It is Shabbos (Saturday), Parshas Shekalim, 1885 and Delegate Chief Rabbi Dr. Hermann Adler is in the then fairly new Bayswater Synagogue in the fashionable west of London. Many middle class and moderately wealthy families that originated in the East End of London have moved here. No-one can imagine that the Bayswater Synagogue will not be around for another 100 years.
I have written before about a booklet on the history of the Bayswater Synagogue.
Hermann Adler, in my opinion, is rather underrated and was rather more learned than advertised. He had Semicha (his Rabbinical Diploma) and his doctorate from his period of study in Prague. He was to be inaugurated as Chief Rabbi (following his father, Chief Rabbi Nathan Adler, in 1891.
He says: “When a foreign Jew arrives at these shores… when he enters a Jewish place of worship… he feels himself a stranger no longer.” Rabbi Adler goes on to make his case that Hebrew is the language of the Bible, it is Leshon Hakodesh (the holy language) and is the language of prayer. He says that we must maintain the schools so that the children are taught Hebrew.
Here is the entire sermon, printed by Wertheimer, Lea and Company in London: