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SIMEON SINGER (1846-1906)

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 149 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SIMEON SINGER (1846-1906), Jewish preacher, lecturer and public worker. He was born in London, and after a short stay at a Hungarian school, entered as one of its pupils the Jews' College, of which he was subsequently for a time the head-master. In 1867 he became minister of the Borough Synagogue, London. In the following year he married. He moved to the new West End Synagogue in 1878, and remained the minister of that congregation until his death. He was the first to introduce regular sermons to children; as a preacher to the young Singer showed rare gifts. His pulpit addresses in general won wide appreciation, and his services were often called for at public functions. In 1897 he strongly opposed the Diggle policy at the London School Board, but he refused nomination as a member. In 1890 the Rabbinical Diploma was conferred on him by Lector Weiss of Vienna, but again he evidenced his self-denial by declining to stand for the post of associate Chief Rabbi in the same year. Singer was a power in the community in the direction of moderate progress; he was a lover of tradition, yet at the same time he recognized the necessity of well-considered changes. In 1892 at his instigation the first English Conference of Jewish Preachers was held, and some reforms were then and at other times introduced, such as the introduction of Bible Readings in English, the admission of women as choristers and the inclusion of the express consent of the bride as well as the bridegroom It the marriage ceremony. Singer did much to reunite Conservatives and Liberals in the community, and he himself preached at the Reform Synagogue in Manchester. He had no love for the minute critical analysis of the Bible, but he was attracted to the theory of progressive revelation, and thus was favourably disposed to the modern treatment of the Old Testament. His cheery optimism was at the basis of thisattitude, and strongly coloured his belief in the Messianic ideals. He held aloof, for this very reason, from all Zionist schemes. His interest in the fortunes of foreign Jews led him to make several continental journeys on their behalf; he was one of the leading spirits of the Russo-Jewish Committee, of the Inter-national Jewish Society for the Protection of Women and of other philanthropic organizations. Despite his devotion to public work, Singer published some important works. In 1896 the Cambridge University Press published Talmudical Fragments in the Bodleian Library of which Singer was joint author. But his most famous work was his new edition and English translation of the Authorized Daily Prayer Book (first published in 1870), a work which has gone through many large editions and which has probably been the most popular (both with Jews and Christians) of all books published by an English Jew. See The Literary Remains of the Rev. Simeon Singer (3 vols., 1908), with Memoir. (I. A.) SINGHBHUM, a district of British India, in the Chota Nagpur division of Bengal. The administrative headquarters are at Chaibasa. Area 3891 sq. m. Its central portion consists of a long undulating tract of country, running E. and W., and enclosed by great hill ranges. The depressions lying between the ridges comprise the most fertile part, which varies in elevation above sea-level from 400 ft. near the Subanrekha on the E. to 750 ft. around the station of Chaibasa. S. of this an elevated plateau of 700 sq. m. rises to upwards of moo ft. In the W. is an extensive mountainous tract, sparsely inhabited by the wildest of the Hos; while in the extreme S.W. is a still grander mass of mountains, known as " Saranda of the seven hundred hills, " rising to a height of 3500 ft. From the Layada range on the N.W. of Singhbhum many rocky spurs strike out into the district, some attaining an elevation of 2900 ft. Among other ranges and peaks are the Chaitanpur range, reaching an elevation of 2529 ft., and the Kapargadi range, rising abruptly from the plain and running in a S.E. direction until it culminates in Tuiligar Hill (2492 ft.). The principal rivers are the Subanrekha, which with its affluents flows through the E. of the district; the South Koel, which rises W. of Ranchi, and drains the Saranda region; and the Baitarani, which touches the S. border for 8 m. About two-thirds of Singhbhum district is covered with primeval forest, containing some valuable timber trees; in the forests tigers, leopards, bears and several kinds of deer abound, and small herds of elephants occasionally wander from the Meghasani Hills in Mayurbhanj. In 1901 the population was 613,579, showing an increase of 12 in the decade. More than one-half belong to aboriginal tribes, mostly Hos. The chief crop is rice, followed by pulses, oil-seeds and maize. There are three missions in the district—S.P.G., Lutheran and Roman Catholic—which have been very successful among the aboriginal tribes, especially in the spread of education. The isolation of Singhbhum has been broken by the opening of the Bengal-Nagpur railway, which has protected it from the danger of famine, and at the same time given a value to its jungle products. Colonel Dalton, in his Ethnology of Bengal, says that the Singhbhum Rajput chiefs have been known to the British government since 1803, when the marquess Wellesley was governor-general of India; but there does not appear to have been any intercourse between British officials and the people of the Kolhan previous to 1819. The Hos or Larka Kols, the aboriginal race of Singhbhum, would allow no stranger to settle in, or even pass through, the Kolhan; they were, however, subjugated in 1836, when the head-men entered into engagements to bear allegiance to the British government. The country remained tranquil and prosperous until 1857, when a rebellion took place among the Hos under Parahat Raja. After a tedious campaign they surrendered in 1859, and the capture of the raja put a stop to their disturbances. SINGLE-STICK, a slender, round stick of ash about 34 in. long and thicker at one end than the other, used as a weapon of attack and defence, the thicker end being thrust through a cup-shaped hilt of basket-work to protect the hand. The original form of the single-stick was the " waster, " which appeared in the 16th century and was merely a wooden sword used in practice for the back-sword (see SABRE-FENCING), and of the same general shape. By the first quarter of the 17th century wasters had become simple cudgels provided with sword-guards, and when, about twenty-five years later, the basket-hilt came into general use, it was employed with the cudgel also, the heavy metal hilt of the back-sword being discarded in favour of one of wicker-work. The guards, cuts and parries in single-stick play were at first identical with those of back-sword play, no thrusts being allowed (see FENCING). The old idea, prevalent in England in the 16th century, that hits below the girdle were unfair, disappeared in the 18th century, and all parts of the person were attacked. Under the first and second Georges back-sword play with sticks was immensely popular under the names " cudgel-play " and" single-sticking," not only in the cities but in the country districts as well, wrestling being its only rival. Towards the end of the 18th century the play became very restricted. The players were placed near together, the feet remaining immovable and all strokes being delivered with a whip-like action of the wrist from a high hanging guard, the hand being held above the head. Blows on any part of the body above the waist were allowed, but all except those aimed at the head were employed only to gain openings, as each bout was decided only by a " broken head," i.e. a cut on the head that drew blood. At first the left hand and arm were used to ward off blows not parried with the stick, but near the close of the 18th century the left hand grasped a scarf tied loosely round the left thigh, the elbow being raised to protect the face. Thomas Hughes's story, Tom Brown's School Days, contains a spirited description of cudgel-play during the first half of the loth century. This kind of single-sticking practically died out during the third quarter of that century, but was revived as a school for the sabre, the play being essentially the same as for that weapon (see SABRE-FENCING). The point was introduced and leg hits were allowed. By the beginning of the loth century single-stick play had become much neglected,the introduction of the light Italian fencing sabre having rendered it less necessary. Stick-play with wooden swords as a school for the cutlas is common in some navies. The French cane-fencing (q.v.) has a general similarity to single-stick play, but is designed more for defence with a walking-stick than as a school for the sabre. See Broadsword and Single-stick, by R. G. Allanson Winn and C. Phillips-Wolley (London, 1898) ; Manual of Instruction for Single-stick Drill (London, 1887, British War Office) ; Schools and Masters of Fence, by Egerton Castle (London, 1892); The Sword and the Centuries, by A. Hutton (London, 1901).
End of Article: SIMEON SINGER (1846-1906)
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