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בס"ד

English News

London, June 3d, 1847 (5607).

The Laws and Regulations, to which I referred in a former letter, issued some time ago by our Chief Rabbi, have not as yet, strange to say, been adopted in any of the Metropolitan Synagogues, nor, as far as I can learn, have they been introduced either into any of the country congregations. The letter which accompanied them, you will remember, enjoined that they should be carried into effect within three months from the period of their receipt. As for the country communities it is well known that they wait for the London Synagogues to take the lead, it being a fundamental law amongst most of them to regulate their Minhagim according to those of the Great Synagogue, with the authorities of which the whole responsibility in respect to this matter rests. It would appear that a few individuals, to whom one or two of these regulations are distasteful, have been the cause of this delay in their adoption. The means which these few discontents have employed to gain their end, are certainly anything but what can be deemed as straight-forward, manly, or statesmanlike. Instead of stating openly the nature of their objections to certain clauses,—nay, worse, instead of manifesting at the right time (when the Regulations were first presented to the free members of the Synagogue at a special meeting) the slightest discontent with any one of them, these gentlemen actually allow them to pass, at an assembly of which they formed a part, without there being a dissenting voice recorded against them; and when a meeting is in due course called again for their confirmation, these gentlemen not only absent themselves, but induce as many others to remain away as shall render the formation of a quorum quite impossible. This is what has been going on for the last two or three months: the country congregations, who are ready to obey the instructions of their spiritual head, waiting till what may be deemed the parent Synagogue sets them the example; and the Chief Rabbi being insulted by this virtual neglect of his authority, or I should rather call it contempt; for the congregations do not even make known to him the nature of their discontent, nor solicit him to modify what they may regard as exceptionable clauses. I cannot help drawing a contrast between the state of things here and among our younger brethren in America, especially in New York, whence an intelligent correspondent addresses your journal concerning  the “acts” of their Chief Rabbi Dr. Lilienthal, who, he describes, has, within little more than one year, established so much good among his flock. The nature of those acts to which your correspondent more particularly alludes, are almost the same in their tendency as those of our Chief Rabbi here; but how different the treatment which each one receives at the hands of his congregations. Dr. Adler’s Regulations are innocent enough, so to speak, heaven knows, as compared with those of Dr. Lilienthal, and yet see the opposition he meets with, from those too who publicly avow themselves his supporters, those who moved heaven and earth to get him appointed. There is truly a valuable lesson to be taught by looking upon this picture and upon that.

Our Board of Deputies have just been re-formed, and with but very few exceptions the same delegates have been re-elected. Here is another matter which calls for much censuring comment, and I refer you to some excellent letters which have appeared on thc subject in the recent numbers of the Jewish Chronicle, as well as some valuable leading articles in the Voice of Jacob. All that you will find there is called forth by a state of things that warrants the severest condemnation. It would hardly be credited, that a body so important in its constitution, with such extensive opportunities of advancing the interests of the Jews in a country like this, as well as alleviating their sad condition in other less liberal countries, has not, during the whole three years of its term, made one great step to advance the nation to any discernable degree; the whole of their transactions during that period are so unknown to their constituency, that actually when the time has come round for re-election, they have almost forgotten that such a body was in existence: and this is proved by the almost inconceivably few individuals who came to give their votes at the different vestries. At a future time I shall give you some more extended details on this head.

The dissolution  of Parliament is now very near at hand, and already Mr. David Salomons has put forth an appeal to the electors of St. Mary le Bone. His chances are very small, as there is a great number of other candidates better known, and of extensive influence. Sir Isaac Goldsmid has, it is reported in the public journals, declared himself a candidate at Andover. Mr. Francis Goldsmid, a young man of considerable parts, the eldest son of Sir Isaac, is also likely to appear on the lists at the next general election, and Brighton is spoken of as the place he will offer for, where his father holds considerable estates.

I shall most probably address you again by the 17th packet, and will then endeavour to do justice to one or two themes, which, at present, I should not have the opportunity to do more than refer to.

O.

London, 2d July, 1847.

The appeal made by the London Committee of Jewish Deputies to the country congregations, urging them to return representatives to the Board, has already been responded to by several of them, namely, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham. The three last­named comprise the largest and most important of the provincial congregations. You will be interested to learn, that Mr. J. A. Franklin, the founder of the Jewish press in this country, has been elected, together with another gentleman of high standing in his community, to represent the old Manchester congregation. This appointment is considered to be in all respects desirable and appropriate, as, in the first place, Mr. Franklin has, for a long period previous to his residence in London, lived, together with his family (who, I believe, still dwell there), among that community; and, again, the opportunities which have been afforded to that gentleman, during the period of his public connexion with the “Voice of Jacob,” of knowing the condition, social and moral, and also the wants, intellectual and political, of his co-religionists, will render him a great acquisition to this important Board. It is to be hoped that the other country congregations will employ similar judgment in the appointment of their representatives, and then, perhaps, we may expect to find a little of the right spirit infused into this hitherto slothful and inactive body; and in the communications that will occasionally transpire between the country members and their constituency, the public may be now and then let into the secret concerning some of their proceedings. It is really high time that this truly important constitution should be up and doing, not only on account of the demand in this country for the social (I will not say political) advancement of the Jews, but because of the claims upon us which our brethren have, who reside in less favoured and less liberal countries, over all of which England exercises so much moral control. As to our political advancement, I am one of those who deems it best to leave it to the State to make us that concession which is averred on all hands to be our due as British subjects; and I believe our dignity is better maintained thus than by any clamour or agitation on our part, for obtaining that which no enlightened mind denies being our right. It is entertaining to read the discussions  which some of our leading journals are indulging in on this question, suggested by the appearance of Baron Lionel de Rothschild among the liberal candidates for the representation of the city of London at the next general election. I post you a No. of “The Voice of Jacob” just out, in which I find there is an account of the Baron’s public nomination, and a report of his speech at the meeting, together with other interesting matter in reference to the subject. Among the rest, I must not omit to call your attention to the appeal made by the editor of this Journal on behalf of this Jew candidate to the Jew electors. To me it appears that the editor is rather stepping out of his province in making this appeal, as, for my own part, I do not see what this election has so much to do with the Jewish cause, taking the higher and more dignified meaning of that expression (Jewish cause), and, except as an interesting piece of intelligence, to the Jewish public. I cannot justify the editor in any interference whatever in this matter. I say this the more, because I do not see in what way the Baron is likely to lend dignity to, or even respect for the Jewish character, as far as it relates to the Jew and not the citizen; seeing that he is not a strict conformist, such as Sir Moses Montefiore, Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, or men of that stamp. It is true, as a citizen, he does his duty, as a member of the Synagogue, he is liberal, and as a subscriber and supporter of our charities, he is extremely generous; not to speak of his greatness as a commercial man, representing, as he does, one of the wealthiest and the most extensive houses in the commercial world. But these qualities are not enough for displaying the literal Jewish character. Nor will David Salomons supply a better example, for he too has been soliciting the suffrages of two constituencies; but through some insurmountable difficulties, unconnected with anything relating to his religious persuasion, he has been compelled to withdraw in both instances. The Jewish periodicals have ample reports of all the circumstances connected with the subject, and to them I refer you for more detailed intelligence.

Dr. Adler is about to proceed to Hanover, to visit his mother on the occasion of her completing her eightieth year; he will be absent for two or three weeks. His “laws and regulations” are still a dead letter; nothing has transpired respecting them since I last addressed you. The subject of a college, for training ministers and teachers, has to all appearance become a dead letter also. We are told that it is engaging the attention of our high authorities; but the proceedings are so mysterious and noiseless, that the public will know nothing of it, I suppose, until there shall come an appeal to them for raising the necessary funds. I find your journal has been strenuously advocating the foundation of such an institution in America. It would be a shame if the Jews in this country should wait till their younger brethren had set them the example, before they made any ostensible movement in a matter of so much importance. Having said so much to the disadvantage of my Jewish compatriots, it is but fair that I should record what 1 can to their merit. The great Synagogue has made a very noble step in the right direction by voting the sum of  £100 towards the support of' the Jewish free school. I do not call it noble on account of the amount awarded, which in truth is very small, but because of the principle recognised by this act, namely, that it is the duty of the Synagogues to support and promote the education of its poor.  With the Portuguese here that duty has been recognised from time immemorial.

I made some allusions in my last to the excellent regulations instituted by Dr. Lilienthal in America, among the German congregations. It has occurred to me since, that great advantage might accrue from a correspondence between that reverend worthy gentleman and our own spiritual head, as they both govern communities which speak the same language, and which live under the same liberal government; so that it would be a pity if the Minhag of both countries should not assimilate. This could be so very easily effected, that I think it worth the attention of both communities, and should be glad to find you advocate the same opinion.

O.