of Portsmouth, 1913, p. 44. ?^?t&amp;tnK? I pnsr na ttiodVk | iVtj (?) nraw ms | I'd 13 n'ax'in 1 p'DV vzpn rra nnpn | nisnatm 'n or ibbi This stone appears to be numbered I., but its position is a good way from the corner of the ground, where one would expect the first interment to take place. As a matter of fact, it is out of the question that this is the earliest of all : for, according to the tombstone of Samuel Emanuel (infra, note 27), six victims of the drowning disaster of 1758 were buried in the ground. Probably, it was not then possible to erect tombstones, owing to the absence of a stone-mason able to engrave a Hebrew inscription. The addition of Portsmouth to the name makes one wonder whether the father was the earliest local Jewish resident. He is obviously identical with Isaac Alexander of Hamburg (d. 1810), a great-grand? father of Sir Julius Vogel, Prime Minister of New Zealand. The child figures in A. E. Franklin's Records of the Franklin Family (2nd ed., London, 1935), p. 22, as " Sender," who was born in 1761 and died without issue. 14 A few local peculiarities are worth mentioning, (i) The use of English in addition to Hebrew begins very early (the first example noted is Isaac Zachariah, 1779), (ii) The English inscription, instead of being carved below the Hebrew, is placed on the reverse side of the stone?a tradition which is still sometimes followed locally, (iii) Many of the eighteenth-century inscriptions end with an extremely unusual formula: " May he finally arise for his lot with all who lie here" fj? HS Q^DWH ?B Vma1? "r?STI</page><page sequence="5">-FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 161 of the Jewish community of the time, who were to continue to dominate its life : and they deserve detailed consideration. The first was Benjamin Levi (Levy), engraver. The profession is of particular interest: for one may assert, on the basis of this, that the Ports? mouth congregation owed its origin, not to hucksters (as might nor? mally have been imagined) but to an artist. For Benjamin Levi is not a mere name. His trade-card is extant, and shews him to have engaged in " engraving in Seals, Stamps, Plate, Copper Plate and Pewter ... at the corner of Union Eow, in Queen Street, on Ports? mouth Common." He must have had something of a reputation in his day : for he was commissioned to execute the book-plate of one of his haughty Sephardic co-religionists, Isaac Mendes, of London.15 All this is not as surprising as might appear: for the German Jews of the period were expert engravers,16 and Benjamin Levi, as it appears, hailed from Wiesbaden.17 It is highly interesting, however, to find that he appears to have founded a whole dynasty. He had, it seems, three sons : Jacob (1746-1816),18 Isaac (d. 1785) and Elias. The two latter, at least, were engravers by profession, like their father. Elias, attained quite a considerable degree of proficiency and reputation. 15 Transactions, xii. 45. 16 S. Kirschstein, J?dische Graphiker (Berlin, 1918), treats the subject more or less exhaustively for Germany : but a substantial monograph might be added dealing with England. The Portsmouth Museum contains a number of early nineteenth-century local views by H. Moses. 17 Cf. the name-list given below in Appendix I. He died in 1784 (23rd Hesh van) : his tombstone, surmounted by a Levitical ewer and referring to his work for the synagogue, is still legible. According to the Commemoration Book of the Congregation, his wife was Minke, daughter of Joseph Jacob. 18 An altar-stone in the cemetery marks the resting-place of Jacob, son of Benjamin Levi, who died in 1816, aet. 70. The certificate of marriage of his daughter Gittele to Gedaliah ben Jacob is preserved in the communal archives, its coloured illuminations testifying to the position which the bride's family occupied in the community. As " Jacob ben Wolf Levi, Engraver ODS7t3tP 0 filf!), of Portsmouth," he had been admitted to membership of the Great Synagogue, London, in 1775. The descendants of Jacob Levi and his wife Elizabeth are of some importance in Anglo-Jewish history. Their second son, Isaac, married Esther Hannah Monte fiore, some of their sons (who settled in Brussels and in Australia) adopting their mother's name. Jacob Levi's third son, Solomon Jacob Levi, married Rachel Hort, whose mother had been a daughter of Rabbi Simeon Waley from Prague,</page><page sequence="6">162 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND He is reported to have been responsible for the cutting of the congre? gational seal, reference to which has been made above : and several book-plates and local views engraved by him are known.19 The other three signatories to the lease of 1749 were Mordecai Samuel, of R?delheim, jeweller : Lazarus Moses, of F?rth, Chapman : and Mordecai Moses, of K?nigsberg, Chapman (the latter, I regret to say, will have to engage our attention later on).20 Other primitive members of the community, whose names deserve recording, were apparently Samuel, son of Joseph Levi, and his son Judah : Naphtali, son of the erudite (haver) Joseph: and Reuben, son of Moses Aaron Levi, with his wife, the proselyte Rachel. (These names are the earliest recorded in the congregational Commemoration Book, and are written whose surname he adopted. He was ancestor of the late Simon Waley, the economist, and of Arthur Waley, the poet. THE LEVI FAMILY OF PORTSMOUTH. Jacob Levi, of Wiesbaden I Benjamin Levi = Minke b. Joseph Jacob (d. 1784) I Jacob = Elizabeth Elias daughter=Israel of (d. 1816) J (d. 1820) j Limechen I Moses (b. 1767) 1 I I Walter Jacob (d. 1828) = Isaac = Solomon Jacob = Rebecca d. Lemon Hart Esther Hannah Rachael Hort, d. of (Sydney) d. Eliezer Montefiore ? Hort and g.-d. of I (d. 1864) Rabbi Simeon Waley Rebecca (b. 1829) | | Montefiores of Brussels | | and Australia Jacob Simon Waley Waley 19 Benjamin Levi seems to have had another son, Judah Leib, who with his wife (Frumet, daughter of Mordecai D?rckheim?perhaps Mordecai Moses) pre? sented a pointer to the synagogue on the Great Sabbath preceding Passover, 1768?one of the oldest pieces of silver now in its possession. A book-plate engraved by Isaac Levi was in the collection of the late Israel Solomons, as well as specimens of the work of his brother Elias. 20 The names figure in the lease under this form. In the Hebrew records, however, they appear as Mordecai ben Samuel, Mordecai ben Moses, etc. It is necessary to bear this system of surname-formation constantly in mind in any attempt to deal with eighteenth-century Anglo-Jewish history. The tombstone of Lazarus Moses (Eleazar ben Moses of F?rth) is still partially legible. Frumet b. Mordecai=Judah Leib Isaac [Moses ?], of D?rckheim (d. 1785) Geitele = Ann= Judith= Gedaliah Aaron Moses George Levi b. Jacob</page><page sequence="7">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 163 together in such a way as to make it appear that they had some intimate connexion.) Of the communal employees, we know of Jacob Kappel, who signed the earliest extant Portsmouth marriage contract as Hazan of the congregation :21 Joseph, son of Isaac Standel, who is spoken of as the teacher in 1764 : and Moses ben Meir Hembach, of Lissa, who in 1768 was acting as the congregational factotum and scribe.2la The middle of the eighteenth century saw an enormous increase in the importance of Portsmouth. In the long succession of wars with France, in which maritime operations played an ever-increasing part, the city served as England's principal naval base. It was to Ports? mouth that the fleets put in to refit, thither that the privateers brought their prizes : and the streets were constantly crowded with jovial sailors, with money in their pockets and a boundless curiosity in their hearts. The city grew by leaps and bounds. In particular, Portsea, which was adjacent to the dockyard, profited by events. In the last few decades of the century, its population increased tenfold. " Some of the streets, such as Queen Street in particular," writes a contem? porary chronicler, " may be ranked among the most principal in London, for the variety, opulence, and commercial returns of the dealers."22 Naturally enough, this prosperity attracted Jewish dealers ?particularly the poorer classes, who found themselves hard-put to eke out a living as pedlars in London and the countryside. The same writer vividly describes the scene in the Port, where " Jew shopmen, taylors, and drapers jostle Christian pawnbrokers, watch-jobbers, and trinket merchants."23 The wealthier became navy-agents, official lists containing a long succession of Jewish names?including one or two 21 The document in question is dated 1757 and records the marriage of Isaac ben Moses of F?rth (presumably a brother of Lazarus Moses) and Hannah b. Simeon Levi : the co-signatory is Sander of Halberstadt. 21a j?OT the former see infra; for the latter, see the Circumcisional Register, referred to repeatedly below. 22 Anonymous History of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, 1809), p. 78. 23 Ibid., p. 8. Though this passage was written at a period slightly subsequent to that with which we are dealing, the picture applies faithfully enough. A foot? note explains : The Jews having considerable privileges in this town have so far availed themselves of such a favourable opportunity as to occupy houses and shops in the first style of mercantile consequence in the above trades.</page><page sequence="8">164 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Sephardim.24 We also meet with cheap-jacks, jewellers, engravers, and even a peep-show proprietor who made his living with the help of views of the Rhine.25 In 1758, the Portsmouth community was decimated by a terrible disaster, the recollection of which has not yet passed away. It was Friday afternoon, 10th February, 1758, when h.m.s. Lancaster was being paid off at Spithead. Amongst the tradespeople who carried their goods on board in order to take advantage of this opportunity were a number of Jews. Local historians say that, not meeting with the success which they desired, they determined to go on shore : but it is more probable that they wished to return in time for the Sabbath : for sunset, at this time of year, is early. Accordingly, they all crowded into a sailing-boat, and set out for land. However, they were not very expert: a strong wind was blowing : the sail jibbed : and the boat overturned. Help was immediately sent from the ship, but it did not arrive quickly enough. Five bodies were never recovered : four more were picked up with all signs of life extinct: two persons died after they were brought on board.26 The only survivor was Samuel Emanuel, who died in 1795, at the age of 64, and whose tombstone, after the lapse of forty years, recorded his escape.27 24 A list of the Jewish names extracted from the official list of 1816 is given below in Appendix II. It is almost a nominal roll of the community. At this period, it was obligatory for the captain of every vessel in commission to appoint some person to act as Ship's Agent for three years, and Jews were well repre? sented. 25 Cf. Hampshire Repository, vol. ii. (1799 ?), p. 92, " Consequences of talking in a passion," where we are given at length in rhyme the story, said to be true, of an encounter between a sailor and a certain Moses, " A German Jew in-town Who carried a peep-show up and down." A newspaper cutting of 1783, included in the valuable collection assembled by Sir F. Madden and now in the Portsmouth Public Library, tells an amusing anecdote of one " Joey the Jew," who had made a fortune by catering to sailors' requirements. It is hardly necessary to particularise the references in Captain Maryatt's novels. 26 Gentleman's Magazine, 1758, p. 91 ; contemporary cuttings in the Madden Collection ; Transactions, v. 224 and vi. 124. 'd p'wvi n*vnn ivv anwa | ina ama V'niiT ?'s 27</page><page sequence="9">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 165 The effect which this episode caused in the community can be imagined. When the news reached London, Rabbi Hart Lyon, of the Great Synagogue, preached a sermon in which he was quick to seize upon the moral. " See what happened at Portsmouth," he cried, " the punishment that came upon our brethren there through the waters. Because they disregarded the laws of purity, so many wives became widows, so many children are now orphans."28 Even to-day, at the ancient synagogue at Portsmouth, a special memorial prayer is periodically recited in memory of " the Priests, Levites, and Israelites, old and young, strong to fulfill God's bidding . . . whose passing was grievous as the destruction of the Holy Temple."29 I a^aa ma nt^s? irun a^na | nawa na1? mm mnn nmx | nmn "ra i o av n?^an m ^nin na pi | na nwzn non ana nt?an *iapj ova -)&amp;d3 'V n'jpn The corresponding English text runs : " Samuel Emanuel, of Portsea, ob*. 3rd of Eire ( ! ) 5555, aet. 64." Samuel Emanuel's will, as also that of his widow, Hannah (d. 1825), is preserved at Somerset House. An earlier stone commemorates Eleazar hen Zevi (Hart ?) of Ansbach (Ellul, 1764), who had acquired merit by the devotion with which he attended to the dead. posna mm.wbib w?? jm | ntsw iwi w? yg I nV^i av? a^aann | d*?iwxn as? 28 Dusehinsky, Rabbinate of the Great Synagogue (London, 1921), pp. 10-12. mawa na 'a'n'a'Vp'a'n'a'ri'i'a'n'a'tp d^?m aVa 29 nann 'a p'awa mwa nmaa wai a^aaan (?) jnw? ntzw ??jw? ? nm:rV nt^r nnaan rvma pan nat^ pir^Kn EnwV w nans; na mna d^iw a*?an amnai |pn ao a^ant^i a^V a^ana anma nVipff ? napa kVi masa n? iiom ana warn nai ? nmnan rra nanw iaa t?aa The names which follow are the ensuing: Mordecai ben Meir. Solomon ben Alexander. Abraham ben Reuben Solomon Scarllini ("u^lp??perhaps Scaramelli, an Italian-Jewish name). Israel b. R. Zevi. Jacob ben Naphtali Cohen. Dan ben Issachar.</page><page sequence="10">166 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND In spite of this calamity, the community continued to grow. Within ten years, it comprised between thirty and forty substantial householders : while those of its members who had removed to London constituted quite a little colony there.30 The majority, it seems, hailed Israel ben Meir. Meir ben Menahem Cohen. Simeon ben Isaac Levi. Yom-tob ben R. Nahor. It is a tragic consideration that this macabre record constitutes the earliest nominal roll of Portsmouth Jewry. Two similar disasters, on a much smaller scale, occurred at a later date. When on August 29th, 1782, the Royal George sank in Portsmouth Harbour, nine hundred persons being lost, it is recorded that three hundred women and Jews, " with slops and watches " were on board. (Cf. The Farmer's Almanac, Boston, 1793, and other contemporary sources : W. H. Saunders, Annals of Ports? mouth, London, 1880, p. 82 sqq.). From the silence in the synagogal records, it is improbable that the loss of life among its members on this occasion can have been heavy. Similarly, on Wednesday, September 14th, 1825 (the second day of the Jewish New Year), a bridge collapsed during the launching of the Princess Charlotte, and those on it were thrown into the water. Among the eighteen or more victims, there were three Jews?Lazarus Hart, of Ctyster Street (aged 49), together with his daughter Sophia Hart and his nephew Gabriel Nathan. (Saunders, Annals of Portsmouth, p. 149.) 30 Cf. the earliest minute-book, ad principium : stb amn vir wiV?njn n'n D'onrn Vk'w ??? mat? n*?Ki T?r inn1? p'pn The names in question are : Judah ben Eliakim Hamburger. Simeon ben David (called Long Simeon). Menahem ben Mordecai. Jacob ben Samuel. Simeon ben Abraham, of F?rth. Samuel ben Phineas, of Ireland. Judah ben Reuben, of France. Zevi ben Judah, of France. Yiddele Schwab. For the other members of the community, see infra. The list refers to the year 1766. In this as in the other lists, some names have been subsequently cancelled?presumably by reason of decease. Jacob (or Koppel) ben Samuel of Portsmouth was admitted to membership of the Great Synagogue in London in 1763-4: Samuel ben Phineas (known as Sam Irishman) in 1766-7. The latter's surname in secular life was Davis ; his daughter, Polly, married Hyman Collins, and was great-grandmother of the late Sir Arthur Collins.</page><page sequence="11">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 167 from Germany. There seems to have been a tradition in the com? munity that the place of origin of each individual was appended to his name : with the result that the earliest name-lists read like a gazetteer of central Europe, shewing immigrants from F?rth, Coblentz, R?delheim, Ansbach, Erlingen, K?nigsberg, Weissenfeid, and so on. One or two names point to an origin nearer home?France, Ireland, even Norwich (if this reading of the slightly ambiguous Hebrew is correct). Isolated Jews, dependent on the Portsmouth community, could be found in Poole, Chichester, the Isle of Wight, and so on.31 By 1766, the community was in so flourishing a condition that it could indulge in that greatest luxury of Jewish communal life and that final proof of Jewish communal vitality?a split. These were exciting days in Anglo-Je wry. There were at this time three Ashkenazic synagogues in London?that in Duke's Place, which arrogated to itself the title of the " Great" ; the secessionist body organised in 1707 by Mordecai Hamburger, which was known after him as the Hambro': and a newly-established conventicle in Bricklayer's Hall, called the New. By coincidence, the spiritual direction of all three had recently become vacant simultaneously : for Rabbi Hart Lyon, of the Great Synagogue, had retired in 1763, finding the environment somewhat unattractive. It was now hoped, apparently, to establish a united Rabbinate for the entire Ashkenazic community of London. All parties, however, were a little difficult and exacting : and negotiations broke down32. 31 These data are derived from the earliest minute-book and from the Cir cumcisional Register of R. Leib Aleph, which will be spoken of below. 32 It is clear, from the records of the Great Synagogue, that an attempt was made to come to an agreement and establish a united Rabbinate : but it came to nothing. The following letter from the earliest minute-book obviously bears upon the question : Feb.y 3rd 1765. Present Naph.ty Franks, Mr. Aron Goldsmid, Mr. Aron Levy, Mr. Jacob Nathan Moses, Mr. Naph.ty Myers, Mr. Joel Levy, Mr. Sam.l Am.d Levy, Mr. Moses Franks, Mr. Alex.r Isaacs. A proposal from Mr. Henry Isaacs on the part of his Synagogue having been communicated by Mr. Naph.ty Franks to set aside an order of the 29 Sep.r Relative to the nomination of D^l*!, the same was taken in Con? sideration and debated. But it Appearing that the particulars Directed in the said order of the 29th which was then agreed to by Both Synagogues</page><page sequence="12">168 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND The Great Synagogue accordingly sent a call to Rabbi David Tevele Schiff, of Frankfort, in the spring of 1765. The Hambro', on the other hand, summoned its original nominee, Rabbi Meshullam Zalman, formerly of Pohaice in Poland?a son of the eminent Jacob Emden and grandson of the even more famous Haham Zevi, whose name had been one to conjure with in the London community half a century before. The New Synagogue, whose relations with the mother-com? munity from which it had seceded so recently, were still of the worst, recognised his authority : so that the newly-appointed Rabbi could claim, with a tolerable degree of plausibility, to be the Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazic communities of London.33 In the following year, the repercussions of the quarrel reached Portsmouth. The small provincial communities, none of which main? tained an independent Rabbinate,34 all looked to London for spiritual [having] been Complied with And the answers to the Letter Respecting the Characters of the parties in Nomination proving Unacceptionable ( ! ), it was Unanimously Resolved that the Proposal aforesaid could not be admitted and that the order of the 29th should continue in force. The " order of the 29th " repeatedly referred to here cannot be traced : but there is a Resolution of October 16th to the effect that a Rabbi (T'^K) was to be engaged with ?150 from " our " Synagogue and ?100 from the other (i.e. the Hambro'). It should be borne in mind, in connexion with this dispute, that the Ban in which the upholders of the Hambro' Synagogue had been placed at the time of its institution was removed only in 1750 (Ibid.). 33 Transactions, iii. 121, vii. 284-86 and xii. 91-92, with the authorities there quoted. Many obscure points in these accounts are made plain in the light of the events described for the first time below?for example, Meshullam Zalman's claim to be Rabbi of London and the provinces. 34 The current works of reference (e.g. the Jewish Encyclopedia) state that the Portsmouth community had its own Rabbinate in the eighteenth century. Had this been the case, the dispute here described would have been meaningless. Moreover, in the official list of the spiritual leaders of the community, included in the congregational Commemoration Booh, the earliest local name is that of Alexander Barnard, or Alexander Sander ben Baruch (1787-1818 : born 1741 at Salweiler; his portrait is preserved in the Upper Vestry, and his tombstone in the cemetery is numbered 147). A special memorial prayer is, however, recited on behalf of Rabbi Aaron, son of Moses " who fixed times for study, and devoted his soul and spirit to the service of his Creator, and whose soul went forth in purity and holiness." It is not improbable that this was an early non professional religious leader of the community.</page><page sequence="13">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 169 guidance, and considered themselves offshoots of the metropolitan community. Now that the latter was cleft by rivalry, the quandary of the Jews of Portsmouth was obvious. It was in vain that the partisans of the larger London community claimed that even in the days of Rabbi Tevele Schiff's first predecessor, Rabbi Aaron Hart (who had died in 1756 after officiating for over half a century), the authority of the Rabbi of the Great Synagogue had been unquestioned in Portsmouth : it was to him that all questions of law were sub? mitted, he who gave certificates to Shochetim, he who issued licences for marriages. Notwithstanding this claim, the adherents of the rival claimant remained obdurate. The dispute waxed long and fierce. In the end, a division was taken. It was found that eight persons were in favour of Tevele Schiff and the Great Synagogue, and sixteen for Meshullam Zalman and affiliation to the two London communities under his guidance. It might have been imagined that this would have settled the matter finally. However, the minority included an overwhelming prepon? derance of what they termed the " old " members, who had been responsible, morally and financially, for the establishment of the community?including three out of the four signatories to the Burial Ground lease of 1749. They not unnaturally considered that they had a proprietary right in the synagogue and its administration, and insisted on having their own way. The majority, who counted in their numbers only two " old " members (Mordecai Moses and Phineas ben David), had no reply to this argument in law, and could think of only one course of action. On the night of Saturday, 18th February, 1766, they came to the Synagogue in White's Row, seized the Scrolls of the Law and appur? tenances which certain of them had deposited there and all their personal property, and took them off to the house of Mordecai Moses in Daniel's Row,35 on the other side of Queen Street. Here, they set up their own synagogue, which was formally consecrated, appropriately enough, on the " Sabbath of Comfort " succeeding the Ninth of Ab 35 It is perhaps worth while to place on record that Daniel's Row (now Daniel Street) owes its name not to its Jewish associations, but to William Daniel, Ironmonger, of Portsea. (A. N. Y. Howell, Notes on the Topography of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, 1913, p. 25.)</page><page sequence="14">170 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND (19th July, 1766).36 Already, immediately after the secession, the congregational Reader and Scribe, Moses ben Meir Reinbach, had made the breach definite, at the instructions of the Wardens, by registering the names of the secessionists and of those who remained faithful, in a stout folio volume specially purchased for the occasion.37 The records of the Portsmouth community thus begin with a con? gregational dispute ! This was the beginning of the great quarrel which divided the Portsmouth community for years to come. The parent community, in White's Row, henceforth called itself the " Old " Synagogue? sometimes the " Great" Synagogue, in imitation of the parent body in London. The secessionists spoke of themselves as the " New." The two bodies immediately put themselves into touch with the respective London Rabbis, who seem to have thrown themselves 36 The foregoing account is based in the main on the extraordinarily graphic, though by no means grammatical, record included in the Circumcisional Record kept by R. Leib Aleph (for whom see infra), which I discovered in the muniments of the Portsmouth congregation. This gives the entire inner history of the split, which previous historians of the Portsmouth community were unable to under? stand. ntra ?'a nx mx Va p'aV vapn naio mn tzrnp nawa ? t'd ??arriB anoVssM nann a'naa nx brxo pwxnn Kin mxa p ^awa p'aV vapn lam nawa xmn man naiam a-nawanxaa ?im pia? spy vnaa a^wa *?xw i?wi "ax aan *?tp naa vax mm xin on rronn a'naai paVra maaxn a'anaa vax Taxi msn nws? ntw axma axn xm -o ?w?ikd jxaa 'm jxaa Tax nrn1? xnsn nia? axma nxa axn oaVaopna ra as? ??am ^xaa Tax nrn1? "?maarn ana nx nVw Van a^axn yat&amp;a anxaaxn bnpi vax1? maann ana n*?w Van a^ax laVt? Tax nnoyas?a mawanxaa nnx a'na a^aia lanax -p nma is mm xim mn xin ]w* lanVnpa d^^w m amawa lapan a^axn iVx 37 a^axn maty iVx ? ? ? ? laiaaatr -ran a^axn n^xi.vs* ntzna p'tpa ia*?ty a'naa a^xsm npi^naa iVnnnw anman Van Vai ump naai ?nip ^ai an1?^ nmn naa as? p'aV vapn xa ^Vann1? Vaa ntra na ??am? nna im laaxnm anV -pi&amp;n .aw The two lists of names are given below in Appendix I.</page><page sequence="15">-FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 171 heart and soul into the fray. That winter, Benjamin Levi went specially to London, together with Abraham Woolfe (Abraham b. Benjamin Zeeb Cohen) and Isaac Moses (Isaac b. Moses of F?rth) to make all necessary arrangements. They interviewed the Wardens of the Great Synagogue (Naphtali Franks, Naphtali Joseph, Joel Levi, and Aaron Goldsmid) in the vestry-room of the Duke's Place Synagogue : they waited on Tevele Schiff in his house : and everything was settled to mutual satisfaction. They returned with the newly-acquired minute book enriched by mellifluous letters of commendation and amity.38 In accordance with the arrangement now concluded, a proclamation was read in the vestry-room calling on the seceders to " submit to the authority of our Lord R. Tevele " within two years, under pain of excommunication. Later on, the Great Synagogue authorities sent down the basis of a code of congregational bye-laws (Takkanoth), in ten clauses, to regulate the reciprocal obligations. These, amplified locally by another twenty sections, were confirmed on the 24th Sivan of the following year, and left no room for doubt as to the spiritual allegiance of the congregation. Any disputes between members of the congregation which could not be settled locally were to be referred to Rabbi Tevele Schiff for decision (? vii) : he was to issue marriage licences, and to be entitled to a fee of one guinea on each occasion when he did so : every person called to the Reading of the Law was to make an offering in his honour (? iii) : year by year, five pounds of wax were to be despatched to London, to be used for illuminating the Great Synagogue during the day of Atonement, as a sign of homage (? x).39 Meanwhile, the " New" Congregation had not been inactive. It numbered among its members one who occupied a key-position in 38 Minute-book, p. 9a-b : A note on the letters, which, however, lose much of their meaning without an understanding of the accompanying circumstances, was published by the late Lucien Wolf, " A Peep into the Portsmouth Pinkes," in Jewish Chronicle, August 15th, 1890. 39 Other interesting early bye-laws, which throw much light on current social life, are the following: Not to bring any disputes into the ordinary law-courts, but to have them settled according to Jewish law and practice (? viii): Penalty for one who insulted the Warden (? xx) : Prohibition to go to synagogue in unbecoming apparel (? xxvi) : a roster of watchers established to sit by the sick? bed of any member who should be ill (? xxxiii). See also Transactions, vi. 113 sqq.</page><page sequence="16">172 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND the community. This was one Judah Leib, son of R. Isaac, of Aub (?), near W?rzburg, generally known as R. Leib Aleph.i0 He had apparently been in charge of the Building Fund of the Congregation, to the amount of ?50, with which he absconded to the secessionists.41 But his import? ance did not stop here. He was in addition an expert Mohel?the only one Portsmouth could boast. His register (from which many of the details given above have been derived) stretches from 1762 to 1808, and contains a vast amount of information with regard to local conditions and affairs : for it partakes almost of the nature of a diary.42 He mentions in most cases the place of origin of the child's father, as well as his name : tells how he went to various places in the neighbourhood, such as Winchester, Poole, Arundel and Brighton, to initiate a child into the Abrahamic covenant, taking with him a proper quorum of ten persons : and records triumphantly how, in the intermediate Sabbath of the feast of Tabernacles, in the autumn of 1766, he performed the operation on the infant Moses ben Meir " who was the first whom I circumcised in the new synagogue in Daniel's Row, which was built in Portsmouth."43 Naturally, the Old Congregation disdained to be dependent upon this secessionist leader, and proclamation was made that none of its members was to avail himself of his services. It happened, just about this period, that Samuel Emanuel (Samuel b. Menahem of Sonfeld) the solitary survivor of the disaster of 1758, and a poor dependent of Benjamin Levi's, became a father. The eighth day came : but the practitioner ordered from London did not. The father, in desperation, went to R. Leib, and asked him to perform the opera? tion. The latter professed himself quite willing, provided that the child were brought to his synagogue. Benjamin Levi, on hearing this, swore that if this were done he would cut off the unfortunate Emanuel's supplies. Late that afternoon, R. Leib gave way and " for the sake of peace " consented to perform the operation in a private house, 40 Presumably this title was given him to prevent confusion with some other person of the same name. 41 Minute-book, p. 7b. 42 I have made a full abstract of this curious document, and trust that the opportunity for publishing it will not be long delayed. 43 Hebrew text supra, note 36.</page><page sequence="17">-FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 173 that of one Moses Levi.44 All passed satisfactorily. The child was Michael Emanuel, warden of the community, whose son and grand? son were successively Mayors of Southampton and whose descendants still play a distinguished part in communal life.45 Not long after, however, the question came up again, when Benjamin Levi's own daughter, the wife of Moses b. Israel of Limechen, gave birth to a child. Both parties were apparently tired of the quarrel by now; R. Leib consented to perform the operation in the enemy citadel; and the occasion was taken to make peace. The various antagonistic resolutions passed against the secessionists were revoked, and proclamation was made that the two parties were to come together, pending the construction of a new place of worship in White's Row. In pursuance of this, the rival conventicle was stripped. But, apparently (no details are given, and we are dependent on R. Leib for our slender knowledge of the whole affair), the conditions on the one side or on the other were too severe. At the last moment the negotiations broke down and the quarrel was renewed.46 Yet, even with the worst of intentions, it was impossible for the two synagogues to exist in the same town, within a few hundred yards of one another, in a state of perpetual enmity: and Ports? mouth was for the moment so prosperous that there was ample room for both. In 1771, the two bodies came to an amicable arrangement for reciprocal forbearance and co-operation, which was formally 44 Circumcisional Register, ? xix. 45 This family should be distinguished from the other local one of the same name, from which Lady Magnus was descended, from which it was completely distinct. At the close of the eighteenth century, the brothers Moses and Joel, sons of Menahem (Mendel), of Steinhardt, arrived in London. Here they changed their patronymic according to the fashion of the time, with admirable homophony, to Emanuel. Joel settled in Bevis Marks : Moses in Hanway Street, Oxford Street, where during the Napoleonic Wars his sons Ezekiel and Emanuel Emanuel were born; the latter being Lady Magnus' father. Subsequently, he removed to Portsmouth, in the civic life of which place he and his children played a fairly prominent part. He died on April 21st, 1859, aged one hundred years : his grave? stone being still visible and legible in the old Portsmouth cemetery. His wife, Kate (after whom Lady Magnus was named), had predeceased him on April 19th, 1844. The two families were distinguished locally as " Emanuel of The Hard " and " Emanuel of Ordnance Row." 46 Circumcisional Register, ? xxi. N</page><page sequence="18">174 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND registered in the congregational minutes in ten clauses.47 Hence? forth, R. Leib's services were utilised impartially by the " Old" Congregation and the " New," and he records operations performed in either synagogue indifferently. The end was now in sight. In 1786, a certain Mordecai Moses, apparently a Hampshire Jew, came upon evil days, falling ultimately into the hands of justice.48 Can he have been identical with the seces? sionist leader, in whose house the Portsmouth Protestants first assembled for prayer ? It is much to be feared that this was the case : for, just about this period, the schism ended,49 collapsing as soon as it was abandoned by its leader and principal inspirer. One Sunday in the autumn of 1789, on the eve of the New Year, the secessionists (now led by Zevi b. Judah of Ansbach and R. Leib Aleph) affixed their signatures to the congregational bye-laws, which they promised solemnly to accept as binding upon themselves?including even the supremacy of the Rabbinate of the Great Synagogue in London.50 The synagogue in Daniel's Row was abandoned (the site is now incorporated in an electrical works).51 The cemetery, if there was one, has been completely forgotten. The only tangible record left (besides a few cryptic entries in the congregational Minutes and R. Leib's register), is a fine urn-shaped pair of silver finials for the Scroll of the Law, in Chippendale style, with a Hebrew inscription 47 Minute-book, pp. 44-49 (24th Ellul, 5531). In spite of this, bad feeling seems to have continued. When in 1782 R. Leib performed the circumcisional ceremony on Solomon, son of Alexander Sander (probably Alexander Barnard, Minister to the congregation from 1787), the " teacher " of the White's Row congregation, the Wardens would not allow the Mohel to be summoned to the reading of the Law. 48 A. Rubens, Anglo-Jewish Portraits (London, 1935) p. 84. 49 The separate existence of the " Old " and " New " Congregations is not mentioned in the Circumcisional Register or in the Congregational Minutes after 1789. The date of the agreement referred to below is written in so involved a hand as to be illegible. It was signed, however, on Sunday, the Eve of the New Year?which began on a Monday, in the period of which we are speaking, only in 1775, 1782, 1785 and 1789. It may therefore be assumed that the last was the year of reunion. 50 Minute-book, p. 14. 51 It is possible, however, that it continued to be maintained as a chapel of-ease and auxiliary synagogue for some little time after.</page><page sequence="19">-FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 175 indicating that they were acquired by subscription for the New Synagogue in Daniel's Row, Portsmouth Common, in the year 1785.52 So the comedy of divided loyalties ended. Amusing though it was, its importance was by no means purely parochial: for the reper? cussions of this storm in a teacup are traceable even to-day, in one of the most characteristic and most valuable institutions of Anglo Jewry. The conclusion signified that the little bodies of German and Polish Jews scattered up and down the country and establishing their rudimentary congregations in the various provincial centres henceforth looked to the Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in London, and to him exclusively, for instruction and spiritual guidance. Had the secessionists triumphed, on the other hand, the result would have been communal anarchy : two bodies of congregations in Great Britain?perhaps more?in constant conflict with one another, with no united voice and no single loyalty, but endowed from the begin? ning with fissiparous tendencies which might have repeated them? selves ad infinitum. It was in Portsmouth that the question was fought out, with the result that we have seen. Even the much-debated questions of the licensing of Shochetim and the issuing of marriage licences, of which we hear so much to-day, are now seen to have been threshed out and decided affirmatively nearly two hundred years ago. That the Daniel's Row congregation collapsed, and the secession was healed, had thus a wider significance. The Rabbi of the Great Synagogue was henceforth in fact (and before long, in name) Chief Rabbi of the Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain, his supremacy being unquestioned. The Chief Rabbinate, in fact, was not a nine 52 The one bears the inscription (indicating perhaps that it was made to the order of one Solomon) and the other -ominam oilman D^maV n?n ys? a^nann *w nbx j'aap tnawtnaa i^xnann mrnrm a'ma ?npn *?npn There is no hall-mark. The congregation possesses, however, another pair of finials copied from these, apparently, with an English hall-mark of 1820. It was the deciphering of this inscription which put me first on the track of the true history of the secessionist Daniel's Row Community. There is no record that the secessionists ever had their own cemetery, but it is far from unlikely. Can there be another, concealed in some obscure part of the town ?</page><page sequence="20">176 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND teenth-century invention, as some persons seem to imagine. It is a gradual and inevitable development, the beginnings of which can be traced back to the first coming of Ashkenazic Jews to this country, and which obtained general recognition two centuries ago as a result of the conflict which we have described. If to-day the Jews of the British Empire have a spiritual leader who represents them as a body when the occasion demands, who takes his place by the side of the great dignitaries of the various Christian Churches on all public occasions, and whose voice is listened to with respect because he is Chief Rabbi, the result of the Great Secession at Portsmouth is in large measure responsible for the fact. There was by now ample room in White's Row for all, notwith? standing the considerable additions in membership that the Congre? gation had received since 1766.53 In 1780, in pursuance of a long cherished plan,54 the synagogue had been reconstructed. Hitherto, an ordinary dwelling-house, more or less drastically adapted, had served the purpose. This site was now acquired outright, the building pulled down, and a proper synagogue constructed in its place. While the edifice was under construction, services were apparently held in an adjacent carpenter's shop, where R. Leib performed the cir? cumcision of Alexander b. Solomon " as the father would not have it done in Daniel's Row." On the Thirty-third day of the Omer, foundation stones were laid by Benjamin Levi,55 Abraham Woolfe (who was generally regarded as the leading spirit at this period)56 53 See the list in Appendix I. (supplementary names). 54 The Building Fund apparently amounted to ?50 already in 1766, and is specifically mentioned in the original Bye-laws of that year. 55 See above, p. 161. With him were associated his sons, Jacob, Isaac and Elias. Isaac and Elias, together with Benjamin Woolfe (see next note), and Phineas Moses, were the signatories to the lease of the synagogue site, still pre? served amongst the muniments of the congregation. A special memorial prayer is included in the Congregational Commemoration Book on behalf of Benjamin ben Jacob Levi and his wife Minke b. Joseph Jacob, who left ?5 for the building of the synagogue. 56 Cf. Slight, Chronicles of Portsmouth, p. 95, where it is stated that the foundation of the synagogue in 1742 (sic) was due to the subscription of the small community " acting principally on the suggestion of Abraham Woolfe." The stone is inscribed in the name of Abraham, son of Benjamin Wolf Cohen and his son, Benjamin (the Benjamin Woolfe of the lease of 1791).</page><page sequence="21">-FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 177 and Gershom b. Benjamin,57 with all of whom their respective children were associated. This, however, did not seem enough, under the circumstances: for it was thought desirable to obtain the moral support also of the spiritual head of the community in London. Accordingly, immediately after Pentecost, Rabbi David Tevele Schiff travelled down to Portsmouth, bringing with him (could there be any stronger endorsement of his authority over the Ashkenazic Jews of the United Kingdom ?) Rabbi Moses Cohen d'Azevedo, Haham of the Spanish and Portuguese community in London. On the tenth of Sivan, the latter also laid foundation stones, suitably inscribed (like the others) in Hebrew. Some years ago, during constructional alterations in the synagogue, they were discovered: and they are now to be seen affixed to the vestry wall.58 The autumn must have been far advanced before the new building was ready for consecration.59 The construction has been modified to some extent since that date. (There was a somewhat drastic 57 It is curious that the name of Gershom ben Benjamin (with whom his daughter Miriam was associated) does not seem to figure in the local records elsewhere. The list of subscribers to the Midrash Phineas (London, 1795) includes the following members of the Portsmouth community (the only subscribers recorded outside London): Jacob Levy, Elias Levy, Lipman b. Nathan of Hamburg, Abraham b. Gumpel Emden, Jacob Moses b. Simcha Nachod, and Ezekiel b. Abraham of Exeter. The last-named is clearly identical with " Mr. Ezekiel, an eminent Jew, who resided at Exeter fifty years, where he founded a synagogue,'* who died at Portsmouth in November 1799 (Hampshire Repository, vol. ii.)? presumably a brother of Abraham Ezekiel Ezekiel, the engraver and miniature painter. 58 They are reproduced in an article on " The History of the Jews in Ports? mouth " in Pinks' Pictorial, vol. ii, April, 1909. 59 R. Leib Aleph records a circumcision of Alexander ben Solomon, in the autumn of 1780, as having taken place in the Carpenter's shop in White's Row, since the new synagogue was not yet completed. It is probable that the services had been held here regularly at this period. In spite of this, the inscription over the doorway refers to the previous year (it possibly expresses the ideal rather than the actuality). It reads : np tnaV jwann p pnnan mn rvan tod rrm Vm 5540 o^Vitt imwV pDft Vmt rpa It will be noticed that the Portsmouth synagogue is particularly rich in inscriptions?more so, perhaps, than any other of comparable age in the British Isles.</page><page sequence="22">178 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND renovation, for example, in 1843.) The lattice surrounding the women's gallery has been taken away, the old pillars substituted, the reading desk removed to the east end, and stained glass windows introduced. Nevertheless, the building remains in essentials very much as it was: and it is among the oldest in this country still in regular use.60 A prominent feature is the Ark?a splendid piece of Georgian carved mahogany? which is reputed to have cost ?200.61 The Ten Commandments which surmount it (according to the accompanying Hebrew inscription) is the only fragment left from the original.62 Facing this, affixed to the gallery on the west side, are the royal arms, presumably set up in honour of some member of George III.'s prolific brood who was associated with Portsmouth, and perhaps even visited the synagogue.63 The group of buildings which surround the synagogue are them? selves of peculiar interest, demonstrating as they do in tangible fashion 60 The consecration service was probably performed by the local Hazan, a second Jacob Levi (Akiba ben Jacob Segal: his name figures in the local Com memoration Booh immediately after that of Haham Raphael Meldola) " who having faithfully served the congregation of Portsmouth as Reader " (for fifty years, according to the accompanying Hebrew inscription), " died a.m. 5600 at the advanced age of ninety \ears." This passage is copied from his tombstone in the Brady Street Cemetery, London, which, however, shews various of the local characteristics found only in Portsmouth?e.g. the inscription is carved on either side of the stone, and the concluding Hebrew phrase is identical. 61 Slight, Chronicles of Portsmouth, ubi supra. ?2 The inscription reads: mm1?71 p*) K1? (" Nothing was left of the Ark save the Tablets " : Adapted from 1 Kings, viii. 9.) According to a local legend of dubious authenticity, the object was formerly used by smugglers! A painting of the Synagogue, as it appeared at the close of the Hanoverian period, was formerly in the possession of Dr. H. Pereira Mendes, of New York, and is reproduced in Jewish Encyclopedia, x. 135. For a modern reconstruction of the building, see Frontispiece. It is said (cf. Gates, History of Portsmouth) that the synagogue served as a model for those of St. Thomas, Barbados, and Jamaica, where its traditions were carried by merchants or emigrants from the Hampshire seaport. The oldest ritual appurtenance in the possession of the Congregation, it may be mentioned, is apparently a pointer which bears the date 1764. 63 It is highly probable, local legend notwithstanding, that this coat-of-arms was affixed in order to vindicate Jewish loyalty at the time of the Napoleonic Wars, when the Portsmouth community appears to have suffered from a certain degree of discrimination. In a letter in the Madden Collection dated Portsmouth, 21st January (probably 1798), it is stated that " two Jews are just apprehended and lodged in Gaol for treasonable practises, having papers containing soundings,</page><page sequence="23">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 179 the breadth and warmth of Jewish life in former times. Behind it are a couple of alms-houses, constructed by Emanuel Emanuel in 1851. At about the same period, in order to provide the synagogue with a more dignified approach, the adjacent property in Queen Street was acquired, and a fresh entrance of ecclesiastical dignity, together with houses for the ministers, was constructed on it. While this is more or less commonplace, the same cannot be said of the building on the south side of the synagogue. This, designated in the old docu? ments as the Kahal-stube, formerly served for all manner of purposes ?not only for meetings and presumably for the instruction of the young, but also for congregational weddings and similar festivities. The kitchen attached to it bears eloquent testimony to this fact. It is probably the only example to be found in England of the tanzhaus, which was formerly a characteristic feature of the German synagogues, in the Middle Ages and after.64 With the construction of its new synagogue, followed not long after by the reunion with its errant daughter,65 the Portsmouth com? munity entered upon a new lease of life. It is not my intention to attempt here to outline its history in full; though that task would be supremely desirable, in view of the notable share which the con? gregation played in the nineteenth century in civic life and in the movement for Jewish emancipation. All that I have attempted is to throw such light as is possible upon the tangled, yet not unamusing, story of its early days and vicissitudes. I feel that the task has marks of the harbour, Spithead, &amp;c, in their possession." We hear no more of this?no doubt the suspicion proved baseless: but the authorities seem to have taken up an unfavourable attitude. In the Public Record Office, Home Office Papers 50-43, there is a petition of May 4th, 1798, submitted by Jacob Levi on behalf of the Congregation of Jews in the Borough of Portsmouth. He states that they have offered their services in the Volunteer Corps, but they were refused by the mayor, who alleged that it was not usual to enrol Jews. The latter pro? fessed themselves to be greatly hurt by this decision, as there were none more loyal, and as they had already served in the Militia. Moreover, Jews of other towns (including Dover, Plymouth, Bristol, Exeter, Liverpool and Gosport) had been admitted. Many of them, they concluded, were native born, and freeholders. 64 I. Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages (2nd edition, London, 1932), p. 91. 65 According to the Anonymous History of Portsmouth, of 1809, there were at that time in Portsea " two synagogues, for the Dutch and Portuguese Jews."</page><page sequence="24">180 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND been supremely worth while. Hitherto (it has been said before, but is none the less true), the study of Anglo-Je wish historiography has been rigorously confined to London. The general picture has been thrown completely out of perspective by this fact. Before we can construct a true picture of Anglo-Je wish life in its historic develop? ment, it is necessary to take into consideration, too, the communities of the Provinces. That of Portsmouth is probably the oldest and most interesting of all. The story which I have endeavoured to piece together from the fragmentary old records has a typical value which, I venture to hope, will have to be taken into serious consideration when the time comes at last to compile a true, faithful, and compre? hensive history of Anglo-Je wish life in the past?a picture which (all the more since Portsmouth was her birthplace) would have appealed to the vivid imagination and warm sympathies of the gracious lady in whose memory this lecture has been instituted.66 Perhaps this is copied from an earlier account, as there is no independent record of the existence of two places of worship at so late a date. It would appear that, on the assumption that two synagogues existed, the editor took it for granted, without any real authority, that the one was Sephardi and the other Ashkenazi. On the other hand, R. Leib records in 1800 the circumcision of Jacob, son of Simha Levi, called Dr. Lara, as having taken place in the " Hebra" Conceivably, this may refer to a Sephardic conventicle. A few individuals of this element were indeed to be found in Portsmouth, but they were members of the existing congregation. Thus, for example, the Navy List of 1816 contains the name of Daniel da Souza, of Portsea, licensed Naval Agent. His wife, Sarah, mother of six sons, died on Tammuz, 1819, aged 36, according to her tombstone in the old Cemetery. Here, too, is the monument to Judith, wife of the late Jacob Bassan, of Jamaica, aged 51 (1834) : Grace Rachel, daughter of Moses Henriques ( ? ), 1864: and Charles Solal, of Algiers (1867). 66 Readers will probably wish to know something concerning the later vicissi? tudes of Rabbi Leib Aleph, one of the principal characters in the foregoing story. He continued active for a further twenty years after the Great Secession was concluded. After 1804, there is a break : but in the autumn of 1808, he resumed activity for the benefit of his newly-born grandson, Naphtali Hirtz, son of Michael b. Solomon. However, his skill was failing: the operation was not properly performed, and had to be repeated by a Mohel who came from London. In a pathetic note, he gives the reason: " For I had forgotten to perform the Keriah on the day of the circumcision, by reason of the sorrow I had of my son Joel, who had committed suicide through a woman more bitter than death." The father was at this time in his eighty-fifth year. It is his last entry. The conclusion appears obvious.</page><page sequence="25">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 181 THE JEWS EST PORTSMOUTH. Chronological Table. 1742. Establishment of first synagogue, in Oyster Row (probably in house of Nathaniel Jacobs). 1749. Burial Ground purchased by Benjamin Levi, Mordecai Samuel, Lazarus Moses, and Mordecai Moses. Synagogue removed to White's Row, on present site. 1758. The great Drowning Disaster: eleven lives lost (10th February). 1766. Quarrel concerning the Chief Rabbinate. Followers of Rabbi Meshullam Zalman secede from Congregation, and set up their own synagogue in Daniel's Row (18th February : the synagogue consecrated 19th July). Old Congregation formally affiliated to Great Synagogue in London. 1770. Ladies' Benevolent Association established. 1771. Friendly agreement with the Secessionists. 1780. Synagogue reconstructed on present site?the same building which is now in use. 1789. Secessionists rejoin main body. 1804. Foundation of Benevolent Association (Neveh Zedek). 1837. David Levy invited to serve as City Councillor, but refused. 1841. Emanuel Emanuel elected City Councillor. 1842. Synagogue reconstructed. 1851. Alms-houses built. THE EARLY MINISTERS OF THE PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY. Aaron ben Moses, " who fixed times for study and devoted his soul and spirit to the service of his Creator " (Commemoration Book). Jacob Kappel, Hazan of the congregation (signatory to Marriage Contract of 1757 : the other witness is Sander of Halberstadt). Isaac Standel, teacher (1764). Moses ben Meir Reinbach, Reader and Scribe (1768). Jacob . . . and David ben Meir, Shamash (Ketubah of 1776). Alexander Sander ben Baruch, or Alexander Barnard (1741-1787-1818) of Salweiler. His term of office was officially reckoned as beginning in 1787, but there is mention of a R. Sander some time earlier. He was succeeded by-Issachar, etc. Jacob Levi (b. 1750-d. 1840). Officiated (as Reader ?) for fifty years, probably c. 1770-c. 1820.</page><page sequence="26">182 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND A. L. Benmohel (1814-1824). The following inscription is on a silver goblet in the possession of Mr. Albert I. Polack of Clifton, a descendant: " Presented by the Hebrew Community of Portsmouth to Rabbi A. L. Benmohel, Lecturer, etc., as a token of Respect and Esteem for Ten Years, Meritorious Service.?23 Sept. 5584." to oVtsnan rran1? tnaotnaa |ntzr&gt; m?? maDnVi ma1? ypb a*w nws nsnoi paa Vs't vaxn ?na1? vna ja maaabK nVnnVi at?1? rrnn nat i1? jni aoa1? 1a1? iawa nwaa Van APPENDIX I. THE CONGREGATIONAL SPLIT OF 1766. The following are the names of the adherents of the two sides, as registered in the earliest Minute-Book : I. " Old " Congregation (White's Row). Benjamin ben Jacob Levi, of Wiesbaden. Mordecai ben Samuel, of R?delheim. Abraham ben Benjamin Zeeb Cohen (= Abraham Woolfe), Schlesinger. Naphtali ben Judah Aaron, of Michelbach. David ben Meir, of Ilfeld. Isaac ben Moses (F?rth). ? ben Judah. Elijah ben R. Simeon Levi (Coblentz). Isaac ben Alexander (Thalmessingen) (= Isaac Alexander*). Gabriel ben Judah Aaron (Michelbach). Samuel ben Menahem (Emanuel) (Sonfeld). Meir ben R. Moses Aaron Cohen. Eleazer ben Moses (F?rth). Isaac Judah ben R. Moses Aaron Cohen. The following (in some cases sons of the foregoing) joined the congregation in the period immediately after the split: Moses ben Aaron (Abraham ?) Levi, of Poole. Levi ben Jacob (?Vptf?). Samuel ben Moses, of Jessnitz. Moses ben Nathan, of Poole. Jacob ben Benjamin Levi. Isaac ben Elchanan (*]N1,,?). Samuel ben Mordecai (R?delheim).</page><page sequence="27">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 183 Moses ben Samuel (Norwich). Akiba ben Samuel (Norwich). Judah ben Meir (Thalmassingen). Zevi ben R. Abraham David (Schwall ? Schwab ?) [^KW]. Zevi ben Abraham Samson (pnHD =Marlborough ?). Jacob ben Akiba (Weissenberg). Leib ben Moses Saul, of blessed memory (Thalmassingen). Wolf Abraham, son of Parnass Abraham Cohen of Portsmouth (= Ben? jamin Woolfe). II. "New" Congregation (Daniel's Row). ?Mordecai ben Moses Levi (Mordecai Moses). *Phineas ben David. Samuel ben Isaac. Zevi ben Judah. Leib N ben Isaac. Jacob ben Naphtali Cohen. Isaac ben R. Judah, Parnass. Samuel ben Noah. Joseph ben Judah (Winchester). Isserle ben Mordecai Moses. Judah ben Moses Segal (=Levi). Judah ben Eleazar. Isserle ben Solomon. Moses ben Mordecai Levi. Judah ben R. Zeeb Segal. Naphtali ben Jehiel. R. Sander, probably to be identified with Sander of Halberstadt, co? signatory to a Marriage Contract of 1757 (supra, p. 163, note 21). * " Old " Members. APPENDIX II. NAVY LIST FOE 1816. LIST OF LICENSED NAVY AGENTS FOE PETTY OFFICEES AND SEAMEN. (Jewish names extracted by, and here reprinted by courtesy of, Mr. Wilfred S, Samuel.) Aaron Abraham, Plymouth Dock. Aaron Joseph, Sheerness. Alexander Sol., Broad St., Portsmouth.</page><page sequence="28">184 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Alexander Levy, Sheerness. Abraham Moses, Bridgwater. Abrahams Samuel, Sheerness. Abraham Phi., College St., Portsea. Aaron Lyon, High St., Chatham. Abrahams Mary, Bridges St., Co vent Gdn. Abrahams Nat., College St., Portsea. Abrahams Hyam, Sheerness. Abrahams Henry, Sheerness. Aaron Abr., High St., Chatham. Abrahams Abraham, Common Hard, Portsea. Aaron Cha. Saul, Plymouth-dock. Barnard D., Hanover St., Portsea. Barnard Aar., King St., Deptford. Cohan Mark, Fore St., Plymouth-dock. Cohan Asher, High St., Chatham. Cohen Mark, 114, Upper East Smithfield. Coppock Joseph, Clifford's Inn. Cohen Joseph, 9, Fishmonger Alley, Southward. Cohan Lewis, Globe-lane, Chatham. Davis J., Heneage Lane, Leadenhall Street. Desouza Daniel, Portsea. Emanuel Abr., James St., Plymouth-dock. Emanuel Emanuel, Deal. Emanuel Ezekiel, Frankfort Place, Plymouth. Emanuel Manly, Frankfort Place, Plymouth. Emanuel John, 18, Bevis Marks, St. Mary Axe. Ezekiel Philip, Plymouth-dock. Franklin Lazarus, Queen St., Portsea. Franklin Abr., Broad St., Portsmouth. Foreman Ben., High St., Sheerness. Friedeberg Morris, Mitre Alley, Portsea. Frideberg Mark, Upper Shadwell, London. Harris Emanuel, Newcastle St., Strand. Hart Samuel, Market St., Plymouth. Harris W., Water St., Strand. Hart Isaac, Broad St., Portsmouth. Hart Emanuel, Fore St., Plymouth-dock. Hart Jos., Common Hard, Portsea. Hart Abraham, Broad St., Portsmouth. Harry Wm., King St., Deptford. Isaac Alex., Somerset St., Aldgate.</page><page sequence="29">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LECTURE. 185 Isaac I., Barbican, Plymouth. Israel Phieneus, Portsmouth. Isaacs Henry, Portsea. Israel Abr., Lemon St., Goodmans Fields. Isaacs Sam., St. Mary Axe, Leadenhall St. Israel David, Broad St., Portsmouth. Isaacs Isaac, 34, Somerset St., Aldgate. Isaac P., 6, Northumberland St., Strand. Joseph Joseph, 72, Fore St., Plymouth-dock. Joseph Nathan, 72, Fore St., Plymouth-dock. Jones Solomon, Bunhill Row. Joseph Samuel, Plymouth. Joseph Sam., Gosport. Joseph Sam., Old Dock, Liverpool. Jacob Abraham, Broad St., Ports. Job Joseph and Job Zephon, Truro. Jacob Lazarus, Sheerness. Jonas Jonas, James St., Plymouth Dock, Julian Mich., James St., Plymouth Dock. Joel Moses, Ratcliffe Highway. Jacob Samuel, Union St., Portsea. Jonas Jacob, York St., Commercial Road. Jonas Baruh R., Corne St., Dock. Jacob John, Broad St., Portsmouth. Jacobs Henry, Prince George St., Portsea. Levy Lyon, Holywell St., Strand. Lord Jacob John, Plymouth Dock. Levy Lyon, St. Mary St., Portsmouth. Levy Mich., St. Mary St., Portsmouth. Levy Sampson, George St., Plymouth. Levy John, Mount Place, Whitechapel. Levey Eliz., Plymouth. Levoi Montague, Cateaton St. Lazarus Lewis, Portsmouth. Levy Joseph, Point St., Portsmouth. Levy Joel, nr. The Parade, Plymouth. Levy John, Clock St., Portsea. Levi Benj. Woolfe, Gibraltar. Lazarus Samuel, 15, Castle Place, Castle St., Whitechapel. Lucas Sol., 309, High St., Chatham. Lyons Joseph, 4, North Corner St., Plymouth Dock. Levy Abraham, Barbican, Plymouth.</page><page sequence="30">186 PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY AND ITS HISTORICAL BACKGROUND Levy Sam, Sunderland. Moses Abr., College St., Portsea. Mordecai M., Queen St., Plymouth Dock. Moses Sam, Wickham St., Portsea. Moss Barrow, Plymouth Dock. Moses Moses, Dover. Moses Jos., Daniel St., Portsea. Moss Abraham, Sheerness. Moses B. Phineus, Plymouth Dock. Moses Jacob, 53, Lime Street. Moses Moses, jun., at Mr. Joseph Moses, South St., Gosport. Moses L, Wickham St., Portsea. Moss Elias, 303, George St., Plymouth Dock. Moss Aaron, 11, Craven Buildings, Drury Lane. Moss H., 33. St. Swithins Lane. Magnus Lazarus, 345, Chatham. Myers Isaac, 2, Wickham St., Portsea. Moses Jacob, Queen St., Plymouth Dock. Moses J., 1, Ordnance Row, Portsea. Nathan Michael, Plymouth Dock. Nathan Lyonel, Plymouth Dock. Nathan Jacob, Broad St., Portsmouth. Nathan H., 13, Swallow Gdns., Rosemary Lane. Nathan Moses, Point St., Portsmouth. Nathan H., 2, Dumsford St., Stonehouse. Nathan Aaron, Plymouth Dock. Nathan Moses, Wapping St. Phillips S., Common Hard, Portsea. Price David, 28, Oyster Street, Portsmouth. Ralph H., Plymouth Dock. Raphael Hyam, 31, Unicorn Street, Portsea. Samuel Nathan, Old Dock, Liverpool. Solomon Emanuel, Canterbury. Samuel Solomon, North Shields. Solomon Solomon, Falmouth. Solomon Samuel, Sheerness. Solomon B., Ordnance Row, Portsea. Solomon M., 13, Southgate St., Exeter. Solomon Sam., New Road, Sheerness. Solomons A., 71, Rosemary Lane. Symonds Alex., Plymouth Dock. Sloman Joseph, Plymouth Dock.</page><page sequence="31">?FIRST LADY MAGNUS MEMORIAL LEOTUBE. 187 Symons T., George's St., Plymouth Dock. Solomons SoL, Butcher St., Portsea. Simon Joseph, Union St., Portsea. Symons Mos., College St., Portsea. Solomon Moses, 13, Southgate St., Exeter. Solomons Samuel, 4, Butler's Buildings, E. Smithfield, Lond. Simeon Joseph, Ordnance Bow, Portsea. Solomon S., Butcher St., Portsea. Symonds Moses, 6, College St., Portsea. Yoell Ab., Point St., Portsmouth. Zachariah Levy, junr., Portsmouth. Zaohariah Levy, Portsmouth. The Seal of the Portsmouth Synagogue See pp. 161-162.</page><page sequence="32">The Portsmouth Synagogue, 1780. A Reconstruction by Georges Lukomski.</page></plain_text>

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