1820 - 1899 (5 Av 5659) AZRIEL HILDESHEIMER (Germany)
Rabbi, educator, and leader of Orthodox Jewry. Hildesheimer was one of the few Orthodox rabbis to have both a secular and religious education. After studying Semitics, philosophy, and history he received his doctorate in 1846 from the University of Halle. He served as a Rabbi in Eisenstadt where he was criticized for establishing a school which also taught secular subjects. Though a strong opponent of the Reform movement, Hildesheimer tried to find common ground between the Reform and Orthodox movements in Hungary but eventually gave up in frustration. Moving to Berlin he became Rabbi of congregation Adass Jisroel and founded the first rabbinical seminary in Germany where he implemented the philosophies of his friend, Samson Rafael Hirsch. Hildesheimer was an active supporter of Jewish life in Eretz Israel and helped improve educational standards there as well as establishing an orphanage in 1879. He was the author of numerous responsa as well as a new edition of Halachot Gedolot, a halachic code belonging to the Geonic period.