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The Wanderers and other Jewish Scholars of my Youth

Norman Bentwich

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Plate 6 Map of Hampstead and Maida Vale showing homes of Schechter and the "Wandering Jews". {from Bacon* s Atlas, 1885, in half'inch squares) Sch ? Solomon Schechter A ? Israel Abrahams G ? L. G. Greenberg B ? Herbert Bentwich D ? Arthur Davis M ? Asher Myers H ? Isidore Harris J ? Joseph Jacobs Z ? Israel Zangwill S ? Solomon J. Solomon</page><page sequence="2">The Wanderers and Other Jewish Scholars of My Youth1 By Professor Norman Bentwich, O.B.E., M.C., M.A., LL.D. IWAS greatly honoured by being chosen to be President of this august and learned Society. I realize that I have passed from the condition of an enfant terrible to a funny old thing', but I am full of apprehension about my address this evening. When I read the addresses of my predecessors, which are preserved in the Transactions of the Society, I felt that I could not emulate that scholarly company in historical research. I thought that, being older than most of your Presidents, and having reached the stage of second childhood, it might be fitting to compose from my fading memory, and from such documents as I could find, a picture of some Jewish scholars in this country whom I had known in my first childhood. I could speak of scholars, if not of scholarship, and indulge in what Americans, I believe, call oral history. That is a record by living persons about those who have had a part in big events and the cultural development of the time. In my boyhood I had the opportunity of knowing some of the Giborei Hador, the mighty men of the generation, or rather of two generations, those who were then the cultural leaders of the Jewish community, and those who were to become leaders. It is of some scholars of these two generations that I shall speak. I am the more conscious of falling below your learned tradition because I follow as President a fine scholar who brings the integrity of deep learning to his every literary effort. And I am the more conscious of my second childhood because it was his father, Dr. Lionel Barnett,2 who once taught me Greek prose and Greek verse, and made me understand the meaning of exact scholarship. In 1883, the year I was born, Anglo-Jewry was at a turning point of its economic, social and cultural history. The stream of immigration from Eastern Europe, from Russia and Roumania, had begun to flow in a flood and was bringing to these shores a mass of manual workers, tailors and cabinet-makers. They were without any material capital; but many of them were possessed of that love of learning and devotion to Judaism which marked the Jews of the European Ghetto. It brought, too, a few Jewish scholars of eminence. Pre-eminent among them Solomon Schechter3 arrived in 1882, coming not direct from his native Roumania, but from Berlin, where he was a teacher at the 1 Presidential address delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 9th November, 1960. 2 Lionel David Barnett, (1871-1961); C.B., M.A., Litt.D. (Cantab.), F.B.A.; Keeper, Depart? ment of Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts, British Museum; Lecturer in Indian History, School of Oriental Studies; Warden and Elder, Spanish and Portuguese Community, London; editor of El Libro de los Acuerdos and Bevis Marks Records; prolific writer in the field of Indian and Oriental history. 8 Solomon Schechter, (1850-1915). Born, Foscani, Rumania; received traditional Jewish education and studied at Vienna and Berlin (Hochschule f?r die Wissenschaft des Judenthums and University). Came to London in 1882. Lecturer in Talmud at Jews' College. Reader in Rabbi nics, Cambridge (1890-1901) and Goldsmid Professor of Hebrew, London. Went to New York as President of Jewish Theological Seminary, 1901; founder of United Synagogue of America. Discovered Cairo Geniza (1896) containing 50,000 manuscripts and fragments including the Hebrew version of Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira). His writings included Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology (1909), Studies in Judaism and Documents of Jewish Sectaries (1910). Editor of Jewish Quarterly Review, Jewish Publication Society of America Bible Translation, and the Jewish Encyclo? pedia. 51</page><page sequence="3">52 THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH Hochschule f?r die Wissenschaft des Judenthums. The late Dr. Claude Montefiore,1 who with his sister Alice (Mrs. Henry Lucas2) had gone to study at the Hochschule, brought Schechter to England as his tutor in Rabbinics, recognizing that he had a rare spiritual quality. Schechter remained here for twenty years; and they were fruitful and decisive years in the field of Anglo-Jewish culture. He brought immense know? ledge, a burning passion for Judaism and, above all, a human approach to learning. And he was the central figure, the inspiration of two generations and two communities, a Socrates of English-speaking Jewry, teaching by dialogue. My paper is largely about his influence. Till the eighties the British community was culturally backward compared with German Jewry, which counted amongst its men of learning and scholars Zunz, Stein? schneider, Geiger, Frankel and Lazarus. English Jews had produced scarcely any books of Jewish scholarship, history, or creative literature about Jewish life. It had not then a historical society. Inspired by Schechter, an informal group was formed in North-West London, partly of English-born amateur scholars and communal workers, partly of foreign-born professional scholars, to discuss seriously questions of Judaism. At that time the recognized forum in London for Jewish lectures and discussion was the literary society attached to the Rabbinical seminary, Jews College. That institution had at different times several habitations, but all of them in Bloomsbury. There Jewish scholars, mostly of continental origin, and English Christian scholars would talk to an audience, which included not only the ministers, teachers and the students, but the lay-leaders of the community, such as Frederick Mocatta3 who gave our library, a Jewish Sir John Simon, Q.C., M.P.,4 and Dr. Claude Montefiore. The English soldier archaeologists of the Bible Land, Colonel Conder and Herbert Kitchener, talked there of the walls of Jerusalem, the Canaanite religion and the Tombs of the Maccabees. It was all very decorous. 1 Claude Joseph Goldsmid Montefiore, (1858-1938). Born London, son of Nathaniel Mayer Montefiore and Emma, daughter of Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid; educated at Balliol College, Oxford and at the Hochschule fur die Wissenschaft des Judenthums, Berlin (1881-82). Hibbert lecturer, 1892; Hon.D.D. Manchester, D.Litt. Oxford; awarded British Academy medal for biblical studies. Joint editor Jewish Quarterly Review (1808-1908), author of the Synoptic Gospels (1909) and other works on Judaism and the origins of Christianity. Founder of the Jewish Religious Union and subsequently of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue. President, Anglo-Jewish Association (1896-1921) and University College, Southampton (1915-34). 2 Alice Lucas, (Mrs. Henry Lucas) (1851-1935). Sister of Claude Montefiore. President of the Jewish Study Society from 1900. Poetess and author. Her many publications included translations from the German poets, the Children's Pentateuch, 2, translation of David CassePs Manual of Jewish History and Literature, Songs of Zion, and The Jewish Year, a collection of devotional poems. 3 Frederick David Mocatta, (1828-1905). Partner in Mocatta and Goldmid, bullion brokers to the Bank of England. Philanthropist, particularly interested in charity administration and reform, housing, hospitals and nursing, and patron of learning. Vice-President, Charity Organiza? tion Society; Chairman, Charity Voting Association; Vice-President, Board of Guardians; President, Home for Aged Jews; Vice-President, Anglo-Jewish Association; President, Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, 1887. Bequeathed his library to the Jewish Historical Society; it is now housed in the Mocatta Library, University College, London. Author of The Jews and the Inquisition and Jews at the Present Time. 4 Sir John Simon, (1818-1897). Born Jamaica, educated Liverpool and at University College, London; called to the Bar, Middle Temple, 1842; practised law in Spanish Town, Jamaica, 1843-45; returned to England 1845. Deputy county-court judge 1858; serjeant-at-law 1864; acted as commissioner of assize and presided at City of London Court; Q.C. 1868; M.P. for Dewsbury 1868-88; knighted 1886. Spokesman in House of Commons for Jews of Russia, Rumania, Serbia and Morocco; originator of campaigns leading to Mansion House and Guildhall meetings, 1882; a founder of Anglo-Jewish Association 1871; associated with Reform Synagogue from 1842. Married Rachel, sister of Charles Salaman, the composer.</page><page sequence="4">THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH 53 The group formed around Schechter, on the other hand, was essentially for talk and discussion, much more intimate, and altogether informal. The meetings were never reported; and unfortunately they had no Boswell for their Dr. Johnson. The group started in Schechter's house in Gascony Avenue, Kilburn, but they had no fixed meeting place. The members gathered in each other's houses. They were known as the Wanderers or the Wandering Jews both for this reason, and because they were allowed to wander from the subject of discussion as the spirit moved them. They included Israel Zangwill1 the novelist, Joseph Jacobs2 and Lucien Wolf,3 two eminent publicists who had a special devotion to the then unexplored field of Anglo-Jewish history both before and after the Exile, Asher Myers4 the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, who held a deep regard and respect for learning and was a friend of all scholars, Israel Abrahams5 the one native-born professional Jewish scholar, who was a tutor at Jews' College, and Oswald Simon,6 son of Sir John Simon, (mentioned above), an earnest amateur theolo? gian. They were mostly hard smokers Attached to the group were some professional men but not men of letters, such as my father7 who was a lawyer, my uncle Solomon 1 Israel Zangwill (1864-1926). Born London, educated Jews' Free School and London University; after teaching at the Jews' Free School became a journalist and published his first novel, The Premier and the Painter in 1888; novels of Anglo-Jewish life included The Children of the Ghetto (1892), Ghetto Tragedies (1893), Dreamers of the Ghetto (1898) and The King of Schnorrers (1894). His most famous play The Melting Pot (1908) dealt with Jewish emigrants to America. Supported Herzl from his first visit to England (1896); after Herzl's death (1904) founded and directed Jewish Territorial Organization to promote Jewish emigration to any suitable country. Married Edith Chaplin (1903), daughter of W. E. Ayrton, electrical engineer and physicist. 2 Joseph Jacobs, (1854r-1916). Born Sydney, N.S.W.; educated Sydney and London Univer? sities and St. John's College, Cambridge. Studied at Berlin under Steinschneider and Moritz Lazarus, and anthropology under Sir Francis Galton. Hon. Secretary, Russo-Jewish Committee 1882-1900; organizer of Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, 1887; founder and President of the Jewish Historical Society of England. Editor of Jewish Year Book (1896). Went to America in 1900 as revising editor, Jewish Encyclopedia. Registrar and Professor of English, Jewish Theological Seminary; editor, American Hebrew (1913-16). His very many works covered anthropology, statistics, Jewish history (particularly medieval), folklore, literature and philosophy. 3 Lucien Wolf, (1857-1930). Born London, educated privately and Athenee Royale, Brussels, and in Paris; sub-editor and editor, Jewish World (1874-1908); foreign editor, Daily Graphic, (1890-1909); secretary of Joint Foreign Committee of Board of Deputies and Anglo-Jewish Associa? tion (1917-30) and representative of Anglo-Jewry at Paris Peace Conference, 1919. Founder and President (eight times) of Jewish Historical Society of England; author of many works on Anglo Jewish history (particularly of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries) and on foreign policy. 4 Asher Isaac Myers, (1848-1902). Joint proprietor, Jewish Record, 1868; joined Jewish Chronicle in 1869, business manager 1875, editor and part proprietor in 1878. Treasurer and founder of Jewish Workingmen's Club; Treasurer of the Maccabeans; one of the organizers of the Anglo-Jewish Historical Exhibition, 1887; Board of Guardians (1898-1902), Chairman of Tem? porary Allowances Committee (1898-1902). 5 Israel Abrahams, (1858-1925). Born London, educated Jews' College and University College, London; M.A. London and Cantab.; Lit.D., Western Pennsylvania; D.D. Hebrew Union College. Senior Tutor at Jews' College; Reader in Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature, Cambridge. President, Jewish Historical Society of England. Author of many works on Jewish literature, religion and philosophy. Married Frederica, daughter of Rev. Simeon Singer. 6 Oswald John Simon, (1855-1932). Youngest son of Sir John Simon, Serjeant-at-law. Educated privately and Balliol College, Oxford where he was a contemporary of C. G. Montefiore; devoted his life to intellectual pursuits and communal and religious work; lay preacher, wrote novels and essays, contributed to Jewish Quarterly Review and other periodicals. Active in affairs of West London Synagogue, Anglo-Jewish Association, Joint Foreign Committee, Russo-Jewish Committee. 7 Herbert Bentwich, (1856-1932). Born London, educated Solomon's boarding school, Edmonton, Whitechapel Foundation and University College, London; LL.B. 1877; called to Bar, Inner Temple, 1903. Started public life by working for Board of Guardians and in connection with several Jewish educational projects. Founder of the Hampstead Synagogue; founder member</page><page sequence="5">54 THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH J. Solomon1 the painter and Royal Academician, and Arthur Davis2 a civil engineer. They all lived in the half-Bohemian area of Kilburn and St. John's Wood, and they formed a set as momentous for the thought and literature of Anglo-Jewry as the Bloomsbury set, forty years later, was in English thought and literature, and as the Kulturverein, forty years earlier, had been in German Jewry. They were rebels against "the coldness, the overpowering sanity" of the Judaism of the official community, which Schechter dubbed "flunkey Judaism" because of its deference to the wealthy oligarchy. They were concerned to revive the ardent Jewish spirit which was dormant in England after the achievement of political and civil equality. For them the problem of Judaism began where the problem of Jews ended. Schechter quickly learnt to express himself, in speech and in writing, in vigorous English, and his published Studies in Judaism,3 written in a scintillating style, made a deep impression on the Christian as well as the Jewish public. Schechter, too, was concerned at the neglect of their own cultural and literary heritage by Jews in England when they had the opportunity of sharing fully the English cultural life. In a series of articles in the Jewish Chronicle on the Hebrew manuscripts in the British Museum, he revealed the treasures of scholarship and the human interest in these manuscripts, which other scholars had failed to notice. Every manuscript had a certain individuality, it was the product of a living being. He recorded the note of a copyist of a Rabbinical treatise: "I beseech the reader not to judge me harshly when he finds mistakes. For when I was engaged in copying, God blessed me with a son and I could not attend to my business properly." "So everything in the manuscript," he wrote, "the arrange? ment of the matter, the remarks of the owner, the signature of the copyist, sets the reader thinking, and may contribute sidelights to the history of the Jews." England was amazingly rich in Hebrew manuscripts. The collection at the British Museum was surpassed only by the Bodleian Library. Both indeed were to be surpassed by the epoch-making discovery, or rather recovery, by Schechter himself of the buried medieval archives of the oldest Jewish community of Cairo, which was known as the Geniza. Schechter, being the then Reader in Rabbinics at Cambridge, explored in 1896 the mass of buried and half-forgotten manuscripts, documents and books in Old Cairo, brought it to the library of his University of Cambridge, and there revealed its treasures. That was the strongest light thrown on Jewish life and letters in antiquity and the Middle Ages, until the discovery in recent years of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other manuscript treasures in the caves and under the mounds of the Wilderness of Judea. 1 Solomon Joseph Solomon, (1860-1927). Born London, educated South London School, Royal Academy Schools, Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, and Munich Academy; painter of portraits and biblical and classical scenes; A.R.A. 1896; R.A. 1906; President, Royal Society of British Artists, 1918; in First World War organized camouflage as Lieut-Col., Royal Engineers; founder and Vice-President, Maccabeans. 2 Arthur Davis, (1846-1906). Born Derby, joined his father's engineering business; self taught Hebrew scholar; published The Hebrew Accents of the Twenty-One Books of the Bible (1892); began new edition of Hebrew and English Machzor, completed after his death by Herbert M. Adler; member of Council of Jews' College and Jewish Religious Education Board. Father of Elsie and Nina Davis (Mrs. Redcliffe Salaman). 3 Studies in Judaism, 1st Series 1896, 2nd Series 1908, 3rd Series 1924. of the Maccabeans; supporter of Herzl when he first came to England; organized Maccabean pilgrimage to Palestine in 1897: founder and first President of English Zionist Federation, delegate to many Zionist Congresses; took part in negotiations for Balfour Declaration; champion of rights of alien immigrants to Great Britain; founder and first President of the First Lodge of B'nai B'rith; represented B'nai B'rith on Committee of Jewish Delegations at Peace Conference in Paris, 1919. Proprietor and editor for many years of Law Journal Settled in Jerusalem 1929.</page><page sequence="6">THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH 55 Schechter combined the gentle human touch in dealing with records of the past with an ardent passion for Judaism and a power of roaring, when he was provoked, about the present "deviations." He was a lion in the den of the wandering Daniels. One of the group wrote of him: "I can see him rising from his chair, pacing up and down the room like a wounded lion, and roaring retorts." Like the Wanderers I am wandering from my subject, and I must return to them and to my boyhood memories of some of them. One who was frequently in our home was Joseph Jacobs. We children loved him because he would bring us books of fairy stories which he wrote. I would say a few words about him, though, as a founder and President of this Society, he has been commemorated in our annals. Joseph Jacobs was a most versatile character. Born in Sydney, he came to England with an academic reputation which he enhanced as a student at Cambridge, where he was Senior Moralist. He preceded an even more famous Australian scholar-immigrant, Samuel Alexander,1 who was to be the first Jewish fellow of an Oxford or Cambridge college, and England's leading philosopher. Jacobs felt a call to the Jewish people's service after the appearance of George Eliot's romance Daniel Deronda2 with its Jewish hero and its stirring Zionist message. The book influenced him in two ways. It roused his Jewish pride; and the unfriendly criticism of the book by English reviewers made him conscious of a sub-conscious prejudice against Jews. He decided that he would acquire more knowledge of Judaism, and for that purpose he went to Germany to study at the Berlin Hochschule some years before Schechter arrived there. Before Schechter came to London Jacobs had written essays on the Jews, contributed to The Times a series of articles on the Russian persecution, and started on his studies of two periods of Jewish history, the Golden Age of Spain, and the medieval Jewish settlement in England. I remember the conclusion of one of his essays, on the Jewish problem. It was the wise but futile advice; "let us make fools of our children." He was waiting, as it were, to be inspired with a living doctrine of Judaism, and he proved a faithful disciple of Schechter. He had a pioneering spirit, a kind of cultural Chalutziut. Besides his part in the founding of this Society, he was the first editor of the Jewish Year Book which has become as essential to the community as its weekly organ. As the Jewish Chronicle in those days was more literary than the Chronicle of today, so is the Jewish Year-Book of the 1890's than the Year Book of the 1950's. Jacobs announced in the first issue3 that he would mitigate the aridity of the facts by poems and essays of his friends. That issue included three such contributions: Moods of the Jewish Year by Israel Zangwill, being a collection of poems on the Festivals; Jewish Table Customs by Israel Abrahams; Jewish Messiahs by the editor himself. In addition, there was an article on Jewish celebrities of the nineteenth century, which was reprinted in subsequent years. Literary articles of the second issue, which appeared in the year of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, were more prosaic; The Queen's Jews, 1837-97 by Lucien Wolf, and Alien Immigration by L. J. Greenberg,4 future editor of the Jewish Chronicle. There was 1 Samuel Alexander (1859-1938). O.M., M.A., Litt.D., F.B.A. Born Sydney, N.S.W., educated Wesley College, Melbourne, University of Melbourne, Balliol College, Oxford; philosopher. Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford; Professor of Philosophy, Manchester University; President Aristotelian Society. Many publications on philosophical subjects. 2 George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), Daniel Deronda, 1875. 8 1896. 4 Leopold Jacob Greenberg, (1861-1931). Born Birmingham, educated Northwich School under Rev. A. P. Mendes; University College School. Many years prominent in Zionist movement; E</page><page sequence="7">56 THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH less Who's Who but more What's What than when, after four issues, Joseph Jacobs went to America, and was succeeded as editor by the Rev. Isidore Harris.1 The Literary Supplement disappeared. Failing to get due recognition in Anglo-Jewry, perhaps because he was an indepen? dent rebel against the bourgeois Philistines, Jacobs migrated to America in 1900, two years before Schechter, to take up the position of literary editor of the Jewish Encyclopaedia. He wrote many articles for the Encyclopaedia, including one on the Wandering Jew; but it was, alas, not about the Kilburn and St. John's Wood circles. He died in America a few months after Schechter. General Smuts' theory of Holism, that the whole is something greater than the parts, is illustrated by the literary harvest of the Wanderers. The books and essays of Schechter, Jacobs and Lucien Wolf, Zangwill and Israel Abrahams, were stimulated by that free talk and exchange of thought which they enjoyed in the peripatetic circle. And the three musketeers of the group, Schechter, Jacobs and Zangwill, carried their influence across the ocean, and strengthened the Jewish faith in that larger community. It is notable that the Jewish Publication Society of America, founded in 1888, published amongst its first books Israel Zangwill's Children of the Ghetto, Nina Salaman's Songs of Exile, and Lady Magnus's Outlines of Jewish History. Anglo-Jewry in that age gave writers for American Jewry. One of the offshoots of the Wanderers was a more formal club which was formed in 1891, after Schechter was appointed to Cambridge, with the fine name The Maccabeans. It was reserved for Jews in the literary and learned professions and the arts, to the exclusion of those engaged in commerce, a Jewish reflection of Victorian prejudice. Zangwill said that it was an attempt to focus the Jewish men of brains. Schechter wrote: "it had a fine-sounding name, regular and honorary members, dinners and toasts, and all the paraphernalia of an English club, but was rather respectable." Its first President was my uncle Solomon, the painter, who was on the fringe of the Wanderers', its second President was Colonel Albert Goldsmid,2 a figure of romance and an ardent lover of Zion years before Herzl's star shone in the sky. His successor was Marion Spielman,3 brother-in-law of Viscount Samuel, an art critic and writer for Punch; and its 1 Rev. Isidor Harris (1853-1925). Born London, son of Rev. H. L. Harris, rabbi of Hambro' Synagogue; educated Jews' College and University of London. Preacher and Second Reader, North London Synagogue, 1874; Assistant Minister, West London Synagogue, 1880-1928; appointed Chief Minister, 1928. Vice-President, Jewish Religious Education Board; editor of Jewish Year Book from 1900; author of histories of Jews' College and the United Synagogue (in the Jewish Chronicle, 1921), and of a memoir of F. D. Mocatta. 2 Albert Edward Williamson Goldsmid, (1846-1904). Born Poona, son of Henry Edward Goldsmid, H.E., I.C.S.; commissioned in 104th Bengal Fusiliers, 1866; Colonel 1894; Assistant Adjutant-General 1897; returned to Judaism, 1870; represented Baron de Hirsch in organizing I.C.A. settlements in Argentine, 1892-94; Zionist and Chief of the Hovevei Zion in Britain; founder of the Jewish Lads' Brigade. 3 Marion Harry Spielman, (1858-1948). Born London, educated University College, London and in France. Contributor, Pall Mall and Westminster Gazettes', editor, Magazine, of Art', F.S.A., Hon. A.R.I.B.A.; officer of the Order of Crown of Belgium, Chevalier of Order of Leopold; Vice-President, Royal Society of Literature; friend and biographer of Ruskin; historian of Punch and author of many works on art. Reputed the wittiest after-dinner speaker in Edwardian London. Married Mabel, sister of Viscount Samuel. personal friend of Herzl and Nordau; Hon. Secretary of English Zionist Federation from its foundation until 1908; director of Jewish National Fund, of which founder; executive of Zionist Organization; interested Balfour and Chamberlain in Zionism in 1899. Editor of Jewish Chronicle, 1907; founder of Jewish Year Book.</page><page sequence="8">THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH 57 fourth President was Sir Israel Gollancz,1 uncle of Victor Gollancz and the foremost Shakespearean scholar of the time. In these early years the legal dynasty of the presidents had not started; and lawyers were kept in their place as clerks and secretaries. The Club held serious meetings as well as dinners; and in its early years was ardent in fostering Jewish causes and values. To it Herzl came to expound his solution of the Jewish problem, the Judenstaat, in what would be called today a premiere of a public performance. But after some years the serious study passed to this Society for Jewish History, which was another offshoot. If Schechter was the spiritual force of the Wandering Jews, the compere was the modest Asher Myers, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle. No scholar himself, he loved scholars and men of letters, and had understanding and admiration for literary men. Schechter wrote of him in an obituary: "besides being editor, his most prominent characteristic was that of being a friend. Learning had a special claim on him, whether represented by individuals or by societies." Zangwill characterized his generosity to young authors in a remark: "Myers would say to us: take my stamps: they are better than yours." I found in the Mocatta Library a copy of Zangw?Ts Dreamers of the Ghetto, with a hand-written dedication to Myers: "In memory of the Wandering Jews" Elsewhere he spoke of "those never-to-be-forgotten evenings at Asher Myers' of the Wandering Jews." As editor of the weekly paper Myers could and did encourage serious writing on the problems of Judaism and on Jewish literature. For instance, Israel Abrahams wrote a weekly column on Books and Bookmen. Another and more emphatically learned organ was open to the Wandering scholars, and was established largely for their benefit. The Jewish Quarterly Review was founded by Claude Montefiore in 1888, and edited jointly by him and Israel Abrahams. It was designed to give Anglo-Jewry a learned review which might emulate those in Germany and France, and it had a specific English character of being human and open not only to professionals, but also to amateurs. The first volume included notable essays by Schechter on the Dogmas of Judaism, by Graetz the German-Jewish historian, on the Significance of Judaism, by Zangwill, analysing the two former articles in a brilliant piece of dialectic, and pointing to the intellectual confusion characteristic of English Judaism, and by Katie (Lady) Magnus2 on the National Idea of Judaism. The participation of women in the cultural stirring and Jewish scholarship is notable. Women had then no active part in the synagogue or in the representative bodies of the community; but perhaps that very exclusion stimulated their literary interest. The general movement for emancipation of women was bound to affect the eager minds 1 Sir Israel Gollancz, (1863-1930). Born London, son of Rev. S. M. Gollancz, minister of the Hambro' Synagogue and brother of Rabbi Sir Hermann Gollancz; educated City of London School, University College, London and Christ's College, Cambridge; lecturer in English, Cam? bridge and London Universities; professor of English Language and Literature, King's College, London, 1905-30; Litt.D. Cantab., 1906; corresponding member Royal Spanish Academy and Medieval Academy of America; Knight Bachelor 1919; President, Philological Society; Chairman Shakespeare Association. A founder and the first secretary of the British Academy (1902); honorary secretary of committee for foundation of national theatre. Member of Council, Jews' College, where he successfully campaigned for the introduction of the conferment of the rabbinate; President of Union of Jewish Literary Societies and of the Maccabeans. 2 Lady Kate Magnus, (1844-1924). Daughter of Alderman Emanuel Emanuel, J.P., some? time Mayor of Portsmouth; began a career at age of 17 as teacher in classes of Portsmouth community; published children's books anonymously 1865-69. Married Sir Philip Magnus, 1870; taught at West London Synagogue classes; identified with Jewish Girls' Club in Leman Street, founded 1880. Author of popular histories, e.g. About the Jews, Outlines of Jewish History, Jewish Portraits.</page><page sequence="9">58 THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH amongst them. Besides Lady Magnus, Mrs. Alice Lucas wrote on Jewish literature and translated Hebrew poems, Miss Bella Lowy, the daughter of a scholarly minister of the Reform Synagogue, translated the five solid volumes of Graetz' History of the Jews, then the one comprehensive book on that subject, and from 1894 Nina Davis (later Salaman),1 starting at the age of seventeen, published translations of Jewish medieval poetry in the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Quarterly Review. She and Alice Lucas combined scholarship with deep poetical feeling. The father of Nina, Arthur Davis, is another example of the stirring of Jewish consciousness among the laymen. A skilled engineer by profession, of a family settled in Derby which had the tiniest Jewish congregation, he devoted himself in his leisure to Hebrew learning, and taught it diligently to his two daughters, starting at 7 a.m. each morning. He retired from his profession in order to work systematically on Jewish scholarship, came to London and lived in Kilburn. Though not a member of the inner circle of the Wanderers, he was in close relation with them, and conceived the ambition to make a contribution to knowledge and the synagogue service. His first study was of the musical accents in the Massoretic text of the Bible, an abstruse enough subject for an amateur. Then he turned to the larger task of editing a translation of the Festival Prayer-Book, the Machzor. Schechter had commented in one of his essays on the need for such an edition, and Arthur Davis determined that it should be carried out with the greatest accuracy, both in the Hebrew text and the English version. To this end he had the co-operation of his daughters and of Israel Zangwill who translated the poems in verse; and of another lay scholar, Herbert Adler,2 a lawyer nephew of the then Chief Rabbi Hermann Adler, for the prose translation. The result of the joint enterprise was a version which for half a century has been acknowledged as the best in the English tongue, a worthy companion to the edition and translation of the Daily Prayer Book by the Rev. Simeon Singer.3 Singer was another scholar of my youth?but not, I think a Wanderer. Schechter was appointed lecturer, and later Reader, in Rabbinics in Cambridge in 1890, and lived at Cambridge for twelve years. He moved from the small circle of the Wanderers in London into the large academic atmosphere of the University, and burst on the new Christian society, as he had on the earlier Jewish society, with the force of an explosive bomb. The Kilburn and St. John's Wood circle without him soon came to an end, though some of its members would from time to time stay with him. So we find him writing to Zangwill in 1891: "Come and stay next Sabbath. We could 1 Nina Salaman, (1877-1925). Daughter of Arthur Davis, editor of the Machzor; poetess and translator of Hebrew poetry including contributions to the Davis-Adler Machzor; married Dr. Redcliffe Salaman, F.R.S., 1901; nominated President, Jewish Historical Society, 1922, but unable to accept office because of ill-health. 2 Herbert Marcus Adler, (1876-1940). Nephew of Dr. Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi; educated City of London School and St. John's College, Cambridge; M.A., LL.M.; Whewell Scholar in International Law and Stewart of Rannoch Hebrew Scholar; Captain, R.A.S.C., First World War and awarded M.B.E.; Director of Jewish Education, 1922-39. Publications included An Outline of Life and Works of Maimonides, the joint editorship with Arthur Davis of the Machzor, and legal works. 3 Simeon Singer, Rabbi (1846-1906). Born London, educated Raab, Hungary, Jews' College School and Jews' College, London. Minister of the Borough Synagogue, 1867 and Headmaster of Jews' College School; Minister of New West End Synagogue, 1878. Exponent of progressive Orthodoxy; original supporter of Jewish Religious Union, 1902, but withdrew 1903. Close friend of Herzl; in his house Herzl first unfolded in London his project of a Jewish State. Emissary abroad for Russo-Jewish Committee, 1891-1905; committee of Jewish Education Board; President of Jewish Ministers' Union. Editor and translator of the Authorized Daily Prayer Book.</page><page sequence="10">THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH 59 then have a talk about Sabbatai Zvi, about whom I intend one day to write an essay under the title: The Theological Bubble" That week-end no doubt left its mark on Zangwill's essay The Turkish Messiah of Smyrna, which is included in his Dreamers of the Ghetto. The preface to that book contains also an acknowledgement to Schechter "for showing me a Hebrew manuscript about the Master of the Name, and for his luminous essay on the Chassidim," which influenced another of Zangwill's Tales of the Dreamers. Schechter addressed an envoi to the Anglo-Jewish community in four Epistles, published in the Jewish Chronicle in 1901, shortly before he left Cambridge to be President of the Jewish Theological Seminary in America. The Epistles were a brilliant and spirited attack on the section of the community who claimed to be Englishmen of the Jewish persuasion, and on the neglect of Jewish culture. In the fourth he made a moving plea for a revival of Jewish learning. "If ever there was a time when such a revival meant the existence of Judaism, it is this." "With a single exception," he wrote, "Anglo-Jewry was as little represented in the English literature which centres round the Bible as the semi-civilized races." With a double thrust he added: "Unlike the Anglo-Saxons of the Christian persuasion, the Anglo-Saxons of the Jewish persuasion never became Semitic or Hebrew scholars." His assault was a bit impetuous and sweeping, and did not take account of the genuine cultural revival, in great measure stimulated by himself, which was stirring the community in the last decade. True, professional scholars, learned ministers of the synagogues and academic teachers were still few, but the Wanderers were making contributions to Jewish knowledge and litera? ture. And in the year the Epistles appeared, Nina Davis published her first volume of translations of Jewish medieval poetry. Anglo-Jewish Wissenschaft was distinguished from German J?dische Wissenschaft because it was concerned with the present life as much as with the past, it was largely the work of amateurs, and it had a touch of humour. Schechter's departure was a grave loss to the intellectual and spiritual life of the Anglo-Jewish community, and it marked the growing attraction of Jewish scholars to the United States with its Jewish population ten times as big. Schechter's influence, however, remained strong in a group of Cambridge graduates and undergraduates, who had been roused and inspired by him at Cambridge in that little drawing-room of his home which became on the Sabbath afternoon a mixture of Beth Hamidrash and Salon. By the time he left England the Cambridge Hebrew congregation, that had started in 1887 with a bare Minyan, had grown to a congregation of forty or fifty. Members of the circle who gathered in his home to listen to his wit, the biting humour, the vehement storm of feeling against Jingos, Philistines and pretenders of any kind, became the successors of the Wanderers of Kilburn. Like other Epigoni, they were rather a feeble succession. I was one, and I may give a brief account of them. They included a few older men who had been at Cambridge before my time, Lionel Barnett, the father of our former President, who was distinguished equally as a classical scholar and orientalist. Alfred Eichholz,1 married to the daughter of the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Hermann Adler, was a fellow and tutor of Emmanuel College, Cambridge?the only other Jewish don?and then was appointed a senior inspector of schools. Augustus 1 Alfred Eichholz, (1869-1933). Born Manchester, educated Cambridge. University Demonstrator in Physiology, Cambridge, 1894; Assistant Medical Officer and subsequently Chief Medical Inspector, Board of Education, 1908-30, specially interested in education of handicapped children; C.B.E., 1919. Chairman of Central Committee for Jewish Education; President of Union of Hebrew and Religion Classes; Vice-President, Jewish Religious Education Board.</page><page sequence="11">60 THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH Kahn1 was also an inspector of schools. Harry Lewis2 had studied Semitic literature at Cambridge with the idea of entering the Jewish ministry, but then for more than twenty years devoted himself to social work in East London as a resident of Toynbee Hall, and is a tliinly-disguised hero of ZangwilPs Children of the Ghetto. Harold Wiener,3 another Semitic scholar of independent mind and independent means, devoted himself for years to an acute analysis of the higher criticism of the Old Testament. Nearer my generation there was Herbert Adler, mentioned above, who later became director of Jewish education in Britain. A member of our circle, who graduated not at Cambridge but at London University, was Frederick Spiers, son of a Day an, a scientist and also a Talmudic scholar. Our circle met, like the Kilburn Wanderers, in each other's houses or in chambers at Lincoln's Inn. We took ourselves seriously, and had a rather precious Hebrew name, which meant those who extract the sweetness from the root. For short we were called the PI Society. We wrote a series of papers on Conservative Judaism and modern thought, which were published in the Jewish Chronicle, 1907-98. Each extended over two or three closely printed pages of the journal, which would make the present editor ?and readers?shiver. The amateur note was strong; not one of us was a professional scholar. We stood broadly for observance of Jewish tradition and for that idea of Catholic Israel, the living voice of the synagogue at any period of time, which Schechter inculcated. We had not, alas, caught his spark, his flashing phrase; and in these papers we did not produce one epigram between us. We were not a Zionist group, but some of us were actively concerned with the national revival, which we believed to be bound up with the religion. Three eventually lived in the Land of Israel; Michael Lange, my brother-in-law, who settled as a gentleman farmer in Zichron Jacob, Harold Wiener, who devoted himself there to Jewish-Arab understanding, and was tragically cut down in the Arab riots about the Western Wall of the Temple area, 1929, and myself, who was a miserable Government official. My contemporary at Cambridge and school-fellow, Herbert Loewe,4 a grandson of the first principal of Jews' College, remained at the University as a College lecturer in Semitics, and then followed Israel Abrahams in the university readership of Rabbinics, He headed another Cambridge group, which was also originally inspired by Schechter. 1 Augustus Kahn, (?1944); educated Cambridge; lecturer on Commercial Methods, Univer? sity College, London, 1903; headmaster, L.C.C. Camden Secondary School and then Holloway Secondary School, 1907-13; Staff Inspector, Board of Education, 1913; active in the Union of Hebrew and Religion Classes and Jewish Religious Education Board; Vice-President, National Council for Jewish Religious Education. 2 Harry S. Lewis, (1863-1940). Resident at Toynbee Hall, 1889-1909; Stepney Borough Councillor, 1900-06; Honorary Secretary, Sanitary Committee, Board of Guardians, 1905-09. Committee, Jewish Religious Union, 1903-08; Minister, Manchester Reform Synagogue. Emi? grated to U.S.A. and became teacher and chaplain at Jewish Institute of Religion, New York. 8 Harold Marcus Wiener, (1875-1929). Educated St. Paul's School, London and Caius College, Cambridge. Called to Bar 1901. Author of books refuting the Higher Criticism. Migrated to Palestine about 1924 and attempted to act as a peace-maker between the Jews and the Arabs. Killed in the rioting of 1929. 4 Herbert Martin James Loewe, (1882-1940). Son of James H. Loewe and grandson of Dr. Louis Loewe, orientalist and first principal of Jews' College. Educated at St. Paul's School, London and Queens' College, Cambridge. Lecturer for the Board of Oriental Studies and Curator of Oriental Literature in the University Library, Cambridge: Lecturer in Rabbinic Hebrew, Oxford, 1913-31; Reader in Rabbinics, Cambridge from 1931; Honorary Fellow, Queens' College, Cambridge, 1933. His many literary works included Medieval Hebrew Poesy and the editing of Starrs and Charters in the British Museum.</page><page sequence="12">THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH 61 and was centred round Scheduler's successor in the readership, Israel Abrahams. Their special interest was the relation of Jews and Christians, of Judaism and the Gospels. The Christians by this time had more knowledge of Judaism, thanks to Claude Montefiore, Israel Abrahams and at a later date, to James Parkes; and thanks partly to them the Jews had more knowledge of Christianity than in the days of my childhood. The group was part of the movement for inter-faith understanding that is a feature of this century. Loewe was concerned in editing and publishing three volumes of essays, dealing with the historical relations of Judaism and Christianity. The first, on the Age of Transition,1 was contributed mainly by Christian scholars, including Schechter's pupil, Dr. Osterley; Loewe, writing on Pharisaism, was the only Jew among the authors. The second volume, which appeared under Loewe's own editorship, dealt with the Contacts of Pharisaism with other Cultures through the ages. Of the eight essays, five were by Christians, and three by Jews, Loewe, Rabbi L. Rabinowitz and Dr. Erwin Rosenthal who edited the third and last collection in the series on Law and Religion. Loewe was associated, too, with Claude Montefiore, Schechter's disciple of an earlier generation, in an anthology of Rabbinic literature designed both for the scholar and for the general reader.2 The older scholar was more critical; the younger was concerned to emphasize a simple piety. Dr. Charles Singer,3 a contemporary but older scholar in a different field, who, like Loewe, was closely associated with Israel Abrahams, was concerned with Jewish influence on Christian civilization in a different aspect. He was originally engaged in medical and anthropological research, but then found a scientific theme in which his Jewish interest could be combined with general scholarship. He was the pioneer in England of the history of science, and in a remarkable partnership with his wife Dorothea?sister of Sir Robert Waley-Cohen?he made a signal contribution in that field, namely, on the part which Jewish scientists played through the ages. The partnership was comparable with that of Sidney and Beatrice Webb. In a joint essay or duet, contributed to the Legacy of Israel,* of which Charles Singer was a co-editor, they threw a flood of light on the Jewish factor in medieval thought. His solo in the same book on Hebrew Scholarship in the Middle Ages among Latin Christians was a mine of knowledge and a revelation to the common reader. The Legacy of Israel was a volume in a series which expounded the contributions to our western civilization of Greece and Rome, Judaism and Islam, and was designed by Israel Abrahams. Abrahams died before it was published, but the book is a tribute to his impact on Christian thought and to the wider understanding of Jewish culture in which this Society of ours has also its part. Another Cambridge Jewish scientist, or rather man of science, who likewise started as a doctor, and then devoted himself to botanical research, Dr. Redcliffe Salaman, was a pioneer in the study of Jewish anthropology and ethnology. With the encourage? ment of his wife, the poet-scholar Nina Davis Salaman, he produced original studies in 1 Judaism and Christianity, Vol. I ed. W. O. E. Osterley, Vol. II ed. H. Loewe, London, 1937, Vol. HI ed. Erwin J. Rosenthal, 1938. 2 C. G. Montefiore and H. Loewe, A Rabbinic Anthology. London, 1938. Reprinted as The Age of Transition by the World Publishing Co., Ohio, 1960. 3 Charles Singer (1876-1960). M.D., D.Litt., Hon. D.Sc. (Oxford), F.S.A., F.R.C.P. Born Camberwell, son of Rev. S. Singer. Educated City of London School, University College, Magdalen College, Oxford, St. Mary's Hospital and Heidelberg. President of British Society for History of Science and international congresses. Many publications on history of science, medicine, etc. 4 The Legacy of Israel, edited by Edwyn R. Bevan and Charles Singer, 1927.</page><page sequence="13">62 THE WANDERERS AND OTHER JEWISH SCHOLARS OF MY YOUTH what was then a little explored subject. He, too, was devoted to the establishment and development of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from the days when that ideal of spiritual Zionism passed from vision to plan. Charles Singer and Redcliffe Salaman were among the English scholars who took the lead in finding academic posts for Jewish and other scientists and scholars dispaced from Germany, Austria and Italy by the Nazi and Fascist regimes. I come to my last point in this wandering talk, the contribution of some of my contemporary scholars in England to the Jewish and Hebrew renaissance. My Zionism was hereditary, but was stimulated by Schechter, and fortified by my first visit to Palestine in 1908. I had in that visit five companions from this country, including Albert Hyamson, the devoted editor of the publications of our Society, and Leonard Stein, the historian of the Balfour Declaration. Hyamson, Stein and I were later in the much criticized administration of Palestine. Four of the party were graduates of Cambridge University, and I may recall that we had pre-Zionist forerunners at that University. In the days of my boyhood there was a Cambridge Lovers of Zion "tent," as each branch was called by the Chief, Colonel Goldsmid. The officers and committee in 1891 included Osmond d'Avigdor-Goldsmid?father of Sir Henry, Lionel Barnett, Alfred Eichholz, Herbert Adler and Redcliffe Salaman.1 They were a good galaxy, and three were members of the second group of Wanderers. That indicates the link between the concern for Judaism and the national movement, though, in the English way of avoiding theories, we did not indulge in ideologies. After our visit to Palestine we and two Oxford comrades of my youth, Leon Simon and Harry Sacher, were inspired by a Jewish sage from Eastern Europe, a contemporary of Schechter, who sojourned like him in England and exercised an abiding influence on small groups. Asher Ginberg, known as Ahad Ha'am, gave to our group a philoso? phy of Zionism. He was a stranger to the general community, and somewhat isolated from it. But those of us who were privileged to be in his home on a Sabbath eve would drink in his gentle wisdom. Our group became a tiny part of that movement which linked England and Anglo-Jewry with the Jewish National Home in the Land of Israel, and which has been a powerful influence on Jewish life everywhere. What emerges, I hope, from my rambling survey of Jewish wandering scholars in England, the older and the younger, is that Anglo-Jewry, which at the beginning of that period was a cultural backwater, has become in my life the Jewish cultural centre of Europe and a nursery for Israel. 1 Redcliffe N. Salaman (1874-1956). J.P., M.A., M.D. (Cantab.), F.R.S., F.L.S. Educated St. Paul's School, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, London Hospital. Director of Pathological Institute, London Hospital; Director, Potato Virus Research Station, Cambridge; Vice-President, National Institute of Agricultural Botany; governor, Hebrew University; President, Jewish Historical Society of England. Publications: Palestine Reclaimed (1922) and books, articles, etc., on potatoes.</page></plain_text>