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Bidding Information
Lot #    19151
Auction End Date    11/13/2007 10:13:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    List of Seat Holders United Synagogue
Author    [Ms. - Community] United Synagogue
City    London
Publisher    Office of the Burial Society
Publication Date    1923
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. Multiple collations, quarto 215:140 mm., extensive ms. notes on many pp. A very good copy bound in contemporary cloth boards.
   Unusual and comprehensive list of the members of the United Synagogue (Orthodox) of England for 1923 by synagogue. The volume begins with the great synagogue and continues listing the synagogues belonging to that umbrella organization of English Jewry. The lists are by synagogue, and for each synagogue alphabetical by seatholders followed by lady seatholders.

The United Synagogue association of Ashkenazi congregations in London originally formed by the Great Synagogue, Duke's Place (c. 1690), and four other constituent synagogues which was established by Act of Parliament on July 14, 1870. The project was initiated by Chief Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler in 1866 and the organizational work developed under his son and successor, Hermann Adler. The United Synagogue (popularly known as the "U.S.") rapidly became one of the most powerful centralized bodies of its type in the Jewish world. The United Synagogue was arguably at its peak in the half-century from about 1920 until 1970, when it was, generally, the synagogue of choice of England's second generation immigrants as they moved into the middle class. During this time it opened many new venues in north and northeast London and elsewhere. Its ambiance emphasizes decorum, conservatism in behavior, and British patriotism. Before 1948, while not anti-Zionist, it was seldom associated as a rule with the extreme supporters of a Jewish state. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, it has become a loyal supporter of the Jewish state, although recent chief rabbis have occasionally been critical of some Israeli actions. It is the bastion of the British chief rabbinate and of the London bet din and all its synagogues accept the religious authority of the Chief Rabbi. By 1971 there were 23 constituent synagogues (with some 20,000 members), a further 23 district synagogues, and 35 affiliated congregations; about 40,000 families, representing half the Jewish population of Greater London, were United Synagogue members. After World War II, these activities were expanded to include new congregations in a few provincial centers such as Peterborough and Worcester. Income is paid into a common pool so that poorer synagogues can be supported by wealthier ones and a number of general communal services can be supported.

Although the United Synagogue has long claimed to preserve and represent traditional Judaism in Great Britain, its Orthodoxy had been so diluted by the early 20th century that it came near to emulating the French Central Consistory. There were also religious and organizational conflicts and rivalries with the more right-wing Federation of Synagogues (1887) founded by Lord Swaythling and the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (Adath Yisroel) established by Victor (Avigdor) Schoenfeld in 1926. Its dominating figure in the mid-20th century was its president, Sir Robert Waley Cohen. With the emergence of a more staunchly Orthodox lay leadership after World War II, and especially following Sir Isaac Wolfson's election as president in 1962, the United Synagogue swung to the right. The United Synagogue's centenary celebrations in 1970 were attended by Queen Elizabeth. In recent years it has been repeatedly challenged from both the theological right and left and has diminished somewhat in popularity as measured, for instance, by the marriages it performs compared with either Strict Orthodoxy or non-Orthodox strands. In the mid-1960s, the rise of the Masorti movement, led by Rabbi Louis Jacobs and linked with the American Conservative movement, represented a significant challenge to the "U.S." Both recent chief rabbis, Immanuel Jakobovits and Jonathan Sacks, have engaged in high-profile disputes with other strands in Anglo-Jewry, especially with the Progressive movement. In 2004 there were 46 member synagogues of the "U.S." in London, together with another 20 London synagogues affiliated to it and several dozen outside of London. Aubrey Newman's The United Synagogue, 1870 1970 (1977) is a history of the group's first century.

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Listing Classification
20th Century:    Checked
England:    Checked
History:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    English
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica