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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 ACC/2805/02
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1868-1901
Level of description: Collection
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Extent: 3.5 linear metres
Name of creator(s): Adler | Nathan Marcus | 1803-1890 | Chief Rabbi


Administrative/Biographical history:

Nathan Adler was born in 1803 in Hanover, Germany and was the grand-nephew of Chief Rabbi David Tewele Schiff. He was educated at the universities of Gottingen, Erlangen, Wurzburg and Heidelberg and was ordained in 1828. In 1829 he was elected Senior Rabbi of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg and in 1830 appointed to the office in Hanover in his father's stead. In 1844 Nathan Adler succeeded Chief Rabbi Soloman Hirschell and was installed on the 9th of July 1845.

Nathan Adler worked to establish uniformity of religious practices. In 1847 he issued a code of Laws and Regulations which underlined the supremacy of the Chief Rabbi. He visited provincial congregations and took an active interest in settling or preventing communal disputes. In 1855 he founded Jews College in Finsbury Square, London. It was opened as a school and college, but the attraction of good schools outside the Jewish community and the movement of Jews from the area of the City led to the school being closed in 1879.

Many changes to the composition and administrative framework of Anglo-Jewry took place during this Chief Rabbinate. Important Jewish institutions such as the Jewish Board of Guardians and the Anglo-Jewish Association were founded. In the 1860s Adler encouraged proposals for the union of Ashkenazi congregations under one management and the United Synagogue was created by Act of Parliament in 1870. It was also a period when some Jews examined their approach to their faith; some broke away from traditional observance to worship at the newly formed West London Synagogue, the first Reform congregation in Britain. The number of Jews in the country grew, especially from 1881 with the arrival of thousands of refugees fleeing from pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1850 the Jewish population in Britain as around 35,000; in 1914 it stood at 300,000.

In the last decade of his life Nathan Adler had poor health and retired to Brighton. His son Hermann Adler acted for him as Delegate Chief Rabbi until his death on 21st January 1890.


Scope and content/abstract:

Correspondence of Chief Rabbi Nathan Adler, 1868-1901. A small number of records survive from around 1868 for the Chief Rabbinate of Nathan Adler and more from the late 1870s onwards - around the time Hermann Adler began to undertake many of his father's duties for him. The records consist of bundles of letters to the Chief Rabbi from communal organisations and individuals in Britain and overseas.

PLEASE NOTE: Records can only be accessed with the written permission of the depositor. Contact the Chief Executive, Office of Chief Rabbi, 735 High Road, North Finchley, London NW12 OUS.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Material arranged in one series: ACC/2805/02/01/001-142: Correspondence.

Conditions governing access:

Access by written permission only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to these records rests with the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited as part of several accessions of material from the Office of the Chief Rabbi.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Description prepared in March 2010.

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