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First published 1989
I doubt very much whether the story of my rather uneventful life would have been worth recording had it not been for the so-called Jacobs Affair in which I had a central role. I cannot claim that in the following pages an objective account of the Affair is presented. After all, as one of the protagonists, I look back to see it in terms of my own personal experience and my bias hardly needs to be mentioned. Nevertheless, while this book cannot be considered objective history, I have tried to present the arguments and activities of my opponents without distortion of their views and with as much fairness as I could muster.
My wife, Shula, has kept, with admirable thoroughness, scrapbooks containing practically all the newspaper cuttings and other material on the Affair. I am indebted to her for everything I have written but this book in particular could never have seen the light of day without her painstaking work of recording the material on which it chiefly relies. On the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the New London Synagogue, Anne Cowan, using the material Shula had collected, edited a good deal of it under the title New London Synagogue: The First Twenty Years. This has helped considerably for the chapters on the Affair. For the earlier chapters of the book I have relied chiefly on my memory. These chapters are not directly relevant to the Affair but indirectly do have a bearing on it.
Published reviews of ‘Helping with Inquiries’
Sheds light on obscure corners of the Hasidic movement and the lives of the Rebbes. After a brief account of the history and rise of Hasidism in the eighteenth century to its restoration in the New World after the Holocaust, novel developments, some of them startling, are examined. The book surveys the whole question of the relationship of the Rebbe to his disciples, showing that it was not always beneficial. As a fascinating essay in the book demonstrates, the holy man could be a source of numinous power, bringing danger as well as goodwill.
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