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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.

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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

honorary officers of the New West End.27 By this time the affair was causing comment in the non-Jewish community, with articles in The Observer, The Times, Church Times and other publications.28 Jewish figures from around the world became involved, including the future Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits, who stood firmly behind Brodie.29 In May 1964, Brodie laid out his position to a meeting of rabbis and ministers. He told them ‘an attitude to the Torah . . . which denies its Divine source and unity is directly opposed to orthodox Jewish teaching, and no person holding such

in Britain’s Chief Rabbis and the religious character of Anglo-Jewry, 1880–1970
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1948 there was a fresh dispute with the Liberal Jewish Synagogue over marriage registration. The Jacobs Affair, a controversy over the origin of the Pentateuch, dominated the years 1959 to 1964 and the wounds were still raw in 1965 when Brodie retired and the search began for a successor. 34 Religious and historical context It took two years and several attempts before Sir Isaac Wolfson, the President of the United Synagogue chose Immanuel Jakobovits. Jakobovits was born in Germany into a rabbinical family in 1921.118 His father, Dr Julius Jakobovits was the rabbi

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

following day. With its mixture of hymns old and new, from both the Catholic and Church of England traditions, in this open-air mass twelve men were ordained to the priesthood before a vast crowd (though not as numerous as the overly-optimistic estimate of one million).7 As a further sign of the vastly changed ecumenical and inter-religious setting that surrounded this visit, an hour before this mass Pope John Paul II had met the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, Sir Immanuel Jakobovits, at the Convent of the Sisters of Nazareth in Manchester. In moving from its opening

in Faith in the family

and Endelman have accepted this view and – because they considered the Chief Rabbis to be uninteresting theologically – they have not scrutinised the dominant account. Freud Kandel took Hertz’s theology much more seriously, but still reproduced the established argument that Brodie moved away from his predecessors’ position. In fact, there is ample evidence in the secondary literature, let alone the primary sources, which undermines this interpretation. Immanuel Jakobovits wrote fifty years ago that ‘not a single scholar, as far as I know, has tried to assess the

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

largest Ashkenazi synagogues in London, and placed at their ecclesiastical head ‘a Chief Rabbi’ – first Nathan Adler, then his son Hermann, then Dr Hertz, to be followed (1948–65) by Israel Brodie, and after him by Immanuel Jakobovits (1967–91). The United Synagogue was – and has remained – Orthodox in its religious leadership while catering – in the main – for congregants who were and are not Orthodox in practice. In its early decades, there was little to distinguish the service at a United Synagogue constituent congregation from that to be

in Leeds and its Jewish Community
Hidden narratives of Jewish settlement and movement in the inter-war years

premises of Canal Walk, had proved impossible and both women, with their husbands, were forced eventually to try their luck elsewhere in Britain, especially in other areas of Jewish settlement. In 1983 the Southampton Hebrew Congregation celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formal establishment with a visit of the Chief Rabbi, Immanuel Jakobovits. Sidney Weintroub, its President, marked the occasion by producing a short hand-written history of Southampton’s Jewry. Contained within it were two sentences relating to the Jewish trading community

in Anglo-Jewry since 1066

146 Theology and policy, 1891–1946 1 Nathan M. Adler, Chief Rabbi 1845–1890 (author’s collection) eligious policy of Hermann Adler 147 2 Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi 1891–1911 (courtesy of the London School of Jewish Studies) 148 Theology and policy, 1891–1946 3 Joseph Herman Hertz, Chief Rabbi 1913–1946 (author’s collection) eligious policy of Hermann Adler 149 4 Israel Brodie, Chief Rabbi 1948–1965 (courtesy of the London School of Jewish Studies) 150 Theology and policy, 1891–1946 5 Immanuel Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi 1967–1991 (Courtesy of the London

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