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The Sunderland Beth Hamedresh 1889 - 1999
by Derek Taylor, Harold Davis
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ISBN: 9781845494353
Format: softback
189 x 246 mm
(7.44 x 9.69 inches)
Pages: 278
Imprint: arima
Cover Price: £11.99
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The Sunderland Beth Hamedresh 1889 - 1999
 
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  • Description

On the second day of Shevuot 1889 the wooden town of Krottingen in Lithuania burned down. A considerable number of the Jews in the town emigrated to Britain. They chose to remake their community in Sunderland, in the North East of England, to which one of their members had gone some years before.

They were impoverished, without homes and they didn't speak English. To make their daily lives more difficult, they would remain a very strictly Orthodox community in a strange country, where serious Orthodoxy was very much the exception rather than the rule. And they would manage to grow, prosper and be a light unto the nations for 100 years.

This is the story of how they progressed to a community which would give birth to the leaders of both the Labour and Conservative parties in Sunderland as well as several Mayors. Who would produce first class talmudic scholars as well as doctors and lawyers, fine commercial firms and eventually the talmudic powerhouse of Gateshead.

It is normally the case that secular success and the demands of total Jewish observance are an impossible combination, The Sunderland Beth Hamedresh, for 100 years, proved that this was not inevitable. And for good measure, they studied the complete Babylonian Talmud on four separate occasions over the century - a quarter of a century at a time; the famous Blatt.

The congregation became famous wherever observant Jews gathered. Isolated in the North East of England, their example was a shining light far beyond the shores of Britain.

The story of the Sunderland Beth Hamedresh is inspiring just because it should have been impossible. That it wasn't was due to great characters like Chatze Cohen and Joseph Pearlman. Great rabbis like Hirsch Hurwitz, David and Moshe Rabbinowitz, father and son, Abraham Babad and Shammai Zahn. In peace and war, the Beth Hamedresh members punched well above their weight against all the odds.

 
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