Isaac Disraeli and his quarrel with the Synagogue-a reassessment*

Isaac Disraeli was born in 1766 and died in 1848 aged 81. His lifetime thus coincided with the growth of religious toleration in England and the granting of civic rights to minorities such as Catholics and Jews. But it was not until 1845, just three years before his death, that the Jewish Disabilities Removal Act was passed, granting Jews full rights.

It was a period when the Jews in England felt sufficiently secure to loosen their allegiance to Judaism, which they thought hindered their entry into the wider Christian community. They were no longer prepared to limit their ambitions to the advice given to fellow-Jews by Moses Mendelssohn, ‘adapt yourselves to the customs and conditions of the country in which you find yourselves, but also be steadfast in upholding the religion of your fathers. Bear both burdens as well as you can.’ Many Jews found the burden of Judaism too

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