Artom, Benjamin

Artom, Benjamin chief rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Great Britain, was born at Asti, in Piedmont, in 1834. He received his theological education at Padua, and became minister of the Naples Jewish community. While Miss A. M. Goldsmid was travelling through Italy, she heard him preach at Naples, and' was so charmed by his grace and eloquence that she immediately wrote to London, where the position of Hacham of the Sephardim had been vacant since the death of rabbi Meldola, in 1828. After a brief correspondence, Dr. Artom was invited to London, and was elected in 1866 for life to the position of Hacham. For the first year he lectured in French, but soon mastered the English language; his sermons, a volume of which appeared in print a few years ago (1874), being models of pulpit eloquence. Dr. Artom's ministrations have been blessed with much success. The establishment of a Portuguese congregation at Manchester and of a branch synagogue in London are proofs of his activity. Personally popular on account of his gifts of mind and person, he was energetic in his efforts to revive the Sephardim of England, who for decades, satisfied with their- reputation for respectability, had allowed their German-English brethren easily to advance in communal eminence. This reproach Dr. Artom had rolled away, and in his decade in office he had commanded the esteem of the entire community. He died at Brighton, Jan. 6, 1879. At the funeral, which took place on the 8th inst., chief rabbi Dr. Adler and Rev. Prof. Marks assisted, while almost every Jewish notability in England was present. See Morais, Eminent Israelites of the Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia, 1880), p.15 sq. (B. P.)

 
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