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Colonial Cases

United Aged Home, 1927


United Aged Home

District Court, Palestine
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council



   The District Court yesterday gave its judgment in the case of the United Aged Home in Jerusalem.  Rabbi Schor is no longer to be "trustee" of the Institution.  The Home is recognised as a philanthropic institution, and the management will be entrusted to a new Board composed of representatives of the Government, Chief Rabbinate and Vaad Hair (Council of Jerusalem Jews.)


The Palestine Bulletin, 14 July 1927


   Judge Baker on Tuesday signed an order appointing a new Board of Trustees for the United Aged Home in Jerusalem.  The Board is comprised of the following persons: Messrs. Akiba Eliash, Silver and Goldsmid.

   It is possible that Rabbi Schor the former Trustee of the Home will submit an appeal against this order of the President of the Court.


The Palestine Bulletin, 26 September 1927


   On Friday the Court of Appeal heard the appeal lodged by Rabbi Abraham Schorr against the judgment of the district Court regarding the management of the United Aged Home in Jerusalem, about which litigation has been going on for several years.

   It will be recalled that in virtue of the District Court's decision, both Rabbi Schorr and the Chief Rabbinate were ousted from the management of the Home.  No decision was given as yet by the Court of Appeal.


Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 20 October 1931


London, Monday, P.T.A. - The Privy Council has heard the appeal filed by Rabbi Shor of Jerusalem against the decision of the Palestine Supreme Court removing him from the trusteeship of the Hone for the Aged un Jerusalem.  Judgment has been reserved.

   Mr. M. Eliash, Advocate of Jerusalem, is counsel for Rabbi Shorr.



Source: The Palestine Bulletin, 28 October 1931



(From Our Own Correspondent.)

London, October 16. - The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the highest tribunal in the British Empire, opened the hearing to-day, with Lord Dunedin, Chairman, Lord Blanesburgh and Lord Darling as the judges, on an action which has been before the Courts of Palestine on several occasions in the last seven or eight years, the appeal being brought by Rabbi Abraham Schorr against the decision of the Palestine Supreme Court removing him from his office as trustee of the United Jewish Home for the Aged in Jerusalem, Moshav Zekenim.

   The decision of the Palestine Supreme Court against which the appeal is being brought, was handed down on December 16, 1927, declaring that the Moshav Zekenim was a charitable trust within the meaning of the Charitable Trusts Ordinance, and also declaring that the trusteeship of the charity was vacant and therefore they appointed somebody else.

   The case began about the time of the end of the war, when Rabbi Shorr applied to the court to stop the Postmaster General of Palestine from delivering letters containing cheques and remittances for the institution to any person except himself, on the ground that he was the only proper recipient.  At first the postmaster agreed to do this, but later he refused.  When the case was first tried before Justice Baker and Justice Valero in May 1923, Rabbi Shorr lost the case on the ground that the Court had no jurisdiction, because the Moshav Zekenim was a religious endowment constituted according to Rabbinical law and therefore exclusive jurisdiction was by Article 53 of the Palestine Order-in-Council (1922) vested in the Jewish Rabbinical Court.  Rabbi Shorr appealed against this judgment, and the appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of Palestine, consisting of Sir Thomas Haycraft, Justice Corrie, and Justice Frumkin.  They allowed the appeal and sent the case back to the District Court on the question whether the institution was a religious endowment, and if so, whether it was properly constituted under the Rabbinical law.

Jurisdiction of Rabbinical Court.

   The District Court again decided that the Rabbinical Court had the excusive jurisdiction.  Rabbi Shorr appealed again and the Court of Appeal sent it back again to the District to get further evidence.  At the end of 1925 the Beth Din interfered and applied to the court that certain persons should be appointed trustees.  After some hesitation the Court allowed these persons to be heard as third parties, but did not decide the question as to what was to be done with the letters in the hands of the Postmaster General

   On July 5, 1927, the case was again heard by the District Court, which found that the institution was not a Rabbinical trust - Waqf - (religious endowment), but that it was a charitable trust.  In virtue of this fact they declared that the office of trustee is at present vacant and that neither Rabbi Shorr nor the third parties are fir persons to be trustees.  They therefore gave leave to the Attorney General of Palestine to appoint new trustees who would be confirmed in their position by the court.

New Trustees

   Three trustees were then appointed by the court on the application of the Attorney-General.  These three were Akiba Eliash, Moses Silver, and A. H. Goldsmith, who are still acting as trustees.  Rabbi Shorr appealed to the court of Appeal against the judgment of the District Court.  The Appeal was heard on September 16, 1927, by Chief Justice Sir Michael McDonnell, Mr. Justice Corrie and Mr. Justice Khayat.  The judgment of the court was delivered on September 23, 1927, dismissing the appeal of Rabbi Shorr. It is this judgment against which Rabbi Shorr has now appealed. 

   Rabbi Shorr is represented by Mr. Jeffrey Lawrence, K.C., and Mr. Horace B. Samuel, while the respondents are represented by Messrs. Landman and Foy, acting on behalf of Dr. Eliash, of Jerusalem, and Mr. Phineas Quass is appearing as Counsel for the respondents.

   During the hearing on Friday Mr. Jeffrey Lawrence and Mr. Samuel dealt with various juridical questions.

   Mr. Quass, for the respondent, then explained that for the last 4 ½ years the present trustees had been in control of the Home for the Aged without any suggestion that this control was not to the benefit of the institution.  He pointed out that the Hone was the largest Jewish charity in Palestine.  It had been established about 50 years ago by the well-known Jewish pioneers, Pines, Frumkin and Ben Tovin, of the early settled, and there are several hundred aged Jews befitting from the institution living in Jerusalem at the present time.

   After various arguments the case was adjourned until Monday.

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School