Author Topic: Jewish marriages  (Read 488 times)

Offline RipleyAnne

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Jewish marriages
« on: Saturday 15 April 17 02:37 BST (UK) »
Hi all,

I wasn't sure where to post this query...I hope this spot will be suitable.

My question is in regard to Jewish marriages - particularly in the 1800s. Both of my 3x great-grandparents were of the Jewish faith and living in England. I am pretty sure that my 3x great-grandmother, Sarah Esther Israel COHEN was an Ashkenazi Jew while Joseph Abraham MENDEZ was a Sephardic Jew. They married in Joseph's synagogue (Bevis Marks) in 1844 although they then returned to live in Brighton where Sarah had been previously living.

My two questions are:
1. Was it usual / common for two people of different 'branches' of the Jewish faith to marry?
2. Was it the usual practice to get married in the male's synagogue?

Thanks

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Offline brigidmac

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #1 on: Friday 21 April 17 00:39 BST (UK) »
Sorry i don't know the answer

But i have another question re Jewish weddings ....Are they always recorded civically as well as in synagogues i.m looking for some weddings late 1890.', s. In Manchester.

Roberts,Fellman.Macdermid MCDERMID McDiarmid Gardner Jones ,Bloch,Irvine,Hallis Stevenson ,McKay

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Offline Josephine

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #2 on: Friday 21 April 17 16:55 BST (UK) »
brigidmac,

Yes, it would have been recorded civilly, according to the law. The GRO record will indicate if the marriage took place in a synagogue and, if so, it will name the synagogue. I've got one from 1855.

I hope someone can answer RipleyAnne's question; I'd be interested to hear the answers.

Regards,
Josephine
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Offline JustinL

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 22 April 17 19:28 BST (UK) »
RipleyAnne - your question is very specific and I think you will struggle to obtain any statistics. I think it would be equally difficult to obtain stats on Protestant/Catholic mixed marriages.

An internet search throws up conflicting opinions. Aubrey Jacobus on this website http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Amsterdam/london/#part10 believes they were 'rare and obviously difficult'. However, he is passing judgement based on mixed marriages conducted in the Sephardi synagogue; he doesn't address marriages conducted in Ashkenazi synagogues.

On the other hand, Endelman believes there was a very high rate of intermarriage in Georgian England (see page 172  https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=Oy6FwmnvVGEC&pg=PA172&lpg=PA172&dq=sephardic+ashkenazi+intermarriage+uk&source=bl&ots=zcumiHejHS&sig=FdetI_1Ot3McSba8khOhQdf0Tnw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwil9Nf-07jTAhWRL1AKHeGIBIkQ6AEITDAH#v=onepage&q=sephardic%20ashkenazi%20intermarriage%20uk&f=false)

Brigid - not all Jews were able to marry in a synagogue in 19th century England. The archivist at Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) explained it thus:

To marry in a Orthodox Synagogue one needs the Chief Rabbi's permission (authorisation). To get that one must prove one is Jewish. One proves one is Jewish by presenting one's own parents' ketubah (marriage contract). This proves one is a result of a Jewish union. But therein lay the problem. If one had fled one's home country one might not have access to one's parents' ketubah. So, the Chief Rabbi would decline his authorisation. He was VERY strict about it, there was no arguing or having people vouch for you; without that ketubah you could forget it! So, without his authorisation no approved minister would perform a Jewish marriage. Some couples went to the registrar or even a parish church, but some thought that being married by any Rabbi (authorised or not) was what should happen. So, a clandestine marriage was performed. An unauthorised (though probably perfectly bona fide) Rabbi would perform the ceremony. In the eyes of God the couple were legally married, but in the eyes of the law, they were not. No records of these marriages were ever made. Years later the couple would sometimes have a second marriage for the sake of their children, either at the registry office or in a church. Others probably never bothered.

This phenomenon, known as stille chuppah - silent canopy, occurred as long as the Adlers (father, then son) were the Chief Rabbis, which was from 1844 to 1911.

Justin

Offline Josephine

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 22 April 17 20:08 BST (UK) »
Brigid - not all Jews were able to marry in a synagogue in 19th century England. The archivist at Beth Din (Rabbinical Court) explained it thus:

To marry in a Orthodox Synagogue one needs the Chief Rabbi's permission (authorisation). To get that one must prove one is Jewish. One proves one is Jewish by presenting one's own parents' ketubah (marriage contract). This proves one is a result of a Jewish union. But therein lay the problem. If one had fled one's home country one might not have access to one's parents' ketubah. So, the Chief Rabbi would decline his authorisation. He was VERY strict about it, there was no arguing or having people vouch for you; without that ketubah you could forget it! So, without his authorisation no approved minister would perform a Jewish marriage. Some couples went to the registrar or even a parish church, but some thought that being married by any Rabbi (authorised or not) was what should happen. So, a clandestine marriage was performed. An unauthorised (though probably perfectly bona fide) Rabbi would perform the ceremony. In the eyes of God the couple were legally married, but in the eyes of the law, they were not. No records of these marriages were ever made. Years later the couple would sometimes have a second marriage for the sake of their children, either at the registry office or in a church. Others probably never bothered.

This phenomenon, known as stille chuppah - silent canopy, occurred as long as the Adlers (father, then son) were the Chief Rabbis, which was from 1844 to 1911.

Justin

Justin, this is fascinating; thank you.

I have the case of a woman who was married at the New Synagogue in London in 1855 -- but her  mother might not have been Jewish (her father definitely was).

At the time of their marriage in 1855, this woman and her husband had already been together for over 10 years, and had started having children circa 1844.

I wondered why they would have waited so long to have gotten married (neither had been married before) and speculated that she might have had to convert in order to be married in a synagogue.

All I have is the civil record from the GRO; my cousin (their descendant) does not have a copy of their ketubah. The GRO record states that they were married at the New Synagogue by I.L. Lindenthal.

We'll probably never have the answer, but you've added some interesting context, so thanks again!

Regards,
Josephine

P.S. Modified to add that we don't know where the groom's parents were from (the groom was born in London). The bride's parents were both born in England.
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Offline Josephine

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 22 April 17 20:34 BST (UK) »
I'm starting to wonder if there weren't some exceptions to the rule that Justin outlined... or if there were conversions involved.

I looked again at the family in question (my Barnett family from Chatham, Kent).

The 1855 marriage I mentioned (above) was for the daughter of a Jewish man and what appears to have been a Christian woman.

That couple had a son (the brother of the woman who got married in 1855) who married a Christian woman in a church in 1852 and baptized all of his children in a Christian church. Nonetheless, this man stayed Jewish and was buried in the Jewish cemetery.

Also, one of this man's daughters (who was baptized in a Christian church in 1862 and whose mother was a Christian and whose grandmother might have been a Christian) married a Jewish man in a synagogue in 1883; she and her children were buried in the Jewish cemetery.

So, I wonder: were the rules always so strictly enforced, or would these women have had to convert to be officially considered Jewish by the religious authorities? (I would assume the latter would be correct.)

Regards,
Josephine
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Online Skoosh

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 22 April 17 21:04 BST (UK) »
This would present no problems in Scotland, marriage is not a sacrament in the Church of Scotland & most marriages took place in a house or manse. Scotland's Jews enjoyed a good relationship with the Kirk, a the only country in Europe where Jews never suffered persecution,

Skoosh.

Offline Josephine

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 22 April 17 21:30 BST (UK) »
Skoosh,

Does it depend on the timeframe?

This wouldn't involve Jewish people getting married, but wasn't there a problem (way back when) with Christian couples who had "irregular" marriages or who belonged to dissenting churches?

(I'm terrible at remembering history.)

Regards,
Josephine
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Offline JustinL

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Re: Jewish marriages
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 22 April 17 22:07 BST (UK) »
Josephine,

I would have thought that conversion to Judaism in the 19th century was impossible, which makes your family sound all the more intriguing.

What leads you to believe that the mother of the man who married in 1852 and of the woman who married in 1855 was Christian?

Can you tell me the names of the people involved?

As far as I can tell the spiritual authority of the Chief Rabbi was acknowledged by of England's Ashkenazi communities from 1780.

Justin