The religious character of the Chief Rabbis and of Anglo-Jewry
in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
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The Chief Rabbis' theologies were reflected in their communal policies. They fought against those in the Jewish community who adopted different religious approaches. They excluded them from the United Synagogue or wrote and spoke against them, as both Hermann Adler and Joseph Herman Hertz did in their confrontation with the Liberal Jewish Synagogue. Jonathan Sacks has highlighted the role played by the inherent traditionalism of the British-influenced Anglo-Jews. David Englander has pointed to the association of the United Synagogue with the Anglican Church as an 'official' form of religion, and with respectability. The Chief Rabbis adopted an expansive ideology, to bring as many as possible into the fold by leniency where possible within halakhah. This strategy was vital to the establishment of their freely accepted religious hegemony in Anglo-Jewry, with the result that schools other than the acknowledgement school remained comparatively small.


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