STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE
SIR ISAAC WOLFSON BT.
FRS. Hon.LLD (London); Hon. LLD (Glasgow); Hon. FRCP Hon. DCL (Oxford)
TO THE COUNCIL OF THE UNITED SYNAGOGUE
AT A SPECIAL MEETING HELD ON
23rd April 1964 — 11th Iyar 5724
Members of the Council—
It is my duty—my sad duty—to move tonight the Resolution recommended by the Executive Committee at its meeting on Monday last, and circulated in the Agenda for this Special Meeting.
It would be a very easy course for me to follow merely to say to you tonight, our constitution has been flouted, the authority of the Chief Rabbi has been flouted, and that accordingly I ask you to vote in favour of the Resolution. This is, however, too important and fundamental a matter to be resolved in that way and, to do justice all round, I must ask you to bear with me whilst I remind you of the circumstances which have led to the unhappy situation we find ourselves in today.
The Rev. Dr. Chaim Pearl, who was Minister of the New West End Synagogue, tendered his resignation on 27th November, 1963 and, in accordance with our normal procedure, the Synagogue sought authority for the post to be advertised. In due course applications were received and, in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Bye-Laws, applications were considered by the Ministerial Appointments Committee at a meeting which took place on 16th January last. The composition of the Ministerial Appointments Committee is set out in Bye-Law P.4(a) which has been circulated and, therefore, all I need to do at this stage is to remind you that the three Honorary Officers of the Synagogue concerned are members of that Ministerial Appointments Committee.
At the meeting on 16th January there were present 14 members of the Committee with Messrs. Frank Levine and Oscar Davis (Wardens of the Synagogue) and Mr. B. Spears (Financial Representative). The Chair was taken by Mr. Frank Rossdale, one of the Vice-Presidents of the United Synagogue, who is also Chairman of the Committee and the record of each of the candidates who had applied was placed before the Committee. After the most suitable candidates had been discussed, the New West End Synagogue representatives said that they were not interested in those candidates, but desired to recall their former Minister, Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs. It was pointed out to them that Rabbi Dr. Jacobs was not an applicant and therefore not before the Committee and that in addition no application having been made for the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate, which was a prerequisite, he could not be considered until such application had been made. The local people then claimed that his old Certificate was still in existence and had not been withdrawn. The Ministerial Appointments Committee discussed this matter and, with the agreement of the three local Honorary Officers, decided to instruct the Secretary to write to the Chief Rabbi in the following terms:
17th January, 1964
Dear Chief Rabbi,
New West End Synagogue—Vacancy for Minister
The above post having been advertised, the Ministerial Appointments Committee met last evening. I was directed by the Committee to write to you to ascertain whether your Certificate is still in being in respect of Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs, and if not whether a Certificate will be forthcoming for him in respect of the above vacancy.
(signed) Alfred H. Silverman
To this a reply was received from the Chief Rabbi as follows:
23rd January, 1964
Dear Mr. Silverman,
New West End Synagogue—Vacancy for Minister
In reply to your letter of the 17th January, I have to inform you that my Certificate is not in being for Dr. L. Jacobs in respect of the New West End Synagogue. It is with the deepest possible regret that I am compelled, owing to the views which Dr. Jacobs has expressed publicly both by written and spoken word, to answer your second question by stating that my Certificate will not be forthcoming for him for the above vacancy.
(signed) Israel Brodie
and the decision that the old Certificate was not in being and that a new Certificate would not be forthcoming was communicated to the Honorary Officers of the Synagogue on 27th January. Nevertheless, on 29th January, Mr. Davis, one of the Wardens, wrote expressing his personal perturbation on learning of the Chief Rabbi’s decision and said that the Board of Management had decided to call a meeting of the Selection Committee.
I replied calling on the Honorary Officers and Board of Management of the Synagogue to respect the authority of the Chief Rabbi and to go forward with the appointment of a Minister in replacement of Dr. Pearl. However, on 3rd February the Secretary received a letter from Mr. Davis saying that the Selection Committee had been postponed and replaced by an Extraordinary Meeting of the Board of Management which had passed the following Resolution:
In view of the postponement of the meeting of the Selection Committee called for this day, the Board of Management declare that they are aware that the Committee would have recommended that Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs should 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. Louis Jacobs. This resolution is also supported by all the Synagogue’s representatives at the Council of the United Synagogue.
On the same date a letter was sent out by the Synagogue headed “Vacancy for Minister” and calling a meeting of the Selection Committee for Sunday, 9th February at 11.15 a.m. My colleagues and I, on learning of this proposal, invited the Honorary Officers of the Synagogue to meet us at 10 o’clock in the morning, i.e. an hour before the proposed meeting of the Selection Committee was to take place. They attended, and I told them that the purpose of the meeting was to request the Honorary Officers of the Synagogue to cancel the meeting of the Selection Committee because of the Chief Rabbi’s decision which had been communicated to them.
We called on them officially not to proceed with the meeting which would not have before it the name of any qualified candidate and I said that should the folly of holding the meeting be continued, such a meeting would be unable to give effect to any resolution that might be passed in respect of Rabbi Dr. Jacobs. In order, as my colleagues and I thought, to strengthen their hand on their return to the Synagogue, I handed them a letter in the following terms:
9th February, 1964
I desire to confirm having told you, when you were good enough to join the Honorary Officers here this morning, that it is our request to you that you cancel the meeting of the Selection Committee of your Synagogue convened to take place later this morning.
You are, of course, aware of the ruling given by the Chief Rabbi in regard to the possible candidature of Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs and, in the light of this ruling which the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue unanimously accept and support, we call on you to cancel the proposed Selection Committee as, in any case, should the meeting take place and should a resolution such as was envisaged in Mr. Davis’s letter of 3rd February, purporting to give a call to Rabbi Dr. Jacobs be carried, such a resolution could not, in any circumstances, be given effect.
(signed) Isaac Wolfson
I took the opportunity, before we parted on that morning, to say that we, the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue, unanimously held the view that the New West End Synagogue should proceed with the appointment of a Minister with as little delay as possible, that such person must be qualified in accordance with the procedure laid down from time immemorial in the United Synagogue and that such Minister must, needless to say, have the Certificate of the Chief Rabbi; I said that the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue gave formal notice that if the Honorary Officers and Board of Management decided to take any other course of action, we would have no choice but to convene a meeting of the Council to proceed against the Honorary Officers and Board of Management under Clause 51a of the Scheme annexed to the United Synagogue’s Act of Parliament.
That, I would remind the Council, was on Sunday, 9th February.
The local Honorary Officers returned to their Synagogue and it appears that, although the official meeting of the Selection Committee did not take place, an unofficial gathering was told of the interview with the Honorary Officers as I have just related. According to a letter addressed to me dated 17th February, the Board of Management met on 13th February, and passed the following Resolution:
That this meeting expresses its protest at the decision of the Chief Rabbi to withhold consent to the recall of Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs to the pulpit of this Synagogue, a step which is unprecedented and, in the opinion of the Board, unjustifiable and contrary to the spirit of the Bye-Laws of the United Synagogue.
I will not trouble the Council by reading the rest of the letter which has been published elsewhere, but I will refer to it in a minute.
At the same meeting of the Board, it was apparently decided that an Extraordinary Meeting of members should be convened for 1st March at 11 a.m. “to hear a report and consider the situation with regard to the appointment of a Minister”.
I replied to Mr. Davis’s letter of the 17th February on 21st February and subsequently learned that in connection with the Extraordinary General Meeting the Board of Management had decided to send out to the members a document dated 27th February containing
(a) A chronological precis of events, and
(b) A copy of the letter to me from Mr. Davis, Mr. Spears and others, dated 17th February, to which I have just referred.
There was a footnote to the chronological precis which read:
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.
Because of their decision not to circulate my letter, one of the Wardens, Mr. Frank Levine, and a member of the Board of Management, Mr. Frank Rossdale, feeling that it was unfair that the congregation would not have all the necessary information before the meeting, themselves wrote a letter to the members of the congregation on the 27th February, dissociating themselves from the views expressed by their colleagues, and reaffirming their loyalty to the rulings of the Chief Rabbi, the Ecclesiastical Authority of the United Synagogue, and at my request enclosed a copy of my reply of 21st February to Mr. Davis.
The next step was the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the Synagogue on which I wish to make only the following comment.
The meeting was apparently well attended; there is evidence, which is not disputed, that several non-members were present and, despite this fact, and that there was no resolution on the agenda paper, I received a letter, dated 2nd March, stating that the following resolution had been passed by an overwhelming majority:
That this Extraordinary General Meeting of members of the New West End Synagogue gives its unqualified approval and support to the actions of the Board of Management already taken and explicitly confirms its desire to recall Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs. It authorises and requests the Honorary Officers and the Board of Management to continue to take all possible steps to obtain for them the services of the Minister of their choice.
To this I replied in the following terms, dated 5th March:
5th March, 1964
Dear Mr. Davis,
Thank you for your letter of 2nd March. I had, of course, already heard what transpired at the Extraordinary General Meeting of the members of your Synagogue.
I know that the reply which I sent to your letter of 17th February was circulated to your members prior to this meeting because, hearing that you were not intending to do so, I gave instructions for my letter of 21st February to be sent to every one of your members and, on my request, knowing how they felt about the matter, I asked Mr. Frank Rossdale and Mr. Frank Levine to send an accompanying note with it.
I have carefully noted the terms of the Resolution passed at that meeting. I am informed that there were several non-members present, and that no care was taken to ensure that only those entitled to vote did so. This, however, is not a very important point at this stage for the Resolution which was passed by the meeting has no real effect.
You and your colleagues on the Board of Management must now appreciate that, having allowed your congregation to express what you call its overwhelming desire it is, nevertheless, still your duty to follow the request I made to you, both when we met and in writing, which is to arrange for the vacancy for a Minister at your Synagogue to be filled in a constitutional manner.
At your next Board Meeting, I would be obliged if you would kindly call on the Board to take the necessary steps to this end, and I would have it noted quite clearly that the Chief Rabbi having given his decision in regard to the candidature of Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs, it will not be possible for the Board to put forward his name.
I would earnestly recommend to you and the members of your Board of Management that you re-read my letter to you of 21st February, particularly that part of the letter which deals with the constitutional position.
(signed) Isaac Wolfson
There immediately opened in the Press—in fact, on 6th March, and thereafter—a campaign, of which I will speak later and one which was obviously calculated to bring pressure to bear on the Chief Rabbi. In order to try to see if some solution could be found to the problem, I met some of the local people and had discussions with them. However, as a result of a rumour which was given publicity in The Observer on 22nd March that “Sir Isaac Wolfson was off to Israel next week to persuade Dr. Brodie over there to change his mind”. I made the following statement to this Council on 23rd March:
I am going to Israel as I usually do for the Festival of Passover.
People have presumed that as I will be seeing the Chief Rabbi that I am going to persuade him to change his mind. It is a complete fabrication. For anyone to suggest that I would undertake such a step or that even if I did that I—a layman— would have the power to change the Chief Rabbi’s mind on a religious matter is utter nonsense.
I repeat this story in The Observer is wishful thinking on somebody’s part.
On the day following the meeting I received a communication from Mr. Davis, to which I immediately wrote in reply on 25th March, and said:
You are quite right in assuming that the statement I made reflected my desire to emphasise that the decision concerning the appointment of your Minister rests solely with the Chief Rabbi and that any further discussions that have taken place should continue to take place on that fundamental premise.
As the Council are aware, the Press campaign, particularly that in the national Press, was intensified whilst we, the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue, agreed as a matter of policy that, during my absence abroad, and until further notice, no comment whatsoever should be made to the Press about this matter.
Whilst I was away, the Secretary of the United Synagogue received on 14th April a letter from the Secretary of the New West End Synagogue in the following terms:
14th April, 1964
Dear Mr. Silverman,
The Board of Management request me to inform your Honorary Officers that, at their meeting held yesterday, the following resolution was passed unanimously, with the support of the Representatives of the U.S. Council:
WHEREAS the Board of Management of the New West End Synagogue, the Selection Committee and the members of the Synagogue at an Extraordinary General Meeting have expressed the desire that Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs be recalled to the Ministry of the Congregation and
WHEREAS the United Synagogue has failed to approve the appointment, a situation which this Board believed to be not alone morally unjustifiable but contrary to the Constitution, Bye-Laws and traditions of the United Synagogue and
WHEREAS Rabbi Dr. Jacobs and the Synagogue’s representatives have met with no reciprocity to their conciliatory acts in their endeavours to reach a peaceful solution,
NOW THEREFORE this Board in pursuance of the mandate given by the Extraordinary General Meeting of members held on March 1st, 1964 resolves to invite Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs forthwith to perform the functions of Minister-Preacher to the Congregation.
(signed) Isaac Kaska
Now, we come to the very latest developments.
As I was abroad and known not to be returning until early this week, my colleagues, knowing full well my views, met and decided to send by recorded delivery the following letter to each of the Honorary Officers. A copy of that letter was sent to Dr. Jacobs.
15th April, 1964
The Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue have been informed that, on Saturday, 11th April, despite the fact that he is not an accredited Officer of the United Synagogue and that the sanction of the Chief Rabbi had not been previously obtained to his so doing, Rabbi Dr. L. Jacobs attended at your Synagogue dressed in canonicals, occupied the Minister’s seat in the Synagogue and subsequently entered the Pulpit and addressed a Bar Mitzvah.
This letter also serves to acknowledge receipt of a letter from the Secretary of your Synagogue under yesterday’s date, in which is set out a Resolution passed at a meeting of your Board of Management held last Monday evening which purports to invite Rabbi Dr. Jacobs to perform the functions of Minister/Preacher of the New West End Synagogue.
I am directed to inform you that the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue greatly deplore the action already taken and that which the aforementioned Resolution envisages shall be taken, both of which actions are a distinct flouting of the Constitution of the United Synagogue and of the authority of the Chief Rabbi, the Ecclesiastical Authority of the United Synagogue. I am to call upon you to desist from taking any further action such as is contemplated by the Resolution, and to ask for an assurance in writing by noon on Friday next, 17th April, that you will not permit Rabbi Dr. Jacobs to officiate in the Services of the Synagogue, including preaching thereat, in any circumstances whatsoever.
The Honorary Officers think you should know that if, in your respective capacities as Honorary Officers of the Synagogue, you and the members of the Board of Management who support you, continue with such flagrant acts in breach of the Constitution, they will have no choice but to bring the matter before a Special Meeting of the Council of the United Synagogue for action under Clause 51a of the Scheme scheduled to the United Synagogue Act of Parliament.
Please be good enough to acknowledge receipt of this letter.
(signed) Alfred H. Silverman
The letter, of course, deals with the incident that occurred on Saturday, 11th April. But subsequently, on Sabbath, 18th April, as will no doubt be known to the Council, Rabbi Dr. Jacobs in fact again attended the Synagogue dressed in canonicals, entered the pulpit, and preached as though he were the accredited Minister of the congregation. Needless to say, no assurance such as that sought by my colleagues was received, but merely a formal acknowledgment to the letter.
What I have related so far is really a recapitulation of facts and events. Now, I must turn to specifying the reasons which have led the Executive Committee to place the recommendation of the paper before you tonight.
Before I do so I should add that, although I have given this recapitulation in some detail for the purpose of the record, I have also done so to bring to your notice all that my colleagues and I—the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue—have done to persuade, cajole, instruct or otherwise attempt to bring the Honorary Officers and Board of Management of New West End to a realisation of their constitutional duty and what would be the outcome if they persisted with their impossible attitude and, in fact, having regard to the number of times they were called upon by me to go ahead and appoint a duly qualified Minister, I could claim, in that respect alone, they were failing in their duty.
Clause 51a of the Scheme to the United Synagogue Act of Parliament empowers this Council to discharge and depose Honorary Officers and Boards of Management who are failing or refusing to perform their functions.
I submit that, by inviting Rabbi Dr. Jacobs to perform the functions of Minister/ Preacher, the Honorary Officers and Board of Management of the Synagogue (Messrs. Frank Levine and Frank Rossdale of course excepted) are in breach of Bye-Law P.4. The text of this Bye-Law has been circulated to every member of the council, and the important part to remember is that, even if everything else had been in order, the name of Rabbi Dr. Jacobs as a candidate for the Ministry of the New West End Synagogue has never properly been before the Ministerial Appointments Committee in accordance with section (a) of Bye-Law P.4.
Now, Mr. Davis, Mr. Spears, and the Board of Management of the Synagogue are claiming that we, the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue, have been acting unconstitutionally, and they base their claim on the fact that Rabbi Jacobs is in possession of the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate, such Certificate they claim, not having been withdrawn from his previous appointment as Minister of the Synagogue from which he resigned in January 1960.
I would like to divert for a moment from my main theme in order to clear up this question of the Certificate. The local people seem to be under a complete misapprehension as to how the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate for ministerial candidates is obtained. They are under the impression that the Chief Rabbi issues a certificate to a Minister for a particular Synagogal appointment for which he is a candidate.
This is not the case. The following is the procedure which has always been adopted. The vacancy having been declared, and applications having been received, before the meeting of the Ministerial Appointments Committee takes place, the Secretary of the United Synagogue applies to the Chief Rabbi to know whether his Certificate will be forthcoming in respect of each and every one of the candidates and, when the Ministerial Appointments Committee meets, the information is conveyed to them. The Chief Rabbi’s Certificate states, in appropriate cases:
I certify that Rabbi X has the moral and religious fitness to hold the position of Minister at Y Synagogue.
If, subsequently, Rabbi X resigns from that Synagogue to take up another post, the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate no longer exists for him at that Synagogue and application has to be made for a Certificate for him at his new Synagogue. Eventually, the Minister who replaces him at the old Synagogue has, in turn, to have the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate for his new engagement.
Accordingly, applying the procedure to the New West End Synagogue, when Rabbi Jacobs resigned his post at the New West End Synagogue, the Chief Rabbi was asked in the normal manner for a Certificate for applicants for that post. Subsequently the New West End Synagogue expressed a wish to give a call to Dr. Pearl and a Certificate was issued to the United Synagogue in respect of the Rev. Dr. Pearl, so that only Dr. Pearl, during his tenure of the office and until his recent departure for America, was the holder of the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate in respect of the New West End Synagogue.
If the present serving Minister of one of our Synagogues wished to transfer his services to a vacancy at, say, the New West End Synagogue, then, although he is a serving Minister, the United Synagogue would have to obtain a Certificate from the Chief Rabbi in respect of the new post. And, one further point: even if the proposed new appointment was of a Minister who had previously served the congregation, this ruling would have still applied as it has always been applied and, quite obviously, it must be so if the requirements of the Constitution are to be complied with.
Another point must be stated clearly and categorically. The Chief Rabbi’s Certificate is never issued to an individual applicant. He does not even see it. The Certificate is issued to the United Synagogue after an application has been made in respect of a particular applicant. If the Council still needs convincing, let me make one more vital point. If there is any validity at all in the claim made by the New West End representatives that unless the Certificate has been formally withdrawn it still continues to exist, then there are at least two former Ministers of the United Synagogue who are serving reform congregations who could claim to be appointed to a vacancy at their former Synagogue without further reference to the Chief Rabbi, and I am certain that, not only would the Chief Rabbi not concur in such an appointment, but that even the representatives of the New West End Synagogue would not think of them as possible candidates. This only goes to prove how absurd is the claim of the New West End that nowhere does it provide in the Constitution for the revocation of a Certificate.
For this very reason it is quite apparent that those who wrote the Constitution which has stood for nearly 100 years planned to avoid the possibility of a Certificate being granted to a Minister but instead conceived the scheme of a Certificate being granted in respect of the post which Certificate automatically lapses with the withdrawal or resignation of the Minister concerned.
It will now be clear that, since the Chief Rabbi’s Certificate was not going to be forthcoming for Rabbi Jacobs, it was impossible for the matter to be considered by the Ministerial Appointments Committee because that Committee is bound by the Constitution only to consider and put forward the names of properly qualified candidates.
Another breach of our Constitution was occasioned by the local Honorary Officers not only in writing their letter of 14th April, which I have quoted, but in actually permitting Dr. Jacobs to preach on two recent occasions without the previous sanction of the Chief Rabbi as laid down in the Scheme to the United Synagogue’s Act of Parliament (Clause 49) which reads:
The Board of Management of a constituent Synagogue shall not, without the sanction of the Chief Rabbi, permit any person to preach therein
also Clauses 6 and 9 of the Deed of Foundation and Trust, of which the texts have been circulated with the Agenda.
At the Executive Committee Meeting on Monday night, and no doubt it will happen again this evening, we shall be hearing the local Honorary Officers claim that it is we, the Honorary Officers, who have acted unconstitutionally and it is they who are in the right. This is really the most fantastic and outrageous of all the remarkably misinformed statements that have been made in this controversy. They virtually say although we asked you at the Ministerial Appointments Committee to ask two questions of the Chief Rabbi, which you did, those questions should not have been put and, now that you have asked, you have put yourselves in an unconstitutional position.
This was quite well described by one of the Elders at the Executive Committee on Monday night as “Rubbish”, and I am quite sure the Council will agree that it is. From time immemorial the United Synagogue has acted under the Regulations laid down in the Constitution and any other course of action would, indeed, have been unconstitutional. But, because we acted in accordance with the Constitution, and the result did not suit the New West End people, they have led the world to believe that we have acted in an improper fashion.
After all I have said I think this matter could well be brought down to a simpler plane. We all know the Chief Rabbi’s view in this matter. He has consistently made it clear throughout, and has repeated his decision in a letter to me dated 17th April saying that he is not prepared to issue a Certificate for Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs in respect of the vacant ministry at the New West End Synagogue. Putting all other considerations on one side, I submit we have a duty, which is as straight-forward as it can possibly be, and that is, with all the loyalty in our power, to uphold the decision and authority of the Chief Rabbi, and thereby the Constitution of the United Synagogue.
In conclusion, I wish to submit
That, even if the New West End Synagogue Honorary Officers and Board of Management had not been in breach of Bye-Law P.4,
And even if the Honorary Officers and Board of Management of the Synagogue had not disregarded all the calls to comply with the Constitutional requirements attending the appointment of a Minister made to them by the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue,
And even if they had not acted contrary to Clause 6 of the Deed of Foundation and Trust,
And even if they had not acted contrary to Clause 9 of the Deed of Foundation and Trust,
Their action, in giving information and encouragement to the national Press, the radio, television and, by so doing, smearing the United Synagogue throughout the country, as is particularly evidenced by the publication in last Sunday’s papers of the letter from this office to the Honorary Officers of the Synagogue, dated 15th April, would be a sufficient reason for our proceeding to pass the Resolution on the Paper tonight.
I hope that no one is now going to think of suggesting as, in fact, has been put to me in writing by one Member of the Council, that we should delay taking action. I trust that the Council will share the overwhelming opinion of the Executive Committee, expressed as recently as Monday last, that it was vital that this Meeting of the Council should be called urgently, and that it was our duty to pass the Resolution on the Paper, lest by our neglect to do so we incur the risk of further breaches of our Constitution during the coming week-end.
I will now move the Resolution on the Paper.
That this Council being of opinion that the Honorary Officers and Board of Management of the New West End Synagogue are failing and refusing to perform their functions by inviting a person to perform the function of Minister/Preacher, in breach of Bye-Law P.4 of the Bye-Laws of the constituent synagogues of the United Synagogue, who is not qualified in accordance with the provisions of Clause 6 and Clause 9 of the Deed of Foundation and Trust dated 13th January, 1871 as duly altered and modified…………………………………………………
It is resolved in accordance with the provisions of Clause 51a of the scheme scheduled to the United Synagogue Act, 1870 that the said Honorary Officers and the said Board of Management be and are hereby discharged and deposed and that Frank Archibald Rossdale, Esq., Frank Levine, Esq., Salmond Levin, Esq., and Samuel Boxer, Esq., be and are hereby appointed to manage the New West End Synagogue with all necessary powers (such powers being limited to the ordinary powers of the Honorary Officers and Board of Management) subject to the control of the Council to act until such time as the Council shall otherwise determine…………………………………………………
And it is further resolved that the Honorary Officers of the United Synagogue be and are hereby empowered to take all steps which they may consider necessary to prevent any interference in the management of the New West End Synagogue by the persons appointed to manage it as aforesaid.
When I was elected your President, I thought I was reasonably acquainted with the position of the United Synagogue in Anglo-Jewry. What I did not appreciate then, but have now come to realise, especially from my recent travels, is the fact that the Chief Rabbinate, as well as the United Synagogue and its Constitution and its traditions, are the subject of envy and admiration the world over.
In my wildest dreams, however, I never thought it possible that we would ever reach the unhappy position facing us today. Our wise predecessors who were responsible for the Constitution on which we now rest saw how important it was to repose in the Chief Rabbi the sole Ecclesiastical Authority over the religious affairs of the United Synagogue. Their wisdom has proved itself time and again over the years, and I am certain that on this occasion—as indeed always—we are right to uphold the decision of our revered and respected Chief Rabbi, as the only path open if traditional orthodoxy in the United Synagogue is to be sustained and carried forward as a heritage for the future.
Our Ecclesiastical Authority is the United Synagogue’s buttress against the attacks of those who would like to see some encroachment on our traditions and I want this Council to show the Chief Rabbi in particular, and the community in general, in no uncertain manner that we, the Council of the United Synagogue, are not going to allow anything to happen which will assist any erosion of our heritage.
This Council must show by its vote this evening that it believes in the unity of the United Synagogue and that the Chief Rabbi is the focal point of that unity, and by that vote expresses its confidence in the Chief Rabbi and what he stands for.