|Vol. III, No. 6
Elul 5605, September 1845
The Chief Rabbi of England.—Dr. Adler, the lately elected Chief Rabbi of the United German congregations of England, landed at Dover on Monday the 7th of July, and was, says the Voice of Jacob, “received at his landing by Sir Moses Montefore, who, as sheriff of the county of Kent, and chairman of the Board of Deputies, had resolved on paying this graceful compliment to one called on to fill so sacred and responsible an office among the Jews of this empire.” He left the same day for London. His installation took place on Wednesday the 9th of July, at the Duke’s Place Synagogue, at the entrance of which he was received by the Dayanim, the president, and other officers of the congregation. Being escorted to the vestry room, he was introduced to the delegates of the Board in person, and an address was made to him, to which he duly replied. He was thereupon conducted into the body of the Synagogue, which was crowded in every part, and, it is remarked, that but few non-Israelites were present. The reading desk was occupied by the different ministers of London, in eluding the Hazan of the Portuguese congregation, and also the reverend lecturer of Liverpool. The service then commenced, during which the Rabbi entered, bearing a scroll of the law, under an elegant canopy of blue satin damask and silver. Flowers were strewed in his path by several little boys, sons of the wardens, four of whom also bore the canopy. After the usual afternoon services, offerings were made on behalf of the charities, and they reached the amount of £300. After the inaugural prayer, the Chief Rabbi was formally escorted to the desk, when he delivered his introductory sermon, from Zachariah 3:7. He spoke in German, but finished with a prayer in English. The Voice of Jacob of July the 18th contains a full account of the solemn proceedings, together with a synopsis of the service and sermon, and only our limited space prevents us from copying the whole. But as many of our readers are also in the receipt of this well-conducted journal, we may safely refer them for the particulars to its columns.—Since his installation Dr. Adler has preached in the various metropolitan Synagogues, and has earned thus far the approbation of his constituents. And we confidently hope that his ministry may be blessed with ample results for the welfare of the house of Israel.
Jewish Disabilities Bill.—The bill removing certain disabilities under which English Jews have hitherto laboured was passed finally on Monday the 21st of July by the House of Commons. On second reading it passed by a vote of ninety-three to thirteen. We confidently look forward to a speedy equalization of all Jews in the British empire with their Christian neighbours, and we take this bill as a mere instalment in the debt due to us since the times of the Plantagenets.
Jews of Wurtemberg.—We learn by the last packet from England, through the European Times, that a law has lately been passed in Wurtemberg placing the Jews upon all equality with the other inhabitants of that kingdom.
The Second Rabbinical Meeting, the first having taken place last year at New Brunswick, was opened this year at Frankfort, on the 16th of July, under the presidency of Dr. Stein, the vice president being Dr. Geiger. Potent for evil only at its first inception, it was to be expected that the second concourse of the reforming Rabbis and preachers would produce no better result. We are therefore nowise surprised that the destructive measures proposed last year, have found an echo again in this. Thanks in the name of Judaism to Dr. Frankel, for the noble stand he has taken in opening the eyes of the people to the evil tendencies of the new ideas on religion, lately sprung up in Germany, and we trust that he will not rest with a mere negative opposition, but labour to enlighten the minds of his many admirers to the dangers of our position.—We copy from the Voice of Jacob. “The following notices of motion were made. 1st. That there be established two Jewish theological faculties in Germany. 2d. That all duties towards the state be allowed to be discharged on the Sabbath. 3d. For the abolition of all fast days, in these times of peace, except the Day of Atonement. 4th. For an alteration in the reading of the Torah. 5th. For the establishment of a Jewish theological gazette. Then followed the discussion on the liturgy; previous to which Dr. Z. Frankel proposed that the assembly should first affirm the principles on which they were to act. He placed Judaism on a positive, historical, revealed basis, and on no other. The question was put to the assembly, and that principle was adopted. Six questions connected with the liturgy were then proposed. 1st. It was determined that German prayers should be introduced into the service, admitting the retention of some Hebrew prayers as a matter of expediency. (Here Dr. Frankel, dissenting from the mode of arriving at this decision, formally withdrew from the assembly, and recorded his protest.) 2d. It was resolved, that the name of the Messiah may be mentioned in prayers, but all prayers for the return to Palestine, or for the restoration of the Jewish state, are to be abolished. 3d. The repetition of the ‘Eighteen blessings,’ and the prayer for the restoration of the sacrifices, are to be abolished. 4th. The reading of the Torah is to extend over a period of three years, and the office of Meturgeman is to be restored. 5th. The organ to be introduced in the Sabbath service, and a Jew allowed to play it.
“The foregoing is a hasty digest of the reports published by authority of the meeting, in the daily papers of Frankfort, so far as they have reached us. There were at one time present thirty-one members; an insignificant number indeed, compared with those who have stood aloof, or formally protested against the constitution and tendencies of the meeting. Dr. Frankel and Dr. Schott, who formed part of these thirty-one, have since withdrawn under protest. The position of the firmer gentleman is the following. Feeling how inexpedient it was to abandon the field to the movement party, pressed on by constituents clamorous for a lightening of their religious obligations, coute qui coute, he publicly intimated, prior to the meeting, that if any number of Rabbis, holding moderate views, would signify their intention to attend the meeting, he would also be present. The prejudice prevailing against the most prominent members of the meeting, appears to have kept these moderate men aloof, and yet Dr. Frankel attended; with what effect, may be inferred from his having at the outset, pledged the meeting to a declaration that the whole of their proceedings should be based on revelation, as opposed to rationalism.
“So soon as the first measure, adopted in opposition to his judgment and convictions, exhibited what he deemed too accommodating a spirit, the Rev. Doctor at once seceded and protested. The secession under these circumstances was much animadverted upon by some of the rest; but he has since justified himself by establishing a difference between attendance at the opening of a meeting, and the sanction of its proceedings by a continued presence, when those proceedings became, in his judgment, mischievous. The meeting was to break up on the 28th July, but there had been several manifestations of importance before that date, and the members generally appeared aware of the almost universal opposition which their measures would provoke.”
The Jewish Miscellany, No. II, is in press, and will be issued soon. We acknowledge the receipt of the following donations: Fifteen dollars from the School for the Instruction of the Jewish Doctrine of Charleston, through Miss Henrietta Hart, who herself presents five dollars; five dollars from Mr. D. Lopez; two dollars from Mr. Jacob Cohen; one dollar from Mr. Nathaniel Levin; one dollar from Mr. S. Valentine; and one dollar from Mrs. R. Benjamin, of Beaufort, S. C. Other donations promised will be acknowledged when received by the treasurer.
To Our Readers.—We give up our space this month chiefly to our correspondents. We have been compelled, therefore, to leave out our usual editorial remarks. We think our readers must crave a little variety; hence we present them with the commencement of an interesting tale by Miss Celia Moss, especially written for the Occident. Besides this, we wish it to be noticed, that all the literary contributions are from ladies.—Several other contributions are on hand, and shall appear at the earliest possible time. In the meanwhile, though we have yet a supply, we ask our friends to send us in articles on any subject which they deem of importance; as we love to have a variety on hand to select from.—Owing to the press of matter, we have been compelled to postpone the notices of several pamphlets for another occasion.