“The high priest, with the subordinate rabbis, chorus and attendants, with a great number of the fathers of families in their proper vestments, were at the ceremony, which was awful, grand and affecting. The music and the voices performed in the Eastern manner of strophe, antistrophe and full chorus. The anthems were performed by the four brothers who sing there in a very superior style of modulation and harmony. A crowd of people attended, but they all conducted themselves decorously. A subscription was opened, and in about twenty minutes upwards of £200 was subscribed, which is more than sufficient to cover the expenses”.
It may have been during this refurbishment, or perhaps at an earlier date, that the marble plaque inscribed with the Hebrew words described in Bell’s history at p.32 as “a rare theological jest” was placed in the Hall. The Hebrew inscription consists of Verse 22 of the 118th Psalm rendered in the New English Bible as:
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone”.
The quotation is also said to contain a chronogram for the date 1757 although the significance of that date is not clear, being four years earlier than the establishment of the New Synagogue in the Hall. Another theological jest current at the time took the form of the following couplet referring to the existence of a wine cellar beneath the Hall:-
“The spirits above are the Spirits divine The Spirits below are the Spirits of wine”.
The Company must have had some wine in the cellar during their occupation, but may have allowed the lessees of the Cock Tavern to use it, and it may have been this wine that the congregation were aware of.
In due course the congregation of the two Ashkenazi Synagogues, the Great and the New, became reconciled, and it is clear from the fact that the first Rabbi of the New, Moses Myers, who was brought over from Holland by the founder was acknowledged from 1792-1802 as the Chief Rabbi of the three Ashkenazi Synagogues.