Re: Jewish communities of Britain 18th century #general


MBernet@...
 

bersoni@hotmail.com writes:
2. Would anyone confirm that Daniel Maccabeth a Low Country
[cf. Holland/Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg] could have been a
Jew (to me Maccabeth seems obviously Jewish, but I would like to
hear another opinion)?

Was it Maccabee or Macbeth? This was before the time of uniform
spelling, even the same name might be spelled differently each time it
was used. Macabee is a truly Jewish name, but was used rarely after
the Destruction of Jerusalem. The Macabees were great zealots, great
military heroes, but once they accessed power after the events of
Hanukka they were deplorable rulers and execrable High Priests (That is
why the Maccabi books were not included in the Jewish biblical canon.)

The question is especially problematical given that in Great Britain
"the lowlands (aka Lallan) is the Scottish word for the lowlands of Scotland,
essentially between the borders with England to about 10 miles north of
the firths of Clyde and of Forth [Glasgow to Edinburgh). The Lallan area
differs markedly in geography, politics, religion, culture, and language
from the Highlands. The Scottish were very much a separate people >from the
English and were treated with much disdain and discrimination by the English,
something that the Scots I knew in Scotland in the 1950s were still very
conscious of. I would assume that an English churchman might genuinely
have been more suspicious of and hostile to a Scottish beggar than a
Jewish schnorrer -- if he could tell the difference.

It would not surprise me if he was in fact a Scotsman pretending to be
a Jew, to draw attention away >from his Scottishness and to reap the rewards
of having changed faith.

3. Could anyone tell me how Torah scrolls arrived to this country?
How did they travel in general? Who was able to carry them in their
travels? A Torah scroll in question is about 250 years old, and
which originated in North Africa.

Torah scrolls frequently traveled long distances. It requires very specific s
skills to write a Torah. Communities would send for Torah scrolls to areas of
expertise, such as Eretz Yisrael, Mesopotamia and Syria. The Torah must be
carried with dignity and in safety. Many try to transport a scroll resting
against one's chest and cradled with an arm, the way it is carried in the
synagogue while taken to and >from the ark. I have never seen a Torah so carried
on a plane to Israel and assume that it might be preferential to carry it as
luggage.
But certainly it is not impossible to transport a Torah scroll against one's
chest for a trip across the English Channel, which should have taken less than a
day in favorable weather.

Certainly Jews were able to carry many of their Torah scrolls with them
when they were forced to flee >from their countries of residence -- those
and many liturgical and Talmudic texts.

Michael Bernet, New York
mbernet@aol.com

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