This book was written in honour of Rabbi Dr. Samuel Daiches, who had completed 25 years as a Lecturer at Jews College, London in 1932.
Samuel Daiches was born in 1878 in Vilna. His father, Rabbi Israel Hayyim Daiches, emigrated to England with his family and became a Rabbi in Leeds. I have previously written about Rabbi Israel Hayyim Daiches’ book of sermons, Derashos Mahariach. Samuel Daiches’ brother, Rabbi Salis Daiches, was Rabbi of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Samuel Daiches studied with his father and at the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary. After serving as rabbi at Sunderland, he became lecturer in Bible, Talmud, and Midrash at Jews’ College, London, in 1908. He also took an active part in the work of B’nai B’rith, the Anglo-Jewish Association, the British Board of Deputies, the Jewish Agency, and Jewish relief organizations. I have an interesting book by him, written in 1915 entitled Lord Kitchener and his work in Palestine.
The table of contents reads like a Who’s Who of British Rabbonim and lay leaders. Many of them were, at the time at posts early in their careers, and it is quite interesting to see at which synagogue each had a position.
I do not know who originally owned my copy – there is no signature – but there are some interesting manuscript pages included, apparently from the time of the Second World War, including a prayer in English to be used in a shelter during the Blitz.
As a seasonal choice I have included a scan of Rev. S. I. Solomons sermon for Shabbos Chol HaMoed Succos (the intermediate Sabbath of the holiday of Tabernacles) on Koheles (the book of Ecclesiastes). S. I. Solomons was the ‘Reader’ of the Singers Hill Synagogue in Birmingham during the 1930s, and the Assistant Rabbi from about 1949.
One thought on “Atem Edi – Ye Are My Witnesses – by former students of Dr. Samuel Daiches at Jews College, London. Published – M. L. Cailingold, 1936.”
My copy has on the front page ‘For Review’ and is signed William W Simpson May 8th 1936. Rev W W Simpson was an external student at Jews’ College 1933-35, minister of Amhurst Park Methodist Church, North London 1935-8, General Secretary of the Christian Council of Refugees 1938-42, and General Secretary of the Council of Christians and Jews 1942-74.
There is much underlining and side-lining and some comments. Here are two. At the head of one essay (which I will not identify) he wrote ‘How little of God there is in this!’ and on the back page ‘although the Sermons are by different men they are all so much of a type that they might all have come from one pen’ I do not know where his review appeared.
My copy also included a letter, signed Samuel Daiches dated 16 February 1945 and reads as follows:
My dear Mr Simpson,
I should have written to you before today to thank you for your kind letter of January 26. Preoccupation did not allow me to do as I wished.
I also regret my retirement from active work at Jews’ College. I shall miss my contact with the students. The happiest spiritual time of my life I spent in my Class Room with the students. But all things must come to an end. It is a sad thought. It is, on the other hand, a divine favour when you can stop and look back with satisfaction. I pray that it may be granted to me to continue my researches in the Hebrew Literature and to amplify them.
I shall always remember with pleasure your presence in my Class, and I am glad to know that you enjoyed the study of the Talmud. In these days it is comforting to [think ?] of your present work.
I thank you for what you say regarding the conferment upon me of the title of ‘Emeritus Professor’ and for all your good wishes. I wish you success in your [benificent?] work. I hope we will have occasion to meet from time to time.
With kindest greetings
Yours very sincerely