Wednesday 14 October 1663

Up and to my office, where all the morning, and part of it Sir J. Minnes spent, as he do every thing else, like a fool, reading the Anatomy of the body to me, but so sillily as to the making of me understand any thing that I was weary of him, and so I toward the ‘Change and met with Mr. Grant, and he and I to the Coffee-house, where I understand by him that Sir W. Petty and his vessel are coming, and the King intends to go to Portsmouth to meet it. Thence home and after dinner my wife and I, by Mr. Rawlinson’s conduct, to the Jewish Synagogue: where the men and boys in their vayles, and the women behind a lattice out of sight; and some things stand up, which I believe is their Law, in a press to which all coming in do bow; and at the putting on their vayles do say something, to which others that hear him do cry Amen, and the party do kiss his vayle. Their service all in a singing way, and in Hebrew. And anon their Laws that they take out of the press are carried by several men, four or five several burthens in all, and they do relieve one another; and whether it is that every one desires to have the carrying of it, I cannot tell, thus they carried it round about the room while such a service is singing. And in the end they had a prayer for the King, which they pronounced his name in Portugall; but the prayer, like the rest, in Hebrew. But, Lord! to see the disorder, laughing, sporting, and no attention, but confusion in all their service, more like brutes than people knowing the true God, would make a man forswear ever seeing them more and indeed I never did see so much, or could have imagined there had been any religion in the whole world so absurdly performed as this. Away thence with my mind strongly disturbed with them, by coach and set down my wife in Westminster Hall, and I to White Hall, and there the Tangier Committee met, but the Duke and the Africa Committee meeting in our room, Sir G. Carteret; Sir W. Compton, Mr. Coventry, Sir W. Rider, Cuttance and myself met in another room, with chairs set in form but no table, and there we had very fine discourses of the business of the fitness to keep Sally, and also of the terms of our King’s paying the Portugees that deserted their house at Tangier, which did much please me, and so to fetch my wife, and so to the New Exchange about her things, and called at Thomas Pepys the turner’s and bought something there, an so home to supper and to bed, after I had been a good while with Sir W. Pen, railing and speaking freely our minds against Sir W. Batten and Sir J. Minnes, but no more than the folly of one and the knavery of the other do deserve.

44 Annotations

Terry F   Link to this

The Pepyses visit the Synagogue on the festival of Simchat Torah

To provide a slight gloss on the Diary's take on the event - "my wife and I, by Mr. Rawlinson's conduct, to the Jewish Synagogue: where the men and boys in their vayles [prayer shawls], and the women behind a lattice out of sight; and some things stand up, which I believe is their Law, in a press [the Ark containing the Pentateuch, < Gk for the "five scrolls" of the Torah] to which all coming in do bow; and at the putting on their vayles do say something, to which others that hear him do cry Amen, and the party do kiss his vayle. Their service all in a singing way, and in Hebrew. And anon their Laws that they take out of the press are carried by several men, four or five several burthens in all, and they do relieve one another; and whether it is that every one desires to have the carrying of it, I cannot tell, thus they carried it round about the room while such a service is singing. And in the end they had a prayer for the King, which they pronounced his name in Portugall [i.e. in Portuguese, as these Sephardic, sc. Iberian, lit. "Spanish", Jews from Portugal would ]; but the prayer, like the rest, in Hebrew. But, Lord! to see the disorder, laughing, sporting, and no attention, but confusion in all their service, more like brutes than people knowing the true God, would make a man forswear ever seeing them more and indeed I never did see so much, or could have imagined there had been any religion in the whole world so absurdly performed as this."

Prayer shawl (Tallit) http://www.ajudaica.com/item/259_43/Prima+A.A+T...

Samuel Pepys needn't consider forswearing further attendance -: L&M note that visits to this Synagogue by even pre-screened Gentiles like Mr. Rawlinson's party would be banned in 1664.

Terry F   Link to this

Judaism 101 Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah

"Simchat Torah means 'Rejoicing in the Torah.' This holiday marks the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. Each week in synagogue we publically read a few chapters from the Torah, starting with Genesis Ch. 1 and working our way around to Deuteronomy 34 [the last chapter of the fifth scroll of the Pentateuch]. On Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends.

"This completion of the readings is a time of great celebration. There are processions around the synagogue carrying Torah scrolls and plenty of high-spirited singing and dancing in the synagogue with the Torahs. Drinking [of ritual wine symbolizing life] is also common during this time; in fact, a traditional source recommends performing the priestly blessing earlier than usual in the service, to make sure the kohanim [priests by lineage] are not drunk when the time comes! As many people as possible are given the honor of an aliyah (reciting a blessing over the Torah reading); in fact, even children are called for an aliyah blessing on Simchat Torah. In addition, as many people as possible are given the honor of carrying a Torah scroll in these processions. Children do not carry the scrolls (they are much to heavy!), but often follow the procession around the synagogue, sometimes carrying small toy Torahs (stuffed plush toys or paper scrolls)." http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday6.htm

Terry F   Link to this

Sephardi Jews in Amsterdam and London

How Sephardi Jews came to form London's congregation in 1657 -
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resettlement_of_th...

Spinoza (1632-1677), discussed in the annotations for 17 May 1660, http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1660/05/17/ was the son of Jews who fled Portugal to Amsterdam. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Spinoza

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"...part of it Sir J. Minnes spent, as he do every thing else, like a fool, reading the Anatomy of the body to me, but so sillily as to the making of me understand any thing that I was weary of him..."

Don't lets let a little thing like the coming war with Holland stop you boys from having a fun morning on the King's shilling.

Robert Gertz   Link to this

"Thence home and after dinner my wife and I, by Mr. Rawlinson's conduct, to the Jewish Synagogue..."

Why the sudden interest I wonder? Has our boy been reading "Merchant of Venice" or something?

[Which, my wife would like me to mention we just saw some of our friends perform brilliantly at the New American Shakespeare Tavern here in Atlanta...Are you pleased, dear? End commercial]

And he took Bess...My only guess is that Mr Rawlinson brought it up as a wonderful sight to see and he having invited Bess along as well as Sam, our lad couldn't keep her away.

***

"Away thence with my mind strongly disturbed with them..."

"Yes, yes. A most disorderly form of worship. I think we'll not need to see such a strange service again." Sam nervously notes to Rawlinson, Bess eyeing him as their carriage stops.

"Sam'l..." she hisses as Rawlinson makes his farewell and heads off. "Why were you so anxious to go? And how did you know every prayer before those men said it? I saw your lips moving from where I stood. Where all those nice ladies kept speaking to me as if they thought I should understand the service."

"Bess..." Sam motions with hands, looking round in no little panic.

"And why does your father have a cap in his chest at Brampton that looks just like the ones the men tonight were wearing? The one he kept shoving back in the chest every time I came down unexpectedly on Friday nights."

Paul Chapin   Link to this

"they pronounced his name in Portugall"

More likely in Sephardi Hebrew, which Pepys took for Portuguese.
Wikipedia: "The Sephardi Hebrew language is an offshoot of Biblical Hebrew favored for liturgical use by Sephardi Jewish practice. Its phonology was influenced by contact languages such as Ladino, Portuguese, Dutch, Turkish and Arabic." See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sephardi_Hebrew_la...

Many thanks to Terry for his posting about Simchat Torah. Pepys must have been at the synagogue on this day, unaware that it was a special celebration, and supposing that all their services were like that.

Ruben   Link to this

This was not the first time Samuel Pepys went to a sinagogue.
On Dec 3, 1659 he visited a sinagogue after the death of a Jewish merchant and then wrote about it to his boss.
See: http://www.ferdinando.org.uk/pepys.htm#3%20dec

Ruben   Link to this

I forgot to mention that the Jew died after a Ye Stone operation by Pepys surgeon...

Mary   Link to this

Sir Wm. Petty and his vessel.

This is the twin-keel vessel that Pepys mentioned on 31st July 1663, when it had won a wager of £50 for beating the usual pacquet-boat on the crossing from Dublin to Holyhead.

Pedro   Link to this

"and there we had very fine discourses of the business of the fitness to keep Sally,"

If Sally is Salé in Morocco, and such a fine discourse was had, is it strange that there is so little mentioned in history?

alanB   Link to this

"where all the morning, and part of it Sir J. Minnes spent, as he do every thing else, like a fool, reading the Anatomy of the body to me,"

I suspect that like all of us who have endured (enjoyed),the past week of learning about Sam's bodily functions, that Sir J simply had had enough and was giving Sam some of his own medicine.

Xjy   Link to this

Pepys synagogue visit and Eng Lit
' "Simchat Torah means 'Rejoicing in the Torah.' This holiday marks the completion of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. [...] On Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion, then proceed immediately to the first chapter of Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle, and never ends.'

CLICK. Finnegans Wake. CLICK. Singing and rejoicing and drinking and being uproarious. CLICK CLICK CLICK... Round and round we go.

Thanks Terry!

Pedro   Link to this

Sally.

To try to answer my own question!

Salé is on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, and the other side of the river Bou Regreg to Rabat. The Portuguese had control of areas of Morocco until the Battle of the Three Kings in 1578, and from then on the area seems to be a secure area for the pirates.

I would hazard a quess that the "very fine discourses of the business of the fitness to keep Sally" could mean talking of a proposal to "take" Sally?

Can Mr.Hat help me?

language hat   Link to this

"More likely in Sephardi Hebrew"

No, Portuguese. There is no Hebrew equivalent of Charles/Carlos, and the language of these Jews was Portuguese. "Because of the relative high proportion of immigrants through Portugal, the majority of Spanish and Portuguese Jews of the 16th and 17th centuries spoke Portuguese as their first language" -- from here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_and_Portug...

language hat   Link to this

Sally/Sale/Sala

This quote from Jamil Abun-Nasr's A History of the Maghrib (pp. 223-24) should help clarify the background; the Dala'iyya was a Berber Sufi sultanate based in the Middle Atlas that had come to power in the 1640s, and the Andalusians were the Muslims expelled from Spain in 1492:

"[The rebel Ghailan's] successes in the north and an uprising in Fez precipitated a rebellion against the Dala'iyya in Sala in February 1660. It appears that Dala'iyya control lay heavily on the Andalusian chiefs, and with the help of the tribes nearby they sought to regain their independence. The Andalusians and their tribal allies succeeded in besieging Abdulla [governor of Sala and son of Muhammad al-Hajj, the Dala'iyya sultan] in the castle of Sala, and a Dala'iyya army sent to relieve him was defeated in June 1660 by Ghailan. But Abdulla was able to hold out in the castle for sixteen months, about the end of which he received a shipload of provisions from the English who had just occupied Tangier. Abdulla is said to have proposed to the authorities in Tangier an alliance with the Dala'iyya which would enable them to take possession of Sala in return for help against his enemies in the Gharb [the region including Meknes, Sala, and Wazzan]. The dispatch of the provisions seems to have been intended as an expression of interest in the proposed alliance, without the English governor of Tangier Teviot being committed to a definite policy at a time when he was still feeling his way in the complex political situation of northern Morocco. Ghailan's unhostile attitude towards the English takeover in Tangier in 1661 seems to have persuaded the governor not to pursue further the proposed alliance with the Dala'iyya. When in June 1661 Abdulla eventually withdrew from the castle, the Andalusians, now in control, followed an ambivalent policy towards Ghailan. They allowed a commander whom Abdulla had left behind to control the castle, thereby retaining nominal Dala'iyya authority to counterbalance Ghailan's increasing power. This arrangement came to an end in 1664 when the Andalusians of Sala formally recognized Ghailan's sovereignty over the town and agreed to remit to him the taxes levied on trade.

"The shifts in the attitudes of the Andalusians of Sala towards the Dala'iyya sultanate paralleled developments in relations between the Berber sultanate and Fez, and it is very likely that the Andalusians measured the power of the Dala'iyya chiefs by their ability to persuade Fez to accept their rule. Though Fez ceased to be the political capital of Morocco from the middle of the sixteenth century, it continued to constitute the country's political pulse...

The Dala'iyya sultan was able to bring Fez to recognize his authority once more but he avoided causing fresh disturbance by appointing a Berber to govern it. New Fez was placed under the authority of Abu Abdulla al-Duraidi, chief of Duraid, an Arabian tribe... Old Fez had a special regime in which two local chiefs shared power... By 1662 the two cities of Fez were again in rebellion, and Abdulla, the former governor of Sala, was in vain trying to enter the city with a Berber army. But in September 1663, when Old Fez felt the heavy-handedness of the Duraid tribe..., its leaders voluntarily sought the imposition of direct Dala'iyya rule. By then Muhammad al-Hajj [the Dala'iyya sultan] could no longer control al-Duraidi who had become a brigand-ruler scourging the countryside around Fez and Meknes. So he left Old Fez to fend for itself against the Arabian tribes as best it could. Sala simultaneously broke its last links with the Dala'iyya, and about the same time the Alawite sharifs [who eventually took over the whole country and still rule it today] intensified their activities in north-eastern Morocco."

(Sorry for the long and complicated quote, but it reflects a complex situation, and gives some idea of the mess the English were dealing with!)

Bradford   Link to this

What a disappointment, finding out Sally's true identity. I thought she was the char.
Thanks for the "translation" of the synagogue visit, exactly what I was wishing for as I read it. A pity no one thought to explain the goings-on to the goyim onlookers.
But consider: how many government workers have the latest medical handbook recited haltingly aloud to them while they pretend to slave? Quite an innovation, adapting mealtime readings in the monastic refectory to a secular workplace---do you think Minnes chose this particular text in retaliation for listening to Pepys's signs and symptoms over the past week?

Ruben   Link to this

To Bradford
1) Jews are forbidden, by religion, from proselitizing.
2) Having passed trough hundreds of years of persecution before the final expulsion from Spain and Portugal, and then the Inquisition, no Jew in his right mind would do anything that could be interpreted by gentiles as proselitizing.
3) The Jews in London came (after many years of expulsion from England) in Cromwell's time (politically bad), they had no formal status (bad), and most of them came to London from Amsterdam or were commercial agents for companies from Amsterdam (again bad). They were more or less tolerated by the King, something I remember reading somewhere was against the feelings of many Christians. For all this reasons they prefered to conduct their affairs quietly.
I think they felt that the less the gentile guests understood, the better.

Mary   Link to this

Sir John Mennes.

Not entirely surprising that he should be reading from a book on anatomy, as by the early 1660s (see biographical background) he had acquired something of a reputation as a learned chemist and dabbler in medicine.

At this date he is 64 years old (a venerable age for his time)and clearly not well fitted to the administrative tasks that face him. No doubt mention of Pepys recent ill-health provided him with an ideal escape into the field of medicine,where he might hope to demonstrate some expertise or special knowledge. However, Pepys finds the old man's reading in anatomy no more impressive than his skills in administration.

Ruben   Link to this

Pepys was interested in almost everything. For him religion was important. He went to see Catholic Mass in times when it was almost suicidal, I presume from curiosity. Same can be said about the visit to the Sinagogue. In my opinion if there was a Mosque in London he would have gone there to see the Moslem ritual or Buddhist or whatever.

Pedro   Link to this

Thanks for the information Mr.Hat.

Some of the dates in the source do not add up as far as Teviot is concerned, as he did not arrive in Tangier until the 11 May 1663. It would appear that Peterborough was the Governor when the supplies were sent to Sallee, and the idea of help was still on the agenda at the present time of the Diary. Teviot had left Tangier on July 63 for 6 months leave and would return in January 1664.

Incidentally Childs says in his book The Army of Charles II...

"Guyland (Ghailan) took great offence at the British arrival to a town he considered as part of his territory, but he was unable to bring all his strength against Tangier as he was feuding with the "Saint of Sallee."

Terry F   Link to this

Clarifying Simkat Torah

My pleasure. The notation "14 October, 1663 - Samuel Pepys visits the Synagogue on Simchat Torah" I ran across several months ago in "A Chronology of the Jews in Britain" of the Jewish Virual Library (a huge and wonderful website) - http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw...

language hat   Link to this

Pedro: Good catch on Teviot!
I've annotated my book accordingly. (This is one reason I like having my own copies of books!)

jeannine   Link to this

Thanks to all today for the interesting and informative dialogue. It's highly appreciated, as always, and enjoyable to see a team effort adding such value on many assorted subjects.

Ruben   Link to this

Robert asked:
""Thence home and after dinner my wife and I, by Mr. Rawlinson's conduct, to the Jewish Synagogue..."
Why the sudden interest I wonder?"

1)In those times a sinagogue could have beeen a room in an otherwise regular house. Till these days you can see examples of this kind of worship places in Venice and other places.
2) considering the little time Jews were back in London the sinagogue could have been a rented room.
3)Mr. Rawlinson was the owner of the Mitre and we know that Mr. Rawlinson or his sons were rich and hold many estates. And Fenchurch was not far away from the sinagogue. Maybe Mr Rawlinson was renting the place and the Jews were tenants? In that case it would be easier to understand why the Pepys accompanied Rawlinson that wanted to show off this strange group of foreigner tenants.
If not, how come Rawlinson knew the place and the exact time of the Jewish religious service?

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"Sally"
I've been to Salé; nearby is ancient Volubilis with beautiful roman mosaics and other magnificent ruins; also a lot of nesting storks on the old minarets.

Terry F   Link to this

Pro Ruben re Mr. Rawlinson and the synagogue

A circumstantial case that he was the congregation's landlord: -
L&M locate the synagogue in Creechurch Lane, which is unmarked on the 1746 Rocque map, which has a Jewish Synague adjacent to the Mitre. http://www.motco.com/map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

Glyn   Link to this

Following on from Terry F's comment,the synagogue that Pepys went to today was on the junction of Berry Street (nowadays spelt 'Bury') and Cree Church Lane, leading north off Leadenhall Street, on the right-hand side of this map which dates from 1740:

http://www.motco.com/Map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

It was almost next to the church. Intrigued by today's discussion, I strolled around there this afternoon and while there is nothing left of the building, there is a plaque there which reads: "Site Of First Synagogue After The Restoration 1657 - 1701'

and if you look on the above map just north of that (less than a minute's walk) you'll see that there is a Jewish synagogue marked on Bevis Mark (now known as Bevis Marks) which replaced this first synagogue in the final years of Pepys' life and which is still there today. It's a very fine purpose-built building that people should certainly visit if they have the time and opportunity, and was built once the Jewish community was large enough and prosperous enough to be able to afford it.

Glyn   Link to this

So this argues against Ruben, that this synagogue was more substantial and long-lasting than a few rooms in a rented house. Or perhaps, they bought the house from the church or from Mr Rawlinson?

Terry F   Link to this

Glyn, correct my surmise in the Background info
http://www.pepysdiary.com/encyclopedia/6818/

Robert Gertz   Link to this

I remain ever more curious that Sam took Bess. I suppose he thought it harmless at the time (and again I think Rawlinson did the invite to both Pepys) but I wonder if later he'll start nervously musing over it, particularly after the 1664 banning of visits. It's interesting to see him cautiously encourage her intellect (astronomy lessons and globes, plays, etc) and then panic a bit and pull her back as some threat (Pembleton, her letter) appears.

Dave   Link to this

"disorder, laughing, sporting, and no attention"

Sam'l could visit my synagogue this year on Simchat Torah and make the same observation. Too bad he didn't return for Purim.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Sephardi Hebrew or Portuguese

Hoping not to try the patience of other readers, I'd like to extend this linguistic discussion with my learned colleague LH a bit further.

Pepys says that the prayer (for the king) was, "like the rest, in Hebrew." Sephardi Hebrew, like any language, would have imported proper names for which it had no native equivalent, and certainly would have done so for Charles. Because of the nature of the language, and the background of its speakers, the name would have had its Portuguese form. But in the context of a Hebrew prayer, it would have been part of the Hebrew text, and if written, written in the Hebrew alphabet. Thus I say it was in Sephardi Hebrew.

I guess the pivot point is whether you call a loan word part of the language that borrows it, or say that it remains a part of the language from which it was borrowed. My preference is the former.

Ruben   Link to this

Sinagogue:
some information from "British History on line" see: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?com... that I do not understand but looks interesting.
By the way: see also a lot of Sephardic family names in this precinct: Marcadoe (Mercado), Abindano, Mocato, Benano.
Then saw the Greatorex, Willmott names in this document, but this do not look as being "our Greatorex, Willmott's".
I hope one (or more)of the annotators can take this investigation further.

Ruben   Link to this

sinagogue
the following information was taken from the Jewish Enciclopedia from the net:
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?arti...

"Toward the middle of the seventeenth century a considerable number of Marano merchants settled in London and formed there a secret congregation, at the head of which was Antonio Fernandez Carvajal... Outwardly they passed as Spaniards and Catholics; but they held prayer-meetings at Cree Church Lane, and became known to the government as Jews by faith."

"...the Jews met for worship in a private house fitted up as a synagogue in Creechurch lane, Leadenhall street; and it is possible to assume the existence of a second meeting-place at St. Helens in the same neighborhood by 1662. These places of worship were fairly well known to the general public, though they were protected by treble doors and other means of concealment..."

"Moses Israel Athias: Was the first rabbi of the Marano congregation in London; that is, of the secret synagogue which existed in 1658 in Cree Church Lane, where he and his wife Sarah resided. He was a cousin of the wealthy and respected Antonio Fernandez Carvajal, who mentioned him generously in his will ("Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society," i. 55).

language hat   Link to this

Sephardi Hebrew or Portuguese

Well, it's a matter of definition. You choose to call it Hebrew because it occurs in a Hebrew context; I choose to call it Portuguese because it seems odd to me to call "Carlos" Hebrew. Note that Pepys says "they pronounced his name in Portugall" (I'd put "pronounced" in italics if this stupid software would let me) -- it's not a question of how the word would be written but of what he was hearing, and what he was hearing was a Portuguese name (the Portuguese equivalent of an English name) embedded in a Hebrew context. And bear in mind too that Sephardic Jews wrote both Spanish and Portuguese in Hebrew characters, so "Hebrew writing" does not equal "Hebrew language."

But we agree about the facts, we're just nitpicking about terminology, which is fun in and of itself.

Glyn   Link to this

Terry I'm not an organiser. If you can't do this, you'll need to contact Phil.

A. De Araujo   Link to this

"pronounced his name in Portugall"
As I understand it the language of the the Sephardin(Sepharad means Spain in Hebrew)was Ladino; it is mostly a dialect easily understood by portuguese and spanish and maybe even italian and romanian speakers; for those of you who like music check Sephardic songs with the late Victoria De Los Angeles.

Patricia   Link to this

It is easy to confuse the race with the language, as shown by the fact that my FIL argued himself blue in the face declaring that Yiddish is a dialect of Hebrew, until I produced a dictionary which showed it is a dialect of German. And this in a time when Jews are part of the mainstream of our society.

Paul Chapin   Link to this

Ladino and Yiddish

We are getting about 98% OT, but I feel a linguistic responsibility to remark on the above two postings.

1. Ladino was indeed the language of Spanish Jews in diaspora after the expulsion from Spain in 1492. However, the Ladino-speaking communities settled primarily in eastern Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ladino_language
As Language Hat's reference above makes clear, the Jews in western Europe, including England, primarily spoke Portuguese as their first language: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_and_Portug...

One must distinguish between the language of everyday usage, Portuguese or Ladino, and the liturgical language used in religious services, which for these people was Sephardi Hebrew.

2. Yiddish is not a dialect of German, but a language of its own, including vocabulary elements drawn from Germanic, Slavic, and Semitic language families. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiddish

Ruben   Link to this

The Sinagogue premises were a floor of a building in Creechurch Lane acquired by the Jew Antonio Carvajal. Antonio was operated of the stone by Pepys surgeon and died. Pepys was at his funeral in his first visit to the sinagogue.
more on that in Background info.

language hat   Link to this

Thanks, Paul, you saved me the trouble!
And if we must go off-topic, this is the best kind of off as far as I'm concerned. (Besides, if the diarist is going to visit synagogues, I think the topic of what language the Jews around him spoke is not too far off.)

Gary   Link to this

It's a full year after all your good discussions but thought it worth adding a small footnote -

At the time it was fashionable to visit and view the exotic rituals and service of the Synagogue. The Synagogue banned the visits in 1864 because it had become too distracting.

Dov   Link to this

Strangely enough, my calendar says that in 1663 Simchat Torah was on October 13th and not the 14th.

Dov   Link to this

Sorry, even according to my calendar October 14th, 1663 was indeed simcaht torah. :)

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