By: Joseph Jacobs
An English family of printers and translators that flourished during the latter part of the eighteenth century and at the beginning of the nineteenth. The founder of the firm was probably A. Alexander (ben Judah Loeb), whose first publication seems to have been the Haggadah (1770). He printed prayers for the fast-days (Sephardic rite), in 1776, and (for the German rite) in 1787; the Pentateuch, 1785; and daily prayers with English translation (Spanish rite), 1788, together with a special work on the Hosannas, in 1807. In 1817 he brought out a prayer-book on the Hamiltonian or interlineary system, called "Alexander's Interpreting Tefillot."
His son and successor, Levy, published a complete edition of the Bible in Hebrew and English in 1824. The translations were very slovenly pieces of work, displaying ignorance alike of English and Hebrew. Levy seems to have been of a somewhat quarrelsome disposition. A pamphlet of his, "The Axe Laid to the Root" (1808), dealt in somewhat indecorous terms with the conduct of Chief Rabbi Herschell; while his "Memoirs of the Life and Commercial Connections of the Late B. Goldsmid of Roehampton," of the same year, is little less than the chronique scandaleuse of the London community of the time.
Levy continued his abuse of the chief rabbi on the fly-leaves of the separate fascicles of his translation of the Bible, which are now very rare.
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. col. 730;
- Jacobs and Wolf, Bibl. Anglo-Jud. Nos. 757, 821, 1518, 1519, 1521, 1522, 1526-1528, 1530-1532, 1536-1537, 1539;
- Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England, iii. 56, 68.