Chapter 33 – An appraisal

by Jason Lever

Posted on Fri, 06 Dec 2013 15:48:34 GMT

Solomon Lever’s life of political and community leadership

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How typical was Solomon Lever of first generation, Jewish immigrants, who ‘largely assumed control in the 1930s and 1940s’ of communal and political leadership positions in Jewish and wider society (ref: Gartner)?

He began his long association with the Labour movement at 16 when he joined the Independent Cabinet Makers’ Association trade union. Around the time of his move into local politics, Solomon and Annie took in a Kindertransport brother (Freddy) and sister (Trudi), alongside their daughters, Lily (Lilian) and Isabel. (Their parents survived the Holocaust and the reunited family went to live in Israel.)

For some East End Jews, the decline of religious observance was mirrored by attraction to a rival “faith” of ‘the extreme left and militant atheism’ (ref: Bermant). But this did not apply to Solomon Lever, who eschewed the Communist Party and kept up his Judaism as a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and serving on Hackney Synagogue’s management board.

He was also a Justice of the Peace (JP), a member of the Trades Advisory Council, and a member of the LCC Divisional Tuberculosis Care Committee.

Staunchly Labour, Solomon Lever rejected overtures to stand for Parliament, preferring the independence not to have to always “toe the party line”. He may have identified with the judgement of Bertha Sokoloff, that ‘for good or ill, the Labour Party, warts and all, is the political party of the British Left’ (ref: Sokoloff).

East End historian Bill Fishman summed up the East End Jewish immigrant’s contribution to the host community as being formed of ‘a sense of social justice, derived from their own suffering [from pogroms], which they translated into political action… many joined the labour movement and rendered pioneer and selfless service to their cause’ (ref: Fishman, 1981).

That aptly describes my great-uncle, “Uncle Solly”.

Jewish-Immigrant Cabinet-Making Labour-Party Annie-Lever

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Chapter 1 - Introducing Solomon Lever and his l...Chapter 2 - The Jewish East EndChapter 3 - A family history of Solomon LeverChapter 4 - A Jewish East End education for Sol...Chapter 5 - Joining East End cultural and commu...Chapter 6 - Solomon as a cabinet makerChapter 7 – From cabinet maker to trade union g...Chapter 8 – Rise of the London Jewish Bakers UnionChapter 9 – Dealing with the challenges of a de...Chapter 10 – Solomon’s journey to Jewish trade ...Chapter 11 – Interlude of anarchism’s appeal to...Chapter 12 – Solomon Lever finds his home in th...Chapter 13 – The Liberal and Conservative partiesChapter 14 – The Labour Party consolidates its ...Chapter 15 – The appeal of East End councils’ s...Chapter 16 – The rise and fall of communist sup...Chapter 17 – Surging Labourism after the warChapter 18 – The Labour Party’s support for Zio...Chapter 19 – Short-lived Labour-Zionist honeymoonChapter 20 – Solomon Lever’s 1947 broadcast spe...Chapter 21 – Solomon Lever’s 1948 speech from t...Chapter 22 – Solomon Lever’s 1954 speech from t...Chapter 23 – Solomon Lever’s final TUC speech i...Chapter 24 – His Worshipful The Mayor and Mayor...Chapter 25 – Family connections in the Mayor’s ...Chapter 26 – Important social issues raised wit...Chapter 27 – The adbuction of Solomon LeverChapter 28 – Discovery of Solomon’s bodyChapter 29 – InquestChapter 30 – The death of Solomon LeverChapter 31 – Solomon’s funeral and obituaryChapter 32 – The death knell of the London Jewi...Chapter 33 – An appraisalChapter 34 – Bibliography