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Bidding Information
Lot #    17266
Auction End Date    3/13/2007 11:30:00 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Keter Yoshar
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    [Only Ed. - Polemic] R. Mordecai Loewenstamm
City    Breslau
Publication Date    1838
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   Only edition. 36 pp. octavo 165:100 mm., nice margins, light age staining. A very good copy loose in later boards, split.
   Only edition of this polemic in opposition enactments in regard to Jewish religious practice by R. Mordecai ben Aryeh Loewenstamm. The title page describes it as a transcript of a letter the author wrote. It is addreses to a man of the berit, the Rav, the sage . . . without specifying his name. It states that it was written in Breslau in Menahem Av in 1838, specifically in the year, your destroyers and those who destroyed you shall go away from you (Isaiah 49:17). There is a loving dedication that says to the holy and distinguished congregation, all beloved, Breslau, and at the time that I separated from them, to go and return to my country, and to my family (Genesis 24:4) and to the house of my father after I have dwelt among you, and resided in your midst thirty-six years. There is additional preliminary material, and then the text, comprised of the letter in square letters at the top of the page and extensive notes at the bottom of the page in rabbinic type.

A polemic directed against the Reform innovator and trailblazer Abraham Geiger. In 1838, Geiger was chosen as dayyan and assistant rabbi by the Breslau community, but, owing to the strong opposition of its rabbi S. A. Tiktin, Geiger was not able to take up his position until 1840. The author of this pamphlet was a partisan of the Tiktin faction and, as a committed traditionalist, he was also a vigorous opponent of Reform. After Tiktin's death in 1843, Geiger was accorded the rabbinate by the majority of the Breslau community, thus causing the Orthodox minority to secede. Mordechai Löwenstamms father was R Arye Leib of Rotterdam, grandson of R Arye Leib Löwenstamm of Amsterdam, who was a brother-in-law of R Yaakov Emden, and his main supporter in the epic battle against R Jonathan Eybschϋtz. The authors brother, R Abraham Löwenstamm of Emden, was the author of Tzeror ha-Hayyim (Amsterdam, 1820), an important work published as a response to the opening of the Hamburg temple in 1819 that halachically refuted the innovations introduced there.

While the recipient of the letter is not specified Breslau was an early center of reform. The community was led and controlled by the wealthy "generally privileged" Jews. The leading Breslau families were generally in favor of Haskalah and Reform tendencies. Those of this group who stopped short of conversion, either for themselves or their children, attempted to prepare for emancipation by providing what they considered a suitable education for Jews. In order to carry out their ideas, they utilized their connections with tolerant Prussian officials, to establish schools providing a modernized education for the poorer families. Such were the Koenigliche Wilhelmsschule, established in 1791, and the Maedchenschule fuer arme Toechter ("School for Poor Girls," 1801), which were recognized and encouraged by the government. These Haskalah-promoted schools met with resistance from Orthodox Jews. The division between the majority of the community and its leadership became accentuated after the Prussian Emancipation Edict of 1812. The new communal representatives increasingly tended to work for Reform and assimilation. Their attitude gave rise to serious dissensions within the community.

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   BE cof 554; CD-EPI 0143384
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Germany:    Checked
Polemics:    Checked
First Editions:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Kind of Judaica