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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







Rabbi Adler and the birth of King Edward VII

Victoria, Queen of the British Empire had good reason to be grateful to Nathan Adler who was Rabbi of a synagogue in Hanover, Germany where the Queen had come to visit. Her husband, Prince Consort Albert was from the Duchy of Saxe Coburg Gota, and her own ancestors had originated in Hanover. The royal couple had arrived there for a vacation before the expected birth of their first child, when suddenly, labour began two months earlier than expected.

The great Jewish philanthropist, Moshe Montefiore, a financial advisor to the British Government, came to the court at Hanover at that crucial moment. The doctors and members of the Court were at their wit's end- if a the child would be born on German soil, his succession to the throne might be in question, since he would be considered a German citizen and would not be eligible for the crown.

That afternoon, Moshe Montefiore went to pray in the synagogue of Rabbi Nathan Adler, and received a tremendous welcome - not because of his great wealth but because of his great benevolence to his Jewish brethren all over the world. After prayers, he told Rabbi Adler about the royal dilemma. It was getting late...

Rabbi Adler suggested that the Queen be brought immediately to an English ship, which should then travel out three kilometres from the German shore to international waters. A child born on the British ship would be regarded as having been born on English soil.

Sir Moses quickly relayed this advice to the court, and Queen Victoria was rushed to the famous British warship, the Ark Royal, which was nearby. That night, she gave birth to a son. He duly became known later (much later, since the Queen ruled until her death at the venerable age of 82) as King Edward VII.

Hanover and the Queen did not forget that.

During her long reign, England's glory was at its greatest. ''The sun never sets on the British Empire'' it was truly said, since it shone constantly on some part of England and its possessions - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, the African colonies...

Years later, Queen Victoria's attention was directed to an announcement issued by the Dukes Place Synagogue in London, requesting applications to be submitted for the prestigious position of Rabbi there. This was publicised internationally, and many renowned Rabbis applied, including Rabbi Samson Rafel Hirsch and others.

The Queen sent a note to the synagogue, stating, ''Since Rabbi Adler saved me when I was in trouble, he will certainly be the right guardian and leader for your congregation.'' And so it was.

When the Queen's advice was accepted and Rabbi Adler was chosen as the Rabbi of the Dukes Place Synagogue, she further suggested that this position was not enough - he should become Chief Rabbi of England, or better yet, of the British Empire! A bill was raised in Parliament in order to decide whether the Empire required a Chief Rabbi. When put to a vote, a substantial majority chose Rabbi Adler as Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, a post he filled with honour and distinction for 45 years.

Thus Queen Victoria repaid the good advice of the Rabbi of Hanover. Her reign was an era of good feeling toward her Jewish subjects, who prospered and enjoyed more rights and freedom than any of their brethren in the European countries.

Sir Moses Montefiore, who was very close to Queen Victoria, occupies an important place in Anglo-Jewry, both Ashkenazi and Sephardi. He was President of the Board of Deputies for many years. The main hall of the London Sephardi Synagogue in Lauderdale Road is named after him and ten years ago there was an attempt to change the name to "The Saatchi Hall" on payment of a certain financial contribution. However, some members of the community argued that the naming of the hall not only honours the memory of Sir Moses, but it also honoures our community and should not be changed. Thus the attempt to change the name was abandoned.











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