Activities of Rabbi Israel J Yoffey 

Rabbi Yoffey was only 22 years old when called to Central Synagogue from Eastern Europe. Shortly after, he was elected as one of the rabbis of Manchester Shechita Board. A staunch supporter of Jews’ School, he founded the Talmudical College, which he referred to as the Jewish University in Manchester. He was delegate at four Zionist congresses. As president of the Agudath Ha-Mizrachi (Hebrew "Mizrachi Society"), Yoffey also encouraged the formation of a Junior Mizrachi group.

An index of his private papers can be found here on the CJS website.

Interest in Education

"In order to raise the standard of Judaism and to keep the rising generation steadfastly united to their religion and nationality, proper day schools must be established in which our children will receive sufficient Hebrew as well as secular knowledge."

Letter to editor of Jewish Chronicle (24 Nov 1911)

At a public meeting at Memorial Hall under the auspices of the Mizrachi Association, including Mr C Sugarman, Rev IW Slotki, Dr H Keller, Mr TB Herwald, and chaired by the President Rabbi IJ Joffey, the following resolution was passed:

"That this meeting pledges itself to join the Mizrachi movement, to support the Restoration Fund and to earmark contributions for the Mizrachi so that the amounts allotted to education shall be spent only on such institutions as are conducted on the lines and in the spirit of Traditional Judaism."

(Jewish Chronicle, 21 Nov 1919)

Appealing to the Ultra-Orthodox

Rabbi Yoffey delivered an address to an audience composed of the ultra-Orthodox section of Manchester Jewry, most of whom had hitherto stood aloof from the Zionist movement. Rabbi Joffey obtained 75 subscribers, who resolved to establish an association to be called ‘the Mizrachi Association’. Rabbi Yoffey was unanimously elected president, Mr M Sugarman, vice-president, and Mr N Vogel, treasurer.

(Jewish Chronicle, 22 Feb 1918)

A Zionist Sermon

"Rabbi IJ Yoffey, in the course of his sermon last Sabbath at the Central Synagogue, observed that Abraham’s efforts to obtain the Cave of Macpelah should inspire all of us with love for the Holy Land. Great though he was, and advanced in age, he considered nothing too hard in the acquirement of a tract of land in Palestine. If Abraham exerted himself so much to find in Eretz Yisrael a resting place for the dead, how much more should we, in turn, direct our efforts towards the establishment there of a proper resting place for the living. Just as Ephron's name is so often recorded in the Torah because of his considerate attitude towards Abraham, so the name of Great Britain will be ever recorded in the annals of history for her Declaration."

(Jewish Chronicle, 8 Nov 1918) 

Propounding the Mizrachi Cause

Open letter from the Manchester Rabbis Yoffey, Gaguine and Shacter,

"We... deem it our sacred authority to appeal to our community, and particularly to the Orthodox section, to support the Keren Hayesod [JNF]. We are now on the threshold of the establishment of our home in the Holy Land, and of realising the hope cherished and fostered for 2000 years. The task is not easy. It can only be achieved when all the sections – and foremost the Orthodox – will present a united front, imbued with one idea, and that is the redemption of Eretz Yisrael and the settling of our people upon it. The various schools of thought may argue and theorise as much as they please, and they have every right to adhere to their own particular views, but at this critical moment, when the actual work of rebuilding Eretz Yisrael lies before us, all other considerations must be subordinated to this one dominant idea. It is true that some blame attaches to the Zionist leaders for not preventing the religious outrages perpetrated by certain elements in Eretz Yisrael. And therefore, the Orthodox class are justified – nay, it is their sacred duty – in protesting strongly against the religious management of our national leaders. But abstention from the National Movement will only make matters worse, as thereby their influence will become infinitely weaker. On the other hand, the spiritual outlook in Eretz Yisrael would be much brighter of the National Movement were backed up by the rank and file of Orthodox Jewry – which would thus secure a preponderating influence – and so our new home will be built..."

Open letter to the Jewish Chronicle (27 April 1923)

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IMAGE AND DOCUMENT CREDITS: Central Synagogue (© Manchester Jewish Museum) Full reference: Sources.