Jewish communities of Britain 18th century #general


Irina Fridman
 

Dear Genners,

I'm conducting some research into the history of one of the
Jewish communities. The records go as far as the end of the 18th
century (1780s). However,... and these are the questions:

1. In one of the books of a local cathedral (dated 1681) is stated:
"5s paid a jew turned Christian..." This is one of several entiries
of the same nature.

I dont know whether it was the same Jew or several. I cannot confirm
either he resided locally or was just passing by and found himself
in strenous circumstances, and therefore asked for help. I also
remember reading in one of the well-known books on the subject
(cannot recall the reference at the moment), that there were around
300 Jews, all based in London by 1690. Now, was there any Jewish
charity at that time? What was the Church position on Jews at
that time? How did he need to prove that he did convert? Could it
be that the Cathedral was the only source available, and the only
way to obtain some help would have been to "convert" (given to
the fact that the only Jewish source for help was in London,
for example)?

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)?

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.

Thank you very much in advance.

Kind regards,
Irina Shub
UK


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


Evertjan. <exjxw.hannivoort@...>
 

Irene Berson wrote on 05 sep 2008
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)?
Sorry, not in Dutch Genlias archive.

It could just as easily be Scottish

[Theoretical "Mac Cabbeth"
I found "Mac Aboth", "McAbbot", "McAbeth"
and ofcourse Shakespeare's MacBeth]

as a derivitive of

"Ha Maccaba", the hammer.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_Maccabeus>
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kfar_HaMaccabi>
--
Evertjan Hannivoort.
The Netherlands.
(Please change the x'es to dots in my emailaddress)


Irina Fridman
 

Dear Genners,

Thank you very much for the replies. Your answers do help a lot, however I'm still
puzzled:
1. Daniel Maccabeth a Low Country> [cf. Holland/Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg]
is a quote >from the cathedral book c.1681, so in any case the person in question
had to identify himself bfore he received some money. OK, I probably can assume
that he wasnt Jewish.

2. I still do not understand, who was responsible for transportation of the
Torah scrolls >from country to country? Any member of the community? Somebody in
particular? Will the Torah move >from its original place only in case when the
community was dispersed? Were there any other reasons for the scrolls to travel
great distances? The scroll in question, as I mentioned previously originated in
North Africa, according to the hand-writting of the scribe.

Kind regards,
Irene Berson
UK


Wegner, Peter
 

2. who was responsible for transportation of the
Torah scrolls >from country to country? Any member of the community? Somebody in
particular? Will the Torah move >from its original place only in case when the
community was dispersed? Were there any other reasons for the scrolls to travel
great distances? The scroll in question, as I mentioned previously originated in
North Africa, according to the hand-writting of the scribe.

I'm not sure why you think there would be restrictions on who can handle a Torah
scroll. Anyone can transport a Torah scroll. Some orthodox Jews don't permit women
to handle them but that rule is not backed up by Jewish law. When a community
dispersed, its scrolls were often sent to other locations or other congregations

A no longer needed scroll in good condition can fetch a good price and may be
sold to a community in another location. Many scrolls that survived the
Holocaust have been presented or sold to Jewish congregations all over the world.

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@brown.edu