|Vol. II, No. 7
Tishry 5605, October 1844
The Chief Rabbi of England.
We have much pleasure in announcing that there is at length probability, or rather certainty, that the above office, vacated about two years ago by the death of the Rev. Mr. Hirschell, will soon be filled by a man every way qualified for so important a trust. The candidates selected are such as would confer honour on any congregation, and two of them, Hirschfeld and Hirsch, are distinguished by their contributions to our religious literature. Dr. Hirschfeld is now only thirty-three years old, and his “Halachishe Exegese,” written four years ago would have done honour to a man of much greater experience once than he could then have had. Rabbi Hirsch, who before his transfer to Emden was for about eleven years Rabbi at Oldenburg, is now thirty-six years old, and is celebrated as the author of Ben Uziel’s Letters and “Horeb” or an “Attempt to explain the duties of Israel in the Dispersion.” Both the works are characteristic of deep thought and being in the spirit of the old orthodox school, they cannot fail of having a strong influence on the mind of our German brethren, in whose vernacular they are composed. Both Hirschfeld and Hirsch are continuing their literacy labours, the one with his Hagadische Exegese, the other with his “Letters,” neither of which continuations has yet reached us. Drs. Adler and Auerbach are less known to us; but this does not tell any thing against them, as the distance which we are placed at from Germany prevents us from becoming as familiar with our great names as we could wish.—As we said, England might well be proud of either of the candidates; still we are inclined to think that Dr. Adler will be elected, owing to many powerful influences at work for him.—We call the attention of our readers to the subjoined extract from the Voice of Jacob, of August 16:
“The Committee appointed for the selection of candidates having, on the 15th of Ab, (31st July) proceeded to the consideration of the various applications for the vacant office, then made a report, which was confirmed by the general Committee on Monday, 5th of August; the substance of it is as follows:
“The applicants were thirteen in number, of these nine not not having complied in various particulars with the published requisitions, were deemed ineligible for selection. The names of the selected candidates are,
Dr. Nathan Adler, Chief Rabbi of Hanover.
“The testimonials and other documents belonging to these reverend gentlemen have been epitomized, and will, in that form, be printed and transmitted to every elector; the original documents remaining for inspection at the vestry chambers of the Great Synagogue, for one month prior to the election.
“The election is to take place, throughout Great Britain, on Sunday, 13th of October (next after the coming Festivals); it is to be by ballot, and no proxies are to be allowed.
“The election return of each Synagogue is to be duly attested by the presiding officer and secretary, and transmitted under seal, by post, to the President of the Central Committee in London, not later than the day next following the election.
“The Central Committee is to meet on Wednesday, the 16th of October, then to declare the result.
“ ‘ In conclusion, the Committee feel pleasure in observing, that so highly satisfactory are the testimonials of the selected candidates, and so high a reputation do these gentlemen respectively enjoy for religion, morality and learning, that on whomsoever the election may fall, there can be no doubt as to the competency of the successful applicant adequately to fulfil his sacral and important functions.’
“It will be remembered that, according to the code of rules adopted by the representatives of the several metropolitan and provincial congregations, assembled in London, in Adar Reshon, 5603, (Feb. 1843,) and published at length on page 121, of the 2d vol. of The Voice of Jacob, each Synagogue is separately to proceed to the election of one of the selected candidates, in a manner agreeably to its own regulations, subject only to the stipulations given above. We understand the mode of proceeding to be the following. Suppose a Synagogue to be entitled to twenty votes on the aggregate returns to be made up in London; the members of such Synagogue will ballot for the four selected candidates in their own vestry; and for whichsoever of them a simple majority shall appear, it is the name of that gentleman only which is to be returned to the central committee, as the Rabbi for whom the whole twenty votes of that congregation are to be estimated on the aggregate returns.
“We have received the following list of the number of votes to be estimated on the aggregate returns, on account of the respective synagogues.
“London—Great (Duke’s Place) Synagogue 50, New (St. Helen’s) 25, Hambro’ (Fenchurch St.) 20, Western (St. Alban’s) 5, Maiden Land 3; Provincial—Liverpool (Seel St.) 8, Liverpool (Hardman St.) 2, Birmingham 4, Manchester 4, Bristol 2, Dublin 2, Edinburgh 2, Portsmouth 2, Plymouth 2, Brighton 1, Chatham 1, Falmouth 1, Glasgow (Old) 1, Glasgow (New) 1, Ipswich 1, Jersey 1, Newcastle 1, Southampton (High St.) 1, Swansea 1, Penzance 1.
“The period at which the above information reaches us, requires a postponement of further comment until a future number; but in order that there may be no misapprehension of the disposition of certain other British Synagogues to submit to the general religious direction and superintendence of the future Chief Rabbi, we have pleasure in explaining that most of the colonial congregations adopting the German and Polish ritual, have already signified their intention to give in their adherence, and to vote an annual contribution proportionate to their extent and resources. This is no less due to their own standing, than necessary to the dignity and efficiency of the sacred office; the requirements of which are but inadequately provided for by the present amount of stipend attached thereto,—so much less than originally declared necessary. Some of the smaller Provincial Synagogues are only apparently unrepresented, in consequence of theie pecuniary inability to subscribe annually to the extent which entitles to a vote.