Elkan Nathan Adler: In Memoriam: An Address delivered before The Jewish Historical Society, on 14th November, 1946

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The old admonition to praise famous men in the congregation of the people could never have been more welcome than it is this evening when you permit me to offer tribute, in the name of the Jewish Historical Society, to Elkan Adler. In the long and honoured roll of those who have shed lustre upon our Society the name and fame of Elkan Adler stand out amongst the greatest. He was one of the original members ; before the Society was called into being he was one of the pioneers in Anglo-Jewish Historical research ; he occupied the Presidential Chair, and till the day of his death he remained a member of the Council. And throughout the years of his long and busy life^ he pursued the path of the scholar, allowing his steps to carry him into many fields of learning, sowing the seeds and reaping the harvest, and enriching Jewish and general scholarship with all the fertility of his versatile mind. Yet he was no dilettante who toyed wth the arts of learning, content with a smatter here and there while remaining master of nothing. If the real scholar is the man who knows something of everything and everything about something, Elkan Adler would satisfy the definition.

The son of a Chief Rabbi and the brother of a Chief Rabbi, he was born and reared in an atmosphere of religion. Judaism was his creed and his life, its ceremonial obligations and its ethical concepts uniting to form a basis of living and conduct. He was proud of his rabbinical descent. In his youth he may have entertained the idea of devoting himself to the life of the synagogue. His early schooldays were spent in the old Jews' College School in Finsbury Square hard by the city home of his parents. In those days many a lad who afterwards turned his life's activity elsewhere enjoyed the educational advantages of secular and Jewish training under the one roof. It was a healthy atmosphere and it helped to breed many who afterwards became zealous servants of the community. The next stage in Adler's schooldays was the City of London School then enjoying the rule of the great Headmaster Abbott for whom he always retained a very high affection. His school career was dis? tinguished, and a time of study at London University followed. It seems that any idea he may have had of entering the Ministry had now gone, for his studies took him into the domain of law, and after qualifying and taking his degree he became a solicitor. He was soon engaged in practice, and for many years he was the senior partner in the firm of Adler and Perowne. His work brought him into contact with communal figures and communal organizations and he enjoyed the confidences of many to whom he acted as advisor. He freely gave his services to his community, and our own Historical Society owes much to his invariable readiness to advise us when we came

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