Translated by Myra Yael Ecker
Edited by Dave HorowitzLarochette
|The 1829 earthquake. The 1830 Cholera epidemic. Demonstrations against foodtax. The association for the distribution of industry and crafts among the Jews of Galicia. The 18281834 debate and its rejection. Mordechai Bernstein invited to Lwów. Lwów Jews' housing problems. The social changes. The unrest among the Maskilim circles. The government's involvement in appointing the enlightened to the community's committee. The community committee's members led by Dr. Emil Blumenfeld. The construction of a synagogue (the Temple) for the Enlightened. Dr. Jakobka Rappaport. The debate on the creation of a Jewish school. Establishment of a children's nursery and a health organization. The school syllabus and its budget. Appointing the preacher Abraham Kohn. The school staff. The number of pupils in the years 18441847. Protest by the Orthodox. Delay in the new ruling regarding Jews. The government's stance on the Jewish issue. The Polish public and its attitude toward the Jews. The Jews and the Polish revolt of 18301831. The Maskilim's stance. The Jews of Lwów and the events of 1846. The community's proposal to establish aJewish brigade and the government's response. Stadion's appointment as Galicia's governor. The 1847 Lwów convention of the communities' representatives. Lwów community's petition. The issue of Jewish traditional dress and the community's opinion. Abraham Kohn and Meier Münz. Protests and informing by the Orthodox.|
The years prior to the 1848 revolution known in Austrian history as Vormärz (preMarch [German Revolution] 1848), were extremely difficult.
On 26th November 1829, Lwów was hit by an earthquake. In 1830, its citizens suffered drought, typhus and cholera which raged between May and September 1830 and claimed a large number of casualties. Special hospitals were then erected for Christians and Jews.
Their congested living conditions at the outbreak of the epidemic resulted in a much larger number of casualties among the Jewish population, despite the efforts of the Jewish doctors, especially Dr. Jakobka Rappaport. On 7th June 1830, the authorities ordered to move 300 families to green fields outside the town. At the Jewish hospitals, excluding the patients who were treated privately, there were 803 patients, 415 of whom died and only 388 recovered. Not only the doctors distinguished themselves, but also two young Jewish assistant medics, Izidor and Henrik Papo.
Lwów's citizens, the Jews included, were economically hit when precisely in 1830 the government introduced a special tax on the import of food. The tax imposition led to citizens' demonstrations in which the Jews also took part, and which at the town periphery reached even clashes and attacks on the tax officers and the police, as well as on the tax administrator Franz Helm. As a result of the demonstrations Lwów's citizens managed to secure a release from, and reduction in the food tax depending to type.
On 4th September 1838, a great fire broke out in the Jewish Quarter. On Boimow Street 11 houses were burnt down in the fire which also killed 11 Jews. Hirsch Taitels distinguished himself among the rescuers, successfully saving his sick mother from the burning house.
The rigid and decadent bureaucracy that gnawed at files with no regard for people's needs, further exacerbated the Jews' adversity. A few officers tried however to convince the Vienna central authorities to introduce crucial changes and improvements to the living conditions of Galicia's Jews. Their efforts were however in vain since the Vienna authorities did not care to hear of such suggestions.
As far back as1790 the Galician Sejm, the ostensible Parliament, had already debated granting civil rights to the Jews, but its proposal was derived from selfinterest. In the thirties the Poles realized that the Jews, whose loyal support they hoped for, in fact sympathised with the Austrian regime. Without explicitly voicing the view that the Jews were enemies of Poland, it was clear that they did not consider the Jews an element supportive of the Polish national spirit and movement. The national movement gained strength especially during the (18261832) governorship of the Poles' sympathiser, Prince Lobkowitz [Lobkowicz], and at Russia's request he was removed from that post due to his stance. In his treatment of the Jews Lobkowitz also showed complete understanding, in an attempt to improve their situation and support the Maskilim's request for a licence to establish an organization for the distribution of industry and useful crafts among the Jews of Galicia.
In 1828, the renowned Maskil Josef Perl of Tarnopol, and his friend Reb. MordechaiBerisch Margules of Lwów, member of the mercantile lawcourt and agent of the savings fund, together with Dr. Kolischer, prepared a plan for the establishment of the above mentioned organization in honour of
Kaiser Franz I's 60's birthday. On 9th February 1828 Perl and Margules were granted an audience by Prince Lobkowitz, and submitted the memorandum for establishing the company. Prince Lobkowitz allowed them to hold a founding meeting which took place on 12th March 1828, and included Dr. Jacob Rappoport, D. Epstein, Nathan Kolischer, Dr. Kolischer and Herz Ettinger all from Lwów. The membership fee was established and a committee of three members was elected to draught the regulations.
As the endeavour for an approval of the regulations took a long time, it was decided to accelerate the approval at Vienna. When on 1st June 1829 Perl was seen by the Kanzler Prince [von] Metternich, he asked for the approval to be speeded up, but the matter did not progress.
On 24th July 1832, the Courtoffice prepared a report which determined that every association member should contribute 200 Florins, or a mortgage of 5% of the value of a house. Jews outside Austria would also be entitled to become members of the association. The association would be responsible for placing industrious and talented poor children to learn a craft useful to craftsmen, under the auspices of craftsmen; to maintain their provisions and clothing, and to pay their tuition fees as well as the craftsmen's association fees.
According to the report some affluent Jews had already joined the association, pledging to pay the membership fees of specific individuals as well as donating funds to the association's management authority, headed by a member of Lwów's mercantile lawcourt, Markus Margules, and others. The association determined to begin operating once it had collected a sum of 20,000 Florins.
On 11th April 1833 ten months after the report was submitted to the Courtoffice the Emperor ordered to hand it over to the Minster of Police [Josef von] Sedlnitzky for his opinion, whether there were under the existing circumstances any doubts about establishing the association. On 4th May 1833, Sedlnitzky turned to Lwów's Police Commissioner, [Leopold] von Sacher[Masoch], requesting his opinion on the association's regulations as well as a report on its proponents.
On 8th September 1834, the report was submitted to the Kaiser by the Minster of Police Sedlnitzky, with his observations. According to the Police Commissioner's report, Sedlnitzky noted: there is no objections to the establishment of the requested association for political or managerial reasons, and it constitutes a major step forward in the Jews' civil integration. There is also no objections by the police to the establishment of the association, considering that the Jews of Galicia supported the existing regime. Accepting associate members from abroad is to be opposed however, and a demand must be made that a government commissioner be present at every association meeting to safeguard the government's interests. It is in the government's interest that the Jewish citizens gradually achieve parity with the rest of the population and become part of it. That is only attainable by influencing their religious, moral and intellectual education, as well as by encouraging them to engage in useful and desirable trades. The association is one of the active means by which to attain this aim, and consequently its establishment is no cause for concern. Moreover, as the association members take upon themselves all expenditure, the government will not be burdened by any financial outlays.
Despite his earlier recommendation, the Kaiser delayed the approval of the licence to implement the association, till 11th April 1848.
Prince Lobkowitz also supported the request put forward on 10th June 1828 by Mordechai Bernstein of Brody, to establish a vocational school and a rabbinical seminary at Lwów. On 12th August 1828, Prince [von] Lobkowitz responded that he considered the proposal commendable and worthy of support, and he invited Bernstein to come to Lwów. Due to the difficulties he faced from the Orthodox as well as the bureaucracy, his project only came to fruition in 1864.
The officials looked askance at Prince [von] Lobkowitz and his sympathy for the Jews, whom they only considered a means of extorting bribes, while detrimental to the state and society. There was also an apparent Intolerance by the Christian population which delays and destroys every extension of human principle, not only the government, but also the citizens spread the seeds of hate. In 1837, one officer depicted the Jews' circumstances in the following manner: The learned Jew one mocks and saddens, the uneducated Jew one ridicules and expels; one belittles the dignity of the esteemed Jew, and humiliates the ignoble; one laughs at the rich and hates the poor. Every good thing done by a Jew is considered repulsive; every great thing one demeans its worth; every favour is only regarded as malice, and no progress will do any good nor will it appease those who hate the Jewish People.
In the period 18381840 the resentments intensified when Lwów's municipality reawakened the issue of foreign Jews' residency within the town, especially with regard to Lwów's Jews who had married women from other towns.
In 1823, as previously mentioned, the Governor had expressed his view that it was advisable to abolish all restrictions on the entry of foreign Jews into the town of Lwów, since their residence at Lwów was no more pernicious than at any other town. In 1826, with Prince Lobkowitz's approval, the restriction on the entry of Jews into the town was upheld as well as preventing an increase
in the number of Jewish families. Orders were issued to prepare a list of all the Jews present at Lwów, and to sort the Jews who were community members from the foreigners who illegally resided in the town. Any transgressors of the right of residency had to be expelled from Lwów. The proposals were sanctioned by the Courtoffice and executed by the municipality with consent of the police.
During the Vormärz (preMarch [1848 German Revolution]) years, the social composition of Lwów's Jews had undergone considerable changes:
Compared with the Orthodox Jews, the enlightened section of the Maskilim grew in number. Among them were medical doctors, lawyers and others with academic education who excelled in the arts and sciences and reached significant positions in their fields.
In 1839-1840, there were at Lwów 15 Jewish medical doctors and a number of surgeons. Renowned among those were: Dr. Jakobka Rappaport, his sonsinlaw: Dr. Kasowicz and Dr. Barda, Dr. Abraham Natkis and Dr. Gussman, the writer Dr. Moritz Rappaport, Dr. Dubs, Dr. Epstein, Dr. Goldberg. Among the known lawyers were: Dr. Blumenfeld, Dr. Menkes, Dr. Klahr, Dr. Mahl, Dr. Maximilian Landsberger, J. Pfeffer. One need also mention Leo Kolischer, a Dr. of philosophy and a highly cultured man. The Maskilim were also joined by wide circles of cultured merchants whose cultural standing was however not on a par with that of Brody's merchants, as well as by functionaries in Jewish institutions whose meagre salary prevented them from devoting themselves to the Enlightenment as they would have desired. Some Jewish families sent their children to state schools, and the number of pupils at secondary schools and university increased year by year. On the other hand, the influence of Chassidism increased among the common people. An indifference and lack of concern for the needs of the general public prevailed among those circles not touched by Chassidism.
During 18271847 a turmoil stirred among all strata of the Maskilim circles, who expressed grave objections to the community management's prevailing reliance on the kindness of the candletax lessees who were interested in the sole appointment of their supporters. Their demand was not willingly heeded, but in time the authorities also realised the need to introduce changes in the organization.
For the first time, at Brody, some medical doctors and lawyers from among the Maskilim were appointed extraordinary communityelders.
In 1839, Lwów's community faced a crisis. The rabbi, Rabbi Jakob Meschulam Ornstein died. The community's Maskilim considered it best to appoint a temporary rabbi till 1846, when a well educated rabbi would be appointed. Opposers [Misnagdim; of Chassidism, from among the Orthodox Jews], led by Hirsch Bernstein, appointed Rabbi Hirsch ben Mordechai Ze'ev, as the Rabbi's successor. Rabbi Hirsch's candidacy rested on the support of his maternal, Mieses [Mizys] family. But the Chassidim, led by Rabbi Jakob Glanzer who built the Chassidic BethMidrash [religious study house], opposed that appointment.
In 1838, the community was led by Meier Münz, a Maskil who spoke a stylish German. He was on friendly terms with the Orthodox as well as with with their leader Hirsch Bernstein, and wrote all the announcements and written requests on their behalf (he also maintained good relations with the Polish Democratic Society and even held a political position in 1848).
The appointed committee members included: Osias Meier Goldbaum (an opposition veteran during 18171820), Fischel Dubs as well as David and Herz Sokal, Meier Rachmiel Mieses, Leib Sternklahr, all moderate Maskilim who were also accepted by the Orthodox. They were supported by the Police Commissioner, Ritter von SacherMasoch, who was keen for the intelligentsia to attain the leadership of the community. The committee pursued a moderate policy, avoiding any changes that might shock the Orthodox or the Chassidim. Its mission was: to reorganize the hospital which was in very poor condition; settle the taxes and organize the charitable institutions.
Leib Sternklaher, head of the hospital founded by Isak Währinger (17411818), succeeded in improving the institution's situation and in increasing its income from 8,000 to 13,200 Florins.
Meier Rachmiel Mieses who supervised the tax affairs, held a moderate stance inbetween the conservatives and the progressives. He was joined by merchants keen to have their children educated in the spirit of the time.
Fischel Dubs, a founder member of industry, was a wise practical man who did much to organize the neglected and abandoned charitable affairs.
David Herz Sokal, the son of NathanNeta Sokal, a prominent merchant known for being active against the taxlessees, managed the hospital's affairs together with Sternklaher. Their work was also approved of by radical Maskilim who appreciated their bravery of not yielding to the Orthodox nor to the Chassidim.
The Maskilims' standing enjoyed a significant rise when Meier Rachmiel Mieses, Fischel Dubs, Meier Münz, D. H. Sokal, Leib Sternklaher and Goldbaum accepted Dr. Jakobka Rappaport's invitation to participate in the meeting of 4th October 1840, at Dr. Blumenfeld's apartment, where it was agreed to erect a Temple (Temple, a synagogue for the Enlightened).
One of the committee's earliest actions was to entrust Dr. Blumenfeld and Dr. Kolischer with the task,
during his October 1840 visit, to present Franz Karl, Kaiser Ferdinand's brother, with a memorandum on the condition of the Jews and to request an annulment of the candletax, as well as an easement on the employment of Jews.
The community's conditions had in fact shown signs of improvement. In culture and education Lwów lagged behind Brody and Tarnopol where schools already had trained and experienced teaching staff. At Lwów, not even one Jewish school existed despite the relatively good financial situation.
|Pamphlet. Rabbi A. Kohn's Synagogue address|
1840 was set for new elections, but concern that the candletax lessees' influence might impede the candidates, led to the postponement of the election. It appears that even the authorities who did not get involved in any conflicts between the Maskilim and the Orthodox, the opposers [Misnagdim] or the Chassidim, did not want to see the taxlessees' people on the Community Committee. Instead, they preferred to consider the Jewish intelligentsia. Consequently, in 1842 without any elections, the authorities appointed a new Community Committee which included: Emanuel Blumenfeld, Dr. Oswlad Menkes, Dr. Abraham BardaRappoport, Markus Dubs, Isak Aron Rosenstein, S. Rappoport. To the Board were appointed: Michael Kehlmann, D. L. Kronstein, Meier Rachmiel Mieses and Leib Meller.
A year prior to the appointment, Lwów's Maskilim were spurred into action by the scholar Josef Perl who lived there. His medical doctor, Dr. Jakob Rappoport, was in fact the spiritual leader of Lwów's Jewish intelligentsia. Dr. Rappoport (17721855), born at Uman [Humań], Ukraine, was from a rabbinical family. His father, Rabbi Mordechai ben Shabbatai Rappoport, was rabbi at Oleksince [Oleksyntsi] and Uman, greatgrandson and grandson of Benjamin, author of G'vulot Benjamin [Benjamin's Bounds] (Lwów 1789), religious judge [Moreh Tzedek] at Brzeżany, the brother of Lwów's rabbi, Rabbi Chaim HaKohen Rappoport, known for participating in the 1759 dispute with the Frankists.
Rabbi Mordechai, Dr. Jakob Rappaport's father, the regional Rabbi for Podolia, also practiced medicine. At the end of his book Imrei Noam [Words of Pleasantness] (Oleksince, 1767), he published an addendum Children's Medicines with recipes in Latin. His mother, Sara, the daughter of Rabbi Jakob of Dubno, had published in Yiddish the book Tehinah far Imahot [Plea to Mothers] (Lwów 1804). Rabbi Mordechai who lived at Horodenka, moved to Krakow and practiced medicine there too. On 18th April 1781, Galicia's director of medical services, Dr. Andrzej Krupinski, issued him with a certificate which entitled him to treat patients throughout Galicia. In 1782, the certificate was approved by the faculty of medicine of Krakow University, and for a while he was a doctor at Kazimierz, the Jewish Quarter near Krakow.
His son Jakob, who was traditionally educated, studied philosophy too. He married Juliana, the daughter of Ber Birkenthal from Bolechów [Bolekhiv], known for participating in the dispute with Jakob Frank. Jakob passed the entrance examination of the philosophy faculty and later that of the medicine faculty. In 1804 he ended his studies as a doctor of Medicine, settled at Lwów and was very successful as a doctor. He was liked and accepted by people from every walk of life. As a doctor he forewent any payment from paupers and even gave poor patients of his own money as well as providing them with medication. Dr. Jakob Rappoport was a proud Jew who was interested in the life of his community. In his view, We have no need to be ashamed of our People (nationality) when we are among other people and nations. He objected to deprivation of the Hebrew language; to changes in the Jewish prayers; and to praying in German in the synagogues, as demanded by radical reformers in Germany. He was also one of the instigators and founder members of the Enlighteners' synagogue (Temple).
The new community leader, Dr. Emanuel Blumenfeld, was a descendant of the Reizes family who were martyred. He and his colleagues on the community management went briskly into action. In March 1842 they approached the governorship with a request to authorise the community
to set aside funds for 10 bursaries for craftsmen, and to use the TalmudTorah Fund for the construction of an orphanage for 12 of the institute's orphaned pupils. According to the plan, the orphans would study secular studies at the orphanage, and would sit the annual examinations at a state school. The request included the proposal to allocate a post to a Jewishreligion teacher at the secondary school, who could also act as preacher. The request was supported by the municipality as well. In his reply the Governor reminded the community that the matter had already been debated in 1835, and based on the assessment of Josef Perl and Herz Homberg, the Vienna Courtoffice ordered on 2nd September 1837 that Lwów's community should establish an elementary school similar to that at Tarnopol, and should use the budget to pay the teacher's salary. The Governor had thus returned to the issue of establishing a school.
At the beginning of 1843 the community committee submitted a petition to abolish the candletax, together with a detailed description of the hardship caused by the taxes which constituted an affront to conscience and religious feelings. The additional taxes and the injustice, it stressed, were the principal reasons for the poverty of Galicia's Jews. A countermemorandum was concurrently submitted by a group of Jews, initiated by the taxlessees.
The Governor ruled that the Jews of Galicia had to pay all the direct and indirect taxes like the rest of the population. The candletax, however, was loathed for its malevolent collection and in particular its pernicious effect on the poorest.
Indeed, the Finance department decided that the candletax would be debated as part of the general discussion of the Jewish taxes, but that it should remain in force for the time being. The temporary arrangement continued for many years; only on 15th March 1843 did the Courtoffice propose to abolish the candletax. Despite that, the Courtoffice insisted that due to the monarchy's economic situation and requirements such an income could not be waved, and that the Emperor should not abolish the candletax unless a substitute income was found. On 19th May 1843 Kaiser Ferdinand sanctioned the Finance department's demand, thus deferring the community's request.
Once Dr. Blumenfeld and members of the community management had tried to introduce order into the administration, they turned to reorganizing the Orthodox juniorschool where they also introduced general studies. The syllabus also included Bible classes in German translation, arithmetics, writing, Hebrew grammar and the German language. There were 130 pupils. The 800 Florins income from one of the community houses sufficed to cover the costs. The orphanage [female] director also supplied food and clothing for those in need.
On 30th May 1842 the orphanage was opened with the active support of Hersch Zipper (17961858), the Police inspector for the Jewish Quarter who donated his entire wealth to the cause. The wealthy Orthodox citizens refused to contribute financially towards its maintenance as they objected to the institute's aim. The government contributed 10 pupils' stipends for the study of crafts and professions.
Concurrently, the upper war commissioner (K. K. FeldkriegsOberkommissar), Willibald Schiessler, donated a building which was made into Lwów's first Jewish children's daycare centre. 170 children were accepted by the institute.
The annual income of the hospital increased from 13,200 Florins to 20,000 Florins. During 1843, 1304 patients received medical care there, of whom 1117 recovered and 187 died. In 1843, with the help of B. Goldstern's heirs, a sanitarium for 79 individuals was established next door to the hospital. On the community's initiative a women's association was established to provide food and clothing for the orphanage.
Indeed, the community committee devoted much of its efforts to establishing an elementary school. The authorities' response regarding the appointment of a teacher, of [the Jewish] religion, reiterated the Courtoffice's ruling of 1837 instructing the community to establish an elementary school, a project which Dr Blumenfeld consequently set out to implement.
At the beginning of 1844 the community submitted a detailed memorandum on creating a GermanJewish school (DeutschIsraelitische Hauptschule), after proving that the overcrowding in the Christian schools necessitated the establishment of a special school for Jews, whose number had reached 17,043 souls of which 1,704 were children of compulsory education age. The Cheders, the Torah teachers and the teachers' assistants (Belfer) are the source of the ignorance, and they are unsuited to provide the children with regular education. The Torah teachers are ignorant and lack knowledge. Most of them are men who found no livelihood and became Torah teachers out of necessity. The community expressed its desire to establish a regular school similar to Perl's school at Tarnopol. They tried for long to establish the school, but their efforts failed due to the antiEnlighteners (Obskuranten) who lobbied the authorities' offices against such projects.
The community's request was sent to the Courtcommittee for education (StudienHofkommission) which decided on 16th April 1844 to approve the community's plan, as follows:
The community undertook to collect funds to purchase a plot for the school. To reach the required sum they set out to collect it from: A. One extra Gulden on Kosher ritual slaughter 4,400 Florins. B. Tuition
fees depending on the pupil's parental status 20 Kreuzer [Kreutzer], 45 Kreuzer, or one Florin; and pupils from outside the community 3 Florins; children of the poor were exempt from tuition fees. Any budget deficit would be filled by a special tax.
At the suggestion of the regional office, one director and two inspectors appointed by the Governor would head the institute. The teachers would be appointed by the director and the inspectors, and approved by the Governor. The entire staff would be Jewish.
The German and Polish languages would be taught according to the state schools' syllabus. The Hebrew studies according to Perl's school syllabus. The school would be under the authority of the regional office, and subject to the general schools' legislation. No classes would take place on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, but would be held on Sundays and Christian holidays. The duty of study would also extend to girls. The community's proposal to name the school Model Elementary School (Muster Hauptschule) was rejected. Instead, it was given the name AshkenaziJewish School at Lwów [Ashkenazi = German, in archaic Hebrew] (DeutschIsraelitische Hauptschule in Lemberg).
On 16th April 1844, Kaiser Ferdinand I approved the Courtcommittee for education's proposal, with the proviso that the additional tax on the Kosher ritual slaughter be charged until such time as it was necessary to abolish it.
The community leaders wished to invite a progressive preacher to undertake the school's management. They decided to implement the decision, of 4th October 1840 made at Dr. Blumenfeld's home, to establish a synagogue for the Enlightened which despite the efforts of the Temple Committee headed by Jakobka Rappoport, had not materialized. They considered it the right time to realise that decision.
The licence application to build a Modern Temple, in the manner of Vienna and Prague, had long been submitted to the Governor on 20th June 1842. Once they explained to the Governor the means by which they would pay for the building, the regional minister [von] Millbacher who supported the Maskilim to the dismay of the Orthodox, granted the licence on 18th December 1842.
In July 1843, land was purchased and entered in the landregister as: AshkenaziJewish Synagogue (DeutschIsraelitisches Bethaus). Once all the funds were collected the donation of 900 Florins by Jakub Glanzer, the leader of the Chassidim, was revealed among other; a sum he was obliged to contribute toward the Temple, in order to obtain approval from the community and the regional office for constructing the Innovation [Chidushim] Shul. To build the Temple required greater investments than the 4,000 Florins capital from Isak Rosenberg's 1798 estate. Consequently, the 5,503 Florins & 42 Grozky capital of the orphanage was also used, and was entered as a loan. Rabbi Abraham Kohn of Hohenems was invited as preacher. On Saturday 8th August 1844, at the synagogue outside the town, he delivered his first homily which was enthusiastically received by members of the community committee as well as by the committee of the Temple, and the contract of his appointment as preacher, teacher of religion and school director was signed on 20th August 1844.
The school, made up of three classes and one elementary class, similar to the state schools, was opened in November 1844. The school council was made up of: two inspectors, the communityelders Dr. Blumenfeld and Dr. Kolischer, as well as the preacher Abraham Kohn as the school master. The elected teachers were Pessach [Psachje] Grünes Hebrew language; Hersch Glasgall calligraphy, both of whom had taught at Perl's school; Michael Wolf ( Hebrew; Leo VolländerRiesberg German Langugae; Akiba (Karl) Lodner Arithmetic; S. Schlesinger, Igolnitzer Hebrew; Bernhard Fränkel Polish. In addition, Dr. Bernhard Sternberg was appointed teacher and deputy director.
Once the school had opened, a large number of boys and girls enrolled. During the first academic year (18441845) it catered for 427 pupils. During 18451846 there were 583 pupils (in seven classes), and during 18461847, 738 pupils.
Rabbi Abraham Kohn himself wrote some handbooks on the study of Judaism: Sefer Limud Toldot HaYehudim [History of the Jews Textbook] up to the destruction of the second Temple, and a book for the study of religion Chanoch LaNa'ar [Train up a child…].
The establishment of the school, the erection of the Temple and the appointment of Abraham Kohn had so enraged the Orthodox that they submitted an appeal to the Governor, signed by their leaders Josef Hersch Rappoport, Mordechai Zeeb Ettinger, Jacob Herz Bernstein, Hersch Ornstein, Samuel Goldstern and Meier Münz. Their anger was particularly inflamed when they realized that the preacher, Abraham Kohn, was elected the community Rabbi to occupy the seat of head of the Rabbinate, a post previously held by such great scholars as Kalman of Worms, Meschulem of Salzburg, David HaLevy author of Turei Zahav, Chacham Z'wi [Sage Z'wi] Zvi Hirsch Rosanisch [Rosanes], and last, Rabbi JakobMeschulem Ornstein. The Orthodox, who could no longer hold their peace, decided to come out vociferously and prevent such a move. The appeal, probably penned by Meier Münz, described Abraham Kohn as a man ignorant of the Talmud, who did not keep the religious precepts [Mitzvot] and who disparaged the Law of the Torah. The petition with hundreds of signatures protested against the establishment of the school. The petition, together with the positive opinion of the regional minister Millbacher, were sent by the Governor to the Vienna authorities who passed the appeals to the accredited office at Dornbirn, Tirol, with a request
for a report on Abraham Kohn's character. The office invited Hohenems's community leader, Philip Rosenthal, who provided a favourable opinion about him. Based on his opinion, the Vienna central authorities rejected the petition submitted by the Orthodox. Shortly afterwards the authorities appointed Abraham Kohn, Rabbi for the Lwów district (Kreisrabbiner), as well as the registrar of the Jewish population, replacing Abraham Korkis.
Once Abraham Kohn uncovered forgeries in the registration books, the resentment of the Orthodox rose even further. In his sermons he criticised the zealousness and ignorance of the rabbis and of the righteous men. In his letters which he published at Vienna in Lu'ach Bosh [List of Shame], he mocked certain customs. Their opposition peaked when, in December 1846, he conducted a BarMitzvah and a BatMitzvah celebration at the Temple synagogue.
For the Orthodox that signified a slide towards annihilation; unrest ensued, which had to lead to an outburst.
The community committee continued in its operational activities and in its endeavour to replace the outdated practices and breathe new life into the community and make it relevant for the time. The communityelders attempted to convince the authorities of the need to introduce legal amendments to improve the economic and cultural status of Galicia's Jews.
Once they had succeeded in establishing a synagogue and a school in the spirit of the age, and to organize the institutions' welfare, the communityelders turned to finding solutions to the pressing problems in the relations of the government with the Jews.
Ever since Kaiser Franz I. had ordered a new Jewish code in 1803, which did not focus on taxes alone (Deren Zweck nicht allein das Steuerwesen ist), the authorities considered the time and circumstances appropriate. Although the Kaiser ordered to speed up the issue, they spent years preparing the new code since, according to Kanzler [Chancellor] Graf Ugarte (1812), the Jewish issue required a prolonged investigation. In 1820, the Emperor firmly ordered to work towards removing any segregation between the Jews and the rest of the population. He also ordered to impose on the youth the study at general schools, and to make the appointment of rabbis contingent on their general education.
In 1833, the Courtoffice announced that it was still investigating the regulations regarding the Jews, and that the responsible Court advisor, von Widmann, had not yet terminated his investigations, constantly requesting additional information from the Governorship: regarding the regulations of the drink pourers; concerning the establishment of an institute to instruct rabbis, in philosophy; what was the difference between a rabbi and a teacher of religion, etc. The Governor for his part passed on the questions to the regional ministers for their opinions, and none of them was in a hurry to reply, thus endlessly extending the debates and the files. The authorities who were assigned the Jewish issues, collected memoranda and opinions from enlightened Jews and specialists in the fields and matters remained unchanged.
The Galician authorities started to note the value of the Jews and deemed them Galicia's third estate (tier état), that might strengthen the German constituency which supported Vienna's centralization of power. Galicia's Polish leadership, on the other hand, also began to fathom that the Jewish issue should not be underrated. Among Galicia's Polish population the realization arose that with the growing emigration, especially after the 183031 Polish revolt, the Jews of Galicia had
to be mobilized for the Polish cause. Experience had taught them that unlike their brethren in Congress Poland, the Jews of Galicia had manifested no enthusiasm for the national revolt, and the number of young volunteers from Galicia was very small.
Although only few among the [Jewish] young sympathized with the Poles, the government suspected the Jews of Galicia and especially those of Lwów, of assisting the Polish nationalists. During 18351837 the suspicion increased after the emigration envoy Józef Zaliwski, on his own initiative, had organized in March 1833 a partisan invasion into Congress Poland which ended in total defeat. The Polish insurgents were driven back by the police with assistance from the armed forces, as well as through searches on the roads and in forests, and mass arrests. In its persecution campaign the police had also employed Jewish spies, but only a very small number of Jews was willing to spy on the Poles for the authorities. On the contrary, to the Poles' surprise the Jews of Brody and Lwów showed great sympathy for the Polish cause and helped the Polish insurgents hide from their persecutors. As is known, many Poles faced prosecution. Among them were Jan Lewandowski and Karol Borkowski who were accused of treason against Austria, and during their lawsuit the authorities uncovered details of the help Jews had extended to the Polish movement. Based on the police report, searches of Jewish Maskilim were carried out. At the bookshops of Mendel Bodeck and Samuel Igel they found the pamphlets by Polish emigrants in Paris. The authorities considered the events so suspicious and important that on 25th January 1835, the president of the Vienna Ministry of Justice, Graf [von] Taaffe, handed the Kaiser a special report about the searches.
Berman Birkenthal of Bolichów, probably part of Ber Bolichow's family, passed detailed information on the existence of Polish revolutionary associations. For his services he received 600 Florins, in 1835 alone.
While Polish leaders began to regard the Jews as a political element, no signs of closer JewishPolish relations were yet visible in Galicia. Although the Maskilim circles stressed that Jews owed gratitude to the Polish people for letting them into Poland when they were expelled from Germany, In modern life, memories of the past fade in the reality of the present, and in the interest of future existence. Consequently, the Jews must reserve any fondness for Poland, since our future is in the hands of Austria, and our politicospiritual existence can only be German despite the systematically cold manner in which the German people reject us.. Nevertheless, the Maskilim insisted that Polish [language] also be taught at the Jewish schools.
No defined political orientation had as yet evolved among the Jewish intelligentsia whose prime aspiration focused on attaining emancipation which the community leaders desired, without giving much consideration to any other problems. Believing that the future of Galicia's Jews was firmly linked to Austria, Lwów's community committee considered itself under obligation, with regard to the Tarnów [Tarnau] peasants' corruption and their riots in other regions during the 1846 revolts, to ask the government to establish a Jewish Brigade in the service of Austria.
On 3rd March 1846, the Governor replied that since there was no risk to the country nor its capital, the government had declined the offer to establish a Jewish Brigade. In case of danger, however, the government would take into account the community's patriotic offer. The regional minister expressed his hope that all preparation be made to establish the Brigade, were a danger to arise. Besides its suggestion of the Jewish Brigade, the community committee donated 4,000 quarts of liquor to the soldiers who undertake difficult service. For that patriotic donation, General Festenburg sent the community committee a letter of appreciation from the army headquarters.
On 3rd April 1846, based on the loyal stance of Galicia's Jews during the bloody uprising, the community submitted a petition to Kaiser Ferdinand I (signed by Dr. Blumenthal, Rosenstein, M. Dubs, I. L. Kolischer and Dr. Kolischer) to abolish the restrictions on the occupations available to Jews, especially the prohibition to settle in villages. In their petition, the alliance and loyalty the Jews had demonstrated during the 1846 bloody uprising was emphasized to justify such a demand, also, that due to the urban congestion some of the Jewish population should to be moved to the villages, thus increasing the German element on which the authorities laid great stress. To the petition the delegation (Pillersdorf and Zaleski) appended a letter which confirmed the patriotic conduct of the Jewish population and their full assistance during the uprising, and it recommended to grant the Jews the easement they were seeking. On 26th May 1848, the Vienna Courtoffice submitted a recommendation to the Emperor that that petition be taken into account when the new rules concerning the Jews of Galicia, were considered.
The Jews greeted with satisfaction the appointment of Count [Franz] Stadion [Graf von Warthausen] as Governor of Galicia, since his sympathy towards the Jews was revealed during his period of tenure as officer at the Sambor regional office in 1829, when the Jewish teacher Löbl Grabscheid taught him Polish and Hebrew.
In 1847, with the change of governorship, Dr. Blumenfeld initiated a political move that proposed to grant Jews the rights of citizenship within the town, but his proposal was met with stormy resistance from the Christian townspeople. Dr. Blumenfeld and his colleagues concerned themselves not only with the local Jewish community, and decided to take care of Jewish affairs in the whole of Galicia. With that in mind, in the summer of 1847 Dr. Blumenfeld assembled the representatives of the large communities of Lwów, Brody, Tarnopol, Stanislawow [Stanisławów], Stryy [Stryj] and Sambor, to discuss the situation, and they decided to submit a memorandum to the government, detailing the lamentable situation of the Jews and to request an annulment of the restrictions on habitation, and of the special taxes, especially the candle tax and the tax on Kosher meat. Since it was against the law to submit a joint petition from the different communities, it was decided that each community should submit its own petition, directly.
On 22nd August 1847, Lwów's community submitted the first petition, signed by Dr. Blumenfeld, Dr. Adam BarachRappaport, Marek Dubs, Dr. Leo Kolischer, I. L. Kolischer, I. A. Rosenstein, as well as the committee members: Jakob Gottlieb, Feiwel Weitz, Leib Russmann and H. Gruder.
The petition highlighted the issues arising from the Jewish taxes: the candle tax and the tax on Kosher meat. The insult to the Jews prompted by those taxes was heartwrenchingly described. Apart from the distress they inflict it reported it is hard to recount the howls and cries when the tax collectors confiscate the mattresses from the homes of the poor, remove the most essential housewares, and even the prayer books. The taxes cast fear and horror and shatter the tranquillity of the population. The horrific scenes, of the tax lessees and their factotums accompanied by
soldiers inside the dwellings of the poor, investigating whether more candles had been lit than tax had been paid on, were indescribable. The situation concerning the taxes on Kosher meat was identical. The memorandum also considered the political and civil conditions, the prohibitions and restrictions on trade, crafts and the free professions.
The delegation that included Rabbi Abraham Kohn, set out for Vienna to deliver the petition but its effort was in vain. The central authorities refused to annul the taxes, or to agree to any concessions which would benefit the Jews. All the petitions from Lwów, Brody (19 Sept. 1847), Tarnopol (1 Oct. 1847), Stanislawow (25 Oct. 1847), Stryj and Sambor (2 Nov, 1847) were returned to the Governor and filed with no further action.
The only issue which attracted the governorship's attention on several occasions, regarded the abolishing of Galician Jews' traditional clothes and the means how to force them to wear European dress.
In 1791, Kaiser Joseph II demanded to put an end to the Jewish traditional dress. The demand was not carried out however, after the Jews of Galicia lobbied Christian cloth and velvet manufacturers, at Vienna and Bohemia, who in turn petitioned the government with claims that they had amassed stockpiles and in order to prevent the destruction of an industry in which 11,000 men were employed it was best to delay the execution of the ruling. The Governor of LowerAustria supported the petition with the argument that following the ruling would destroy an entire industry employing 250 precious machines. Under such pressure, Kaiser Joseph II withdrew the regulation.
Nonetheless, in 1804 the issue resurfaced in conjunction with the ruling to stop Jewish women from wearing coifs. The debate continued for some while when, on 5th April 1941, the Emperor ordered to maintain the Jewish traditional dress.
Still, the issue of dress arose again.
On 2nd July 1847, the community committee was ordered by Lwów's police to provide its opinion on the issue of Jewish traditional dress. The community committee agreed to replacing the traditional dress, as it believed it would remove any barrier between the Jews and the Christians and would also greatly contribute towards order and a sense of cleanliness, quelling women's desire for luxury, thus bringing an end to the Christians' envy. The outfit should therefore be abolished in accordance with the rulings of 29th March 1789, and 3rd March 1820, especially since many Jews had already changed their dress style of their own accord, while many avoided so doing for fear of their parents and inlaws. To the memorandum, the community committee appended declarations of hundreds of Lwów's Jews requesting to abolish the traditional dress.
One Sabbath, many among the youth wore European clothes and paraded in the streets, in protest.
The Orthodox, noting the growth of the movement and fearing that the authorities would fulfil the wishes of the Enlightened [Maskilim], organized a counter action. Through the communities they mobilized mass requests to maintain the traditional Jewish dress, claiming that merchants and tailors had large stocks of silk suitable solely for the Jewish outfit. They also requested that the women's coifs should not be abolished, as at times those were the sole valuables of a Jewish family.
The governorship decided to seek the opinion of Rabbi Abraham Kohn, who disclosed that all Jews, apart from Rabbis, ritual judges and holyvessels, should be obliged to wear European clothes. Rabbi Kohn insisted in particular on forbidding the wearing of spodeks [men's traditional tall] Sable fur hats, or women's coifs set with pearls and gemstones, which led to the financial ruination of many a family pretending to be wealthy by wearing luxury goods. He suggested that the granting of trade, crafts, industry, and especially marriage licences should be conditional on changing the [traditional] clothes. Rabbi Kohn's proposal to abolish the traditional Jewish dress in Poland demonstrated the need for such amendments in order to eliminate the Chassidism which had spread through Galicia since the arrival from Russia to Austria of its patron, Rabbi Israel Friedman [Ruzhiner Rebbe].
Not content with that response, the governorship sought the opinion of the Jewish intelligentsia that was close to the Orthodox. Consequently, on 17th November 1847, Meier Münz was asked to provide the regional office with his opinion on the reasons for the poverty, the moral decline and the unlawful marriages among the Jews.
In 1848, Münz's memorandum was published as:
Ein Wort zu Zeit. Gutachten über die Verhältnisse und Übelstände der Galizischen Juden in Folge einer löblichen K.K. Kreisamtlichen Aufforderung von V…v. M…tz.
His memorandum presented a clear depiction of the condition of the Jews and ascribed the blame for the poverty and economic decline solely to the government which restricted their rights, and limited their rights of residency to specific quarters, thus blocking the path of culture and advancement. Unlike the Maskilim who laid stress on the Enlightenment, the establishment of schools etc., Münz in his memorandum claimed that under the existing political circumstances Enlightenment brought great disappointment to the Jews once they realized their wretched circumstances. It was not Enlightenment the Jews required, but equal civil and economic rights
which in turn would lead to changes in education. Münz, who was an opponent of Rabbi Kohn, encouraged the protests and reactions of the Orthodox. He composed and wrote their memorandums and complaints which accumulated at the offices of state.
The authorities' sympathy, especially that of the regional office headed by the enlightened officer Millbacher, lay with the Enlighteners' aspirations. The Orthodox endlessly petitioned to remove the population's registration from the hands of Rabbi Kohn. They libelled the head of the congregation as well as the institutions' social workers, and claimed that the Jewish Policeinspector, Hersch Zipper, took bribes from foreign Jews to benefit the orphanage and the Temple. The authorities also received anonymous libel letters which exacerbated the relationship between the Orthodox and the Enlightened, even ending in conflicts and assaults.
The cultural life of Jewish youths underwent a marked change and a large number of Maskilim studied Enlightenment books and German literature, which they considered the epitome of spirituality.
The youth found no contentment however in the scientific strand of Enlightenment literature, nor in the Jewish studies guided by Rabbi Salomon Jehudah Rappoport [Shir], Reb. Nachman HaKohen Krochmal, Reggio, Samuel David Luzzatto, Shadal, etc.
The youths rebelled against the scientific strand, longing instead for an artistic direction. There were at Lwów a number of talented young Maskilim and poets who wrote in Hebrew and German. One of them, Moses Reizes [Reices], wrote poetry in seven languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, German, French, Italian, English and also Polish. At the age of 17, the young, Lwów born author Nahman Isaac Fischmann published a volume of poems Eshkol Anavim [Bunch of Grapes] (Lwów 1827), with the help of Jakob Samuel Byk who recognized his talent and encouraged him; the publication made a great impression. The medical doctor Dr. Abraham Natkis, a son of the Maskil Benjamin Natkis whom Rabbi Jacob Ornstein had boycotted in 1816, published lyrical poems in Bikureh HaItim (Pamphlet 67) and in Jeruschalajim. While still a secondary school pupil, he published poems in Lwów's German monthly, Mnemosyne. After 1848, the talented author Abraham Mendel Mohr (18131868), together with his brotherinlaw Bodek, attacked the Charedim in the pamphlet Etzah Tova [Good Advice] in which they warned the Orthodox leaders and the tax lessees who took advantage of, and deprived, the Jewish population. They also published Lwów's first Yiddish weekly, Lemberger Jüdische Zeitung, as well as geography and history books written in a popular style.
There was a significant discontent among the youth against the scientific strand of the Enlightenment literature. A group of youths led by Jakob Bodek (18191855), aspired to topple from their pedestal the authors of wisdom and science: Salomon Jehudah Rappoport, [Leopold] Zunz [Tzuntz], Samuel David Luzzatto. I. S. Reggio, whom they had previously regarded prominent figures in science and literature, and whom they had greatly honoured.
Jakob Bodek joined his brotherinlaw AbrahamMendel Mohr, Nahman Isaac Fischmann, known by his Hebrew poems, as well as Jakob Mentsch, and in 1837 they published the first annual critics' pamphlet titled HaRoé uMevaker Sefer Mechabrei Zemanenu [Which Notes and Criticises Books by Contemporary Authors]. The annual was no biographicaltheoretical review of published books, but rather a platform dedicated to polemics probably guided by the personal envy of the authors whose scientific works had gained recognition and honour.
The articles published by the four youths in their annual, were derogatory reviews of all the innovations by the Enlightenment [Haskala] scholars in the history of the Jewish People especially Salomon Jehudah Rappoport, Reggio, Zunz and Samuel David Luzzatto. Those articles were not written in an objective, scientific vein, but rather to demean them and besmirch their names, with the aim to offend and demean them in the reader's mind.
When they submitted the pamphlet to the censor and J. H. Schorr of Brody found out its content, he spared no effort to convince the former to assign HaRo'é to oblivion. Due to his efforts the second pamphlet in which they treated Salomon Jehudah Rappoport with contempt and abuse, they were unable to publish at Lwów. In 1839 the pamphlet was therefore published under the title Emek Shoshanim [Valley of Roses] in in the Hungarian style, which was not subject to Austrian laws, and where Emanuel Rosenthal joined the group. When the Lwów censor became aware of the matter, he ordered to destroy all the published issues that were brought to Galicia, and to fine the authors 25 Ducats.
In their fight against Salomon Jehudah Rappoport, his young opposers did not even stop from harming his livelihood as rabbi. When he was offered to head the Prague Rabbinate, they wrote to the community dignitaries to spur them to cancel his candidacy. Salomon Jehudah Rappoport responded to their attacks with two letters in Kerem Chemed [Charmed Vineyard] 1112, 1841. Due to its negative, personal polemics, HaRo'é made no positive contribution to the development of literature. Its hostile attitude made Jakob Mentsch leave the group. At Zolkiew (1844), Lwów and Prague (1845), Bodek, Fischmann and Mohr published three pamphlets in the collection Jeruschalajim constructed as a town united by words of wisdom and knowledge, poems and riddles, explanations of Scriptures and everything sacred in the Holy Language.
After returning to the bosom of Judaism, Josef Tarler also contributed to this collection with the sharp rebuff against Chassidism in his
Ia'alizu HaChassidim Let the Chassidim [also righteous] rejoice. Fischmann contributed to the collection poems with a religiopatriotic content, and articles on the history of the Jews. Articles by Bodek and Mohr focused on Hebrew literature during the middleages; Bodek published also humorous travel reports, and Naphtali Mendel Schorr, published his poems in that collection.
Jeruschalajim was free of the aggressivepersonal tenor which characterized HaRo'é. On his own initiative Fischmann abandoned any negative criticism and adopted a positive literary style. He published plays on biblical subjects such as Mapeleth Sisra [Sisra's Fall] (1841), commentary on the Book of Job Safah LaNe'emanim [The Speech of the Trusty] (1854), the poem HaEt veHaMeshorer [The Epoch and the Poet] (1870) and from time to time he also contributed to Joseph KohnZedek's Meged Jerachim [Pleasant Months].
By the middle of the nineteenth century the Haskalah was deeply engrained among the Orthodox youths who wished to abandon the grey alleys of their lives, for new lives.
The poet MosesHersch Enser, who was born at Lwów in 1804 and died there in 1871, also numbered among the Maskilim. Exalted in the Torah, he also knew German, French and Greek. His spiritual development was influenced by Dr. Isaac Erter, Salomon Jehudah Rappoport and S. Bloch, with whom he was on friendly terms. Ever since 1845 he published poems in Kochbe Jizchak [Isaac's Stars] and in 1854 he published a grammar book on the pasttense, titled Misat Moshe or HaMetzaref [Moses's Gift or The Purified]. In his estate were left the manuscripts of Igrot el Assaf [Letters unto Assaf] (about the Hebrew Language), and HaNoten Zemirot [The Giver of Tunes] (on Discernment) as well as an interpretation of Sefer HaNefesh [The Book of the Soul] by ShemTov ben Joseph ibn Falaquera (12241270) and a collection of poems Zera Kodesh [Holy Scion].
Menachem Manisch König (18251848) published poems in Kochbe Jizchak [Isaac's Stars] and left a collection of poems in manuscript form, which was posthumously (1848) published at Lwów by the Maskil Salomon Rubin. Another Maskil, MosesLeib Leibowicz, published poems in Kochbe Jizchak, as well as in HaNescher [The Eagle] edited by KohnTzedek.
The Maskilim also included among their number Jente Kehlmann, the daughter of the renowned Maslkil and merchant, Michael Kehlmann, member of the community committee headed by Dr. Blumenfeld. She was born in 1810 and learnt the Bible and Hebrew grammar by listening in on her brother's lessons in childhood. Over time she acquired an extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language, read poems by Wessely and Enlightenment books. Aged fourteen she was betrothed to the Maskil L. Rosanisch of Brody with whom she corresponded in Hebrew. Rosanisch died shortly after the marriage, and she married the merchant Samson Wohllerner, who also died young, and three weeks later her only son, Kalonymus also died.
She kept her letterexchange with Rosanisch, but her Orthodox mother took the letters away from her and burnt them. Her letters excelled in their Biblical style; she expressed all her thoughts in the Hebrew language and its literature.
The Maskilim had no political agenda, but the events which loomed over the political horizon of the Austrian Monarchy, brought fundamental changes to its Nations, including to the Jews.
Notes CHAPTER 15
All notes in square brackets [ ] were made by the translator.
History of ancient days
for Hebrews and for all the Nations.
Words of reason and knowledge
pleasant to a listening ear.
Trope, riddles and allegories
to awaken the hearts of the cunning.
Pleasant and lofty songs
in morals entwined.
Concealed Creation and its mystery
shows favour to those seeking its guidance.
The work of cunning artificers
and new science books.
Olden Holy books
that were shrouded in darkness.
Exegesis of concealed phrases
by the wise and learned. Return
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