Did the Chief Rabbinate move to the right? A case study: the mixed-choir controversies, 1880-1986*

There are few institutions that have so affected the nature of Anglo-Jewry as the British Chief Rabbinate.1 Yet, bizarrely, its development and influence have been neglected by historians. Indeed, no substantial research was done on the Chief Rabbinate between Cecil Roth in the 1950s and Miri Freud Kandel in the past few years. Unsurprisingly, there are still large gaps. Roth examined no Chief Rabbi after J. H. Hertz (1913-1946) and Freud-Kandel examined in depth only the period since 1913, in what was a theological rather than a historical study. Apart from a biographical essay by Israel Finestein almost nothing has been written about Hermann Adler (1890-1911) or his father, Nathan Marcus Adler (1845-1890). There are no full-scale scholarly biographies of any Chief Rabbi. Such neglect has led to misunderstanding and mistakes that are repeated in the secondary litera? ture. There is need for a thoroughgoing revision and re-appreciation of the

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