Could this happen today?


obj2239geo1735pg57p9This rather amusing incident is taken from the history of the New Synagogue written by A.B. Levy. The facts are taken from the minutes of the Committee, at the beginning of the 19th Century.

A rather frequent occurrence was the dismissal or suspension of officials and their reinstatement after apology most abject.

“Mr Myer Solomon having produced a long discussion concerning the chazan (Mr. Mordecai) having taken off his beard the consideration thereof was deferred to the next meeting. Adjourned.”

And the proceedings at the adjourned meeting in May are thus recorded:
“Brot forward. Mr. Myer Solomonthen brought forward his Motion concerning the Chazan R. Mordecal having cut off his beard. After a long discussion upon the same when the Parnossim stated that they called upon the Rav (Dr. Solomon Hirschell) who informed them that he gave the Chazan notice on the day of his Election and afterwards also not to cut off his beard but finding he has done the same he has forbidden him to enter his House and he also declared that he would not allow him to officiate as a witness to a divorce nor to any other purpose where he is concerned, “Moved and seconded that the Chazan be suspended for 14 days from this day. For the motion 12, against it 4.”

Some three weeks later after the Chazan had met with and been severely admonished by the Rav, the Rav promised he would accept him for the future as a reliable person.

The Chazan was then sent for “and appeared before the Board when the Parnossim informed him that he is reinstated in his situation and that he commence at the prayer desk tomorrow morning.

The beard is unmentioned in subsequent minutes and one assumes that it sprouted satisfactorily.