Benefits Which Jews Have Brought to England: Memory of Dominican Monk Who Became Converted to Judais
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Benefits Which Jews Have Brought to England: Memory of Dominican Monk Who Became Converted to Judais

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Tribute was paid to-day to the benefits derived in England from the presence of Jews in our midst, when the centenary of the birth of Adolf Neubauer, the distinguished Jewish scholar and historian of the Jews of Oxford, was celebrated here, a "Daily Telegraph" report from Oxford states.

A company which included many representatives of Jewish scholarship in this and other countries attended a luncheon given in the hall of Oriel College by Canon and Mrs. D. C. Simpson. Canon Simpson, speaking at the luncheon, said while it might be true that fewer candidates for the ministry studied Hebrew, it did not necessarily follow that such young ministers were ignorant of the contents of that literature, and he believed there was a more general interest in things Hebraic and Judaic than at any time within the last thirty years. New professorships and readerships were springing up at Cambridge, at Liverpool, and, above all, in London. Last week, said Canon Simpson, an entirely novel thing happened. A woman student offered Arabic and Hebrew in the Honour School of Oriental Languages, and obtained a First Class. I think you will agree with me that there is every reason for optimism as to the future of Semitic studies.

During the afternoon there was a service in the Synagogue, and later tablets were unveiled to mark the sites of the Oxford Synagogue and cemetery during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and the scene of the martyrdom of Haggai, the Proselyte at Osney in 1222. Professor Charles Seligman, the famous ethnologist, described the circumstances of the martyrdom. The conversion to Judaism of Robert of Reading (or Haggai of Oxford) caused a great scandal, he said, and he was condemned to death because of the activity of the Dominicans against Jewish proselytising and the fact that Robert himself had belonged to the Dominican Order. In a city of martyrs’ memorials, said Professor Seligman, in a city that withstood kings and popes in the defence of truth, a city that keeps alive the heroism of Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, Campion, Laud, and all the noble army of martyrs, let us spare one moment to think of Haggai the Jew in the midst of them.

The Mayor (Dr. W. Stobie), accepting on behalf of the city a tablet unveiled at the Town Hall, referred to the associations of the Jews with Oxford, in the Middle Ages and in modern times. Two great changes, he said, were due in England to the Jews; they developed commerce which had previously been a system of simple barter, and they introduced, or at least, popularised, stone houses. In the early period of the resettlement the connection of the Jews was closer with the University than with the city. There was, however, one man to whom we all, town and gown alike, owe a debt of thanks, and he is a certain Jacob who introduced coffee into England and opened the first cafe which was in Oxford.

The delegates were entertained to tea at Exeter College, by invitation of Mr. and Mrs. Loewe, when a portrait of the late Dr. Neubauer, the famous historian and bibliophile, the centenary of whose birth is now being celebrated, was presented to the college. Mr. Herbert Loewe outlined the events of Neubauer is life, and Dr. Buchler, the Principal of the Jews College and a nephew of Neubauer, gave an appreciation of his work.

At a service in the synagogue, which was attended by the Vice Chancellor of Oxford University and the Mayor of Oxford, two scrolls of the law were received into safe keeping from the Canterbury Hebrew Congregation, which has been disbanded after 200 years.

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