1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Synagogue, United

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SYNAGOGUE, UNITED, an organization of London Jews, founded, with the sanction of an act of parliament, in 1870. It is confined, in its direct work, to the metropolis, but it exercises, indirectly, considerable influence over the Jews of the British Empire. It is governed by an elected council representing the constituent congregations. In religious and ritual matters it is under the jurisdiction of the chief rabbi, who is, to a certain extent, recognized throughout the empire. The president of the United Synagogue in 1910 was Lord Rothschild. Besides providing the worship of some twenty congregations, the United Synagogue directs and supports educational and charitable work. The title “chief rabbi” is not found in the pre-expulsion records, though, before the Jews were banished in 1290, there was an official named “presbyter omnium Judaeorum Angliae.” The functions of this official cannot be proved to have been ecclesiastical. The title “chief rabbi” has become well known through the eminence of recent occupants of the position such as Solomon Hirschell (1762-1842). He was succeeded by Dr Nathan Marcus Adler (1803-1890), who was followed by his son, Hermann Adler, who raised the position to one of much dignity and importance. Dr Hermann Adler was born in Hanover in 1839, graduated at Leipzig, and received honorary degrees from Scotch and English universities, including Oxford. In 1909 he received the order of M.V.O. Dr Adler was elected chief rabbi in 1891. Besides several essays in the Nineteenth Century, Dr Adler has written extensively on topics of Anglo-Jewish History and published two volumes of sermons. (I. A.)