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in those colleges, and who apparently received a liberal education, were appointed to the office of Crown-rabbins.
In this capacity they act as intermediaries between the Government and the Jewish congregations. They attend the town-halls for the transaction of communal business; they administer oaths, and, among divers official and special duties, they have to conduct the registration of Jewish natives of Russia, a matter of importance at the present time, when every young man coming within the provisions of the new regulations may have to serve in the army, and must therefore be duly entered in the public registers. This semi-secular position of the Crown-rabbins does not pre-suppose that they are much occupied with Talmudical studies, which are so highly esteemed by the generality of Russian Jews ; and, as a natural consequence, these rabbins do not possess a high degree of spiritual authority in the folds of their flocks.
It seems as if this generation of Crown-rabbins were doomed to become extinct in the process of time, without being succeeded by educated holders of similar offices ; for, by order of the Government, the rabbinical colleges have recently been converted into seminaries for the training of Jewish teachers. Unpopular as such institutions for the rearing of rabbins may have been, yet that dissolution has struck many Jewish hearts with terror. It is feared that the Russian authorities have taken measures which tend to check the natural development, and might be aimed at the very root of essentially Jewish institutions. As regards the seminaries for teachers, it has been ordained that the training pupils should be placed there for six years. They are lodged, fed, and clothed in their college, and the annual expense for each of the 17 or 18 pupils at Wilna is said to amount to 1,500 roubles : but this average of expenses will be changed, inasmuch as it is proposed that annually about 20 additional students are to be admitted, after having passed an examination of competency. Although all the training pupils are able to speak German with more or less of their native jargon, no provisions are made for their receiving instruction in proper German, a language which might be of great utility to them in the pursuit of their future avocations ; nor are they required to study grammatically any other modern language except Russian. Those who framed the rules and statutes of the Jewish seminaries did not think it advisable to let the training pupils study the Talmud—a subject with which most of them must have been familiar at an earlier time, and which they, better than untrained tutors, might be able to impart in a systematic
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