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English News

London, 17th November, 5607 (1846)

The Chamber of Elders of the Portuguese Congregation has resolved that Sir Moses Montefiore shall be invited to sit for his portrait, which is to be suspended in the vestry-room of their Synagogue, in acknowledgment of the many and eminent services which that distinguished baronet has rendered to the Jewish cause.

A slight alteration has been instituted in the manner of performing the Friday Evening’s Service at the Great Synagogue, Dukes’ Place. The לכו נרננה being now repeated in alternate verses by the חזן and choir only, the congregation not joining in except in an under key. The לכה דודי is also left to them exclusively, instead of each verse being repeated by the congregation as heretofore. These alterations, introduced at the instance of the Chief Rabbi, for the improvement of the present manner of conducting the public worship, which is often noisy and indecorous, and thus deprived of its requisite solemnity, will no doubt be extended to other portions of the service; it has already elicited manifestations. of discontent from a few ultra conservative members of the Synagogue; but they do not appear to have prevented the adoption of these slight modifications, which were repeated on Friday evening last. This little circumstance is watched with some interest, as affording an opportunity for judging of the extent of the Chief Rabbi’s independence.

On Saturday, the 14th inst., Dr. Adler delivered a discourse in English on the subject of prayer. He defined in very suitable and tasteful language the nature and object of prayer, as well as the most befitting manner and attitude for its utterance, for both public and private worship. This sermon is certainly the best which he has yet delivered in English, and, like most of his former compositions, it was eloquent though unadorned, and characterized by that piety and sincerity which give the true value to eloquence. It is really remarkable that so short an acquaintance with the language of our country, should enable Dr. Adder already to undertake to preach in English. His choice of words, which is invariably extremely happy, exhibits a knowledge acquired rather by study than mere intercourse with native Englishmen. In pronunciation he appears still somewhat defective; and another consequence of his preaching in an unfamiliar language, is the frequent misplacing of the emphases, which very often are thrown upon mere particles, and thus, a very odd effect is given to some of his sentences, but time and experience will, no doubt remedy these defects. His exertions in the cause of education are very earnest and successful. You will judge from this, what hopes are entertained for the spiritual advancement of our co-religionists in this country, which will no doubt be early accomplished if our reverend chief shall but meet with the encouragement and support which are due to his high position and to the purity and value of his objects.

The Elders of the Portuguese Congregation have in contemplation to revise their book of laws, and, strange to say, that among the most anxious for this step, are some of those individuals who were the most loud in condemning the applications made by those members of the congregation who now comprise the principal portion of the Burton Street Synagogue.

The Committee of the Beth Holim Hospital, belonging to the Portuguese Congregation, announce their intention to celebrate the centenary of their institution by a public ball, to be given some time in January next. A very efficient staff of stewards is in progress of organization, and the most brilliant success may be anticipated.

The Sussex Hall Committee contemplate celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of their excellent institution by some public festivity; what its exact nature will be is not yet decided upon. The essay and discussion class connected with this institution is now holding its meetings every Sunday evening, and it is a gratifying feature to observe the extensive concourse of Jewish ladies and gentlemen of the most respectable and influential class, who congregate every week in the large lecture theatre, to encourage and to take part in the very creditable discussions which are here carried on with great spirit and some talent. It is a great pity that this excellent institution is not better supported, although I am happy to say it  is becoming better appreciated, and its merits are much more extensively acknowledged than heretofore, though nevertheless its progress is by far too slow considering the many manifest advantages it offers to the Jewish as well as the general public. There is nothing else stirring here of Jewish interest.