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Letter to the French Newspaper
Journal des Débats [Legislative Record]
Friday, November 18, 1825

by the chief rabbi of cologne

To the Editor:
Dear Sir:

The wisdom and love of truth that characterizes your Record, and the reputation that it enjoys in France and abroad give me hope that you would be kind enough to provide space in your next issue for my comments offered to the public in the interest of accuracy and truth.

The French and English newspapers have covered in detail the unique project of one Mr. Noah, who claims to be the founder of the city of Ararat in the northern part of United States of America. Of course, if Mr. Noah is supposedly the owner or lessor of a great amount of uncultivated land to enable people lacking wealth to find their fortune in a colony, offering them mountains of gold, no one would ever think of disputing his position that is currently very popular, and prevent him from undertaking his projects.

However, Mr. Noah intends to play a much more important role because he is dreaming about a celestial home, he pronounces prophecies, and considers himself a Jewish judge. He gives orders to all the Jews in the world, and is trying to impose a head tax on all Jews. In all of his excitement, Noah goes so far as to try to create a central Jewish council in France. His chief administrator would have the honor of the noble role of “minister of emigration.” This tremendous effort considers its deficiencies of little importance: 1) the well-established “proof” of Mr. Noah’s authority; 2) the text of his prophecy demonstrating North America as the location where the Jewish Diaspora is supposed to gather together.

In all seriousness, though, it is proper to inform Mr. Noah that the esteemed Mr. Hierschel and Mr. Meldola, chief rabbi of London, and I thank him by completing rejecting the appointments that Mr. Noah wishes to offer us. We state that according to our religious teachings, only G-d Himself knows when the redemption of the Jewish People is to occur, and it is only G-d who will make His will known to the entire universe with unmistakable signs. Any attempt to gather together the Jewish People with political and nationalist goals is forbidden to us as a crime of the highest divine authority. Mr. Noah has surely forgotten that Jews are loyal to the principles of their faith, that they are too attached to the native countries where they reside and too devoted to their governments providing them with liberty and protection to pay attention to a fairy tale and fantasies of a false redeemer.

Therefore, since fairness demands discretion on behalf of those absent today, we would feel bad to deny him the title of Visionary of Good Faith.
Please accept my wishes,

Your very humble servant, The Chief Rabbi of Cologne




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