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Page created: 8 September 2017
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Strange Broiges Affair
Harold Pollins discovers a spiky story

by Harold Pollins

Originally published in Oxford Menorah issue no. 222, September 2017, page 10

Although it relates to Swansea, I found this item in the Chelmsford Chronicle, 21 April 1871.

‘ONE WAY OF DOING IT. –The Western Mail reports an extraordinary procedure on the part of the rulers of the Jewish synagogue at Swansea.

A former member of the synagogue, and one formerly holding high office, from some disagreement in the community, has apparently, been called upon to sit in the “free sittings”. This he has persistently refused to do; and as there were some five or six seats in the synagogue vacant besides the “free” sittings, he chose to sit in one or other of them, whenever he felt disposed to go and worship. This the rulers of the synagogue objected to and the dispute raged persistently on both sides.

A “happy thought”, however, at length appeared to strike the rulers, who, during the past week have had placed in every vacant seat a series of dangerous iron spikes, bristling upwards, full two inches long, which would inevitably result in the impalement of any unfortunate individual seeking to worship in their immediate proximity. Of course the object of exclusion is effectually accomplished and the rulers triumph.’

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