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'Our prayers are with you'

Special Orders of Service issued by The Chief Rabbi's Office during the War.
By David Jacobs

Special Orders of Service are nothing new in Anglo-Jewry.  In the Magna Bibliotheca Anglo-Judaica, A Bibliographical Guide to Anglo-Jewish History, created in 1937 by Cecil Roth, the doyen of Anglo-Jewish Historians, and published by the Jewish Historical Society of England, Roth lists 56 of them, dating from 1701 to 1837. These services covered a variety of events affecting Jews in England and especially in London. They included the opening of some of London's earliest Synagogues including the Great and Bevis Marks. In 1805, there was a Hebrew thanksgiving for the victory at Trafalgar, which was recited in all the London Synagogues under the authority of both the Sephardim and Ashkenazim Rabbis.

The series of Service leaves and booklets below were created to mark events following the declaration of war in August 1914. The Chief Rabbi at that time was Joseph Herman Hertz who had been elected to office in 1913.

The first is a special Prayer of Supplication after the outbreak of war.

The next is for a service held at the Great Synagogue in Dukes Place, on August 4th, 1915, to mark the first anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities.

By 1916, the war had become the Great War and the Office of the Chief Rabbi produced a Prayer of Supplication to be read every Sabbath after the prayer for the King and the Royal family.

The Office also produced an Order of Service for the Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, January 5th 1918, appointed by his Majesty (George V), which included the King's Letter to be read either before the Sermon or at the commencement of the Service.

At the bottom, there is a note from C.R., presumably the Chief Rabbi, suggesting alternative readings for Jewish use (instead of on Sunday in Churches). This service included a memorial prayer for those fallen in battle.  

An additional small booklet of prayers, dated 1918, was to be read every Sabbath after the prayer for the King and the Royal family.

A further booklet, issued again by the Office of the Chief Rabbi, contains prayers as a form of thanksgiving to Almighty God, ‘Consequent on the Cessation of Hostilities’, to be used Sabbath November 16th, 1918.

A more substantial 12-page service booklet serves as a form of praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Restoration of Peace which contains the National Anthem in both English and Hebrew.

Lastly, the collection includes an Armistice Day Prayer from 1928, to be recited at the service on the anniversary or preceding Sabbath, after the prayer for the King and Royal Family.

 

SERVICES

Cover Prayer of Supplication consequent of the declaration of war. Chief Rabbi. 1914

 

 

A Prayer of Supplication Consequent on the Declaration of War. August 1914

 

 

 


Order of Service on the anniversary of he outbreak of hostilities. The Great Synagogue London. Chief Rabbi. 1915

 

 

Order of Service on the Anniversary of the Outbreak of Hostilities. The Great Synagogue London. August 1915 

 

 


Cover Prayer of Supplication. Chief Rabbi. 1916

 

 

Prayer of Supplication to be read every Sabbath after the Prayer for the King and the Royal Family. 1916

 

 


Cover order of Service. Chief Rabbi. January 1918

 

 

Order of Service for the day of Prayer and Thanksgiving appointed by his Majesty. January 1918

 

 


Cover Prayers. Chief Rabbi. 1918

 

 

Prayers to be read every Sabbath after the Prayer for the King and the Royal Family. 1918

 

 

 


Cover of Form of Praise and Thanksgiving to Almighty God consequent on the cessation of hostilities. Chief Rabbi. 1918

 

 

Form of Praise and Thanksgiving To Almighty God consequent on the Cessation of Hostilities. November 1918

 

 


Cover Praise and Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Restoration of Peace. Chief Rabbi. 1919

 

 

Form of Praise and Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the Restoration of Peace. 1919

 

 

 


Cover Armistice Day Prayer. Chief Rabbi. 1928

 

 

Armistice Day Prayer to be recited at the Service on the Anniversary  or on the preceding Sabbath, after the Prayer for the King and the Royal Family. 1928

 

 

About the collection

This collection was made available to We Were There Too with the kind permission of David Jacobs who has been collecting Anglo-Jewish Synagogue memorabilia and ephemera for decades. 

In 1983, he founded the Museum of the Jewish East End, at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley, in part, as a place to store his original collection.

He chaired the Executive Committee of the Jewish Historical Society of England from 2000-2016, and was recently elected to the position of President of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. 

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London Jews in the First World War - We Were There Too

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