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Britain's Chief Rabbis were attempting to respond to the new religious climate, and deployed a variety of tactics to achieve their aims. This book presents a radical new interpretation of Britain's Chief Rabbis from Nathan Adler to Immanuel Jakobovits. It examines the theologies of the Chief Rabbis and seeks to reveal and explain their impact on the religious life of Anglo-Jewry. The book begins with the study of Nathan Marcus Adler, Chief Rabbi from 1845, and it then explores how in 1880 Hermann Adler became Delegate Chief Rabbi on his father's semi-retirement to Brighton. In the pre-modern era, and for a while after, rabbis saw themselves and were seen as the heirs of the rabbinic tradition, whose role first and foremost was to rule on matters of religious law. The book argues that the Chief Rabbis' response to modernity should be viewed in the context of Jewish religious responses that emerged following the Enlightenment and Emancipation. It sketches out a possible typology of those responses, so that Chief Rabbis can be placed in that context. Chief Rabbis were members of the acknowledgement school, which contained a number of different theological currents: romantic, scientific, aesthetic and nostalgic. Hermann Adler was the Chief Rabbi during his time, and his religious policies were to a great extent motivated by his religious ideas. Joseph Herman Hertz's theology placed him in the traditional group within the acknowledgement school, although he was influenced by its scientific, romantic and aesthetic branches.

Benjamin J. Elton

Chapter 10 The religious character of the Chief Rabbis and of Anglo-Jewry UR ANALYSIS OF the Chief Rabbis’ theologies and religious policies advances the understanding of the religious history of traditional Jewry in the modern period in two ways. First, we can make specific revisions to the current historiography on the Chief Rabbis, and on some other Jewish communities and their religious leaders. More importantly, our study allows us to help in the construction of a general typology of the Jewish religious response to modernity, which a number of scholars

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
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Benjamin J. Elton

Chapter 1 Introduction autobiography Immanuel Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi 1967–91, described a visit he made to Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz, when Jakobovits was minister of the Brondesbury Synagogue. Jakobovits was experiencing difficulties and went to Hertz for advice. Hertz responded: ‘If you multiply your tsores [troubles] by a hundred, you will know what I am going through’.1 Jakobovits came to know exactly what Hertz meant, when he became Chief Rabbi himself, although whether Hertz’s reply was of much help at the time is a different matter. This anecdote highlights

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
A typology
Benjamin J. Elton

Chapter 3 Jewish religious responses to modernity: a typology HIS BOOK ARGUES that the Chief Rabbis’ response to modernity should be viewed in the context of Jewish religious responses that emerged following the Enlightenment and Emancipation, some of which I have already mentioned. I will sketch out a possible typology of those responses, so that we can place the Chief Rabbis in that context. This typology does not presume to be a final scheme, nor does it seek to deny the massive variety of responses, many of which it does not include explicitly. It merely

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Jacques Gerstenkorn

This article describes the powerplay around the recent discovery (summer 2015) of eighteenth-century Jewish graves in the French city of Lyon. Prior to the French Revolution, Jews had no right to have their own cemeteries, and the corpses of the deceased were buried in the basement of the local catholic hospital, the Hôtel- Dieu. In recent years this centrally located building was completely renovated and converted into a retail complex selling luxury brands. The discovery and subsequent identification of the graves – and of some human remains – led to a complex confrontation between various actors: archaeologists, employed either by the municipality or by the state; religious authorities (mostly Lyons chief rabbi); the municipality itself; the private construction companies involved; direct descendants of some of the Jews buried in the hospital‘s basement; as well as the local media. The question of what to do with the graves took centre stage, and while exhumations were favoured by both archaeologists and the representatives of the families, the chief rabbi – supported by the construction companies – proved reluctant to exhume, for religious reasons. In the first part of his article the author details the origins of this Jewish funerary place and current knowledge about it. He then goes on to analyse what was at stake in the long negotiations, arguing that the memory of the Holocaust played a role in the attitude of many of the parties involved. By way of conclusion he considers the decision not to exhume the graves and elaborates on the reasons why this led to some dissatisfaction.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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Jews in Britain – a historical overview
Geoffrey Alderman

regarded as the ‘chief rabbis’ of the German and Polish Jews of Britain. The community of Spanish and Portuguese Jews languished. At the beginning of the eighteenth century there were some 2,000 Spanish and Portuguese Jews in England. The number had not grown significantly by the end of the century. The major reasons for this state of affairs were inter-marriage and assimilation. One the one hand this demonstrates how well these Jews socialised with the host society. Wealthy Sephardim seem to have mingled easily with the social and political

in Leeds and its Jewish Community
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Benjamin J. Elton

conditions of the time without compromising what they regarded as essential religious principle, an approach which created traditional communities that were larger but less intense.8 Britain’s Chief Rabbis were also attempting to respond to this new religious climate, and deployed a variety of tactics to achieve their aims. To bring this more sharply into focus we should turn to the unique context of English Jewry. The first Jews probably came to England with William the Conqueror. Over the next two centuries the community grew into a minor, if not wholly obscure, outpost

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Rabbi Dr Solomon Schonfeld and Manchester
Bill Williams

as a hostel, they believed, for fifty young people of sixteen years and over. The Salford City Reporter quoted Fox as saying that his plan followed a meeting with the ‘Chief Rabbi’, at whose school in London the fifty youngsters were said to be.1 In fact, the article was a local journalist’s misreading of the link which Fox had established, not with the Chief Rabbi, but with the Chief Rabbi’s Religious Emergency Council which, its name notwithstanding, was the organisational base for the ‘manifold activities’ of the ‘inspired idealist’ and maverick British orthodox

in ‘Jews and other foreigners’
Benjamin J. Elton

his religious integrity intact and where he had to stand firm. Before we examine particular instances we should restate a general point about the freedom of action available to Hertz and to the other Chief Rabbis since Nathan Adler. They operated in a post-Enlightenment and post-Emancipation context, where Jews could only be persuaded to affiliate; the age of religious coercion was over. As Hertz said himself, the only means of enforcing his will was ‘moral influence’ which could be either accepted or rejected.2 Hertz used various methods to pursue his agenda. First

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
Theology and theologians
Benjamin J. Elton

Chapter 4 Intellectual context: theology and theologians that the Chief Rabbis were members of the acknowledgement school, which contained a number of different theological currents: romantic, scientific, aesthetic and nostalgic. The Chief Rabbis were primarily members of the scientific stream, although – as they took conservative positions on certain matters, particularly the authorship of the Pentateuch – they were members of its traditional wing. However, the Chief Rabbis also adopted ideas from the romantic stream and thereby inhabited theological ground

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970