The place: The Government House, Jerusalem
The Occasion: The High Commissioner's Reception
Those are the details we know from the photograph's caption. But what brought together these ultra-Orthodox rabbis, British officers, Arab dignitaries and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the founder of modern Hebrew, who appears to be standing behind the rabbis? [The uncertainty comes from the man's receding hair line.] And what are all the men holding?
|Samuel's arrival by rowboat, Jaffa|
Port, June 30, 1920
Samuel read the proclamation and presented a copy to all of his guests.
|Samuel reading his|
proclamation again two
As for the identity of the rabbis, the man on the left has been identified as Rabbi Moshe Leib Bernstein, a wealthy Jerusalem businessman; second from the left is the venerated Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, the chief rabbi of Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox community; next, Rabbi Yerucham Diskin, the son of a revered rabbi who set up the Diskin Orphanage in 1881 (which still helps needy children); and Rabbi Baruch Reuven Jungreis of the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate.
Rabbi Sonnenfeld joined other rabbis a year later to meet with Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill at Samuel's Government House. See the posting and videohere describing the meeting. Also attending the meeting with Churchill was Emir Abdullah who would become King Abdullah of Jordan. Sonnenfeld, Bernstein and Jungreis met with Abdullah in Jordan in 1924.