Sent to congregants on 27 February 1964 by Oscar B. Davis (Warden), in preparation for General Meeting to be held on 1 March.
FROM THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF THE NEW WEST END SYNAGOGUE
27th February 1964
In connection with the General Meeting fixed for Sunday, March 1st I enclose a chronological precis of events thus far. In view of the importance of the matter I hope that you will be able to attend.
Oscar B. Davis (Warden).
February 1954: Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs inducted as Minister of N. W. End Synagogue by the Very Rev. The Chief Rabbi.
1957: Publication by Dr. Jacobs of his book “We have reason to Believe”.
1960: Dr. Jacobs resigns Ministry to take up post as Tutor & Lecturer at Jews College. Sponsored by Chief Rabbi.
September 1962: Dr. Jacobs resigns from Jews College and becomes Director of The Society for the Study of Jewish Theology. Numerous Sponsors including our own Emeritus Minister. Active participation by many other U.S. Ministers.
11/1963: Rev. Dr. Chaim Pearl resigns Ministry for Personal Reasons and to enable him to take up post in New York.
12/1963: Board and U.S. notified of above. Statutory advertisement of vacancy authorised.
13/1/1964: Board resolve “That this Board of Management unanimously and strongly favours a ‘call’ to Rabbi Jacobs to fill the Ministerial Vacancy at the N. W. End Synagogue and that to the best of its information and belief this desire is shared by an overwhelming majority of the Congregation. The Hon. Officers are requested to make this view known to the forthcoming meeting of the Ministerial Appointments Committee of the U.S. and to express the hope that the Committee will avoid delays and will authorise the appointment subject to the election procedure being properly complied with”.
16/1/1964: Above decision communicated to Min. App. Committee. Our representatives state we consider Chief Rabbi’s Certificate originally granted for appointment of Dr. Jacobs still in being as it had never been revoked. No mention in Bye-Laws or Constitution that Certificate lapses on taking up new appointment. “Recall” should thus be automatic if desired. Committee sympathetic to view but rule that question must be put to Chief Rabbi for confirmation.
19/1/1964: General meeting of Congregation to appoint and fix date for first meeting of local Selection Committee.
27/1/1964: Hon. Officers notified that Chief Rabbi had considered question put by Min. App. Committee and stated that Certificate was no longer in being and that new Certificate would not be granted.
30/1/1964: Hon. Officers discuss matter with Secretary of U.S. Informed that owing to decision of Chief Rabbi meeting of Selection Committee fixed for 2/2/1964 would be ‘ultra vires’ as there was no Candidate and should be cancelled. If held might be taken as affront to Chief Rabbi. Hon. Officers postpone meeting and call instead meeting of the Board.
2/1964: Board resolve “In view of postponement of Selection Committee meeting called for this day the Board declare that they are aware that the Committee would have recommended that Rabbi Dr. Jacobs be recalled to his former position as Minister of this Congregation. And aware too that this action will be overwhelmingly confirmed by its members, this Board unanimously resolves that such a recall should be issued to Rabbi Dr. Jacobs. This resolution is also supported by all the Synagogue’s Representatives at the Council of the U.S.” Copies of this resolution sent to President, Secretary and Chairman of Min. App. Committee of U.S. Also agreed that Chief Rabbi be asked to receive Deputation from Board. Postponed meeting of Selection Committee reinstated for 9/2/1964.
9/2/1964, 10am: Hon. Officers called to full meeting of Hon. Officers of U.S. who request in writing that meeting of Selection Committee fixed for later same morning be cancelled. That our Hon. Officers respect decision of Chief Rabbi and endeavour to persuade Board of N. W. End not to continue useless strife. Only possible outcome would be trouble in Community and N. W. End could not win. Should unconstitutional action be taken might become necessary for U.S. to depose Board and Hon. Officers and make their own appointments under Rule 51a of Constitution.
9/2/1964, 11.15am: Postponed meeting of Selection Committee held. Reasons for previous postponement given to meeting. In view of Statement by Hon. Officers of U.S. presiding Warden refused formal resolution. Informal discussion results in vote which unanimously expresses desire to recommend recall of Dr. Jacobs. Meeting includes 5 members of Min. App. Committee not members of our Congregation.
22/2/1964: Chief Rabbi receives deputation consisting of Hon. Officers, H.A. Leon and N. Home. (Past Wardens). Confirmed that Dr. Jacobs had seen Chief Rabbi and agreed to accept his full Authority. Discussion raises hopes that satisfactory formula for issue of Certificate may be found.
23/2/1964: Chief Rabbi sends his Secretary to Dr. Jacobs. Enquiry made as to whether Dr. Jacobs had changed his overall views since interview with Chief Rabbi. Negative reply. No progress possible.
23/2/1964: Board meet and decide to send further letter to President (copy herewith) to hold General Meeting of Congregation to obtain views and vote of confidence in actions to date. Letter to President signed by every member of Board and Representative at Council present at meeting.
P.S. Since the above was compiled a reply to the letter sent to the President has been received, but there is insufficient time to prepare the necessary copies for circulation. It will be read at the General Meeting.