« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Pages 185-186]

Chapter 12: Education and Culture

Translated by Myra Yael Ecker

Edited by Yocheved Klausner


The state of education in Lwów. The attitude towards the Jews and proposals for amendments. The organisational action of Herz Homberg. The state of the schools and the teachers. Sabotage against Homberg. Establishment of the Aron Friedenthal seminary. The Galician schools' fund. Liquidation of the Jewish education network. Early signs of the Enlightenment.

Education was concentrated in the hands of the governor's educational commission, headed by Graf [von] Gallenberg, but its progress was very slow.

In 1783, a state elementary school and four preparatory schools (Trivialschulen) were established. Apart from those, there were also schools for Officers' children, taught by deputy–officers who had ended their military service. While the monasteries still existed, teaching continued at the Latin schools they had established. The first, secondary school of the state educational service, was opened at Lwów on 1st September 1784. On 3rd July of the same year the university was also established, with faculties in philosophy, law and medicine, taught to begin with in Latin, and later in German.

In 1785, with the arrival of the Bohemian educational pioneer, Kindermann, who introduced structure to the education of Galicia, fundamental reforms in education were undertaken. Within the framework of that reform, the question of the Jewish education was also considered.

With the authorities' failure to rid Galicia of its Jews, despite the repressions, the restricted employment, the restrictions on marriage, the expulsion from the villages and from the border regions, they decided on a method of turning the Jews into model citizens through education.

During the period of Maria–Theresa [Maria Theresia] and Joseph II, education underwent fundamental changes as schools were placed under the supervision of the kingdom. The monastic educational establishments were replaced by state schools where secular teachers were appointed.

In accordance with that educational system, Joseph II demanded from the Galician authorities a report of the state of education, and proposals for its improvement.

The Jewish statutes of 16th July 1776 established three types of schools in the communities: the first school, with compulsory reading and writing lessons in the German language; the second school, for Talmud studies; and a higher educational school, for the training of rabbis and judges [Dayanim]. The state Rabbi was given the overall supervision of education.[1]

After years, Jewish children were permitted to enrol also in state schools (Normal– und Trivialschule).[2] Study at the state school lasted for four years, in four classes.

In 1785, the government ordered that each community appoint a teacher experienced in state–school education, at an annual salary of 100 to 200 Gulden. That statute set the foundation for the Jewish elementary schools whose supervision was removed from the state Rabbi and transferred to governmental authorities.[3]

To finalize the new method all the communities were obliged to provide school education for Jewish boys up to the age of thirteen [age of Bar–Mitzva]. In the 1785–1789 debates on changes to the Jewish statute, stress was laid on the improvements it required in order to achieve the “Enlightenment of the Jewish People, education of the youth and change to their moral character”, with the aid of improved education undertaken at regular schools. The “overfeeding of Jewish youths with Talmudic musings” (“Talmudistische Träumereien”) had to stop, and schools of that nature should be abolished. The authors of the statute proposed to impose on Jewish children an education first at state schools and later they could study at “Talmudic schools”, which would ensure that Jewish youths would find no point in the Talmud and its teachers, and would aspire to adapt to the other state citizens. In their innocence the proposers were convinced that that would lead to increased numbers of Jewish converts to Christianity. Apart from education it was also important to pay special attention to spreading the Enlightenment among the Jews.[4]

The principles of the proposals were also integrated into the statute, thus highlighting the government's aim to change the character of the Jew of Galicia through education.

Clauses 11–14 of the statute dated 7th May 1789, stated clearly that each community had to erect a German speaking school similar to the elementary school and impose on the youth, both boys and girls, the compulsory school education.

The Jews considered that statute a harsh decree.

A special training course to qualify suitable teachers was established at Lwów under the authorities' supervision.

[Pages 187-188]

The Vienna government handed the organization of the educational network to Herz Homberg who arrived at Lwów from Prague. Herz Homberg was born at Liben (Bohemia), in 1749, he studied the Talmud at Prague and began to learn German at a more advanced age. Later, he studied at Presburg [Bratislava], Breslau [Wrocław], Berlin and Hamburg, concentrating particularly on the study of pedagogy. In the years 1778–1782, he taught at the house of Moses Mendelssohn, and also participated in his translation “HaBiur” [“The Exegesis”] of the Torah.

After Joseph II's statute was published, Homberg returned to Austria and taught at Graz [Gratz] and Trieste. From there he returned to the University of Vienna, and with the Emperor's special permission he passed with distinction the examinations in Philosophy, and was appointed lecturer at Prague University. The Emperor did not approve that appointment and made him inspector of the Jewish schools in Galicia. When he got to Lwów however, he was greeted by overt hostility by the Jews who considered him the executor of a harsh decree imposed on them. With difficulty he got accommodation at Lwów, not in a Jewish house but in the Christian Quarter, and a military guard watched his flat against assault. On his arrival in Galicia, Homberg wrote a missive written in Hebrew, addressed “To the shepherds of the dispersed lambs of Israel, the rabbis as well as the religious and Torah teachers, and to you the influential people leading all the congregations within the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria”.

In his missive Homberg elaborated on the benevolence of the Emperor, who “derived satisfaction from teaching our sons in their youth, intellectual morals, knowledge of our German language, and the use of arithmetic; and besides necessary, courteous and political matters he ordered to build or prepare schools (to be distinguished from the religious and Torah schools) where, for a few hours daily he placed Jews like us to teach the Jewish children everything mentioned and written in a normal school”. The purpose of the directive was “to benefit our sons and our sons' sons after us, to raise their standing in the eyes of the ruling nation and to rid them of any disgrace and contempt”. He explained the shortcomings of the old form of education and stated that the rabbis and leaders should reorganize the children's education and teach the youths crafts. Were the rabbis and leaders to agree with him, so much the better, but if not he would set his words in writing and create a programme he would submit to “the glory of the ministers in the first rank of government who will decide and be our eyes”.[5]

Since his arrival till 1788 he established 41 schools in Galicia, with two at Lwów. Isser Minden was appointed manager at Lwów, and was followed by Nathan Morgentau.

In 1790, four schools (Deutsch–Jüdische Schulen) existed at Lwów, and one school for girls. Two of the four schools were situated in the Krakowite Quarter and one in the Halicz Quarter. The fourth was an elementary school with three classes, a principal and two teachers. In 1793, two additional schools for girls were added. In the years 1790–1795, apart from the supervisor Herz Homberg who received an annual salary of 1,000 Florin, there were at Lwów seven teachers: Nathan Morgentau (300 Florin), Hirsch Seligman (300 Florin), both of them at the elementary school with three classes. Mejer Epstein (200 Florin) Levi Popper (200 Florin) both at the school in the Krakowite Quarter, Benjamin Grünbaum (200 Florin) at the school in the Halicz Quarter, Bertha Mendelssohn (200 Florin) at the school for girls.[6]

The Teachers' Council (Jiddisch–Deutsche Lehrer–Konferenz) was led by the seminary's manager. In administrative matters the Council was subject to the ministerial office (K. und K. Ostgalizischer Studien–Konsens) which was made up of: the university rector, chairman, four deans, the representative of secondary schools, inspector of the state schools, the university librarian and the inspector of Jewish education (Homberg), who had been entrusted with, and granted the decisions over all matters concerning the Jewish schools.

The teachers were also unwelcome by the Jewish congregation, and the community requested from the Governor to be rid of the obligation to provide them accommodation free of charge. On19th September 1791, the Governor received instruction from Vienna not to release the community from that obligation, since Christian teachers also benefitted from free accommodation and consequently the community had to bear that burden.[7]

Education at Lwów was not on the desired level; the disputes between Homberg and the teachers brought no honour to the schools. By appointing his brother Simon as teacher, Homberg's use of nepotism led to the unfair dismissal of another teacher. He also established a second girls' school in order to provide an income for his sister–in–law, as its headmistress.

After Morgentau resigned, Nathan Gunzenheusen was appointed headmaster of the elementary school. His job was however immediately transferred to Homberg's brother.

Homberg faced many difficulties in his efforts to attract Jewish children to the schools. The parents evaded the obligation to send their children to school for fear that they might leave the fold and be led astray while they were removed from the Torah and the tradition. They employed all manner of means: they sent requests to which they appended doctors' certificates about the ill health of the child, in order to exempt him from school obligation; others brought proof that their children studied with private teachers; there were those who submitted certificates of departure from town, or marriage certificates. Despite the small number of pupils,

[Pages 189-190]

when Emperor Joseph II visited the schools he saw classes full of boys and girls, since Homberg knew how to deceive him by moving pupils from one school to the next, during his visit.

The fact that the Jews used every ploy to prevent their children from attending school was also known to the authorities, who sent detailed reports to the Vienna authorities.

After the demise of Emperor Joseph II, a delegation of representatives from Lwów, Brody and Buczacz travelled to Vienna to attain improvements for the Jews of Galicia. Those included the request to exempt the Jews from the heavy burden of schools. In their petition they complained about the teachers, who spurned the religious laws and whose teaching was faithless and reckless. Their effort was however in vain.

At the end of 1792, an order was issued that young men and women who had not completed their schooling or who had not passed their examinations, would not receive marriage licenses. On 31st July 1793 an order was also issued to the schools' board, to take measures against parents whose children did not attend school regularly, and to fine them financially, and were that to no avail, to punish them also physically.[8]

Twice yearly during examinations, members of the “Studienkonsens” visited the school, and each time they reported on neglect of the children who showed no progress in calligraphy etc. In 1793, based on those reports, Emperor Franz I expressed his disappointment of the state of Jewish schools which did not measure up to the task they had been set, and he ordered to paste his message in every synagogue. Under threat of punishment all the Torah teachers were ordered to urge their pupils to attend school. To rectify the situation an enquiry commission was set by the Governor, led by von Pelsing, and it returned a severe report that for three years the community had failed to collect any fines from the parents. In its conclusion the commission proposed that in the absence of a child from lessons, parents should be punished, be it by a financial fine or four days' imprisonment. The children would have to copy 66 times the list of the evaders, and the community leaders had to paste the lists in the synagogues and Minyanim.

In September 1797, 67 parents and one Torah teacher faced jail punishment for preventing children from attending school.[9] The dismal situation spurred some individuals to submit strange suggestions for amendments to the authorities. One such suggestion submitted by the Lwów merchant Chaim Menschel, proposed to also include religious studies in the school curriculum, and to forbid Jews unable to read and write German, any trade or crafts.[10] Another Jew, Menachem Schneier, suggested that he himself be appointed inspector of Torah teachers. As recommendation for his appointment he submitted a list of recalcitrant parents and Torah teachers. The government rejected his request but ordered the Governor to punish the parents and Torah teachers on his list.[11]

The teachers themselves brought about the dismal situation. Instead of working diligently and maintaining good relations with the population, they isolated themselves so that even those inclined towards the Enlightenment approached the authorities with complaints that the teachers were the cause for the parents' objection to education. Most teachers lacked the appropriate education to be teachers. They took no account of the feelings of the Jewish population, they disparaged Jewish laws and customs, they smoked and wrote on the Sabbath, and in all their behaviour they opposed the spirit of tradition. Homberg himself did not refrain either from offending the feelings of the population as regarded religion and tradition.

In November 1795, the Vienna authorities demanded the opinion of Gunzenheusen, the Lwów school principal, regarding those complaints. He evaded them however with personal excuses that he was not responsible for the situation.[12] In fact, the teachers were deeply involved in intrigues, denouncements and quarrels with Homberg, on the one hand, and among themselves, on the other. There were also complaints that the supervisor and the teaching staff spent their time on financial business[13] and on demands for increased wages.[14]

Due to the poor study results the education authorities took every opportunity to turn the teachers' attention to the demands “to keep close watch over the school classes”. They were particularly dissatisfied with the handwriting samples from the seminary pupils. According to clause 14 of Joseph II's statute, the necessity to improve the educational organization required the establishment of a teachers' seminary at Lwów. To begin with, teachers' training courses (“praeparandi”) were established, directed by Aron Friedenthal who was paid an annual salary or 200 Florins plus inspection fees and travel expenses. Ten apprentices participated in each of the two–months' courses. In 1793, the courses were confirmed as a teachers' seminary, and the director was granted the title “Seminary Director”.

Aron ben Zecharja [Zacharyasz] Friedenthal was born at Jaroslaw and studied at Berlin. He numbered among Moses Mendelssohn's circle, and took part in his “Biur” [“exegesis”] of the Torah. The exegesis of the “Book of Numbers” was written by him, and he also published the “Milot HaHigajon” [“Words of Logic”] by Maimonides with interpretation by Mendelssohn.

The students and teachers at the seminary were largely from Bohemia, Moravia and Germany, and found it difficult to adapt to life in Galicia. The young men entered the seminary with the expectation to

[Pages 191-192]

find teachers' posts at the end of their studies; at the institute they also received accommodation, provisions and financial help. Each of the students committed themselves to serve three years as teachers, and to reimburse all the expenses of their study period.[15] The pupils were greatly influenced by their instructors and turned more “heretical”, an issue which gave rise to complaints from the community over the [students'] desecration of the Sabbath.

Friedenthal “believed” himself an educator and director, and submitted numerous requests to increase his salary as well as his “supervision and travel fees”. He stood in for Homberg, in the latter's absence, and on his return they fought and quarrelled to the extent that in 1798 the supervisory authorities appointed Kazimierz Wohlfeil, principal of the general school within the town, to investigate the background to the conflicts. The investigation uncovered that students at the seminary were obliged to seek employ as the 81 Kreuzer a day did not suffice for their livelihood. Instead of choosing candidates from among the best students, Homberg preferred to accept the children of teachers he knew, and of his family, and Friedenthal objected to it.

To set–up the seminary's budget which existed solely on taxes paid from the Jews' taxation, Friedenthal proposed to impose a 50 Florin annual fee on every “Minyan”. In 1793, the pay was reduced to 25 Florin (Lwów had 41 Minyanim).

The authorities were dissatisfied with the seminary's teaching results and highlighted their derogatory opinion in a report to the Vienna authorities. They complained in particular over irregularities and over the escapes of pupils from the institute. The responsibility was naturally laid at the door of Aron Friedenthal. The authorities wondered about the sudden decline in the number of pupils, of whom only one remained in 1798. On 27th September 1798, the Vienna authorities demanded an explanation from the Governor “Why is there only one student in the Jewish teachers' seminary?”.[16]

The number of pupils in the girls' school remained constant, on the other hand, and the headmistress, Dornbach, was even granted full recognition by the Governor.

The authorities had reached the conclusion that “the teachers themselves are guilty of the errors and weaknesses at the schools, and for the objections of the parents”. To improve the situation they ordered to determine the identity of the culprits and to dismiss them.[17]

The authorities relied on information submitted by the teachers Joel Turnau, Samson Popper and Benjamin Grünbaum, who pointed out the obstacles which inhibited the progress within Lwów's schools, and which attracted the objections of the congregation.[18]

Once the Jews realised that Homberg influenced Kaiser Franz I to agree to impose the candle tax, they loathed him. The trial revealed that the national tax lessees (“Lichtverpächter”), Salomon Popper and Tobias [Tuvia] Steinberg, paid him 2% of the net income.[19]

In 1801, to evade the legal enquiries which were submitted against him, Homberg decided to leave Galicia and go to Vienna. Here he found a protector and advocate in Graf Rotenhann, who valued his peeformance in the field of education, and suggested to transfer him to Krakow, the capital of West Galicia. But according to Turnau's informing, the Emperor ordered to return him to Lwów. Homberg submitted a medical certificate stating that he had to stay in Vienna due to ill health. The Court–cabinet did not accept his pretext and ordered him to return to Lwów. Homberg approached the kingdom's Council (Staatsrat), where his request was granted and he remained in Vienna, thus ending his educational activity in Galicia. The authorities accepted that he “had been accused by his own people for immoral and dishonest actions in his post as chief inspector over the Jewish schools of eastern Galicia”.[20]

His influence on Galicia's Jewry was marked by the textbook “Bnei Zion” [“Children of Zion”] (1812), on which the regional office tested each bride and groom, for their attainment of a marriage certificate. Homberg's departure brought no change in the attitude of the Lwów Jewish community to schools. On 26th June 1806, Kaiser Franz I ordered to do away with the entire Jewish educational network of Galicia, and in particular of Lwów, an order which also affected the teachers' seminary which was closed down together with all the schools. In 1806, 389 Jewish children attended Lwów's Jewish schools, it is unknown however, how many pupils graduated from the seminary and chose to become teachers. The schools' fund of 259,088 Florins which had been collected from the Jews' taxation, was entered into the general schools' fund of Galicia (Galizischer Normalschulfond).

Once the schools had closed down and the Jews were released of the need to obtain their qualification as a condition to acquire a marriage certificate, they were hit with a new adverse edict. Instead of the school test, those who wanted a marriage certificate were now required to pass a religious examination, based on Herz Homberg's “Bnei Zion” (“ein religieus–moralistisches Lehrbuch für die Israelitischer Nation”) which had been approved as textbook for the Jewish schools of Austria, by order of the Emperor. The examinations were conducted by a regional Committee made up of the regional clerk, the municipal governor and the rabbi or the religious teacher. To avoid the inconvenience of acquiring the licence demanded by the new edict,

[Pages 193-194]

marriages were arranged covertly. The couples were obligated to purchase the book at two Gulden.

In 1806, parents were granted total freedom regarding education, and the general schools were naturally open to them. Only rarely did Jewish children attend general schools. One such was Izak Reuben Pinkas, who was admitted to secondary school [Gymnasium] and was even granted permission to appear in his Jewish outfit. His impoverished parents were unable to purchase the school uniform for him. The wealthy Jews did not wish to support him due to their contempt for the secular schools. In October 1787, he turned to Kaiser Joseph II to request his assistance. His request was passed on to the studies' commission of the Court–cabinet which granted him a new pupil's uniform. A few Jews also studied at Lwów University. The students Salomon Wolf and Moses Piper even received an annual scholarship from the Jewish Fund (Domestikal Fond) of 50 Florins, which rose to 100 Florins in 1797.

As it happens, the first candidate who graduated from the University of Lwów with a doctorate degree, was Jewish.[21]

* *

Unlike Brody or Tarnopol [Ternopil], Lwów was not in the vanguard of the Enlightenment movement, and only few of its circles were influenced by it. Lwów's early pioneers of the Enlightenment were Homberg, Friedenthal and the teachers, and to some extent also the officials who mostly came from Bohemia, the birth place of Homberg and his friends.

Even prior to the Enlightenment, however, there were at Lwów a few individuals who strove to acquire a general education. It is worth noting that in the middle of the 18th century even among rabbinical circles there were visible ambitions for knowledge of secular subjects. In his youth at Zamosc, Rabbi Salomon ben Mojzesz Chelma (1720–1781) acquired a wide knowledge of secular sciences: Philosophy, Mathematics, and Natural Sciences. In 1761, he published the book Merkevet HaMishne, an interpretation of Maimonides's “HaJad Hachazaka” [“The Strong Hand”], where in the introduction he specifically stressed the need – even from the religious aspect – to engage in secular sciences, which were the sole means by which ambiguous areas of the Talmud might be resolved. He was one of the first rabbis to be interested in secular sciences and to encourage their study.[22] In that vein he also influenced his pupils during his 1772–1777 years at Lwów's rabbinate.

By the middle of the eighteenth century an increased interest to examine the Hebrew grammar spread even among Lwów's [Jewish] scholarly circles. Rabbi Aron–Mojzesz [Ahron–Moses] ben Zwi [Zebi] Lwów (also known as Graiding) composed a grammar book in verse, titled Shirah Chadasha (Zolkiew 1764), as well as a complete grammar Ohel Mosche [Moses's Tent] (Zolkiew 1765).

In the nineties, after the Austrian occupation, Rabbi Pinkas Eliahu ben Mejer Wilno [Vilna][23] wrote “Sefer HaBrit Hashalem which includes all world wisdom and knowledge. Enclosed in it are Torah innovations, morals and the true wisdom, and the details of its content are entered in the second title–page… Written by our teacher and rabbi, the sage, sound, artless, honest and God–fearing Rabbi Pinkas Eliahu, son of that righteous Tzadik of blessed memory, our teacher and rabbi, Rabbi Mejer of the holy community of Wilno, may God protect it.” The first part contained information on Geography, Natural sciences and Physics according to eighteenth–century discoveries. The second part discussed “Man who rises above all creatures”. His views were rooted in the teachings of the Kabbalists, our master, Rabbi Izak Luria Askenazy [Aszkenassy], and his disciple Chaim Vital, and he unveiled his aspiration to reveal how Man could attain the Holy Spirit, even in our lifetime.

Pinkas Eliahu Horowitz (known as Otor) was one of the first exponents of the Enlightenment in Galicia and Poland. Born at Lwów on 23rd February 1765, he wandered in Poland and Germany before settling at Lwów and later at Buczacz. There he began writing his book “Sefer HaBrit”, but due to ill health he moved to Lwów and lived in the house of his wealthy follower and supporter, Nachman Reiss. He left for Pressburg [Bratislava] where, at the house of his friend Ber Oppenheimer, he finished his book and published it at Bryn in 1797.

At first he wished to publish the book “in my mother tongue, which is the everyday tongue spoken by the Jews of Poland”. Affected by the French Encyclopaedists, the book was written in a clear style and in the spirit of tradition and the fundamentals of religion. His goal was to inculcate knowledge and natural sciences in the Jewish population. Having no knowledge of foreign languages himself, he stated that his friend Ber Oppenheimer[24] “Read to me the contents of the Nations' books written in their languages, and everything he read to me I wrote down. First, from every foreign language I wrote down on paper in my mother tongue, and from there to the book in the Holy tongue”.[25]

His book Divrei Emet included also remarks on actual Jewish life in Poland. He laid special stress on the masses' lamentable situation, and the superstitions they latched on to. He also condemned the education in Poland where children were not taught any crafts, and every father wanted his son to be a rabbi or a rabbinical judge. Those incapable of attaining such status turned into toddlers' teachers, and since “The number of Torah teachers is greater than that of pupils, they only earn half the salaries and there is no bread or dress in their homes”[26] and they too joined the unemployed. Therefore, there was need to alter the education and teach the youth crafts to refute the

[Pages 195-196]

Nations' misconception that the Jews were not engaged in work but only in trade, and spur hatred of the Gentiles. The means of employment and the vocations of the Jewish masses had to change.

His book included also comprehensive information on the philosophy of Emanuel Kant, who used his rationale to contradict the methods of Wolff and Leibniz. His writing “Ahavat Re'im veChovat Chibat Chevrat Min HaEnoshi” [“Love of Friends and Duty of Affection of Mankind”] was also affected by his epoch. Although he objected to heretical thoughts which spread throughout Galicia under the influence of Berlin scholars, and he took a clear stand on tradition, his book met with objections and derision from orthodox circles due to his aim to stimulate interest in secular sciences. And indeed, his book fulfilled an important role in advancing the education of Jewish youths who read it in secret and stealth and drew their secular education from it. Its influence spread beyond Galicia, to Poland and Hungary, the Balkan States and the East, and it was also translated into Ladino, the spoken language of Sephardic Jews.

In his latter years, Pinkas ben Eliahu resided at Krakow and died there on 21st April 1821.

As he mentioned in his book Divrei Emet, he had also authored the books: “Matmonei Mistarim” [“Hidden Treasures”] the secret combination of letters “Ta'am Etzo” [“Flavour of his Tree”] on the book “Etz Chaim” [“Tree of Life”] by Rabbi Chaim Vital; and “Mitzvot Tovim” on the reason for the Mitzvot [commandments]. Those written essays remained unpublished. Indeed, one need mention the fact that the book “Sefer HaBrit” boosted the youths' desire for education, despite the fact that it had not yet reached the Enlightenment founded by Mendelssohn. While Homberg and his teaching staff strove to disseminate the Enlightenment, their tactics largely undermined their efforts due to their “constant requests” from the authorities to help them in implementing changes to education and culture. In that fashion they aroused the hatred of the Jewish masses, even of the few Lwów supporters of the Enlightenment.

The fact that the tax lessees who oppressed the people were also considered Maskilim [“Hebrew Enlighteners”] – since they had to understand the national–language, and be literate in German – did not enhance any sympathy for the Enlightenment. That was perhaps also the reason for the secret meetings and closed circles of Lwów's early Maskilim, to avoid arousing public rage against them.

1816, when Rabbi Zwi Ornstein the rabbi of Lwów boycotted the Maskilim, and Salomon Jehuda Rappoport published the pamphlet against the Hasidism, saw the start of open conflict against the Maskilim. In the years 1772–1816 hardly any literary output by the Maskilim of Lwów can be reported – unlike the state of Enlightenment at Brody.

During the early period, Lwów's few Maskilim focused on reading and on the study of secular knowledge and foreign languages, especially German which also impacted on the Austrian officials in maintaining social contact with the Maskilim and drawing their support for the Habsburg kingdom, in which they succeeded.

The officials, the school teachers as well as the military officers, willingly taught the Maskilim and supplied them with German literary reading material. The schools and university graduates contributed much to the dissemination of the Enlightenment, and influenced the youths from well to do homes to adapt to European customs, and in particular, to remove the traditional clothing and exchange those for clothes such as those worn by the Ashkenazie [German]. Consequently, the Maskilim of Galicia were labelled “German” (Ashkenazie). The change of clothing stirred up the orthodox Jews since one recalls how the Jews of Galicia fought against the 1789 ruling which dictated that from 1795 onwards, all, apart from rabbis, had to adopt the Gentiles' dress code, which was only annulled after their representatives petitioned Keiser Leopold II.

The period of the Enlightenment began in fact only in the first decade of the nineteenth century.


[Page 362]

Notes – CHAPTER 12
All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator.

  1. The Lwów Census of 1782 showed that there were 60 teachers of Torah, 21 of whom in Cheder for young children, with 105 assistants (Behelfer) and 735 pupils, 22 Chumash teachers with 280 pupils, 11 Gemarah teachers with 132 pupils, six adjudicators' teachers with 36 pupils, 1,183 pupils altogether. Income from all the Cheders came to 20,150 Gulden, and only 43 pupils' education was paid for by “Talmud–Torah” which paid their tuition fee of 412 Gulden. The salary of a Torah teacher for young children was 175 Gulden “for a period” including the salary of the tutor, Chumash teacher got 220 Polish Gulden, Gmarah teacher 216 Gulden, and adjudicators' teacher 304 Polish Gulden.
    (see article by Dr. Abraham Jacob Brauer “inspector of Cheders at Lwów in 1782” Reshumot, Vol. 1. Tel–Aviv, 1925. pp. 419–428.
    The census certificate was published by Dr. Gershom Wolf in Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland, Vol. V., pp. 147–148.
    According to Wolf, however, the Chumash teachers numbered 14, (According to Brauer 22), 280 pupils (according to Brauer 484); The 735 pupils in Cheders included also girls, according to Wolf.
    In 1795, 85 Torah teachers were engaged in Lwów's Cheders, and 183 as tutors, and there were 1,574 pupils. The salary of the teachers and the helpers came to 13,420 Gulden. Return
  2. The term “Trivial” schools was derived from the teaching programme which included reading, writing and arithmetic (Trivium). Return
  3. Michael Stöger Loc. cit. 1 prg. 70, p. 113. Return
  4. Skizze einer allgemeinen Judenordnung für Galizien. Ein Gesetzentwurf aus prg. 69.
    IV. T. 11 Carton 2579 Galizisches Judensystem 1785–1790. Return
[Page4 363-364]
  1. The pamphlet was published at Lwów and by order of the authorities was sent to all the communities. Published earilier in “Hame'asef”, p. 227. Mentioned in S. Assaf Sources of the History of Education in Israel. Tel–Aviv, 1925, Vol. 1, pp. 250–253. Return
  2. Status Salariorum der jüdischen Normalschullehrer mit Ende 1790. Return
  3. Archives of the Ministry of the Interior
    Galizien Prot. 1791, No. 46 September. Return
  4. Archives of the Ministry of the Interior:
    IV T 7. Jüdische Schulen e.a. 1793; 68. Return
  5. IV T 7. Sept. 1797; 59. Return
  6. IV T 7. Jüdische Schulen 28/XI 1793, No. 79; 102. Return
  7. IV T 7. 24 Jan. 1794. 67. Return
  8. IV T 7. Jüdische Schulen October 1795. 9. Return
  9. The teacher Joel Turnau denounced Homberg, claiming that he pocketed the funds intended for buying equipment, and that he took bribes from teachers in order to raise their salaries. A separate affair was the dispute between Aron Friedenthal and Homberg, who accused him of receiving bribes, negligent work, etc.
    Archive of the Lwów Commission, Judensachen Fasz 11.
    The teachers' loathing of Homberg was reflected in the fact that when submitting their proposals, they asked the authorities not to pass these to him; as for example the January 1794 proposal by the Drohobych [Drohobycz] teacher Zeckendorf, for improvements in the lives of Galician Jews.
    Archive of the Ministry of the Interior, Vienna, IV T 2 ad Carton 2580. 1792–1804. Return
  10. Prot. Galizien 1793, No. 631; 1793, No. 23. Return
  11. Archive of the Ministry of the Interior, IV T 7. 1794, 59. Return
  12. IV T 7. December 1789, 109. Return
  13. IV T 7. Juli 1795, 43. Return
  14. IV T 7, Dec. 1791, 67.
    The matter is clear, since the teachers undertook also spying roles. Thus for example, Aron Ornstein, the school director at Bochnia, informed that in the synagogues there was a large number of silver objects which were not required. Instantly, the government demanded that they be handed over in exchange of “loan certificates” for the war against France.
    Prot. Galizien. Sept. 1796, 145. Return
  15. Dr. M. Balaban: Herz Homberg; Z historja Zydów w Polsce, Warszawa 1920, p.205. Return
  16. A. F. Pribram: Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien. Wien 1918, II, No. 325, pp. 161–172. Return
  17. F. Kratter: Briefe über den itzigen Zustand von Galizien. Leipzig 1786, Part II, p. 57 remark. Return
  18. Dr. M. Weissberg: Die Neuhebr[äische] Aufklärungs Literatur in Galizien. Wien 1898, pp. 81–83. Return
  19. According to Mejer [Max] HaLevi Letteris, Rabbi Pinkas Eljahu Vilna [Wilno], author of Sefer HaBrit, was born at Lwów; see: History of my dear father, parent, teacher, light and salvation, the wise Rabbi Gerschom HaLevi Letteris of blessed memory, in Bikurim by Naftali Keller, Vienna, 1864, p. 51. Gershom Bader (Medinah veChachameha, New–York, 1934, p.80) states that his father Mejer and his mother Jente were born at Vilnius [Wilno], and that in 1765, wishing to settle at Buczacz, they had reached Galicia via Lwów, where Pinkas–Eliahu was born. He heard that detail from his grandfather who had known Pinkas personally. Return
  20. Ber Bernhard Oppenheim (1753–21/9/1853) born at, and citizen of Pressburg [Bratislava], author of the Responsa Mei Be'er, contributed also to Bikureh HaItim, his translation of Herder's poem “Sonne und Mond” Vol. IV, 1823, pp. 138–141, as well as “Poem of Gratitude” to the minister Leopold Graf Pálffy (Vol. IV, pp.175–179) Return
  21. Sefer HaBrit, Bryn, 1797. Intro. p. 4. Return
  22. Divrei Emet, p. 41. Return


« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.

JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Lviv, Ukraine     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page

Yizkor Book Director, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Jason Hallgarten

Copyright © 1999-2023 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 8 Dec 2022 by LA