The Wanderers and Other Jewish Scholars of My Youth1

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Map of Hampstead and Maida Vale showing homes of Schechter and the "Wandering Jews". {from Bacon* s Atlas, 1885, in half'inch squares) Sch ? Solomon Schechter A ? Israel Abrahams G ? L. G. Greenberg B ? Herbert Bentwich D ? Arthur Davis M ? Asher Myers H ? Isidore Harris J ? Joseph Jacobs Z ? Israel Zangwill S ? Solomon J. Solomon

I WAS greatly honoured by being chosen to be President of this august and learned Society. I realize that I have passed from the condition of an enfant terrible to a funny old thing', but I am full of apprehension about my address this evening. When I read the addresses of my predecessors, which are preserved in the Transactions of the Society, I felt that I could not emulate that scholarly company in historical research. I thought that, being older than most of your Presidents, and having reached the stage of second childhood, it might be fitting to compose from my fading memory, and from such documents as I could find, a picture of some Jewish scholars in this country whom I had known in my first childhood. I could speak of scholars, if not of scholarship, and indulge in what Americans, I believe, call oral history. That is a record by living persons about those who have had a part in big events and the cultural development of the time. In my boyhood I had the opportunity of knowing some of the Giborei Hador, the mighty men of the generation, or rather of two generations, those who were then the cultural leaders of the Jewish community, and those who were to become leaders. It is of some scholars of these two generations that I shall speak.

I am the more conscious of falling below your learned tradition because I follow as President a fine scholar who brings the integrity of deep learning to his every literary effort. And I am the more conscious of my second childhood because it was his father, Dr. Lionel Barnett,2 who once taught me Greek prose and Greek verse, and made me understand the meaning of exact scholarship.

In 1883, the year I was born, Anglo-Jewry was at a turning point of its economic, social and cultural history. The stream of immigration from Eastern Europe, from Russia and Roumania, had begun to flow in a flood and was bringing to these shores a mass of manual workers, tailors and cabinet-makers. They were without any material capital; but many of them were possessed of that love of learning and devotion to Judaism which marked the Jews of the European Ghetto. It brought, too, a few Jewish scholars of eminence. Pre-eminent among them Solomon Schechter3 arrived in 1882, coming not direct from his native Roumania, but from Berlin, where he was a teacher at the

1 Presidential address delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 9th November, 19

2 Lionel David Barnett, (1871-1961); C.B., M.A.,

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