“Beth Hamedrash & Beth Din”, (House of Learning & Judgement) – A Jewish Court, from The Graphic, August 11th, 1906

9u Beth Din 1This item is a single page from the London Newspaper The Graphic.  With descriptions by Lucien Woolf, it depicts the members of the London Beth Din at a crucial time in 1906, just before the Federation of Synagogues withdrew Dayan Chaikin from the London Beth Din.  It also provides us with striking images of the persona involved.

The London Beth Din is the Beth Din of the United Synagogue, the Court of the Chief Rabbi.  As well as functioning as a Court, it is in charge of running Kashrus certification.  These senior religious judges, under the chairmanship of the Chief Rabbi, at that time Rabbi Dr. Herman Adler, included mainly more ‘anglicised’ personnel.  In order to be inclusive of the communities of more recent immigrants, there was a desire to include a Rabbi of eastern European origin who would be a Talmudic scholar of stature.  The Chief Rabbi had appointed Rabbi Moses Avigdor Chaikin, who was a scholarly Rabbi born in Russia,  a Talmudic expert, and the Chief Minister of the Federation of Synagogues to the Beth Din.  You can read more about his book Tsiun Rashi here.  Dayan Chaikin was originally only given the title of Assistant Dayan, even though he was probably a greater scholar than his colleagues.  The Federation of Synagogues withdrew him from the Beth Din until his title was recognized.

9u Beth Din 2

The images are striking:

9u Beth Din 3On the left is Rev. N. Lipman, the Chief Shochet (ritual slaughterer of meat).  On the right is the formidable figure of Dayan Chaikin.  He was born at Shklow in 1852 and educated st St Petersburg, where he also studied for the Rabbinate.  he was Rabbi of the Russian Jews in Paris from  1884 – 1888, Rabbi of Rostov-on-Don in 1888 – 1889, and of Sheffield, England, 1892 – 1901.  he was appointed Rabbi and Minister to the Federation of Synagogues in 1901.

9u Beth Din 4

On the left is Rabbi Dr. Herman Adler, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire.  He had succeeded his father, Rabbi Dr. Nathan Adler.  He was also President of Jews College, a Governor of University College, London and a Vice-President of the Jewish Religious Education Board and the Anglo-Jewish Association.  He was educated at University College, London and the University of Prague, and obtained a Ph. D. at Leipzig University on 1861.

On the right is Dayan Moses Hyamson, who was born at Suwalki, Russia, in 1863, and educated at Jews College and University College, London.  he received his rabbinical diploma (Semicha) from the Chief Rabbi in 1899.  He was also Librarian of the Beth Hamedrash.

9u Beth Din 5On the left is 33-year old Dayan Asher Feldman, the youngest Dayan, born in 1873 in Russia.  He was educated at Jews College and University College, London, and received the rabbinical diploma (Semicha) from the Chief Rabbi in 1899.  He was also Rabbi of the Stoke Newington Synagogue.

In the centre is Mr. Van Thal of the London Shechita Board.  On the right is Mr. Simon Asher, the investigating officer of the Shechita Board.


One thought on ““Beth Hamedrash & Beth Din”, (House of Learning & Judgement) – A Jewish Court, from The Graphic, August 11th, 1906

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s