Moses Angel (1819-1898) was the Headmaster of the Jews Free School, which was founded in London in 1732. He was born Angel Moses, one of the eleven children of Emanuel and Sarah Moses. He said that he was adopted at a young age by a non-Jewish gentleman, who appears to have paid for his education. He was a practicing, orthodox Jew. In 1840 he joined the Jews Free School as English Master of the Talmud Torah, and was appointed Master of the School in 1842, where he remained in office for 56 years. Matthew Arnold, the poet and government schools inspector inspected the school in 1853 and described Moses as a highly educated man of supreme educational abilities who had the school in his entire command.
A religious man, he considered it his duty to spread the faith. He wrote this book in 1858 to promote a better understanding between Jew and Christian. It was well received.
My copy was owned by Reverend Benjamin Rodrigues-Pereira. He was born in Amsterdam and came to England in 1910 to take up the post of junior minister and later minister of the Manchester Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, which he served until 1929, when he went to Ramsgate. He remained there until his retirement in 1966.
In his preface, Moses Angel directs his books to two groups of readers. The first are his “Christian fellow-countrymen”, to whom he wishes to explain Judaism and to repudiate the accusations made against it.
The second target group are Jewish readers, who do not know their own religion and do not understand the Hebrew language:
The chapters of the book follow the Parshios – the weekly readings – of the Pentateuch, starting with Bereishis (Hebrew), or Genesis (English). Moses Angel has something to say about each week’s reading.
Here is a selection where Moses Angel talks about cleanliness and good health practices to combat the disease of the age – Cholera: