Jewish Orthodoxy in Scotland: Rabbi Dr Salis Daiches and Religious Leadership

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

The book addresses a key period in Jewish religious history in the UK through an analysis of a specific rabbi’s career path. It seeks to shed new light on the history of Jewish migration to the UK and the impact of this in the provinces. Scotland as the location farthest removed from London provides a case study with which better to understand the relationship between the Chief Rabbi, his court and the United Synagogue, and provincial Jewish congregations. Rabbi Salis Daiches migrated to the UK in 1903 and led the Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation from 1919 to 1945. His life thus offers a window on the opportunities open to a well-educated modern orthodox rabbi, and at the same time demonstrates the challenges of integration, acculturation and religious change occupying Jewish communities at the time. Matters of authority, leadership structure, and local cultural identity are central themes. The research presented in the book is based on analysis of archival materials which have not been evaluated before: correspondence between the Chief Rabbi’s office, Scottish congregations, and Salis Daiches, records relating to the Conference of Anglo-Jewish Ministers/Preachers from 1909 until 1948, minute books of synagogues in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as personal corresponded of Rabbi Dr Salis Daiches. The focus of the book is on Rabbi Daiches himself, his relationship with Chief Rabbi Hertz, and his perception in the local Scottish context by his colleagues in congregations in Glasgow. The resulting complex picture of individual ambition, national discussion, and local relationships helps to explain the impact of the discussion about rabbinic authority in the UK in the provinces, thereby contributing to local Jewish and religious history. The final chapter focuses on the present day and examines the traces of the Jewish life discussed in the previous three chapters in current urban landscape of Edinburgh. Using literary examples, memoirs and oral history the book concludes with an echo of the early twentieth century Jewish life in the Scottish capital.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages160
ISBN (Electronic)9781474452625, 9781474452618
ISBN (Print)9781474452595, 9781474452601
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Publication series

NameScottish Religious Cultures: Historical Perspectives
PublisherEdinburgh University Press

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Judaism
  • Jewish diaspora
  • transnational identities
  • Salis Daiches


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