It was in April 1997 that I opened the “Jewish Chronicle” to read that Carmel College, the school which I had studied at in the 1950s, was closing. I was shocked beyond measure. Just about a month earlier, I had attended a memorial meeting in Jerusalem to Rabbi Dr. Kopul Rosen on his thirty-fifth yahrzeit. Present at this meeting were the Rosen family and even they had no idea what was in store just a few weeks later. When this announcement came, it was like a bomb which had fallen on Anglo-Jewry.
The announcement of the closure did not pass without comment. Many letters were published by the “Jewish Chronicle” including several written by the Rosen family. They were especially angry that the governors did not even have the courtesy or menschlichkeit to consult, discuss with or even inform Mrs. Bella Rosen-Censor of their decision.
Rabbi Kopul Rosen had studied in the Mir Yeshivah in Poland just before the Second World War. He was also attracted to the British Public school idea. Could a synthesis be made of the two? His objective was to establish a combination of Mir and Eton, or, in another words, a “Jewish Eton.” In the following year, 1948, Carmel College was established. The Rosen family even sold their London house in order to buy the first building at Newbury. Carmel became Rabbi Rosen’s life. At the meeting in Hillel House after his terminal illness had been diagnosed, Mr. Stamler said that Rabbi Rosen was more worried for the future of Carmel College than for his family.
And after 49 years of serving Anglo-Jewry, its closure was summarily announced.
We cannot turn back the clock to 1997. We can and must remember the 49 years of Carmel College. We can and must remember Rabbi Dr. Kopul Rosen and all those who assisted in Carmel College during and after his lifetime. If we don’t write all this down now it will soon be forgotten.
It is for this reason that I am putting down on paper my reminiscences of my schooling in Carmel College which was from 1953 to 1960. I hope that many other pupils who studied at the various periods during Carmel College’s existence will do likewise.
I am pleased to see that an internet site has been opened and is inviting people to submit photographs of when they were in Carmel. I am likewise pleased to see that “YAKAR” (Yaacov Kopul Rosen), established by Mickey Rosen in his father’s memory, has established an archives and repository for Rabbi Kopul Rosen’s work at Carmel College and beyond. At the London site in Hendon of YAKAR, an archive and library together with a web site and magazine have been established to keep alive the memory of Rabbi Rosen and of Carmel College. In addition, whilst I was at Carmel, an Old Carmeli and the Carmel librarian, Malcolm Shifrin began to collect archival material under the name “Carmelismus.” I hope this material is still extant and can thus contribute to the Carmel archives.
I should point out that I am writing my personal reminiscences about half a century after these events, almost entirely from memory. Obviously, after such a period some errors and confusion are inevitable. In some cases I have deliberately omitted the names of teachers or pupils involved in certain events, or even omitted the events completely, in order not to cause upset or embarrassment to these people or their families.
Carmel College is no longer - its memory and that of its Founder must never be forgotten.