About Moses Angel
Moses Angel (29 April 1819 – 1898 in Hammersmith, London, England) was headmaster at the Jews' Free School (JFS) in Bell Lane, Spitalfields from 1842 onwards. He has been described as
'the single most significant figure in Anglo-Jewish religious and secular education in the 19th century'.
He was educated at H.Solomon’s Boarding School at Hammersmith and entered University College School in Bloomsbury at the age of fourteen. After further study at University College London, he became a bank clerk and then took up teaching. Despite a family scandal (his father had been transported for robbery), he became the respected headmaster of the JFS in the East End. Angel published several books, including one on the Torah in 1858. He was one of the first editors of the Jewish Chronicle in the early 1840s. In this, he was associated with the then Haham, the Rev. David Meldola.
Angel married Rebekah Godfrey on 11 January 1843 and they had 3 sons and 3 daughters. Moses' parents were Emmanuel and Sarah Moses and Angel was one of 11 children. Criminal proceedings against a family member probably led to the reversal of his name.
- The Law of Sinai and Its Appointed Times (1858), being a commentary on the Pentateuch
- The Pentateuch a series of articles written for the Jewish Record
The school made a promising start under its first headmaster, the young and very competent Henry Naphtali Solomon. Other masters came and went with rather less distinction, until the appointment in 1842 of Moses Angel. Angel (1819-98) has been described as 'the single most significant figure in Anglo-Jewish religious and secular education in the 19th century'.
He was a stern disciplinarian who 'moved around the School constantly. Despite his enormous administrative burden, he still found time to teach several classes each week.' And he taught not only reading, writing and grammar, but geography, history, arithmetic, algebra, and chemistry as well.
Angel kept a meticulous record of daily events in the school *log books - those dating from 1863 till his death in 1898 survive.
Angel's long career with JFS saw the school grow and evolve through some momentous changes. The introduction in the 1870s of a national system of Board Schools funded by local taxes - the forerunners of today's county schools - looked at first as though it might threaten the existence of voluntary schools like JFS, which relied heavily on donations. But the voluntary schools survived, and JFS went from strength to strength.
Moses Angel's Timeline
April 29, 1819
London, United Kingdom